The Future's in Sight
IBM Leaps Forward with enhancements and Partnerships for Lotus Sametime
IBM’s Lotus Sametime has been providing customers - mostly large, IBM Lotus Notes/Domino enterprises - with enterprise instant messaging since 1998, long before the term EIM existed, while the products of its current rivals in the EIM market, Microsoft (with its Live Communications Server [LCS]) and Jabber (with Jabber Instant Messenger or JCP) were still baking in the oven. Sametime is also unusual in that its broad functionality places it in two closely related but separate markets - EIM and Web conferencing - markets that heretofore have had very distinct products, competitors, user bases, and deployment patterns within customers.
Sametime is a key product in both markets. For example, although the revenue leader in the Web conferencing market, WebEx, made more money in 2005 from its suite of collaboration, sales effectiveness, hosting, and meeting services, IBM’s product is in daily use by nearly twice the number of business workers who access a WebEx port paid for by their company. This multiple is accurate even when the numbers are reduced to account for the fairly high percentage (60-65%) of workers who use Sametime solely for an instant messaging product. Further, while Microsoft made slightly more money in 2005 from its EIM product (LCS), Sametime, with its 10 years of customer history (and the fact that instant messaging capabilities are provided free of charge to Notes/Domino shops as part of an IBM entitlement), was in use on nearly four times as many desktops as LCS in 2005. Sametime also has a notable presence in key vertical markets for EIM (chiefly in financial services, retail, and pharmaceutical firms) and claims the eight of the top 10 firms in each of these markets as customers.