On November 5, 2003 IBM announced four new Lotus Workplace software products that will enable customers to add modular collaborative capabilities - such as e-mail, instant messaging, and Web conferencing - to their business applications and corporate portals. The new Lotus Workplace products can help increase productivity by giving employees a set of collaborative tools that can be tailored to their specific work environment. Language deserves scrutiny - what does WorkPlace mean from a strategic point of view for IBM/Lotus? Here is their explanation. "Lotus Workplace takes all of Lotus’ collaborative products — decades of investment in messaging, e-learning, calendaring and scheduling, awareness, e-meetings, team rooms, workflows — and makes them accessible through a single, role-based portal where they can be integrated with each other and with other applications, and used in context with the task at hand." “For individual users and for teams, Lotus Workplace will function as the portal of entry to e-business on demand.” Key Concepts: all products, all content, all contexts, websphere portal, enterprise integration Moving on, the announced products include: - IBM Lotus Workplace Messaging Version 1.1 - IBM Lotus Workplace Web Content Management Version 1.1 - IBM Lotus Workplace Team Collaboration Version 1.1 - IBM Lotus Workplace Collaborative Learning Version 1.1 Of interest to CMSWire is the Workplace Web Content Management product, formerly acquired from Australian Web CMS player, Aptrix. This product is introduced by the words of Michael Loria, IBM Lotus director: "Lotus Workplace Web Content Management -- which Lotus is offering in a new release -- provides templates and automated services that content creators without technical skills can use to access and collaborate on content, build workflows for approving content, lay out pages and links between pages, and properly store and archive content once it expires." “You can think of it as a traffic cop sitting behind these applications, managing the various content creators, negotiating with content repositories like DB2 and DB2 Content Manager, taking content through approvals, formatting it and posting it to the Web. [W]ith these tools [companies] can concentrate on keeping content compelling and fresh.” “Content management is a universal problem — everyone has a Web site, everyone wants fresh content, everyone needs to deliver personalized information to larger volumes of customers,” he says “But the real heavy lifting comes in understanding these problems as they relate to a particular industry or business problem and applying the technology in the appropriate way. Lotus Workplace Web Content Management, gives partners a great set of tools for solving these specific business problems and building extremely attractive solutions for the industries they serve.” In our opinion, the take aways here are: 1) IBM is putting a focus on Web CMS, 2) that theyare emphasizing integration with the WebSphere Portal and other Lotus Collaboration products, and 3) that they are integrating the solution with robust enterprise repositories such as DB2, DB2 Content Manager, and Content Manager OnDemand series. Digging a little deeper, this is the advertised feature set for Workplace Web Content Management:    o Organized web publishing    o Collaborative workflow management    o Content aging & lifecycle management    o Authoring in standard office tools    o Reusable components    o Integration with Lotus Domino Document Manager    o Integration with Lotus Workflow    o Integration with IBM DB2 Content Manager & WebSphere Portal    o Support for both J2EE and Domino platforms However much I find the idea of working with Domino a touch distasteful, the above combination of features and product integrations from a single vendor -- especially when that vendor is IBM -- has caught our attention and is bound to gain some attention in the IT world at large. Some final details: Lotus Workplace Web Content Management 1.1 is packaged with WebSphere Portal 5.0.2, DB2 Content Manager 8.2 and Domino 6.5.1, and is also available as a stand-alone. LWWCM run on the following platforms: Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server operating system, Sun Solaris 8 operating environment, IBM AIX Version 5.2, SuSE Linux 8.2 operating system (Intel processor), Red Hat Linux 8.0 operating system (Intel processor), zLinux, iSeries The 1.1 version of the Lotus Workplace family of products will be available for download in Q4 2003. IBM Lotus Workplace Messaging 1.1 will be available for $29 per user, while the IBM Lotus Workplace Team Collaboration 1.1 will be available for $89 per user. IBM Lotus Workplace Collaborative Learning 1.1 will be available for $35 per user, and IBM Lotus Workplace Web Content Management 1.1 will be available for $49,999 per CPU. Pricing includes licensing and 1-year software maintenance. Read more. Read LWWCM white paper.