IBMIBM announces release v2.5 of the Workplace Collaboration Services (WCS) offering. WCS is an integrated collaboration environment leveraging both Lotus and WebSphere technologies, each previously available as separate products. Workplace Collaboration Services includes email, calendaring, instant messaging, electronic learning, Web conferencing, document management, and web content management (CMS). The product targets micro business, SMB, and the enterprise and is licensed on a processor based model.Workplace Collaboration Services is built on a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), providing pre-built, reusable collaborative services. The architecture allows IT departments to change and manage requirements to deliver the right combination of components through a variety of clients to individuals and teams. "In most cases, workers are forced to toggle from one product to another, store data in disparate locations and manually piece together information for the project at hand. Ultimately, organizations end up losing valuable information in the process because the content is gathered in different modes and stored in several places, making it difficult to track. IBM Workplace Collaboration Services delivers a new approach to working together that allows users to continue to use the many modes of interaction they require, in a setting that simplifies how information is gathered and shared," says Ken Bisconti, Vice President of Workplace, Portal and Collaboration Products, IBM. Enhancements in the 2.5 release are largely targeted towards usability and productivity improvements, pricing was simplified, and platform support was broadened. WCS 2.5 runs on Linux (both SuSE and Red Hat), IBM AIX, IBM eServer iSeries platform (OS/400), SUN Solaris 9 and Microsoft Windows 2000/2003/XP. Workplace Collaboration Services is planned for release in the May time frame but current releases of the individual collaboration services are available today. Workplace Services Express A simplified product, IBM Workplace Services Express targets the SharePoint Services market and is freely available for micro businesses with 20 or fewer seats.