ibm_logo_2010.jpg Just about two years after IBM (news, site) announced the release of its LotusLive cloud collaboration platform, IBM continues to extend the reach of LotusLive with the announcement of integrations with SugarCRM and Ariba’s social commerce platform.

Originally, when LotusLive launched in January 2009, it integrated with social networking tools like Skype, LinkedIn and Salesforce CRM. Since then, Big Blue has been marketing LotusLive aggressively and with the SugarCRM and Ariba integrations, an extended reach in the business community and the SMB space is guaranteed.

IBM’ LotusLive

LotusLive is IBM’s portal, offering a number of collaboration and social networking services. It includes:

  • LotusLive Engage: LotusLive Engage is a set of collaboration services required for online meetings. The toolset is integrated and provides not only web conferencing functionality, but also collaboration features like instant messaging, file storage and sharing and chart creation.
  • LotusLive Connections: LotusLive Connections is complimentary to LotusLive Engage. It offers the same core collaboration capabilities without the web conferencing.

It also comes with web conferencing and a version of LotusNotes which includes email, calendaring and a personal edition of Lotus Quickr. Built on open standards, it means that integration with third party applications can be done relatively easily, hence the SugarCRM and Ariba integrations.

SugarCRM v6 and LotusLive

SugarCRM 6 (news, site) came out of beta last July with a new user interface that focused on speed, simplicity and interoperability with other web applications and mobile devices. At the time, the company also announced it had made the primary source code repository for Sugar Community Edition publicly accessible.

But the v6.0 release also comes with dozens of other features in two categories aimed at improving user efficiency. These include:

  • Sales and Reporting: New tools, including enhanced dashboards, to give users better insights into how their enterprise is performing internally, and how their clients are responding to sales initiatives. Sales forecasts analyze targets, trends and how the enterprise is performing in respect to each.
  • Information control: Enhanced information access controls -- including automatic workflow controls -- that streamline the flow of information across designated departments and users. Data protection is also enhanced.

SugarCRM 6 is designed to run on any cloud services platform or can be deployed in any on-premise operating system.

Ariba and LotusLive

The third part of this integration is Ariba Discovery, a free, easy-to-use service that provides access to more than 325,000 sellers in more than 400 business categories.

Ariba Discovery for LotusLive lets buyers and sellers more easily collaborate through online meetings, web conferences and online chats, resulting in improved communications and faster decision making.

The SugarCRM integration feature is scheduled to be generally available in April, while the Ariba will also be available in H1. IBM released the LotusLive news ahead of the Lotusphere conference, which starts Sunday in Orlando.