IBM updates Lotus Workplace

IBM Corp. officials continue to hone their strategy for next-generation enterprise computing with recent additions to their server-based Lotus Workplace solution.

In particular, new Workplace client technology adds Web-centered computing to the functionality of traditional desktop PC applications. Administrators can also deploy applications and data to mobile devices such as personal digital assistants and wireless phones while managing the entire information systems environment from a single console.

The move exemplifies IBM's effort to exploit the advantages that Web-based technology brings to integrating applications enterprisewide while giving users the power of desktop applications.

"Web-based architectures produce tremendous cost savings, but there are great limitations in only using a browser for access" to applications, said Jeanette Barlow, marketing manager for IBM Workplace.

For one thing, she said, with the company's new client technology, users can go off-line to do their work, put the data into local encrypted storage and then later synchronize the work with the server-based applications, which adds up to a much more secure working environment.

Because the environment is centrally managed, users can be assigned individual access rights, Barlow said, which further boosts security.

For example, such role-based management would allow an administrator to grant an agency's employees full access to applications through the rich client or a browser, while allowing only limited public access to documents through the browser interface. A rich client is a combination of a thin client, an application designed so small that the bulk of the data processing is done on a server, and a fat client, in which the application does the bulk of the processing.

IBM officials first introduced Workplace last year as the open-standards middleware platform they would use to meet demand for next-generation computing solutions. It supports clients running Microsoft Corp. Windows, Unix, Linux and operating systems that are used in mobile devices, such as Symbian Ltd.'s Symbian.

"IBM is betting its future on this," said Mark Levitt, research vice president for collaborative computing at IDC.

With Workplace, he said the company is trying to re-create a Windows environment that includes features such as drag-and-drop capabilities without having to manage the entire environment, which a stand-alone application requires, while allowing users to also run non-Windows applications.

"Most [enterprises] are not homogenous Windows environments, so users can choose to run those other applications if they need them," Levitt said.

However, the company faces stiff competition from the likes of Sun Microsystems Inc. and, in particular, Microsoft. The latter company's new version of Windows, dubbed Longhorn, is due to ship in 2006 and is expected to include most of the features IBM is building into Workplace.

Government agencies have been early adopters of the kind of server-based architecture that Workplace is intended for, according to Eric Schuster, business development manager with GTSI Corp.'s IBM technology team.

"The technology is so much more attractive because the power of servers is much greater in a much smaller package that the government can now take full advantage of remote application delivery," he said.

Along with the client technology, IBM officials also introduced Lotus Workplace Messaging, which extends rich-client capabilities to low-cost browser-based messaging, and Lotus Workplace Documents, which provides a packaged capability similar to Microsoft Office for editing documents, presentations and spreadsheets.

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached at

hullite@mindspring.com.

***

Workplace essentials

Some useful information about IBM Corp.'s Lotus Workplace:

In addition to the client, messaging and document software functions added to Workplace, the office application already included e-mail, collaboration, content management and e-learning components.

IBM will charge Workplace customers $2 per month per user plus $1 per month per user for each IBM application they access.

To use Workplace applications, customers will also need IBM's WebSphere application server and Web portal software.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

The 2015 Federal 100

Meet 100 women and men who are doing great things in federal IT.

Featured

  • Shutterstock image (by venimo): e-learning concept image, digital content and online webinar icons.

    Can MOOCs make the grade for federal training?

    Massive open online courses can offer specialized IT instruction on a flexible schedule and on the cheap. That may not always mesh with government's preference for structure and certification, however.

  • Shutterstock image (by edel): graduation cap and diploma.

    Cybersecurity: 6 schools with the right stuff

    The federal government craves more cybersecurity professionals. These six schools are helping meet that demand.

  • Rick Holgate

    Holgate to depart ATF

    Former ACT president will take a job with Gartner, follow his spouse to Vienna, Austria.

  • Are VA techies slacking off on Yammer?

    A new IG report cites security and productivity concerns associated with employees' use of the popular online collaboration tool.

  • Shutterstock image: digital fingerprint, cyber crime.

    Exclusive: The OPM breach details you haven't seen

    An official timeline of the Office of Personnel Management breach obtained by FCW pinpoints the hackers’ calibrated extraction of data, and the government's step-by-step response.

  • Stephen Warren

    Deputy CIO Warren exits VA

    The onetime acting CIO at Veterans Affairs will be taking over CIO duties at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

  • Shutterstock image: monitoring factors of healthcare.

    DOD awards massive health records contract

    Leidos, Accenture and Cerner pull off an unexpected win of the multi-billion-dollar Defense Healthcare Management System Modernization contract, beating out the presumptive health-records leader.

  • Sweating the OPM data breach -- Illustration by Dragutin Cvijanovic

    Sweating the stolen data

    Millions of background-check records were compromised, OPM now says. Here's the jaw-dropping range of personal data that was exposed.

  • FCW magazine

    Let's talk about Alliant 2

    The General Services Administration is going to great lengths to gather feedback on its IT services GWAC. Will it make for a better acquisition vehicle?

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above