Notes in the cloud

* IBM's Lotus Notes Hosted Messaging service

Last week, IBM announced the availability of Lotus Notes Hosted Messaging, joining Microsoft and a growing number of other vendors that are offering cloud-based messaging services. (Compare Messaging products.)

While hosted messaging services have so far been adopted primarily by small organizations, IBM is positioning its hosted Notes offering for the enterprise market: organizations with between 1,000 and 10,000 seats. Pricing for the new Notes offering starts at under $10 per seat per month – on par with hosted Exchange offerings – and includes a number of options around service levels, spam and malware filtering and backup services. Lotus Notes Hosted Messaging joins other IBM in-the-cloud offerings, including its Bluehouse collaboration offering and Sametime Unyte Web conferencing.

Offering Notes as a hosted solution is part of IBM’s overall strategy to provide a wide range of cloud-based services as a replacement for or supplement to earth-based (aka on-premise) offerings. The move is a logical one for IBM and will help the company to compete with offerings from Microsoft in the enterprise space, but also with a growing number of other companies that are offering hosted e-mail, collaboration, Web conferencing, backup, real-time communications and other services.

Who will benefit from the new offering? Lotus Notes is used primarily by enterprises (albeit by some smaller organizations, as well) and I certainly don’t expect there to be a wholesale migration away from the earth to the cloud on the part of current Notes customers. However, the new offering would be a good way for current Notes-enabled organizations to provide basic e-mail and calendaring services to groups that today do not have them – factory workers, those who work at a retail counter, etc. It will also be useful as a means of providing service to satellite offices without on-premise IT staff. And, IBM will likely be able to attract a number of new clients into the Notes fold – particularly among smaller organizations – that might not otherwise have considered Notes as an on-premise system.

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