IBM Lotus and SAP join forces

ORLANDO – IBM Lotus and SAP have entered into an agreement to develop a software product with the intent to create a new style of application that can present data in the context users are familiar with.

Announced at IBM’s 15th annual Lotusphere conference, held here, Project Atlantic is expected to debut during the fourth quarter of this year. Atlantic will be a new product integrating Notes 8 with SAP Business Suite, targeting their many thousands of mutual customers. According to Mike Rhodin, general manager of IBM Lotus Software, the majority of IBM’s top 100 customers are also SAP customers.

“There is an 80 per cent overlap of SAP and Lotus customers,” he said.

Atlantic will support SAP workflows, reporting and analytics within a Notes client.

The go to market plan for Atlantic will leverage the channel base of both companies, and both companies are hoping business partners will customize the Atlantic software to meet customer needs.

“We can’t go it alone. There will be many partners that run your business and this is an out of the box solution that incorporates the partner bases,” Rhodin said.

Vishal Sikka, CTO of SAP, said IBM and SAP are working together to bring value to the customer and change the business environment.

Trevor Nimegeers, the president and CEO of Calgary-based solution provider Kryos Systems, said he was pleased with the Atlantic announcement but thought both IBM and SAP could go further.

“SAP is everywhere in large accounts and that is where you want to integrate. They are all over the place and I would have liked to have seen IBM move faster here. Atlantic is the next iteration, but the more they can do to integrate with legacy and behind the scenes systems the better,” Nimegeers said.

Web 2.0 was one example of how IBM could have gone further with the Atlantic announcement, according to Nimegeers. He added that this kind of announcement will enable IBM to take more market share away from rivals.

For current Notes users, Atlantic will allow better access to SAP, Rhodin said. He called Atlantic a composite application, which helps users to work faster.

“Partners will invent these applications and departments will still have their own unique developments. There are impediments such as traditional command and control and that will be a strain,” Rhodin said.

For example, companies that use SAP with human resources data and need to update employee benefits can schedule that inside a Notes 8 environment through a calendar request.

Nimegeers added there will be channel opportunity for Lotus partners because Atlantic will be a natural extension of the SAP Business suite, so a solution provider will be able to add more functionality and new applications around the core transaction system, such as SAP.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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