More than a year later after I tried to bring a customer to the LotusLive cloud cuckoo land without success I was surprised what happened in the meantime.

Unfortunatly I had not the chance to put my hands on the new LotusLive offering till this years Lotusphere. Guess what: My account expired. But today I had the chance to have a closer look at the offering.

What I see here at Lotusphere looks really good now. Messaging, Collaboration, Documents in one place – and from what I was told much more integrated than in the Google offering. Take a presentation, give access to everybody who should work with it inside or outside your oranization (that´s what others can do too), edit the document collaborativly and simultaneously (thats what you could do with Google as well, but now you can do it with LotusLive too) and push you slides right away to an instant web conference with your collaborators (this part is missing at Google Apps – yet).

All in all a very nice user interface. But is it fast like the Google Apps UI? I don´t know. Again: If I could test it with my ID, I would be happy. (Hint: Microsoft and Google have a free offering, you can test their offerings at any time).

Most interesting for Lotus shops is the “non-disruptive shift to the cloud” for existing Notes infrastructures. Notes shops can now deploy Domino images to LotusLive. User who still live in the Notes client will not notice if the components they work with are provided by an online service or reside on an on-premise infrastructure.

IBM did its homework to start competing with the other vendors in that market space. Will this help selling LotusLive in Europe, in Germany? As I visited a BOF session with a handfull IT managers discussing issues with cloud computing it became very clear: While companies in Europe still hesitate moving IT infrastructure to the cloud, for many US companies the cloud hype has passed the peak of inflated expectations and is now on its way to the trough of desillusionment. Most of them face only other problems than before they moved to the cloud – not less problems.

There is no doubt about the growth of the cloud market. It would be easier for IBM if LotusLive would be as popular as the Live offering of Microsoft or Google´s Apps – because young people use this every day.

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