) is offering a range of low or no-cost software to help small-to-medium sized businesses (SMBs) reduce the time and money in deploying and managing IT solutions. The company announced IBM Lotus Foundations Start 1.1 and a new offering, Lotus Foundations Branch Office.
Lotus Foundations is IBM's hardware and software solution to help businesses with tools like e-mail, office applications, file sharing and back up and recovery. It also helps to run Microsoft (News
) Windows applications within a Lotus Foundations environment. Also, customers can run IBM Lotus Domino, Windows and native Linux applications.
There are large organizations like banks and professional services firms that do not have on-site IT in their branch offices. Lotus Foundations helps these Branch Offices with Lotus Domino extending its skills and data to remote offices efficiently, and also reduce costs and better manage operations.
IBM, along with Xerox, plans to align Lotus Foundations and Xerox's multi-function printing devices to empower Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) and Value Added Resellers (VARs) to support small business customers.
According to Tom Durkin, director for corporate strategy at Xerox, said: "Xerox's Extensible Interface Platform (EIP) enables solutions to be built that manage documents and other digital content that flow to and from our multi-function printing (MFP) devices."
"With Lotus Foundations, IBM has a simple and secure platform that supports document solutions that involve encoded and image information and is ideal to simplify SMB business processes. Combine Foundations and EIP and you will have a complete collaboration infrastructure in which solutions can be prototyped, developed and deployed quickly and easily to the SMB market."
IBM Lotus Symphony, IBM's free software suite of word processing documents, spreadsheets and presentation files, has recently crossed three million downloads worldwide.
"We need powerful productivity tools without a high price tag (News
)," said Yaw Adu-Gyamfi, SMIDO instructor. "At an organization like SMIDO, incurring additional costs year after year is problematic and detracts from our ability to allocate funds to our long term vision and goal. Above all, the open source nature of Symphony allows us the flexibility we need to upgrade and manage the software without the hassle of licensing fees and lengthy conditions."
Lotus Symphony is also a component in two low cost software-based offerings from IBM Lotus, Lotus Foundations and the IBM Open Client (OCCS), and also the Linux desktop software bundle.
IBM and Red Hat (News
) announced a joint initiative to help clients change from Microsoft-based desktops to Linux-based desktops. It includes tools such as Red Hat's TCO calculator, diagnostic kit, best practices guide, no charge cost-reduction strategy engagement, and no charge proof of concept/pilot deployment. It also includes Red Hat's heterogeneous virtualization management capability for the desktop to drive cost-efficiency and user productivity.
New Web 2.0 tools from IBM are also helping businesses to reduce costs and process automation. A new Mashup Accelerator will help organizations to deploy applications that address daily business challenges.
IBM is also launching a new Web analytics initiative to help WebSphere Portal customers to capture, measure and respond to Website visitor information. Anamika Singh is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Anamika's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Tim Gray