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Brent Kelly: Choices in Unified Communications: Comparing Microsoft OCS 2007 to IBM Lotus Sametime 8.0

I've been remiss in blogging about Brent Kelly's thorough and overly evenhanded writeup comparing Lotus Sametime 8 to Microsoft OCS 2007 over on the No Jitter blog (Choices in Unified Communications: Comparing Microsoft OCS 2007 to IBM Lotus Sametime 8.0 )

The article does a good job of describing the capabilities of Sametime and (I presume) OCS, while not weighing in definitively one way or another.  As he notes, Brent is going to be leading a very detailed session at VoiceCon where he will spend a few hours each highlighting both products.

There are a few things from the article that I did want to call out.  

First, the introduction provides a good summary of where there are similarities (and differences) between Sametime and OCS.

Out of the box, there are a host of differences between OCS and Sametime; however, when one includes partner company integrated solutions, there is little that OCS can do that can't be done with Sametime, and vice versa. There are some notable exceptions.

A major difference is that Sametime can be deployed on multiple operating systems, including Windows, whereas OCS will only play in a Windows Server environment. Furthermore, Sametime integrates with Outlook and other Microsoft Office applications, but OCS does not integrate with Lotus Notes.

One thing that I'm not really in agreement on - or more to the point, am concerned that people may misread - is the way Microsoft and IBM's strategies are laid out.  

While Microsoft's approach to unified communications could be described as person-centric, IBM Lotus seems to be approaching UC from more of a systems and platform standpoint.

While platforms and systems are certainly important for us - making sure we can run across multiple client OS's, multiple server OS's, multiple mobile devices, and integrate across PBX systems - it would be incorrect to read into this that we are not taking a person-centric approach to this space, as well.  I'm sure this wasn't intentional, but we're already seeing some confusion based on oversimplifying this to a "personal vs. platform" approach (such as this post over on ZDNet that a number of people forwarded on to me.)

Truth be told, if you've seen or heard our vision statement (and if you've been to any of our Lotusphere sessions or in customer briefings with us, you probably have it memorized by now), it states right up front:  "IBM's vision is to foster innovation and business agility by making it easier for people to find, reach and collaborate through a unified communications experience. "  

Similarly, our focus in developing the redesigned Lotus Sametime 7.5 client, as well as the capabilities coming out later this year in Lotus Sametime Advanced and Lotus Sametime Unified Telephony, have been completely focused around the end user experience, on how to make people more productive through the use of the technology and its features.

Overall, though, a very worthwhile read, and I suggest you check out the full report.

Link:  Choices in Unified Communications: Comparing Microsoft OCS 2007 to IBM Lotus Sametime 8.0