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Lotus, IBM embrace knowledge management

In a briefing yesterday in front of analysts and the press, Lotus Development Corp (Cambridge, MA) and IBM (Armonk, NY) made it clear that knowledge management is where they're going to play keepsies.

With their announcement, Lotus/IBM have pre-empted other major players such as Microsoft, Oracle, Documentum, FileNet, Novell and virtually all major IT names by stepping into a market that analysts peg at $5 billion in software and services sales by the end of the year 2000, and what megadistributor Tech Data pegs at an all-in hardware, software and services annual revenue stream of $12 billion.

During the presentation, company officials revealed the new pieces added to Lotus Notes and Domino, including instant messaging with "live" chat and the ability to build collaborative groups inside companies. Also discussed was IBM's Intelligent Miner for Text, a mining tool that attacks and analyzes text much as data mining tools plow through raw numerical data for meaning.

But the focus of the briefing centered around Lotus' and IBM's position in the knowledge management space. In the presentation, officials set knowledge management as the theme, and the fact that Lotus and IBM intend to own a leadership position in this fast-emerging market.

"Knowledge management will define our mission as a corporation as well as our strategic direction and product thrust over the next few years," said Lotus CEO Jeff Papows.

"Knowledge management is an overarching theme for [us]. We plan to lead in this space." added Lotus VP Mike Zisman. "If you have invested in Notes/Domino, we are going to help you maximize on that investment in the area of knowledge management."

Janet Perna, GM of IBM's Database Management business, which incorporates the document imaging, document/content management and workflow product lines of IBM, said that IBM and Lotus will be incorporating the best technologies between them and leveraging it for KM. "[Knowledge Management] is about transforming information into knowledge that's actionable, and then taking action," she commented.

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