U.S. Bank picks IBM's Lotus platform over Microsoft's SharePoint

Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank has chosen to standardize on IBM Corp.'s Lotus collaboration software, IBM said Tuesday, displacing Microsoft Corp.'s rival SharePoint-based platform.

U.S. Bank plans to roll out the Lotus Quickr and Lotus Connections social Web platform for corporations. Quickr and Connections provide a file-sharing repository allowing employees to create profiles, wikis and blogs.

U.S. Bank is also standardizing on the latest Lotus Notes 8.5 client for all 58,000 employees, as well as the Lotus Sametime messaging app, Bob Picciano, general manager of IBM Lotus Software, told Computerworld . "The focus is for them to get everything migrated by 2010," he said.

U.S. Bank is also looking into IBM's LotusLive cloud collaboration software, said Picciano, and is even considering switching off Microsoft Office to IBM's Lotus Symphony productivity suite. "Discussion for that continues to be under way," he said.

While Quickr and Connections will be new deployments, Notes and Sametime are technically upgrades. U.S. Bank was already using versions 6.5 of IBM Lotus Notes and Domino for most of its employees.

But U.S. Bank was also running 5,000 SharePoint sites -- some department level, some much larger, according to Picciano -- throughout the bank, which was created out of a number of mergers about 10 years ago.

According to Picciano, IBM and Microsoft both bid to provide collaboration and messaging for U.S. Bank, which is ranked the sixth-largest American bank with $266 billion in assets.

Despite IBM's apparent incumbent's edge, Picciano said the battle between the two vendors was "largely competitive."

"I wouldn't be arrogant enough to call U.S. Bank an IBM shop," he said. IBM's win, he said, was the result of superior technology, not heavy discounting. "This wasn't a 'our bundle will beat up your bundle' situation," he said. "Our software was a better choice and fit."

Picciano declined to disclose financial terms. "It's a very big deal," he said.

Microsoft did not dispute IBM's characterization of its deal with U.S. Bank, but it maintains that it is an exception that proves the rule.

"Last year, more than 4.7 million people began the switch to Exchange and SharePoint from Notes," Julia White, director of Exchange product management, said in an e-mail. "We count our switchers in millions, while Notes counts their switchers in tens of thousands." "We expect this trend to accelerate with Exchange 2010 and SharePoint 2010," White said.

Citing large customers such as HSBC, Colgate-Palmolive, Teach for America and others that are deploying the latest Web 2.0 components of the Lotus platform, Picciano says IBM is making a successful counterattack.

"We are displacing Exchange, displacing Outlook," Picciano said. "Despite what the people up in Redmond might say, we are taking share."

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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