LotusLive has scored a big win over Microsoft Exchange in perhaps the most significant deal to date for a SaaS provider. The IBM deal with Panasonic means that 300,000 people at the electronics company will drop Exchange for the LotusLive, web-based collaboration service.
We would normally not cover customer wins, but the LotusLive deal with Panasonic is so large it signifies how lucrative this market could be for cloud service providers.
We expect these deals to pop up everywhere as more companies see the benefits of shedding IT assets for cloud-based services. In turn this will change how companies negotiate. With more competition and publicized wins, managers will look beyond the desktop for the best deal possible they can find from a cloud services provider.
Panasonic will use LotusLive for its calendar; email; web conferencing; messaging; file sharing; project management and contact management as well.
LotusLive will also replace Lotus Notes and other collaboration tools.
The LotusLive tiered pricing structure looks similar to what we see with many SaaS providers. According to eWeek, the cost for LotusLive starts at $3 per user, per month. As the client uses more services, the price per user increases.
The win also shows that Google Apps is not as dominant as it sometimes appears. Google Apps has not scored a win on this scale.
Still, Google Apps has had the most success as a provider of online collaboration service. It recently closed deals with several large enterprise customers, including the city of Los Angeles.
All of these wins show that enterprise customers will move faster to the cloud than many expected. In the coming months, we expect Google and IBM will intensify its campaigns against Microsoft. IBM may also have an advantage against Google as the LotusLive pricing structure makes it easy for customers to make an investment. Google offers its services for free and $50 for a premiere account.
It may seem like Microsoft is the one most vulnerable. But we don't think so. Its cloud-based platform, Azure, may be the best fit of all for many enterprise customers. Further, its deal with Hewlett-Packard means it now has a powerful package it can sell, combining HP servers with Microsoft software.
This is already proving to be quite a year for cloud computing. And just think, we're only halfway through the month of January.