Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Connections on the Cheap

One of the primary reasons companies look at cloud computing options is for cost savings.  The LotusLive offerings definitely provide customers that.  I've blogged before about the savings that can be achieved with LotusLive iNotes for boundary users (save $226 a user in TCO), as well as the savings from using LotusLive Meetings, particularly for external web conferences (save $1400 a year over Sametime concurrent user licensing alone). 

Today I want to focus on LotusLive Connections, which includes services for:
  • Social Networking
  • File Sharing
  • Activities
  • Instant Messaging
 LotusLive Connections is only $84 a user for an annual subscription for existing Lotus customers.  Now comparing this to the premise-deployed Lotus Connections is not particularly fair because Lotus Connections has far more features than LotusLive Connections (micro-blogging, blogging, communities, wikis, dogears and more).  But I would argue for many small businesses, key features they wish to deploy are activities and file sharing. 

To deploy Lotus Connections on premise, a business with Notes/Domino is looking at adding a minimum of two servers, as well as needing to develop competencies in Websphere Application Server, DB2, and put in place the back-up software, monitoring tools and other operational items standard for new applications deployed within a company.  None of that is required for LotusLive Connections. 

Then take a look at licensing.  A Lotus Connections user license is $119 a user.  That is $35 more initially than a LotusLive Connections user, though in year two it will drop to $23.80 per user.  BUT to license your premise Connections environment to be shared externally, you would also have to purchase a Lotus Connections Extranet license, and that costs $292 per processor value unit (PVU).  Since you practically can't buy a new server that requires less than 200 PVUs, that's $58,400 year one ($19,500 year two).  There is no additional charge to share files or activities outside your company with LotusLive Connections because guest accounts are free.

So let's take a sample company of 100 users and compare.

The savings here in licensing costs alone, not even touching on the TCO, are VERYsignificant.  Of course, the savings go down as you add more users.  At about 330 users, your year two costs go down with Lotus Connections, but you'd have to have it for over 190 years before those savings would offset the difference in year 1.  With 1,000 users, that timeframe comes down to under five years.  And these are only licensing costs, not TCO.  But again, I will emphasize that LotusLive Connections does NOT give you all of the features of Lotus Connections. 

Here's another great bonus with LotusLive Connections, it WILL integrate with the Notes client on your desktop.  You can use both the built-in Activities plug-in, as well as the Sametime client with LotusLive Connections.  There is also a files plug-in available that allows you to easily upload files (I have my fingers crossed that a significantly enhanced version of this plug-in will soon be available). 

So even though these services are in the cloud and you haven't deployed any servers in your own organization, your end-users can begin to leverage these capabilities right from their Notes client instead of having to use a browser.

(As a side note, I've always been shocked by the number of Notes customers that haven't deployed the free entitlement to Sametime entry.  If your reason for that  was a concern over the cost of hardware or the need to maintain another server, LotusLive Connections gives you a no muss no fuss way of adding that presence awareness and instant messaging for your users.)

What are you waiting for?  Check out LotusLive Connections today, and extend the functionality of the Notes client for your end users today with activities, IM and file sharing, without deploying or maintaining a single server!

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