IBM Lotus Notes 8, now in beta release promises several outstanding innovations in email clients:

  • integrated user experience in mail, contacts and calendar
  • Support (planned) for Windows, Mac and Linux clients
  • Support for search paradigm, conversational methods
  • Preview as a 'side panel' instead of only the horizontal split
  • "Only You" flag that defines those emails sent only to you (I call it the CYA filter )
  • Local cache of recent contacts speeds up addressing a lot
  • Multi-level undo (which generated applause when announced at LCTY)
  • Colored event types in the calendar
  • Collaboration history of interactions with contact
  • Message recall that apparently actually works
  • RSS reader in the email window
  • Mashups supported
  • Smart upgrade – where only provisioned new capabilities are selectively managed
  • Domino Web Access – (webmail) is reworked within AJAX for speed improvements and even a narrowband option 

This impressive feature list was well received by the audience, yet the cornucopia of choices for users gave me a little concern. I wondered if this was going to be another case of the 'feature tsunami.' Feature tsunamis occur when a software company delivers more features than users can actually exploit. It happened in PBXs, word processors and spreadsheets to name three product categories. In every case, the ability to create a feature seemed easier than it was for 10,000 customers to actually use them. 

Does the IBM Lotus portfolio suffer from this challenge?

Not according to Ken Bisconti, IBM VP Lotus software. Ken says that unlike the word processor and the spreadsheet, users don't have to be presented with all of these features. Administrators can control the release of many of these capabilities, as can the average user by turning the advanced menus off.