I was a big fan of Lotus Quickplace when it first came out and promoted it with a number of clients. In 2000 I worked on the implementation of a knowledge management system at Ryder that used Quickplace as an important component that was novel for the time. This implementation won a CIO 100 award for innovation in 2002 and was written about in many publications such this article, Intelligence in Motion that appeared in Knowledge Management Magazine. Quickplace foreshadowed some of the current uses of blogs for similar purposes as a quick and easy way to set up web-based team workplace.
I recently heard Liz McKay Beckhardt speak on the early days of Quickplace at a KM Forum session on collaboration. Liz was the Product Manager for Quickplace from 1997 to 2001. We engaged in several follow-on conversations, which I greatly appreciate.
One of the first target audiences for Quickplace was internet service providers. Quickplace was seen as an easy-to-set-up home space for their subscribers to share pictures and other family information, foreshadowing another use of blogs. After some focus groups it was decided to shift the focus from the consumer to business audience. First called Haiku, Quickplace 1.0 was shipped in 1999 as a component for Domino users. It was also shipped in a standalone mode as quick-to-set-up web space, primarily as a web-based tool for non-Lotus accounts since it did not require Notes. It caught on well and became very successful serving business clients.
The mantra for these early days of Quickplace was “create your own space instantly to do as you want.” Like knowledge management, Quickplace was most successful when used for a specific business task rather than for general collaboration. Quickplace also provided access control to the site. This ability to limit participants was seen as a big benefit. Later when IT people and senior executives wanted to be able to see inside these Quickplaces, initial users were not happy. This is an interesting contrast to the openness of web 2.0 tools like blogs and wikis but this request was seen as going back on one of the original benefits. People then felt they were going to be spied on.
I went to the IBM site recently to see what they say about Quickplace now. For a while the name was changed to Lotus IBM Team Work Place but the name has gone back to Quickplace. The site says, “IBM Lotus QuickPlace is a business-ready, self-service work space expressly designed for team collaboration. With Lotus QuickPlace, users can instantly create secure work spaces on the Web, providing them with a "Place" to coordinate, collaborate and communicate on any project or ad hoc initiative. Key capabilities include:
- Coordination. People, tasks, plans, and resources.
- Collaboration. Ideas and discussion, issues, shared documents, files and general due diligence.
- Communication. Actions and decisions, key findings and lessons and knowledge capture.
This seems to be about the same positioning as when Quickplace first appeared. They now say that 12 million team members use Quickplace. That is fairly impressive. Tomorrow I will share some of the early success stories.