Phase 2 chooses IBM for SMB social networking

Honolulu, Hi.-based SaaS provider Phase 2 is today releasing a suite of IBM applications delivered on the SaaS model: a monthly per user subscription fee and no term commitments.

The apps are: Lotus Quickr (document sharing) for $12.99, Notes (e-mail) for $12.99, iNotes (Web only) $9.99, and Connections (social networking) for $2.99.

“Connections is the product we’re most excited about,” said Kevin Doherty, CEO of Phase 2. He said that existing social networks claim ownership of content uploaded to them, making them unsuitable for businesses.

Unlike many SaaS products, each customer will get their own dedicated hardware, in order to alleviate anticipated security concerns.

Doherty said that few businesses have developed applications for IBM’s Lotus Connections, and that Phase 2 expects to gain market exposure when it starts releasing them. The apps, which he called widgets, will be released at a rate of one every six weeks or so, and will be given free of charge not only to Phase 2 customers, but to all IBM Lotus Connections licensees.

“We want to stay out in front on this and make a name for ourselves,” Doherty said.

The product does not compete with IBM’s recently announced LotusLive Engage product, Doherty said, because Phase 2 is targeting small business customers, defined as those with less than 1,000 employees, and IBM is targeting the enterprise, defined as those with more than 1,000 employees.

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