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IBM signs Panasonic onto cloud computing SaaS collaboration suite

IBM recently inked an important agreement with Panasonic, which is ditching Microsoft Exchange for IBM’s LotusLive collaborative SaaS product. Panasonic will deploy LotusLive to its work force of more than 300,000, which many say makes this the largest enterprise cloud computing deal yet.

Panasonic plans to use LotusLive for e-mail, Web conferencing, file sharing, instant messaging and project management. The company will also implement LotusLive Connections for business social networking between employees, partners and suppliers to find and share insights.

The size of this deal came as a surprise to many who typically think of IBM as more of an on-premises enterprise hardware and software vendor than a SaaS collaboration suite provider.

LotusLive exists in a multi-tenant cloud infrastructure – the sort of environment that large enterprises typically shy away from for fear of security risks. Though Panasonic will rely on the cloud only for collaboration, and not application development, there is little doubt many in the industry will take this as a big step towards broader public cloud adoption.

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