Earlier today, IBM made several announcements, including the introduction of IBM Workplace Services Express.  The announcement also included the release of WebSphere Portal 5.1 and introduction of several Workplace solutions.
Workplace Services Express is a major announcement.  This new offering, targeted at taking best-in-class IBM and Lotus collaboration technology into more small and medium businesses, is designed to be easy to install, deploy, and use, straight out of the box.  Your feedback on the importance of making Portal/Workplace products easy to install and evaluate has been heard, and became a major focus area for this new offering.  More importantly, the capabilities for project/document-focused collaboration are designed to be best-in-class, providing the most flexible approach to base collaboration services available in the market.
Workplace Services Express is also designed to be foundational for partner solutions.  Several partners are already planning offerings and solutions built around it., and I'm sure we'll see a lot more such activity in the coming weeks.
From ibm.com:

IBM Workplace Services Express gives IBM a distinct competitive advantage in the SMB collaboration market because it provides an integrated solution with a single-server installation at an affordable per-user price for a small or mid-sized company's team collaboration needs. "Some offerings solve only part of the problem," says Bojanek. "while others require several servers, multiple product installations, considerable integration work and multiple packages for end users and system administrators to learn."
Adrian Phillips of Cheshire, UK-based REAL Solutions agrees. "Workplace Services Express is well positioned against Sharepoint," he says, "because it's easier to install, and because it offers more advanced functionality and a superior user experience." REAL Solutions is offering On Ramp for Workplace Services Express, a comprehensive service to migrate small businesses from their existing applications to a team collaboration and portal environment.
There will certainly be more articles and news about today's announcements over the next few days.  In the meantime, I've been given permission to announce a webcast on Workplace Services Express that is coming up next week.  Here's the announcement:
IBM Workplace Services Express (WSE) is a unique offering designed, packaged, and priced specifically to meet the needs of businesses seeking to improve communication with a collaborative portal. Constructed from architectural elements of both WebSphere Portal and Lotus Workplace, WSE is designed for easy installation and simple configuration. Offering customers an intuitive and compelling portal interface packed with useful features such as collaboration, list porlets with simple charting, and easy customization, and drag-and-drop MS Office document integration, WSE will provide customers with rapid time to value with their portal investment. Join Distinguished Engineer Carol Jones for a technical look at the features and architecture of this exciting new IBM Workplace product.
The webcast, "Introducing IBM Workplace Services Express", will be on November 16th, 11 AM - 12:30 PM US Eastern Standard Time (GMT-5).

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