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Collaborating with clients who don't have Sametime

This Ask the Expert addresses an important issue for many Domino shops -- extending the benefits of Sametime to customers or clients who do not have it.

We're interested in installing Sametime but also need something that allows collaboration with clients/customers outside our firm who do not have Sametime, or even Domino, installed. Is there a way to extend the Sametime collaboration capabilities to these clients?
You could extend your Sametime environment to your external parties by creating additional Domino Directories (Public Address Books) and using Directory Assistance. Once the additional directory has been created, you add person documents (for Username/Internet Password and Sametime Server configuration) and then allow those external parties to access your Sametime server, either by downloading the Sametime connect client or by direct access via the browser-based Java connect client.

Effectively, you are creating your own "community" by exposing your Sametime environment to those external parties and "hosting" Sametime on their behalf.

Another method would involve using the Sametime Links toolkit to Sametime enable sections of your Web site (maybe through a secured/restricted area of the site) so that clients could "chat" with members of your organisation on an as-required basis. For example, a client placing an order might see a link on the order page enabling them to chat with a product specialist to address any queries the client might have.

The only consideration you would have in hosting Sametime on behalf of your external parties is licensing, so check with you local IBM representative as to which licensing model would suit your requirement.

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