I just read some articles about social computing in Switzerland. One was an interview with the CEO of Xing Switzerland, Robert Beer. He thinks, networking through social websites works a bit different in Switzerland.
One thing got me. The Swiss don’t like hard selling. If you do telemarketing, they rather tell you to send documentation then just say „Leave me alone“. I told IBM that, when we had that telemarketing campaign that failed miserably. We had quite a few people that agreed to come to an event but we had 100% no show. Why? They just wanted to be polite. (I hope someone of OnChannel reads this).
The next article was about social software in companies. They don’t use it for internal communication and only 7% of the CEO’s of consulting companies use Xing or Facebook and only 4% of the financial companies. There is no sign, that younger employees use social media lot’s more. We like to meet in person or use email. The later is common, but meeting face to face give us a good excuse for longer meetings over lunch – in Germany you can be happy if anyone thinks about buying sandwiches – and opening a nice bottle of wine. Makes selling a lot nicer. But it looks like we do something right. Switzerland has more Global 500 companies per-capita then the US and many US companies move their headquarter over here. Officially because of taxes, but we have a lot more good restaurants to drop in over lunch then anybody else. It’s obvious, that when you move here, you have to support local businesses.
You know what? I rather have 5 friends at my table and cook for them, then 500 in Facebook and all I do is small talk.
I don’t know, but something must be wrong with my karma. This morning I tried to copy 7 GB first to another Mac (same Model, same OS). We couldn’t connect. I gave up on that and tried to copy it with Finder to a Linux Server (Foundations, for those who still know what that was). Didn’t work. It stopped after a few minutes with some error message. Now I fired up Windows 7 on Fusion. Guess what. NO PROBLEM AT ALL. I hate that. I switched to Mac, because I was bored about Windows and now I need it for basic stuff. I wanted to use it for Domino Designer and some testing, but not stupid file copying.
I wonder if I got a Virus.
It looks like I touched a nerve with Henning Heinz when I said that IBMs products are not suited for SMB anymore:
IBM does not care about 20 people shops. They never did and probably never will. You are just looking at the wrong vendor for this space.
Having said that if you still like the technology you could sell LotusLive. I am not so enthusiastic about IBM’s cloud offerings but others seem to like it and licensing starts at 1 seat (so should work well for 20 people).
And for IBM and marketing. Well they are running record quarter after record quarter. They overcharge customers in such a way that I believe they must have a fantastic sales and marketing teams. IBM is awesome in many areas just not in those you (and maybe me) would like them to shine.
Wellllll … does IBM not care about 20 people shops? It did a year ago (remember, there was a product called basement(?) or foundation(?)). But we should probably talk about the Lotus brand, because IBM at least knows something new they did not wanted to realise for a long time. Most of the workforce is in SMB. Look at that: http://www.ibm.com/smartbusiness
Amazing, isn’t it? But let’s not be too enthusiastic. IBM only wants the 250+ companies but they should buy directly from IBM through a completely new web experience. And now something even better. From 300 seats upwards, IBM may want to talk to the customer directly.
Now what about Lotus? Yes, I was frustrated after the OGS 2011. It looked like Alister and the others tried to tell you a story, they don’t really believe or they can’t find the right words. For example Bayers story about how they use their new toys, wasn’t really news. We have heard similar stories since connection came out. It lacks the WOW-factor by now. And one thing came clear. If you want to become a social company, you need to take the whole Lotus stack. Lotus/Domino will remain a mail-server-that-can-do-apps/an application-server-that-can-do-mail (I am not sure what Lotus is selling today, but I think it is mail+). If you want to use Domino at its best, than you have to buy some X-Pages application elsewhere or invest in your development department.
I think I am not alone here. The applause during the OGS was low. The demos where somewhat strange, because I had the impression to see 3 times the same thing from different products. That explains probably, why Lotus is the only brand that does not shine quarterly. Customers just don’t get it anymore. It is too complicated and the concept is too far away from their daily business and pains.
When I wrote a few weeks ago about Lotus Notes/Domino as a cash cow and if IBM should come up with something revolutionary pretty soon, I hoped for LotuSphere. It did not happen. The new Notes Client looked nice (as far as I could see it because the screen quality was lousy this side of the pond) but not revolutionary. But before I give my final verdict, I wait for the beta. But Henning is probably right. Lotus is not the right vendor for SMB anymore. That hurts.
Now what about the marketing? Oh, Henning, come on, we always brag about it. It is kind of a sport. But seriously, if you work only the Global 1000 companies, marketing is all about networking and personal contacts. They know you and you know them (kind of inbreeding). That has been IBMs traditional approach for 100 years. That even works for the Global 20’000. Why is Ed Brill flying around the world all the time? Because he is Lotus most important marketing tool. I really do not agree with Henning. IBM does not shine in the marketing department, except in keeping the personal networks of the sales people running. But that is something even the tiniest car repair shop masters, if it survives more than a year.