After LotuSphere – what is does the future hold?

After quite a while I finally found the OGS video and I was a bit disappointed. I had hopes, that IBM comes out with an exciting new Notes client, what we got is a new homepage in the old client and a few enhancements for 8.5.4. No Notes Next, just the remark, that jumping to a all new client, would be too much for partners and clients alike (preserving the investment and all that stuff). That settles it for 2012. More customers and partners will turn their back on Notes/Domino.

… on the other hand …

Let’s face it. After over 20 years of continuous development, the code in Notes/Domino has probably been rewritten twice by now. NSF isn’t the most modern way of storing data. A few years ago we all hoped DB2 would be the solution, but that did not work out. Compared to Exchange, Domino is still way better in architecture and performance. Unfortunately Microsoft does a good job in selling their stuff and companies are jumping wagon almost at any price. I is amazing how much money goes down the tube by replacing a working system by another one. ROI just isn’t a factor in most decisions to migrate. I think, that IBM knows all that and the future is called Connections.
I want it, too. Notes/Domino can not deliver that functionality. Without Connections, Notes Social Edition is useless (See Ed’s comment). The activity stream would be the thing that sets Notes apart, but that does not work without Connections. From where I sit, the other enhancements don’t have enough WOW-factor to make me grin.

Much to my chagrin, Connections is just out of reach for me and many small companies. Having more servers than users, does not make sense. The administration is not really user friendly, either. Yes, I could go for Smart Cloud, but somehow, I like to have my own stuff … and in the cloud IBM must make my data available to the US government without telling me. Not that my data is of any interest to them, but one never knows, what may be of interest all of a sudden.

If I was in IBM shoes, I would do the same thing. Domino can not win against Exchange and that has nothing to do with technical advantage. Exchange is almost as old as Domino and the jet engine was worse than .nsf from the start, but FUD and other creative ways of selling, make it hard for IBM to compete.
IBM is focused on big companies. The marketing approach is pretty easy here. Everybody knows everybody. You sell trough personal contact. That settles it for the smaller companies. 1000 users just isn’t big enough for that extra effort to keep customers. That may sound sarcastic, but it looks like IBM thinks that’s the way to go.

What I found interesting is Ed’s remark, that they were never as many Domino servers in the free wild than today. Unfortunately, that’s servers, not customers. I would prefer the other way round, but I don’t know, what that should tell us.

Does anybody wonder, why there wasn’t a real road map for Notes/Domino. There wasn’t a sort of preview for the future. It’s pretty dark on that road in front of Notes/Domino.

For the traditional Lotus partner that does mean, you either learn Connections pretty quick and start talking to your customers about it, or bring them to the cloud. In that case, they are lost to you, except for the occasional PC or network problem (hopefully they have a few windows servers that need update).

Though, now I am standing on a cross road and ask myself, where do I go from here and I think, many other Notes geeks have the same mixed feelings. LotuSphere did not give anybody the security about an exciting future. Rather a the same old battle to keep existing customers and hope for the best … but I do like Connections.


6 Gedanken zu „After LotuSphere – what is does the future hold?“

  1. Well.

    „Without Connections, Notes Social Edition is useless“ – this is absolutely false. the ONLY new feature in Notes Social Edition that requires Connections is the Activity Stream in the home page. Everything else runs as Notes/Domino always does, including the new Notes/iNotes ability to use Open Social 2.0 for embedded experiences.

    Regarding roadmap-we rarely talk in detail about a release more than one feature release ahead. In some of the breakouts, my team showed general themes for subsequent releases. We absollutely have a roadmap, I just don’t publish those charts as publicly as the rest.

  2. There was a roadmap for Domino. There even was a roadmap for QuickR. It wasn’t part of the OGS but that does not mean that you were not able to see one. Now whether you got exited or not on that much depends on your point of view.
    If you like Connections then why don’t you sell it!? The hardware requirements are manageable even for smaller companies. The setup is a bit more complicated but then at least you know what you can charge for. If you like Connections and see a market then go for it.

    1. Yes, correct, it’s my point of view.
      Why not selling Connections? I would probably be retired until I get all the technical certification (I do have the sales cert though) and a bit of experience in DB2, Websphere and Tivoly would come handy. Which I don’t have. Tell me about betting on the wrong horse.
      Last time I counted, I would have needed 6 different applications on 5 boxes. According to the documentation, the pilot installation on one box is not possible anymore. That would have been just the thing.

    1. Yup, I am thinking about that. KVM – Collax V-Cube – springs to mind. With the Inter-V I could even build easily a clustered solution. But there would still be 6 OS’s and 6 applications to maintain.
      But frankly, I have read the wiki about installing it. It does not look like it is something you should try without even a bit of experience in DB2 and Websphere.
      Years ago, I installed Workplace, took me the best part of two days just for a pilot installation. For Connections I probably need a month. Since I am more of a developer, my toss-it-out-of-the-window level while doing installations and administration is pretty low.
      But who knows, during spring time, when skiing is over and the beach is not open yet…

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