GBS believes what?

This morning I read the article of Peter Presnell. I do agree with his findings but one thing made me think:

Research conducted by GBS suggests that there are somewhere between 10 and 20 million Notes applications in the world.

They did this „Research“ for Transformer. I wrote about it before when I saw, that some „analyst“ claimed a possible market of 18 billion $. At that moment I thought, that even GBS must have realized that this isn’t the real world. Let’s chew a few numbers.
There are some 100 Million Notes user licenses sold. That is since Notes 1. Those are not the users that use Notes right now. Let’s assume that IBM has 50’000 Notes customers (that’s too high, but when in doubt …). If they have an average of 1000 Users, we would have 50 million users today. That would mean there would be between 2.5 and 5 users per Notes application. Does somebody really think, that a company with 1000 users would be able to maintain 200 to 400 different(!) (Transformer is licensed per template) applications? Mind you, that is without any mail, contacts and any other application that ships with Notes/Domino or was downloaded from OpenNTF, which nobody would touch with the Transformer or are already „xpaged“. Even if we forget the „different“, it would be too high. With all the personal apps included (mail, contacts…) it is too low.
I don’t know who did the „research“ but it looks like that guy hasn’t seen a lot of Notes/Domino installations. I am pretty sure, it must have raised a few eyebrows at GBS. What I do not understand is, if this research is obviously completely and utterly wrong, why didn’t they just kicked it in the bin and started all over again?

That something is wrong with GBS is reflected in the stock price: 0.24$. That’s 94.48% less than when it started trading at the NASDAQ (the one year target est. is still 9 bucks). All those who have sold their company to GBS for funny money (i.e. GBS stocks) have my sympathy. Some of them have seen their retirement funds go up in smoke. That sucks. You nurtured your baby for decades, build a reputation, a customer base, a team that works well and then you give it in new hands, with all the hope that, what was until then a very big part of your life, will continue to grow and prosper … and 18 month later you scan the newspaper for job offers.

But my father always said, that you must always see the positive side of it, too. It could be a chance for anybody looking for new customers and one hell of good human capital (what a terrible word for individual persons). The market capitalisation is around 7 million now. What if we collected a bit of money and offer them 0.1$ per share? At the rate the stock price is descending right now, it will be there by the end of the year anyway. Anybody up for it?


(BTW (Disclaimer): That’s my personal opinion. Nothing to do with Informica at all)

9 Gedanken zu „GBS believes what?“

  1. Christian, I would reply regarding the methodology behind that research, but the rest of your post prohibits any meaningful conversation, since it could be interpreted by regulators as an attempt to manipulate the share price.

    If you’d care to discuss it on Peter’s original blog post, I’d be happy to explain the logic behind the numbers.

  2. @Nathan, Peter’s original blog post requires one to register on his site and login, something not very conducive to a discussion!!

    1. Richard, it’s not „his site“; Peter’s blog is hosted on Thousands of members of the Domino community (including Christian) already have Bleedyellow accounts and are therefore able to comment on Peter’s blog without registering for an account specific to his blog. Yes, they have to log in (because Bleedyellow is IBM Connections, and Connections does not allow anonymous comments on blogs), but that requires less typing than was required of me to add this comment. Authentication is a poor excuse for talking ABOUT someone instead of TO them.

    2. @Richard, I agree. Peter posts his blog at, which is a lighthouse implementation of IBM Connections started by Lotus911 and hosted by GBS for the last 3 years. I have asked IBM countless times to support anonymous contributions in Connections since 2008, but alas, my request has not been granted.

      Registration is free and it only takes a few minutes. Christian, of course, has had an account there since March 2008.

  3. I work at a company with about 180-200 users. We currently have at least 60-70 more or less custom built Notes applications in production.
    Just the claim system (I work at an insurance company) consists of 12 different databases. We had an additional 7 databases for a now defunct department.
    The IT department has additional 20 or so database (help desk, knowledgebase, IT manual, project tracking, agent log, change log/tracing for applications, etc). Then we have marketing and the underwriting side… So 60-70 is not a high number, and those are all unique. We also have a couple of department calendars, based on a standard template.
    IBM said back in 2009 that 145 million licenses had been sold accumulated. I heard guesstimates that the actual number of current users are around 80-90 million users. With the ratio of application per user we have at my company (3 users per application), that translates into almost 30 million Notes applications. Let’s say the number of actual users is a bit less, and that the ratio of users per applications is higher, 10-20 million applications does not sound that extreme.
    You also have to remember that all the applications from OpenNTF that been downloaded count multiple times, as they most probably been customized by many of the companies where they been put in production.

  4. It’s impossible to say how many Notes applications are out there. I’m at a company that used Notes since 1995, and in 2009 when we „started“ our migration, we had 2100 unique databases. Custom, template, unused, mission critical, etc… you name it. Depending on when you counted people, you could say that we had anywhere from 6000 to 8000 users, and probably 10 to 15 developers worked on those over time. It’s now down to around 130 databases in 50-ish „applications“, and most all are accounted for in terms of what will happen to them. How many Notes devs now? Me.

    I’ll admit I always fought the sales pitch that over half of your Notes applications aren’t used. Much to my surprise, it was true. So any projected dollar totals to be gained from working on a company’s applications will be applied to far less than the total number of existing databases.

    I’ll leave my analysis and opinions of the market potential out of this discussion, as I said I would in an recent blog post. 🙂

  5. Well there once was a time when Lotus really owned more than 50% of the market and nearly all bigger (and many smaller) companies used a Lotus product for collaboration. Many of those companies have abandoned Lotus Notes and Domino but as those licenses do not expire and in theory you could run a Notes R4 server even today it may be valid to count millions of Notes applications. And indeed many of those companies still run some legacy (any many cases) read only infrastructure.
    Now nobody knows those numbers. There are rumours about the Notes and Domino users on Passport Advantage but those numbers are far far away from 90 mio and are .. just rumours.
    If you count those companies still spending money on Notes and Domino you are probably having a few thousands left with a few million seats. Sounds bad if you look how it was many years ago but there aren’t that many commercial software products that sell million copies worldwide.
    Now for you beef with GBS (which I don’t understand at all). I have been at some companies and in many cases whatever has been published by the marketing department I did not agree with it or found the message at least misleading.
    But marketing speak often is not about telling truth but about gaining attention. Whenever you start selling a product you start with zero revenues and no customers.
    But it does not matter much anyway. The GBS figures are public (I am not sure one can read the same details about Informica or my own company). And the stock price for GBS hardly says anything because there are too little trades. $24.000 stock revenues a day is nothing. Maybe GBS is in trouble maybe not ( I don’t know).
    GBS claim to be the biggest IBM Lotus partner worldwide.
    If they fail, there is a clear message that Lotus is the wrong horse to ride. I am not sure if I want that (well I am, this is not what I want to see).
    The Lotus business is challenging (has been for many years).

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