Chris Miller shared with us the IBM Notes Domino 9 Social Edition versus Microsoft SharePoint 2013 competitive sales kit. Right, did you read it? I did. In my endless naivety I always hope for a surprise and again, it isn’t happening.
Disclaimer: I think everybody knows by now, that I am a huge fan of Notes. What I am going to tell you now, is not for the faint hearted. I might have understood things wrong and I would feel sorry about it, if I wasn’t so annoyed.
Sorry IBM, but I don’t think, Notes 9 is such a great step forward. Especially when I read the number that IBM spent on the Notes/Domino 9 development (am I allowed to say that loud here? It was a lot, probably a lot more than Ozzy got from Iris). Interestingly, it shouldn’t have been Notes 9. Just 8.5.4 … but due to some legal stuff or whatever!
When I go through the Discover Page on the Notes client, there are few things, which are really new. Many things advertised there, have been around even since Notes 7. Apart from a new look, who isn’t to everybody’s taste, there are few things that really make me go WOW … now let me think … probably coming back later …
IBM claims in this competitive sales kit (aka „battle kit“), Notes 9 is ideal for medium sized companies (100 – 999 Users, in Switzerland that would be 50 to 250, Germany 100 to 500, got that?). Much better than Sharepoint. Wow, that’s news. Who would have expected that IBM will say that loud an clear (irony off … and on again).
First, that’s comparing apples and oranges. Let’s face it, a pretty big percentage of companies use Notes just for mail and Sharepoint just as a glorified file server. They don’t even get the point the kit is talking about. Even where both products share similarity, Notes isn’t one hell of lot better in a way that matters to the CIO who wants Outlook/Sharepoint just because and they are the majority. If they understood Notes, they wouldn’t even bother looking elsewhere. They would be busy finding new exciting problems they could solve in an instant with Notes, just because they can.
There are many points which are true, but do not help. We all know, that Notes/Domino needs less servers, less memory, everything less. But does Cxx care? Not really. The OS choice and hardware is much less important, than you might think. As are technical differences. XPages or .NET? You find a .NET Developer under every stone.
I could go on about every single point in that paper but I think, IBM isn’t addressing the real problem enough. Market perception. There are a whopping 3 points in the presentation that are addressed – old (crap), soon abandoned (bullshit), IBM goes Connections (oh please) – with the same old arguments. It just does not help. It’s been said before, not a secret at all and still they are moving away. IBM, you just do not say it loud enough. To get to that paper, you need an IBM id. While almost everybody can get one, that message should be on the first page of the notes9.ibm homepage. Even if legal staff goes bananas (whom you should have bought a one way ticket to Pitcairn years ago).
And then there are the points, that can be turned against Notes. Out of the box WITHOUT Connections (or some social widgets for other products), it isn’t more of a social software than SharePoint. Bang, there you have it. Oh yes, you are entitled to Connections files and profiles if you buy Notes. But oh bugger, suddenly you need a lot more servers than Sharepoint and that just for another glorified file server and an address book, which everybody has already, it’s called Active Directory (please, don’t bother to tell me the difference, I might know that, but the Cxx with the big wallet does not). What, you can run Connections on one server? True, but unfortunately not every company has all that other stuff you need – WebSphere, DB2, IBM installation Manager, Tivoly – already, which apparently needs their own servers. Even if they use DB2, I want to see the face of the SAP DB2 admin, if you ask him, if you can use his environment for some suspicious social stuff. And I don’t even want to talk about the administration costs that could go through the roof.
I don’t know who wrote this, but it must have been somebody who had to make up for something really bad he/she had done. If I was IBM, I would stuff that whole paper in the next round folder and forget about it. Appart from what I said, it is much too technical and anybody who uses it in a presentation will just make the Cxx audience angry. By the way, the layout is amazingly ugly (using OO 3).
I did like the Win Back examples, which prove my point, that if they „get“ Notes, they keep it, except that one:
„Somebody big and important“ returned to Domino 9 (iNotes) deploying xxx,000 users in 2010 for their Messaging solution when the saw the significant improvements in the social capabilities over their current solution.“ Dam, I am three years late.
IBM, you claim Notes/Domino is your – or a – flagship. Flagships are supposed to shine and be shown off in every harbor in the world and not hidden in a half forgotten shipyard to be shown through a telescope to a few lost tourists.
Sorry IBM, why for heavens sake, can’t you just once grab the bull by the horns, get head on with your adversary, leap into action, take the lead*. You are not british with a stiff upper lip and a dignified attitude towards doom. You’r american, loud, proud and convinced to deliver the best. Live up to it.
* Suggestions for other phrases are welcome and will be included in this text.