Feels good to get back to writing for myself again. Lots of work the past six weeks with Lotus Education, THE VIEW journal, plus corporate tax season. All combined, they consumed my schedule for any writing here. Happy to have some time again. During the window away, I noticed what might be a trend in recruiting projects. I typically use job site postings as a barometer for establishing market tolerance for consulting opportunities in areas of interest to me. Has worked well the past 14 years.
On the development side, I am receiving a significant number of requests for Domino development, with decent rates attached. Overall this is great. As I no longer code outside of my own needs, these positions are better served for someone else; but good to be considered regardless.
On the administration side, receiving Notes to Exchange projects in much higher numbers. Ever since I started work with Lotus Notes in 1993, I loved the product and all that it can do. As such, I have been a strong loyal advocate of Notes and Domino for over a decade. In fact, I have made it a policy to eschew any Notes to Exchange projects, instead opting for Notes upgrades, architecture, and migration projects from non-Notes to Notes. I have been offered, many lucrative contracts over the years to the contrary and even an executive slot at consulting firm who decided to work more on the Microsoft side by actively moving businesses to Microsoft Exchange. Although flattered, in each case I tactfully declined.
What I find curious this month is that firms are offering rates to move companies from Notes to Exchange at double the bill rate I could get as Notes Admin or engineer performing an upgrade or migration to Notes. Usually, the rates have been comparable all-around. For me---like many in the consulting field---business has been slow the past two years, and I have also seen an increase in clients either questioning or not paying their bills. Three instances occurred in the previous 12 month window: more than the past eight year aggregate.
The business climate is in a state of flux lacking a clear direction one way or another. Much uncertainty exists domestically, causing firms to seek stability and safety in whatever means necessary. Smaller firms now appear as expendable to larger firms, and corporate taxes are increasing in many states. All combined, businesses are on-edge for several reasons. One great aspect that helped provide some certainty for my Lotus customers was the Lotus Knows campaign. My Lotus clients liked it a lot. As it was slated for an 18 month to 24 month duration and received significant praise from the community...oddly, it died-off in less than a year. On this, I can only offer conjecture. In April 2010 one client with whom I spoke mentioned how thrilled the firm was to be on Notes and loved the marketing campaign witnessed in their city. The company wanted to upgrade later in 2010 or early 2011. I tweeted the success of this with the "lotusknows" hashtag. To my surprise, in March 2011 the same client thought of leaving Lotus Notes. I had to reassure said client of their investment plus the costs for migrating.
Back to the primary topic... in terms of business opportunities. the market appears to be changing. Firms are staying with Notes apps, but moving away from Lotus products. (You might see a different trend from your perspective.) I wish this perceived trend would change for the better, as I find it difficult to assist a firm with moving to a product that will cost them more to administer and upgrade than Lotus Notes. Worse to me is suggesting a product that restricts hardware and operating system choices; this can hardly be considered open and innovative. Yet, people seem to be moving in droves. Lotus is releasing new versions of Notes and Domino, plus additional products under the brand. They are being improved all the time through fix packs, critical fixes, quality support and development. Additionally IBM Lotus is actively seeking customer input -- like a recent session at VCU. Great components all-around.
Overall, the Lotus marketplace state is creating a conundrum for me. Slow business previously with glimmer of anemic growth this year, passion to move businesses forward with Lotus, changing product perceptions: it is difficult. Few enterprise software products experienced the run that Notes has enjoyed and continues to do so. Where to go from here with the business, to ensure profitability throughout 2011 is a challenge. I remain loyal to the brand that gave me a livelihood for so many years, and so many wonderful business colleagues along the way. Perhaps I am over thinking this as a whole. Several BPs do a significant amount of Microsoft work. To that point, do I start moving companies that request it, from Lotus to Microsoft?
Grateful to be an IBM Champion Once Again
Thu, Dec 5th 2013 3:15p Bill Malchisky Jr. This morning IBM announced via the Social Biz User Group site that list of the 2014 IBM Champions for Collaboration Solutions. The announcement also appears on the IBM Social Business Insights Blog. I am very pleased to have been accepted once again. The group of community members are quality people and I appreciate very much the new friendships I made over the past several years as a result. There are 87 of us now, spanning the globe. Congratulations to the new names and re-confirmed individual [read] Keywords: collaboration
Verifying Checksum Values with Passport Advantage Downloads
Tue, Nov 5th 2013 5:12a Bill Malchisky Jr. As we all know, modern software packages tend to be large in size (several hundred megabytes) these days. Add with multiple platform flavors available for each product, pulling down the desired file set can easily venture into several gigabytes. Thus, many sites offer MD5 or SHA values to ensure that the desired target(s) maintain(s) data integrity. Today, in retrieving additional Notes 9.0.1 files, I was reminded once again how IBM provides checksum values. In the directory where Download D [read] Keywords: ibm
Soccer Saturday Returns to IBM Connect 2014 -- Join Us!
Thu, Oct 31st 2013 11:10p Bill Malchisky Jr. revisits community at Ready to start the Connect conference properly? Well, if you are looking for something to do before BALD on Saturday, keep reading. Come play with or watch your favorite geeks on the sandy pitch at Disney, while enjoying a few rounds of the great game. We all enjoyed it in January 2013 and I just had to get it going again for 2014. Please feel free join us even if you do not play as all spectators are welcome. Event Details ======================================= [read] Keywords: ibm
Wed, Oct 2nd 2013 6:12a Bill Malchisky Jr. Today marks a milestone with the ICS Community as Bruce Elgort is stepping down from his primary role with OpenNTF; while expanding his teaching role with Clark College. I wish him well as this chapter closes and a new chapter in his life commences. Way back in November 2007, I visited IdeaJam just after it launched and enjoyed a long night of voting on items and making comments on the ideas. Bruce found me online, introduced himself, and thanked me for the input on his site. After a long an [read] Keywords: ibm
Sometimes Firefox Dislikes Self-signed Certs
Thu, Sep 26th 2013 9:11p Bill Malchisky Jr. Apparently, Firefox (FF) can and for no obvious reason just suddenly decide that it dislikes your self-signed certificate. When it does, it can make remote access challenging. If you are short for time, using another browser or another machine/vm may provide the access you need, but, does not resolve the underlying issue. Let me describe the situation and steps I took to resolve. I have a client where each autumn I have to renew their edge server's SSL certificate to ensure proper access to [read] Keywords: application
Fixing "Unable to locate Perl on this system" for Domino on Linux and UNIX
Tue, Sep 17th 2013 12:12a Bill Malchisky Jr. IBM published a new requirement for Domino on both UNIX and Linux, in that they are now using an updated Perl version. Thus, any package created after July 2012 needs version 5.6.0 or better. This got my attention recently as the technote was included in the D8.5.3 FP5 Release Notes, from August. Know that this requirement only pertains to Domino. If you do not have the proper Perl version installed, you will see an "Unable to locate Perl on this system" error when applying your hotfixes and F [read] Keywords: domino
Ubuntu - Fixing a Damaged Software Catalog and Package Database
Mon, Sep 16th 2013 6:10a Bill Malchisky Jr. Well, when you download enough tools and new packages, at some point you are bound to break something. That happened to me recently and rendered my Ubuntu software catalog useless. Thus, any automatic system updates failed, I was unable to install or remove existing software from within the Ubuntu Software Center, and running any apt-get install commands also failed. This left my system in a static state until fixed. I tried several things from a few community posts, and this post represents the [read] Keywords: domino