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?
Train Tips for European Traveling - Part II
Wed, Aug 20th 2014 6:13a Bill Malchisky Jr. As I covered last year in Train Tips for European Traveling, train travel is a fun adventure. For my second installment, this year I chose the Dutch Intercity high speed and Eurostar lines and wanted to provide some information that may save you some time or alleviate logistical concerns. Enjoy! Train Service in The Netherlands 1. When arriving in Holland, you can take the local trains (making all major and minor stops), or the InterCity branch which runs express from city to city (major [read] Keywords: exchange
Some "Great Train Rides" of the World
Sun, Aug 10th 2014 10:12p Bill Malchisky Jr. The Wall Street Journal released an Off Duty Travel section article entitled, "Great Train Rides: Run Away on the Rails", covering six scenic and enjoyable routes on four continents plus the island nation of New Zealand--including input from Mike Smith, The Man in Seat Sixty-One. Although hardly cyclopedic nor meant to be, reader comments do indicate additional favorites. The leadoff permutation limns the joy of the London to Edinburgh run, which I am happy to say I enjoyed -- twice, while pre [read] Keywords:
Travel Tip: Getting Answers to Obscure Travel Questions Before You Depart
Tue, Jul 29th 2014 6:12a Bill Malchisky Jr. Have a food allergy and are curious if you can eat on a river cruise in Bali? How about whether a planned exotic purchase from a foreign country can be brought back home? Will you be able to replenish lost or stolen medicine at your destination? Or is it possible to purchase a vegan meal in Concourse A of an unfamiliar airport terminal? There is a site which offers such a service: Tripatini. On their site (right most pane) you will see the Ask a Travel Pro badge. Click it and you will be able [read] Keywords:
Soccer Saturday, The First IBM ConnectED Activity Announcement!
Mon, Jul 28th 2014 6:12a Bill Malchisky Jr. crosses community at Once again, we will kick-off the IBM Connect(ED) conference properly. Join in the fun as a player or spectator. Meet familiar faces in the community and make new friends on the sandy pitch at Disney World's Dolphin and Swan hotel. We all enjoyed it the last two years, so I ensured we had the pitch reserved for 2015 before leaving IBM Connect 2014. Please feel free join us even if you do not play -- all spectators are welcome. Event Details Date: Saturday, 24 Jan [read] Keywords: ibm
Which Hotels Have the Best WiFi?
Fri, Jul 25th 2014 10:16a Bill Malchisky Jr. As we all travel, one of the biggest gambles with any new property is the quality and availability of Internet access -- especially WiFi. A new travel oriented site helps to solve this matter, entitled Hotel WiFi Test. As it is very new, the city list and properties are quite small, but growing quickly. They added a link that allows you to run a speed test if you are in a hotel and it will catalog it. Thus, you can plan your trips by the data of others, while also contributing easily when you ch [read] Keywords: properties
IBM ConnectED 2015 Preview Site Launched!
Wed, Jul 23rd 2014 1:12p Bill Malchisky Jr. Just a few minutes ago (as of this writing), IBM announced the new site link and conference name for Connect. It is now entitled IBM ConnectED 2015! Here is the preview site, which just went live. They are evolving the conference into a "more in-depth technical event", which should be welcomed by many of the Lotusphere alumni of years past--particularly those that felt the event deviated slightly from its roots. You can tell the site is quite fresh as the IBM ConnectED 2015 Resources wiki stil [read] Keywords: collaboration
How To Receive Ubuntu 12.04 Kernel Updates After 7 August 2014
Wed, Jul 16th 2014 1:11p Bill Malchisky Jr. Certain versions of Ubuntu have an older version of their Hardware Enablement Stack (HWE) and thus it needs to be upgraded, or on 7 August 2014 you will no longer receive kernel and graphics stack updates; all other software updates will proceed unimpeded. Below is what I learned along with excerpts from the Ubuntu wiki post on the event. The current release schedule and EOL announcements for each Ubuntu build is located here. What is HWE? "Hardware Enablement Stacks (HWE) are incorpora [read] Keywords: domino