|Notes 8.5.3: The Notes/Domino Awakening
The IT Awakening
The IT world is changing rapidly. It (IT) is no longer able to dictate the hardware or software it places on its user's desk. Many users don't even want it on their desk any more! They want (demand?) it to be on their favorite phone or tablet device. The social revolution that has lead to the overthrow of governments in the Middle East is also starting to change the IT landscape inside many organizations.
Over the years RIM built a position of market dominance by selling its products/services to IT executives as a safe business choice. Consumers are now pushing back and demanding the right to use their preferred devices, and its not Blackberry! Between June 2010 and June 2011 RIM's market share has almost halved from 40% to 23%. IT's ability to influence the smartphone carried by its employees is slipping and RIM is feeling the pain.
Internet Explorer has long been the “safe” choice for IT management. In 2004 IE's market share was estimated at 94%. Even Microsoft has not been able to hold back the demands of users for a say in the Web browser they use in the office. IE's market share has now fallen to around 42%, with Firefox, Chrome, and Safari all gaining ground.
It is a similar story for Notes/Domino. One of IBM's strengths has always been its focus on being a provider of business solutions. The tactic of marketing is products/services to senior IT decision makers in large organizations is not as effective as it once was. Not having a significant presence in the consumer market means IBM is having to respond to the social awakening without having any products that consumers are demanding. Consumers aren't demanding access to Notes mail, they are demanding access to the mail products they use at home such as Outlook and GMail.
The IBM Awakening
So how does IBM respond to a world in which IT consumers are demanding a greater say in their workplace? Companies may have been investing millions in CRM systems such as SAP, but employees are showing a preference to use tools such as facebook, twitter, linkedin, youtube, slideshare, and drop-box to interact and share information.
A large company like IBM is not going to be able to respond to a change of this magnitude overnight. The first important step is to recognize the need for change. OK, so the panel sessions at the OGS of Lotusphere 2011 were a little dull. Especially when they got between the audience and the demos. But the change in format shows that IBM is starting to think about the need for change in the way it explains what it is offering. Perhaps we do too? The rebranding of Lotus to IBM Social Software is another small but important sign that IBM recognizes the need for change.
So what does all this have to do with me in my role as a “IBM Lotus Notes” professional? Well... What if the cafeteria of your company were to suddenly be occupied by a sit-in of all your users demanding access to a new range of products and services and none of those had a Lotus brand? If I am smart I would recognize the solution is not to take the functional capabilities offered by each of these products and deliver a customized Notes mail template and a handful of custom Notes applications or Quickr sites. If I tried that the scene in the cafeteria may start getting ugly! To make myself relevant to what my users are demanding I need to reach a compromise that integrates key business functionality with popular social tools. If I don't then I risk being removed from my office and having all my Lotus Notes best practice manuals burned on top of my Notes R5 mouse pad!
Fortunately for me I attended Lotusphere 2011 and heard the message of “Get Social Do Business”. I may not have fully understand it at the time, but the theme is now starting to resonate and becomes more relevant by the day.
In the next part of this series I will take a closer look at some of the key features that were added with Notes 8.5.3 and how they form the basis for a new direction in the way we build applications in the future.
Oct 09, 2011
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