On Ed Brill's personal weblog, there is a short post
on SearchDomino's article on Comforting the Domino base
, but the post is followed by a bunch of comments. The tone of these is fairly negative, in my opinion, and seem somewhat non-reflective of what I have heard generally here at Lotusphere, at least this year.
Last year, a lot of the "Domino base" people came away from Lotusphere pretty worried. While we have heard that "Notes is dead" a bunch of times before, it wasn't usually IBM saying it, and no matter what revisionist history IBM is now promoting, IBM was saying it quite clearly. This changed over the course of the year, particularly in the past six months. I feel like I was lucky and got a bit of a head start on the message when at the London developer conference a few months ago, and through following blogs and talking to a lot of "connected" people. Nonetheless, I came to Lotusphere with a bit of trepidation, which was not allayed much by either the Business Development day opening session or the General Opening session - at least not at first.
Look folks, IBM used smoke and mirrors for some of the demos. Try to act shocked. They acted like some things were amazing that weren't. So what demos don't do that. The really important message, the critical message for most of the scared, which I almost missed through focusing on the picking apart of the details, was what most of the customers
seem to take away from the sessions. This can be expressed in two sentences:
1) Notes/Domino is NOT GOING AWAY!
2) IBM is ready to fight Microsoft to take over the messaging market
With these two ideas in mind, the smoke and mirrors take on a different spin. Rather than feeling clever because I figured out that the Notes in the rich client demo used an OLE trick which wouldn't work on Linux, I feel like a schmuck because I didn't catch the message. IBM is willing to go to almost any lengths to show its commitment to Notes. Why is that a bad thing again?
So how have the customers responded? By going to Notes/Domino oriented sessions in droves. Last year, there was a real hesitation. If Notes/Domino were going away, should we waste time going to those sessions. This year, my Notes/Web Coexistence session was packed. Andrew's Admin client session was packed and is being repeated. Scott Good's 25 tricks for LotusScript session was packed and overflowed. Rocky's Extreme LotusScript session was packed. Tom and Joe's excellent Java for the Domino Developer session was very full, even in the last session before the party for two lesser known (and very short) speakers.
Does all this mean portals and workplace are out the window? Of course not. Those sessions are not as well attended because you can't take anything back home to use today. Still, I heard a lot of people who actually do think portals are a good idea, so long as IBM can tackle the difficult tasks of making them installable and affordable, and making them work on a less than gigantic resource footprint. Can IBM do that? Of course, but it is an evolution.
I may sound like I've sipped at the IBM koolaid, but I do genuinely believe, and think most people are starting to believe, that the evolution of Notes is a good thing. Not always the evolution as IBM would have foreseen it, but the evolution as IBM's customers have driven IBM to see it. Keep up the pressure, it is working.
Oh yes, and the willingness to fight Microsoft is very well received. People are sick of being screwed by Microsoft's policies and welcome some feisty competition, because with any luck it will make both companies work harder to provide what customers genuinely want, not just what the marketing department says they want.
Copyright © 2004 Genii Software Ltd.