Genii Weblog

My chat with Shannon (trying to buy Notes)

Mon 12 Oct 2009, 03:47 PM

by Ben Langhinrichs
I went to the IBM website today, hoping to buy myself a copy of Lotus Notes and an Enterprise CAL so I could be a real customer  (OK, not as large as GM, but more profitable).  It was relatively clear how to find my way, so kudos to IBM for that.  As I got into the inner sanctum and was just about to click on a link, I got a popup asking if I would like to chat live with an IBM representative.  Sure thing, I thought, so I agreed and Shannon asked if she could help.

Here's the chat:

Please wait for your IBM representative to respond.
You are now chatting with 'Shanon'
Welcome to Before we get started, please provide your full-name and company name.
Benjamin Langhinrichs, Genii Software
I have a small (one person) company, and I want to use Lotus Notes with a small internal-use-only Domino server.
Is it correct that I can buy an Express license for just me and use those two?
Passport Advantage: 
yes you can
How much is an Express license for one person?
Click here
OK, that looks clear. Now, if I want to use Domino Designer, I will also need a single Enterprise CAL, I think. What would that cost be?
I will need to connect to a server and sell solutions built with it, so I know I'll need the CAL.
Or is that what the IBM Lotus Notes with Collaboration Authorized User License + SW license is?

[5 minutes of silence]

Is my question unclear, or are you looking for an answer?

[5 more minutes of silence]

you: Hello?
One moment while I research that for you.
OK, thanks

[15 minutes of silence]

Any luck?

[15 minutes more of silence]

Shanon: Unfortunately not
Let me provide you with our technical staff's contact number
IBM Serv 1800-IBM-SERV (1800-426-7378) or email ( 

Well, there's a productive use of time.  Here I am, a customer who actually knows a heck of a lot about what I'm talking about, and I still can't get an answer to what should be simple.  Of course, I could call any of a dozen BP friends and handle this easily, but I do hope IBM provides a bit more information to the people who get on these chats.  It may just be because the situation is new, but wouldn't that be when you would need your reps to know the answers?

Update:  I had a good deal more luck later in the day with My chat with sales (trying to buy Notes), so don't miss that update

Copyright 2009 Genii Software Ltd.

What has been said:

876.1. David Jones
(10/12/2009 09:04 PM)

Hmmm....clicking "Learn about license types" on the pricing page doesn't even tell me the differences in those 3 license types.


876.2. Mark T Hughes
(10/12/2009 10:05 PM)

From what Ed told me earlier today i do believe you need an enterprise cal for designer.

876.3. David Leedy
(10/12/2009 10:22 PM)

But will the enterprise cal be good enough to connect to any express server? What about foundations? I don't think I've seen anything about that yet.

876.4. Giulio
(12/10/2009 23:00)


This experience doesn't really surprise me. IBM has some great people in there, but it's hit or miss due to the gargantuan size of the organisation. As much as we shouldn't make sport of IBM's goof's this sort of stuff is virtually indefensible. I don't think "Shannon" here is at fault, but he is victim of a system in desperate need of a makeover.

IBM has owned Lotus Notes for around 13 years, the sales process should be clean as a whistle by now.

I know I sound brutal, but, , that's why we need to be a smarter planet because we have to work it out ourselves.