I have just recorded a podcast with Stuart McIntyre, Darren Duke, Sharon Bellamy, Matt White and Bruce Elgort and it got me thinking.
Although I have commented on some blogs over the last week I have not posted anything myself so here goes.
Am I happy with where Notes is from a technical standpoint – yes more than ever.
My company focuses on a “double niche” – organisations that are in the manufacturing sector and have a pre-existing Notes infrastructure. With XPages we can now think of it as less of a double niche because we can design once for the web and the Notes client at the same time. This is a huge advance and as someone pointed out on the podcast pretty unusual in terms of platforms. Notes has always been much more capable than the vast majority of its users know and now this is even more the case.
We are developing our first application which will run as an appliance at a customer site that is non notes. But it also runs as a local replica in the Notes client – how cool is that ? Think Google Gears but better ( and still supported ). I might regret this but here are the daily and weekly builds ( sorry Andrew ! ). Trust me it looks the same in the Notes Client.
I deliberately used the phrase “where Notes is technically” because I am not as happy around the non technical side. Its not that it has suddenly got worse rather that the gap between “what Notes can do” and what people “think Notes can do” has got much wider and so my frustration has got greater.
I will openly admit to having looked to see if we can offer solution on the MS platforms as well as Domino and I have always come away confident that for what we do Notes has very limited competition. So what are the issues ?
IBM has got to value retaining clients
Reps need to be incentivised for renewals – it will stop companies on < 8.x thinking the product is dated. Its a virtuous circle that will ensure that IBM customers get better value from Notes through applications, DAOS, servers running faster on existing hardware etc. and IBM spends less time fighting a rear guard battle against a mail platform and a file server. People often talk about life cycles – what is IBM’s view on the lifecycle of a customer ?
IBM has got to be wholistic about Notes being a development platform
If I sell a 10K Xpage app to a company with <1000 employees the whole project is 12K ( 2k for the utility express server ). If I sell the same App to a company with 1001 employees the whole project costs maybe 25k. This means that I can't be competitive in large companies - that just seems daft. At the same time pricing by individual users is not the answer either – for example if I write an app that manages brochures or safety data sheets the client will absolutely not pay