Lotus Notes losing Aussie email war?

Lotus Notes losing Aussie email war?

Summary: IBM's Lotus Notes/Domino collaboration suite is facing a long-term threat to its survival on Australian corporate desktops, according to local analyst house Longhaus; but IBM disagrees.

TOPICS: Microsoft

IBM's Lotus Notes/Domino collaboration suite is facing a long-term threat to its survival on Australian corporate desktops, according to local analyst house Longhaus; but IBM disagrees.

Lotus Notes on the iPhone
(Credit: IBM)

The Queensland-based analyst group released a report earlier this month which found that 53 per cent of medium to large Australian enterprises used Microsoft's rival Outlook/Exchange suite as their primary email platform, with Notes running a distant second with just 13 per cent market share.

Based on a survey of 110 senior business decision-makers, the report placed Microsoft's consumer-orientated Hotmail/Livemail suite in third place at 11 per cent, Novell's Groupwise and Google's Gmail fourth at 7 per cent and Oracle Mail fifth at 4 per cent. Other, unnamed platforms snapped up the last 5 per cent. No respondent claimed to use Yahoo's hosted Zimbra suite.

"It may take less than 10 years to see the ground permanently shift; a shift that may assign Lotus to the pile of great brands lost forever," Longhaus managing director Peter Carr wrote.

In Carr's opinion, one of Notes' key problems has been that until its most recent major release, Notes 8, IBM has not kept up with Microsoft when it comes to email synchronisation with mobile devices. "The lack of strong commitment to a communication orientation is everywhere evidenced in numerous Lotus user forums," he wrote.

"This has both frustrated and often impeded the efforts for Lotus' own supporters to maintain already tenuous footholds within major enterprise instantiations against a flow of mobile-oriented executives."

Furthermore, Carr wrote, version 7 of Notes proved a particular problem for companies because its application footprint was too large; meaning it was not suitable for lower powered computers that had previously been able to run Notes 6.

IBM's Lotus Messaging and Collaboration sales lead for Australia and New Zealand, Matt Paddon, cast doubt on the report in an interview with ZDNet.com.au this week, describing it as subjective. He said Notes had a little over 40 per cent market share globally.

Paddon said IBM had "absolutely" seen a strong local response to the release of the flagship version 8 of Notes back in 2007. Version 8.5 was released late last year, and the next major release is still being planned.

The executive added IBM was taking a different approach to its collaboration suite than its competitors. "We're not investing millions of dollars in marketing and advertising," he said. "What we do is we push those dollars into the development of the platform."

It may take less than 10 years to see the ground permanently shift; a shift that may assign Lotus to the pile of great brands lost forever

Longhaus MD Peter Carr

This had resulted in IBM building a broad suite of collaboration and messaging tools on top of the Notes/Domino platform, Paddon said, not just email and calendaring functions.

Paddon also addressed criticism of Notes' mobile integration features, noting the platform supported the BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and Nokia platforms and was speedily adding iPhone capabilities, with iPhone push email functionality planned for the 8.5.1 release due in September this year.

Carr's report also noted that one critical trend within the enterprise email space was the shift on the part of some groups, particularly educational institutions such as universities, to use commodity hosted Microsoft and Google platforms (Livemail and Gmail) to provide services to students.

This trend would flow through to the enterprise, Carr claimed, with the need to consider whether some lower-order "transitive" and "non-collaborative" portions of corporate workforces could be shifted to the free platforms rather than provided with a normal corporate email account.

Paddon said IBM was seeing a shift towards software being provided as a service (SaaS) in the collaboration field, and had moved to address it with the launch of products like Lotus Live, which has a variety of different SaaS tiers at both the high and low end.

The executive said he didn't believe the trend would have an impact as such on Lotus Notes. "What I can see us doing, though, is leveraging our collaboration story more effectively as we see more interest in those cloud offerings," he said.

Topic: Microsoft

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Surprising result

    I am surprised that Outlook didn't fare better in the survey.
  • Sounds about right.

    My current company (in global fortune 500) is a Notes 6 shop and it's the most painful corporate environment I've ever used in my IT career.

    Slow, clunky, dreadful non-standard UI design, features buried in obscure locations, strange errors, and missing what should be essential features (for example, you can't search email bodies, only subject lines).

    I used to hate on Outlook, and I can't believe I'd say this, but Outlook doesn't look so bad now.
  • Old Software

    If you are using Notes 6, you are using software that is 5 years old. Not surprising it's painful really.

    Notes 8 is great and a big improvement on both 6 and Outlook.
  • Notes 6 and groupwise (sic)

    I also had to work in a big company where 2001-era software was in use. Slow, klunky and restrictive, till I got Entourage loaded onto a Mac. Would have been OK if they had a standards calendar protocol but no luck.
    Notes' calendars made me pine for paper calendars, as they would have been more productive.
    Glad I don't have to suffer through that anymore.
  • Can't search e-mail body? WTF?

    If you can't search the body of an e-mail that's because you haven't created a full-text index.
    It's the same with Outlook. Your inability to use a product's functionality should be a strike against you, not the product. Press F1 next time you're in the Search page and read up on full text indexes.
  • Notes 6

    According to Wikipedia Notes 6 was released in September 2002 .... that's a loooong time ago.

    I shudder to think about using that in 2009!

  • Recommend trying an up to date version.

    Depending on the 6 version you are looking at a product 3-6 years old. It is still supported but development are no longer coding on that code stream for sometime now.

    Also some issues you are experiencing are related to the deployment of the product and not the product itself. For example you can search email bodies if you have full text searching enabled on the database. Some companies disable this.

    8.5 is the latest version and 8.5.1 is due to be released later this year.
  • Email clients? Coportate world, how backward

    I can't believe that there are corporations still using email to deliver content. My company has been using the Lotus server software and a few database to receive all correspondence, organised, delivered and notified for years now, not a client in site. Syncronising to handhelds and mobile is painless, storage choices abound. Can't do that with Windows/Exchange. Oh, one more thing, we were MS but too much money in licenses and DBA's for Exchange, 1/10th for Lotus.
  • Notes 6....! Let's talk Apples for Apples and get upgraded!

    5 year old software is not going to ever look as solid... resposive or functional as latest versions. Notes 6 was an evolution when it hit the market..... 5 years later the world has changed. Agitate your IT department to change with it!

    Sounds like they might still be running DOS... get a new priority on IT tools in the organisation... and welcome the on set of WEB2.0... you will love it my friend
  • Doesn't suprise me at all

    I work for a large Company and have moved from Outlook through Lotus 5,6,7 (still waiting for 8). I agree that from an support view, lotus is easier to maintain, BUT from an end-user perspective, it is far worse.

    A perfect example is that if you send out a meeting invite and do not receive any responses, it is not in your calendar. The when you accept another meeting at that time, there is no warning, and when you do get a response from the first one, double booking.

    Using it to book meeting rooms, allows double bookings, and no bookings, even when the client shows that you have.

    It failed as a database, then was butchered into a mail client, and isn't real flash at that.

    PS Even the IBM guys I know hate it!
  • Its all about marketing..

    Even though you "..push those dollars into the development of the platform" it doesn't mean jack if nobody knows about it nor how good it is.

    I think it would help if IBM Australasia

    1/ stopped relying on the campaign effort from North America. They are too far away and don't get understand local needs.

    2/ Started leveraging the Business Partners with some training/education and incentives.

    3/ Provide locally driven (cost effective) events.. not $3000 for a 3 or 4 day conference, and then abandon it quietly due to lack of attendees, like they did back in September last year.

    4/ Developed a local advertising campaign that appeals to people here, not zealots in the US. (and, yes I have seen the "Smarter planet" advertising on SBS it's just a waste of cash !)

    Can someone IBM take some leadership on this please ?
  • I'm afraid this is FUD.

    In a poor economic climate, it makes little sense to make emotion-based decisions to migrate from one platform to another when both are capable of doing the job.

    It also makes no sense to compare an email product (outlook/exchange) with an established collaboration & development environment. (notes/domino).

    While I know that some companies have moved their email systems (in both directions), I'm not aware of any who have gotten rid of all of their notes applications.

    From an IT point of view, Domino is based on more open standards, has better security, a richer feature-set and a more considered roadmap. 20+ years of collaboration technology says it's a system that I can rely upon.
  • Open Source email client has GREAT full-text search

    I've used Outlook for many years, and had some exposure to Notes email. But you shouldn't need to pre-configure your app (turn on full text indexes) to allow searching through your email history for words... arguably it should still be possible even if not as fast!

    For two years now, I've changed my email to Moxzilla Firefox open source app. The formats are all open (non-proprietary). There has never been a glitch. Searching for random text in body of emails takes only tens of seconds on 50,000 emails of past decade, with no pre-configuring of app to achieve that. The updates are automatic and free... and there is no risk of losing access to email history (as some apps stop working when you stop paying annual licences and Notes was one of these two years ago when I last checked). Ask your corporate archivist about the idea of keeping email history in proprietary files, access to which ceases upon cessation of licensing, versus open non-proprietary formats for such data. You wouldn't keep your faxes on electrostatic paper which fades to blank with a bit of age or sunlight, would you?... OK so I know lots of people in fact do still use electrostatic paper... but I'm highlighting a stupid approach most of us would disagree with in terms of keeping valid records in a clearly temporary format.
  • Old, new, 6,7,8 all ugly and buggy

    For ten years my organisation has been using an open, IMAP based system that allowed mail access from anywhere in the world. We moved to Lotus Notes 8 eighteen months ago and it has been endless grief, the web client is unusable, servers crash, the bloated Windows client is buggy, the user interface is mediaeval, hundreds of PCs required memory upgrades just to run the monstrosity. 13% and dropping is my fervent wish.
  • Richer feature set? Surely you jest?

    Ever tried IMAP on Domino? No FETCH command will complete without Domino crashing. No IDLE support worth mentioning.

    Bastardisation of Internet email (and ASCII borders around mail headers are NOT a feature).

    DWA has limited support even for Windows-based browsers, so let's not even talk about multi-platform environments.

    20+ years of doing the same old thing with 20+ year old technology does not make for a good product, let alone a reliable or "richer feature-set" collaboration suite.

    The only good thing about Domino is the FUD that surrounds it from IBM.
  • No surprise

    What is truly frightening about IBM support of Notes in Australia is the total lack of knowledge of their own product. None of the support staff has installed the product on anything other than a Windows VM. None of the support staff have read any of the Redbooks about their own products and how to deliver them. None of them can answer basic questions about product installation. Is just end to end fail, with revolving consultants and project managers.
  • It's all in the implementation

    Take a look at the current versions of both products and you will realise what you are missing.
    Both are powerful tools but it depends on how they are implemented for you or by you.

    "Can search body in Notes" C'mon......

    "Double book meeting rooms" Gimme a break.....

    "Meeting invite isn't in my calendar until someone accepts my invitation" Pleeeease.....

    Quite often your experience with a product has got little to do with the product and more to do with the people charged with deploying and maintaining it.

    Surely Notes 6 is an untenable risk to an organisation. Similar to that of Windows 95!
  • Comparison

    You really can't compare on a pure email basis.

    Domino is a platform but used exclusively for email is not particularly cost effective.

    Bundle Sharepoint, BizTalk, Info Path and Exchange and you may have a comparison that is closer to Apples/Apples.

    I do agree with previous comments on local IBM marketing and strategy with the Lotus brand and ecosystem.
  • Typical - Ignorance

    You can search the email bodies and/or you can search the view text and/or you can search attachments. EVEN ON LN 6.
    Turn on the full text index and index the attachments too.
  • Notes is being retired look at Defence decision

    Lotus Notes 8 is being marketed as "open standards" compliant but Eclipse is not a favourite with majority of application vendors. Also Australian Defence Dept is moving to Outlook / Exchange which involves high-security environments so it is secure. Both products have serious issues if the configuration is not done properly in particular document duplication rules, search capabilities and archiving rules.
    Configuration needs to be done with users requirements as mandatory not the IT system administrators.