Ibm+experience

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Why doesn´t this surprise me

Over at Paul Mooney's blog, he's sharedthe contents of an e-mail from a Notes customer.  The customer describestheir experience with Microsoft and the Application Analzyer for LotusNotes: hadto setup a workstation to run the analyser and before Microsoft came inI ran the analyser on all our apps (approx 500 and my results were 100%completely different than the results Microsoft presented. I had approx200 apps in quad 3 and approx 300 apps in quad 4. Microsoft had all the apps in Quad 1 and Quad 2, mostly in Quad 1.We have all custom apps created since notes 4, we don't use standard templatesand at least 300 have workflow in them. I am basically hung out to dry here. How do I compete with the reportingMicrosoft did? Actually, I have a proposal, which Ihaven't vetted with IBMers but suspect I could make happen.What if IBM, or an IBM partner, offered to come in and run the tool forthis customer?  If indeed the results being presented are differentthan the "out of the box" Analyzer results, at a minimum it willraise questions.  It may be that the reporting tool needs some tuningto run accurately in a customer environment, but if Microsoft's resultsare so different, the rest of the discussion get challenged.The sad news here is we have an exact scenario that both Paul and I suspectedwould play out: a customizabletool gets different results depending on who runs them.  This fromthe vendor who wants to be the customer's partner for the future.

March 16, 2006 by

Visiting IS456 Knowledge Management Systems

Last night, I had the pleasure of beinga guest speaker/lecturer at DePaul University.  My colleague HeatherMcClain, who works in IBM's academic initiative area, introduced me toProfessorAlan Burns last month.  Heteaches a class in KnowledgeManagement Systems, and askedme if I could visit the class and discuss knowledge technology from theIBM Lotus perspective.I've never spoken in an academic settingbefore.  This was an incredibly cool experience.  We spent twohours (about 45 minutes longer than I anticipated) looking at the historyof Notes in the marketplace, where things are going in terms of productivity,collaboration, and knowledge, blogs, wikis, and RSS, and some of the moreadvanced research projects going on in this area at IBM.  The studentswere very interactive and asked great questions.  The ability to discusssome of the trends over the years with a bit of hindsight and some funstories was really cool.We talked a lot about the way the natureof work has changed.  As I've mentioned previously here, about 30%of US IBM employees work from home or mobile offices.  Yesterday,for me, that was a combination of two different coffee shops, a Universityclassroom, and my home office.  It also was in time chunks -- withshifts often taking place between "personal" and "business"computing.  The idea of a 9-to-5 workday is completely extinguished-- the work is done when the work needs to get done.  We talked about differences in the wayscompanies employ technology.  How some companies try to legislatethings via policy -- like "no personal use of the web during businesshours" that are relatively impractical (is cnn.com/business personalor business use?).  How sharing knowledge still requires a culturalchange at many companies.  How instant messaging changes cultures. How voicemail is dead for so many of us -- it's just too asynchronous.One of the great tangents that boththe evening classroom discussion, as well as my daytime panelon customer evangelism, is thattransparency is a critical market thought.  It's just simply no longerpossible to make bad products -- because of blogs, ebay feedback, or amazonrankings, google is one click away from exposing bad products or vendorsor whatever.  BenMcConnell was on the customerevangelism panel, and he's written extensively on this thought of transparencyin the market.  It's oneof the incredibly empowering aspects of social software,and it will beincredibly interesting to watch where this goes in the future.Thank you to Professor Burns and hisclass for such a great evening.  Hopefully, this won't be the lasttime I talk to a college IT class...it was really a lot of fun.

February 21, 2006 by

Mary Beth has been taking on the critics

With all the kick up last week about theNotes user interface, it's important to understand how focused Notes architects,engineers, and developers are on building a leading edge, world-class userinterface for the Notes "Hannover" release.  One of thelead designers, Mary Beth Raven, appears to have made it her personal missionto find all Notes user interface critics worldwide and engage with them,quite publicly, one at a time. For example, on joe lamantia.com, Mary Beth posted a comment asking forJoe to help IBM recruit end-users to participate in usability testing. Joemade a new blog entry out of it:Provingthat a well-developed sense of humor is required for success in productdesign -- especially for Lotus Notes -- Mary Beth Raven, who leads thedesign team for the next version of Lotus Notes, recently posted a ratherfunny comment in reply to my suggestion that the Notes Design team offercustomers a choice of unpleasant but related user experience themes. Sheused this as the occasion to invite all members of the community of Notesto users to register as volunteers for usability testing. Thisseems like as good a time as any to remind you that Lotus seeks end-users(NOT the IT developers and admins in your organization) for Notes usabilitytesting.  Full details are on the Usabilitypage at IBM developerWorks: Lotus.

February 13, 2006 by

Collaboration Loop: Lotusphere 2006 Impressions: The Future of Notes is...Notes

Burton Group's Peter O'Kelly is writinga five-part series on Collaboration Loop about Lotusphere 2006...WithLotusphere 2006, IBM made it resoundingly clear that the future of Notesis indeed Notes.  The Hannover version of Notes, expected during 2007(after wide beta testing in 2006) will have complete application compatibilitywith earlier releases of Notes (going back to late 1989, when Notes 1.0was released) as well as a familiar experience for both users and developers,but it will be built on Eclipse.org-derived rich client technology (aswill Sametime 7.5, expected during mid-2006), giving Notes its most significantuser interface update in a decade.  ... To recap, the future of Notes, as recently as three years ago, was a fairlydismal projection, essentially relegated to a plug-in shim to enable limitedNotes application integration for the Workplace client (Notes forms andviews, to be precise).  With Lotusphere 2006, IBM has made it veryclear that the Notes client is still its central focus for communication/collaboration,and that IBM is investing accordingly in development, marketing, and sales.Forsure, I like that part about investing accordingly in sales. ;) Link: CollaborationLoop: Lotusphere 2006 Impressions: The Future of Notes is...Notes >

February 2, 2006 by

Last Microsoft-related post for ´05, I promise

I've received several comments this week,directly or indirectly, that I've let the Lotus vs. Microsoft theme gettoo out of control, too petty, too whatever.  That edbrill.com readerswould like to see me spend more time on my own turf, discuss other generalthemes in the industry, get more into my (daughter's) new Mac, talk about2006 plans, etc.  I get it, really I do.  I'm going to explainbriefly what the last few months have been like from this perspective,and move on for now.There's no subtlety in a company's businessplan when their CEOstands on a stage and says, "Wehave Lotus Notes opportunities coming out the yin-yang. I've never seen[such] a customer base waiting to be plucked."  In 2005,Microsoft has put significant human and financial resource into their "NotesCompete" program.  I've seen the presentations, read the informationon bounties and bundles, seen screenshots of MS intranet pages with thequote above highlighted.  I've talked to business partners who havebeen flown to Microsoft meetings at MS's expense.  I know about Microsoft'squantifiable goals in this area.  So let's be crystal clear aboutit -- regardless of recent comments by various Microsoft employees andsupporters, Microsoft wants to beat Notes during their FY06.  There'sno other objective in their business plan.All this talk about doing what's bestfor our mutual customers is nothing but a smokescreen.  And I, andmy colleagues, are especially disappointed when that guise is adopted byour publicly-visible former coworkers, none of whom left Lotus directlyfor Microsoft.  It's hard not to take it personally when "IBM"is attacked, ten years after IBM acquired Lotus.  Or when Lotusphereis criticized, as it continues to be one of the premier IT conferencesanywhere.  Or when those who speakabout migration from Notes to the Microsoft platform publicly pretend thattheir message is instead about peace, love, and integration.Do I want to do what's right for youas customers and partners?  Absolutely.  That's why the Lotusphereagenda featuresseveralspeakerstalkingaboutLotus and Microsoft integration,a topic I myself used to cover in Orlando.  In many cases, these speakersare actual architects and developers who have implemented these solutionsin the field, not just technical marketing people like myself.  Forwhat it's worth, we've taken the same approach with other 3rd party technologies,such as SAP and VMWare, with great speakers discussing real-world scenarios. (You can thank Rockyfor advocating for more of these types of sessions)Going beyond the Lotusphere-relateddiscussion, the big picture is that Microsoft is aiming a lot of weaponryat my product's customers.  One thing that's very interesting is thatthis firepower is needed at all.  If it was obvious on its face thatMicrosoft had a technically superior solution, they wouldn't have to investmillions of dollars and an army of people to go after Notes.  Butall this effort has preciouslittle to show for it, becausein most cases, sound business analysis and decision-making wins the day. And that's why Lotus is winningnew customers from Microsoft asmuch as the installed base of Notes customers continues forward with theproduct.  The last four fiscal quarters show the results -- despitethe latest attack, the Lotus and Notes revenue bases are growing.  PerhapsI should thank Microsoft for putting all this effort in -- since so manyof the situations where I end up on defense actually result in net-newinvestment in IBM, Lotus, and Notes.  The thanks for that arenot simply with my salesforce, but ultimately with the engineers, productmanagers, architects, and everyone else who have made Notes/Domino 7 animpressive, valuable, and useful release, and for those who are alreadyworking nights and weekends to make "Hannover"the best rich client experience ever.In the next few weeks, I promise thatthese areas will be my focus.  We've got a lot of great stuff ahead,starting with Lotusphere(and Software University before that, for those IBMers and partners attending). I'm actively working on my year-in-review/3-year-blogoversary stuff,and we're going to focus (refocus?) on all the good in the world of LotusNotes, now and into the future.

December 19, 2005 by

China PC growth rate slows

The growth rate for PC shipments in China dropped to 13 percent in the third quarter, far slower than earlier rates, according to a preliminary report from researcher IDC. In the first quarter of 2001, for instance, PC shipments in China grew by 49 percent compared with the same period a year earlier. China accounts for roughly 43 percent of PC shipments to Asia, so the slowdown in growth could be ominous. "China has thus far been the poster child for the PC market, and a moderation in growth does not bode well for the industry," Ashok Kumar, an analyst with Piper Jaffray, wrote about IDC's findings. As in the United States, Dell Computer was the only large multinational PC maker to experience growth in China. Compaq, Samsung and IBM all saw sales shrink in the third quarter in China. Although Dell grew faster than China's Legend computer, Legend remained firmly in the No. 1 spot with 660,000 units.

October 24, 2001 by

The Trials of Microsoft - lessons from the past (Part 1)

The US Department of Justice's (DoJ) scrutiny of Microsoft is nothing new. In the past, AT&T and IBM have also been accused of abusing their dominant market positions. In the first of a two part series, John Oates looks back at the AT&T case to see if experience can teach us anything

November 15, 1998 by

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