Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Where did you go wrong?

Ever wonder why companies move to Exchange or Gmail for email? I often ponder this as well. I also deal with it weekly, sometimes too late in the game to save the poor souls.

I can understand the feeling that "it's just email", which we all know is not the way to keep a company on Domino. If they really only use it for email, they will leave Lotus eventually. Shame on me, you, IBM and others for not encouraging more workflow and application solutions in their earlier days of the network.

Maybe it stems from politics. A new CIO,or more likely a new CEO. They want "Outlook". Notice they never say "Exchange". DAMO (Domino Access for Microsoft Outlook) allows for your users to have Outlook and run a superior server on the back end....Domino. The CXO will never know. Yet rarely does this get done.

The admin left, got fired, the server is in the middle of nowhere and thus it is difficult to find a Domino admin. A lame excuse if I ever heard one, yet also commonly put out as a reason for dropping Domino. If you are reading this and this is your predicament, call me NOW! Because of a similar situation we have hired 3 people around the country to cover these types of situations.

Server crashes all the time. I don't think so. Not if you have set it up properly, maintained it properly and of course cluster it which would mean you have 100% uptime.

The Client crashes all the time. Not on every one's machine. Just like Windows, Java or any other program if you have a problem, fix it. When your car gets a flat tire, do you trade it in for a new car? Again, if this sounds like you, call me NOW!

The UI is ancient. Really? So a tabbed interface is ancient? which is why Microsoft and Apple and Firefox use it? Show me another mail client you can manipulate what you see and move things around, not to mention dock or undock pieces and parts to anyplace on your desktop. Sorry that is the R8/8.5 UI. You probably have an R5 or R6 or R7 client which your IT staff has failed to upgrade in years and thus you are stuck in an old client.

And Outlook 2003, going on 6 years old now, is really new, isn't it.

Yes, if this is the case call NOW and we will help you, against your IT staff's wishes move to R8. Hang on, you can do it for yourself, go download it from IBM's Lotus site.

"Sharepoint is our strategic direction". Excuse me while I fall on the floor laughing. I had someone recently give me that line and I asked if they could elaborate on what that meant or quantify it in a value and ROI way. Received a nasty look and they walked away. Next time I should not ask about the ROI I guess.

What should you be doing more regularly with your customers, especially the ones only using Domino for email?

Talk to your clients, but listen once you have them in a discussion and let them lead you more to a solution they envision which will be much easier to "sell" to them afterward.

Show them. Try pointing them to an app on your website, encourage dialogue to find how an application can fit into their world. Xpages apps, even simple ones will go far.

Communicate with them. Send them links to openntf.org and ask them what they want to try to use.

Show them again, planetlotus.org and your favorite developers blog posts.

If you really get stuck, skip over your contact and go for the CXO directly so they can't say no one ever tried to talk to them or show them what is out there for them. After all you have nothing to lose at this point.