This is a message aimed at customers and clients after some conversations I have had this week with various customers and partners.
You don't know it yet but you are reaching a point where your in-house knowledge will not be able to help you in the future. You will need to sit down with your staff, IBM, IBM Business Partners or your favorite IT consultants for a good talk.
When the next versions of some of your favorite programs come around they will not be running on Domino necessarily. This is a good and bad opportunity for you.
Good because you get to move on to some new technology but bad because you will finally learn if your team/partners have what it takes to take you to the next level.
Can they start working on products they know little or nothing about? What is their frustration index compared to their GTD (Getting Things Done) index? Have they been doing more CYA than SLA?
Also what have you been doing for training? Online? In person? Lotusphere? A *LUG (MWLUG, IAMLUG,UKLUG,ILUG,NLLUG,DeNUG...), The View's admin/Dev conference, Collaboration U? Internal peer review? Wiki/DB/Blog for tech information on your servers, configurations or DRP?
Will this be enough for them? For you?
And how do you figure who or what do you want to bring in? Do you need a whole team? A company to manage your infrastructure? A hosting company? Or do you want someone with 2-3 years? 5-10? multiple OS experience? Troubleshooters? Trainers? A holistic approach to IBM products? In a way you end up like someone going in for surgery, you want the best surgeon you can find/afford.
The answer is not so simple and the price you might have to pay can vary immensely across the board as well. You can also review a fellow Lotus blogger's posts, Graham Dodge's last 2 postings, here and here for more thoughts about what to look for and how much to charge/pay.
downtime=lost money+headaches+grumpy users+annoyed executives
If your internal projects, or outsourced projects are taking years instead of weeks or months (for large multinational organizations), you may be wasting your time and money and there is no ROI for that but to hire someone else. Once you find the right people, keep them at all costs or find a way to make it work for you. Your bonus and job might depend on it.
As an example, 2 different organizations have been trying to implement Sametime Advanced and Gateway with one doing a VOIP integration. They have been dragging on for weeks or months because it's not a priority, yet the project was supposed to be online months ago. Although we have offered to help them and finish it within a week, they keep trying. While I applaud their efforts, there is something to be said for a balanced reality.
Don't let this happen to you or your organization.
Call us or any IBM Business Partner focused on Lotus Solutions, we're here to help because we enjoy what we do and we do it every day around the world.