Thursday, October 29, 2009

Why do you still work with Lotus?

I was asked this by a good friend of mine the other night and like many, he figured Lotus is a dead product, he hadn't seen in 10 years(he's been the MS IT guy for 8 now so understandable) even though he knows I have been with it since 92.

I rarely chide him about it, although I am usually the one he calls when he has issues with Exchange.

About 10 years ago, I had a similar discussion with a good friend of mine...while I was working inside Lotus.

The 2 of them share one thing in common, they are both private people and the idea of sharing personal information or business information, even among their own employees was/is foreign to them. I believe this trait is the primary one that defines a Lotus or a non-Lotus person.

Most of my friends are not in IT or care about coding this or that so it's really lost on them in various ways. Email to them is email, via phone or Gmail or whatever they use.

But Domino is so much more than email....but not to the people who don't use it.

They don't care if it's java, AIR, FLEX or a Notes database as long as it works or is what they are supposed to use or told to use.

I discuss the benefits of sitting in one client for everything, they say we can do that in a browser. OK, not the same but I get where they are coming from.

What about personal productivity? Don't you want to keep certain information accessible? How do you do it? Spreadsheet? Postit note widget? Notepad text files?

How does one track information for processes your office doesn't track? Like paper work or faxes, copies? these days probably scanning documents direct to one's email. I had clients that did this instead of sending the documents direct to a database or even a file server.

Sharepoint perhaps makes the effort to tackle some of this and that is well and good but my friend's from above don't use Sharepoint. They like file servers.

So why do I keep pushing Lotus? Because it works with so many things and one doesn't even need a server to really gain any benefit from it, a regular Notes client will do nicely.(Just backup your data more often, just in case you have to do this sometime.

I work on/with Notes and Domino for:
email, calendar, meetings, to dos, general notes when I am out of the office(via my phone), sales tracking, invoicing, quick configured mockup demo's that really work, backing up my contacts from my cellphone(via Lotus Notes Traveler), working at 10,000 feet, blogging, providing clients with live documentation that we can update at our leisure without bothering them at any time, school projects, time cards/billing times, directions to clients, historical information from the last 18 years or so of my business life and it keeps growing with me as time goes on.
Oh and many of these applications are either on my phone or accessible via web on my phone to be fully useful.

One doesn't have to recode their Outlook macros every time, translate their old access database or Excel spreadsheets to a new version just to use them, worry about the software dying with every new windows revision, trying to find a long gone 3 1/2 floppy to reinstall an app that got corrupted when the drive failed or needs to get reinstalled on the new Windows 7 machine, wonder if that Palm app will run on an iPhone.

In short, I worry less about my technology because I am secure in knowing the Lotus brand and IBM have a long history and pedigree of working no matter the version, operating system or phone I choose to use and that makes my life and the lives of my clients one less headache we all have to think about.

Call me complacent, old man or slow on the uptake. In this case I may not always be working on the bleeding edge of technology, although I do follow it. If that is what you want, the risk and reward is always there.

After you have had enough forced upgrades, surprises, over budget meetings or delayed projects, come back and see what Lotus Notes and Domino can do for you and your organization. In some cases, paying you back for choosing it within 30 days.