Monday, October 18, 2010

Objective Subjectivity

This post from the other day provided a number of comments, IMs, discussions with IBMers and some funny stories from friends who just don't get any of this.

One comment, anonymously posted, suggested that it is wrong to recommend a product without knowing the business reason, or any reason for usage, first.

My thoughts are yes and no.

Do I recommend an IBM product every time to clients....yes, if one exists that meets or exceeds their needs. We are an IBM Business Partner, why would I suggest otherwise. Some will argue not everything IBM sells is better, my clients do have a brain and we are only recommending them these options, they choose what they want to use.

Now, if there is something which is not in our portfolio, I will research the information for them and we will find something to resolve the request. For instance a print to PDF driver, which is not inside Lotus Notes.

When someone says they need a secure file storage online and offline accessible. My immediate thoughts are Domino applications, Quickr, Connections or for "Cloud" options LotusLive Engage, LotusLive Connections.

Are these the best choices? Is SSL better than secure ID or VPNs? Is there really any difference between a BMW a Lexus or a Mercedes?

The answer is subjective. We don't demand or expect clients to follow us like sheep, but we do spend time educating them on why our decision makes valid sense given their infrastructure, budget and project requirements.

Could any one else argue the same points, perhaps. The point is not lost on me or others. But how many companies are still relying on a product that has been dead for years but runs core applications.

Foxpro? I just heard about 2 companies still running versions I haven't seen in 15 years.

Lotus Approach? WAY too may people still use this relational database. Dead product? Not quite, it is still available as a download from IBM, or was the last time I checked.

Office 2000? 10 years later and it keeps going and going and going.
Same with Windows server 2000 and 2003.

You can laugh at these and most likely readers have even more hidden old apps you forgot about over time.

But these all have in common a purpose that at the time was a valid purpose and keeps them running still to today.

Were there other choices out there? Most definitely.
But someone, a sales person usually, convinced them this was the way to go and if it lasted this long, they were correct.

The people that I meet on Twitter related to Lotus Quickr(and Quickplace) are using a product that not only lives and breathes and is updated quite frequently by IBM, it also is managing projects that run their companies.

Why don't they go to Sharepoint? Why not some open source product or cloud based offering? Because their needs were defined and the product fit.

Should every group or person use Quickr in their company? That is debatable.
Could every one benefit from using Lotus Connections? In the long run yes because the more you as a company know about your employees and customers, the better your business lines can go to market with new products or manage to impress customers by your usage of Business Intelligence to find out what they need, like or want.

In the short run, the answer lies in how you roll it out and get buy in from your executives and then the employees themselves.

If you have a need to better understand your workforce and customers and have been struggling with how to accomplish this task, I would suggest thinking about Lotus Connections over Quickr and you can look into it in the following ways:

If you do not understand what Lotus Connections is or never heard about it and want to try it out, we suggest you go to the Lotuslive website and register for a 30 day trial of Lotuslive Engage or Connections.

Or if you want to be more interactive, setup an account on the Lotus Greenhouse site which runs all the Lotus products and is used by IBMers, Business Partners and customers, some as though it was a real and not demonstration site. If you do use it, you can find me on the Greenhouse Sametime server which has an excellent group of people on it as well.

Once you do that, drop me an IM or email and we can talk more about what you want to do or how to do it.

Not every product meets every need, but every need does meet a product.