Friday, February 25, 2011

Social Security IT Department can't be worse than your IT

After the previous post and some real life experience, I just want to say that I know believe IT is the failure of an organization. In this case it is the government.

I was going to file my W-3 forms online. For those non-tax people (My MBA is in International Tax) out there or non-US people, a W-3 form is the version of the W-2 filed with the IRS, Internal (some say infernal) Revenue Service. A W-2 is one's wage statement at the end of the year.

So as I was filing ours the password had expired, so naturally I click on reset password. A nice popup(wish I had screen shot of it) says I will receive my new temporary password, not via email, not on screen, but! Wait, it gets better. It says to let 2 weeks pass before contacting them.

Now the very nice and patient woman who answered my call to the 800 number pointed out that if I file electronically I have till March 31. Only if filing by paper is it due Feb 28.Okay, saved by the bell, but ...huh?!

The site asks me to validate I am me, Social security number, birth date etc. and still doesn't trust me? I have ALL of my company docs so what question could they ask that I can't answer? None. They do not provide an challenge answer system. Today.

The nice woman explained  that there will be a new solution coming to change this in the future. Wanted to ask if this was using Microsoft time or government time, not sure which is shorter. She also let me know that the password I used expires anyway after 90 days. WHAT?! Something I enter once a year has a password expiration and after 90 days? It doesn't even make it to next year? So EVERYONE on Earth who filed this has to wait 2 weeks to get their password in the mail? This is a MASSIVE failure of IT at it's worst.

The President wants to clean up excessive spending, I suggest they look at the Social Security Administration. So we have who knows how many letters, envelopes and postage wasted because someone in IT was overly security minded? Trade off here is what? And to who's benefit?

Talk about not being part of the organizations direction, goals or targets. This is not President Obama's fault, this has been going on for years but in the past, the password used to last 1 year(or so the paperwork I have claimed this a few years ago).

It is not IT that dooms your business always, the crazy paranoid security people also cause the problem to get worse. Did no one in the room at the time not ask, why 90 days if people log in once a year?

On the bright side, what genius thinks we need no IT? So this whole IRS filing online thing would just happen mysteriously and magically because some monkeys on typewriters wrote the code?

Installing a Fixpack and Interim Fix for Domino and Quickr Installs

Packt also included more parts of the chapter on installation but I will include it here as well so new admins or people afraid of fixpacks or interim fixes have no need to be any more. Again, buy the book, make your life easier. The IBM special ends Feb 28. Or if reading this post afterwards, you can get it form the link on the top right side of the blog.

Installing Fix Pack 3

Once Domino 8.5.1 has been installed, the next step is to install the Fix Pack. The required Fix Pack for Quickr 8.5 is Fix Pack 3.
  1. The Fix Pack should have already been downloaded from the IBM Fix Central site ( and accessible on the network or the server.
  2. Locate the file and double-click on it to run it. You will see the following window popup, verifying the Fix Pack file is 100% ready to be installed and downloaded fully.
    How to Set Up IBM Lotus Domino Server
  3. Once verified, the Fix Pack Installer will provide a window, as seen in the following screenshot, asking you to accept the End User License Agreement or EULA. Click on I accept and then click on Next to continue:
    How to Set Up IBM Lotus Domino Server
  4. The following screen prompts you for the location of your Domino program files and Domino data directories. Once verified click on Next:
    How to Set Up IBM Lotus Domino Server
  5. The installer will now check the files to be updated and ensure that everything is set in place before asking you to select Next to start the update.
    How to Set Up IBM Lotus Domino Server
  6. During the update the installer shows a progress bar to let you know how much more needs to be completed. Do not worry about it saying you are Updating Notes, it is a typographical error:
    How to Set Up IBM Lotus Domino Server
  7. Once completed, the following screen will appear and you can click on Close to complete this installation.
    How to Set Up IBM Lotus Domino Server
You should now start the Domino Server and make sure it recognizes the update you just applied to it.
If you wait for the server to complete its startup routine and then type sh ser from the server console, you should see something that looks like the following:
How to Set Up IBM Lotus Domino Server
You can now tell the server to stop by typing quit at the server console. Once the server is shut down, you can move on to installing the Interim Fix 2.

Installing Interim Fix 2

The requirements for Quickr 8.5 state that a Domino Server version of 8.5.1 FP3IF2 is required. If you have previously downloaded the Interim Fix 2, locate the file and run the executable.
  1. You should see a window similar to the following screenshot, asking for you to accept the EULA. If you do accept it then click on the Next button:
    How to Set Up IBM Lotus Domino Server
  2. You will be asked to verify the location of your Domino program files directory and the Domino data directory. Once verified, click on the Next button:
    How to Set Up IBM Lotus Domino Server
  3. The verification screen will appear and check whether you have the required version of Domino installed, 8.5.1 FP3 and to continue click on Next:
    How to Set Up IBM Lotus Domino Server
  4. The Interim Fix is now being installed. Again as before, ignore the Upgrading Notes reference:
    How to Set Up IBM Lotus Domino Server
  5. Once completed, the following screen will appear letting you know you have upgraded your server and you can click on Close:
    How to Set Up IBM Lotus Domino Server
  6. At this point start the Domino server again and when it has finished loading, type sh ser at the console and see if you have something similar to the following listed. If so, you are ready to start installing Quickr 8.5.
    How to Set Up IBM Lotus Domino Server
  7. Shut down the Domino server by typing quit at the server console and wait for it to completely finish before moving to the next section on installing Quickr 8.5.

How to Install Domino for Quickr 8.5

This is taken from the book I co-authored, link is on the right side of the screen.

While this is not the only way to install Domino, it follows a basic pattern and for anyone new or stuck here you are.

This link will take you to the Packt Publishing page for more details.

Follow these steps to setup a Domino server:
  1. Clicking on the desktop icon for the Lotus Domino Server will start the setup process:
    How to Set Up IBM Lotus Domino Server
  2. After the splash screen goes away the setup process will begin, click on the Next button:
    (Move the mouse over the image to enlarge.)
  3. The first screen of the setup asks if this is the first server in the domain or will it be joining an existing Domino domain:
  4. We will be adding this server into an existing domain for the purpose of this illustration. Click on the Next button to continue:
  5. Now you will need to locate the server ID file you created for this new server. Click on the Browse button to locate the file, then click on the Next button:
  6. Once you have selected the ID, the setup program recognizes the defined Domino name for the server. Click on Next to continue:
  7. Select the services required for this Domino server, that will be running Quickr. You can then click on Customize to review other Domino services:
  8. Next you can configure your ports and set a hostname (which should be the fully qualified domain name) by clicking on Customize:
  9. As seen in the following screenshot, you can disable NetBIOS if it is not required in your network. You should also check the boxes to encrypt and compress network traffic and enter the fully qualified domain name of the server. These settings will be incorporated into the server document, which is in the directory. Click on OK to go back to the previous screen and see your changes.
  10. Verify your settings and then click on Next to continue the setup process.
  11. Now name the primary Domino server, that has the directory you want the new server to be using. Enter the Domino name or you may enter the IP address or the fully qualified name. Click on the Next button when you are ready to move forward:
  12. Next you will need to select the option to set the server to use the directory as a Primary directory and then click on Next to continue.
  13. The setup process now asks if you want it to set some security related items automatically. Leave both options checked and click on the Next button:
  14. Finally, review the options which you have selected and if you are happy, click on Setup to complete the setup of the Domino server:
  15. You should see a pop up window similar to the following one during this process:
    How to Set Up IBM Lotus Domino Server
  16. Once completed, you will receive the Congratulations message, click on the Finish button.

Company going south? Blame IT?

At the time I wrote this I had not read Ben's post about David's post (which I do not agree with entirely). But will post on this soon.

Ever notice how companies that are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy suddenly decide to do major changes in their IT?

Change mail systems, go to the Cloud, bring in an ERP solution, take on Sharepoint, go Linux or whatever comes to someone's mind.


Admittedly we have that magic in IT, but not as a last ditch effort to save the bus from driving off the cliff.

Isn't that what executive management is for? But who loses in the end? Never executives. They get paid no matter what happens.

So what is IT supposed to do? In speaking with a motivational company they feel that the leadership and sales teams need to be clued in, but my perspective is IT MUST be filled in too. And not just the CIO.

If IT does not provide their buy-in to helping the company, you will not get very far as a company.

How do you get IT to care? The last 10 years or so have not been nice to most IT staff members. They are what keeps your business running, not your sales people, not your executives. If all your servers stopped tomorrow could you work or get anything done? Ever thought about what happens when IT revolts? An Atlas Shrugged moment indeed.

Maybe you let IT know how much you need them , maybe you don't. If not, why? When have you ever asked your IT staff what they are playing with or what they have in mind for the business to help it move forward?

How often do we hear about paper processes, long time to approve something(that's another post), billing a half hour to enter data in a CRM or ERP system or an expense system? THESE are IT's fault. No question. Bad UI or lack of advanced applications. But who pays for it seems to be an issue at times as well as which platform to write it or upgrade it. If IT looked at these and said we need to fix this, they could, but there is no buy in from IT to do so. The disconnect between management and IT and sales does not have to continue.

Should IT people be paid the same as sales people? That's another post entirely. But don't treat IT like you treat your school teachers.  It's not IT's fault if your company is going down, usually it's your sales teams fault...or the executives but how many companies can say IT is what killed their company?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Quickr Admin Book is Available today

Finally, the book I co-authored,

IBM Lotus Quickr 8.5 for Domino Administration

is finally available for purchase from Packt. As well as on

On the main Packt page they have great offers and deals on their books.

THROUGH END OF FEBRUARY, they have a great bundle called IBM Tuesday, get it here.

You will also see just below the ads, a reference to an article by me about Installing Lotus Domino Servers

So please enjoy it, purchase it from Amazon after February and give it to your Quickr clients or admins.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

IBM's Smarter Planet Ads are Excellent

I don't know about you but it's hard NOT to see an advertisement for the Smarter Planet solutions and I am an IBMer. TV, magazines, newspapers, it is really everywhere.

Usually there is a series of them over a few pages in a magazine with each ad dedicated to a topic or idea or brand, even Lotus has some.

The ads speak to you from the depth of idealism. Cleaner water, smarter utilities, the promise of a better world. Makes you want to go out and join IBM to do this work. Well it makes me want to do it at least because I do believe in a better world that we can create for our kids and future generations.

But we have one problem.

The URL at the end which takes you to a website where you can learn more about this great Smarter Planet solution never even asks you or shows a link to join IBM. Go see, I'll wait for you. If you like other ideas, go to and click on the Smarter Planet graphic on the page.

So IBM finally has a marketing/advertising campaign that is what we have asked for, it pulls at you to do something, appeals to various people and levels of society, makes one feel good about IBM and the world...but it's just a sales line. All bets are off, my idealism is shot. But I want to make a better world. But IBM is not hiring outsiders usually, no matter how many jobs may be on the public website.

I discussed this with people at Lotusphere this year. IBMers, press, marketing people and others from all walks of life. Maybe I was not the target audience after all. I am sure people out there hate these ads but they are probably Microsoft live and work in a silo type people.

But if IBM was trying to find college students to recruit or even experienced people like myself, this was the best way to do it. I wonder what those 500 students at Lotusphere think about it.

What would Google do if they ran this ad? My guess is they would have landed tons of resumes of people who really wanted to do these projects. 

Google...Is it really Great? Evil? or a Teenager?

Some conversations in the last day or so prompted me to post a longer explanation.

Google says "don't be evil", well they did until 2009 when they took that bit out.

What changed? Did Google finally realize that hiring a huge amount of people, some extremely intelligent and others able to fake it well, could not steer 100% efforts to follow a simple rule?

When you are a small a company, it is easy to get everyone on board with a motto or an idea. But as one grows larger it is harder to maintain that simplicity.

For example:
Does the motto translate well into other languages aside from (American) English?
Do you force everyone to speak only in English?
Are prices different in parts of the country or world?
Do you use different date formatting once you branch outside of the US?
Do employee benefits change by state, region or currency?
Who gets stock options? Why?
And on and on.

I believe that at it's core Google really believes in itself and if you believe what you hear/read their goal setting is pure genius. I don't recall IBM ever asking me to do the impossible or even if it did, and if I succeeded at all, was rewarded for it. In fact sometimes the opposite was true. Yet Google will set goals, quarterly, monthly whatever they are, that appear impossible because the technology doesn't exist yet or may go down the wrong rabbit hole. That is where probably every other company, except for possibly Apple under Steve Jobs, fails in their goal setting.

Asking a sales person in a small territory to hit the million dollars in sales goals when it has never topped half a million is just unfair. Should they have targets and goals and incentives? Yes, but that is not what I am after here.

Is Google evil? No more than any other company. Sure there are people who give in to their darker side and either get caught or end up in a bind that the company looks bad from the outsider. I don't mean an Enron  fiasco, but insider trading, trade secrets, government legal issues, bribes and other acts that have tarnished nearly every company on Earth at one time or another, including Google.

Is Google out to kill Microsoft or Apple or IBM or HP or Oracle? Perhaps. Is that so bad? Look where it got all of the others? Survival of the fittest in the IT world usually is a short term ride with only a handful surviving the long haul. Kudos to IBM to making it to 100 years old.

Why do I think Google is a teenager? They like to talk publicly, sometimes well other times a bit fluffy, about a lot of things but when you ask about themselves they get very quiet. Compare this with Apple who really are very quiet in general, except when something new is coming out. Apple speaking at events? Not often. Apple doing interviews? Rarely. Get the picture? Now ask your teenager anything about them.

But when they have a new toy or product or something to beta test they still do not do much marketing. They rely on the word of mouth,  usage and analytics to guide them if their new idea is good or bad. If it is bad, it is dropped with as much fanfare as it started with a grunt or shrug. If it is good, then some effort is made to open up about it and spread good words. But still nothing concrete about the future or Google itself.

Google may be silently hoping Apple does the hard work for them. Microsoft, well Bill Gates, saw the world as unlimited licenses of Windows. IBM chose to see the world as corporations and businesses that would pay for hardware and software, something consumers did not always do and when they started to do so, IBM sold their consumer products side of the hardware. And now comes Google that says yeah that worked for Microsoft but now that people want nearly everything for free and an app can be bought for a few dollars, maybe an incremental stream of money is better than trying to hammer everyone with a big license of Windows. Or maybe while everyone is busy paying Google for advertising, Google can have some fun with new ideas that may turn the tables on Microsoft and others.

My kids Android tablet was pretty cheap, no, the touch screen is not as good as an iPad although not far off, it is not as good on battery life as an iPad, it does not have any video cameras (my choosing), but it does run software for me to do everything on it.

And if Google wants everyone to use Chrome, Android and other items for free, as long as Google can maintain that perspective, presumably from their advertising revenue, it will be very hard for anyone to deny them as doing anything but good.

The only problem is not every teenager makes it to adulthood.

So as we see Google get to a more mature stage, recent changes in leadership are too new to know if this will work out like when Michael Dell or Steve Jobs returned, or will they flounder around trying to define themselves as an adult company?

Google has the money to walk away tomorrow and pay everyone off, but keeps pushing for something new and maybe impossible.

I'd like to find other companies seeing the world this way, instead of changing names every year or rebranding products or changing colors or shrinking juice cartons or reducing candy sizes to maintain higher prices.

Customers deserve better. Customers expect better.

While IBM Smarter Planet initiatives are a step in the right direction, they still are one sided. It helps the utility company and helps IBM, but will those savings ever make their way to the customer?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sidebar Apps and Portability

About a year ago, I posted this post which had 15+ sidebar apps to think about. Since then numerous more have been crated, added or designed by the greater world at large, not just the Yellow Bubble.

Not going to create a new list but suffice it to say Tungle, Gist(recently purchased by RIM and the Lotus plugin is now dropped from their site as of Feb 2011),  Linkedin, Recon, File Navigator, Wildfire are ones I use regularly.

No question these have been a great enhancement to the Notes clients. Great things come in small packages.
And if you are not using these, or teaching employees or customers how to leverage them, you are hurting your clients/employers. Sure there are reasons some people do not want to do it, but those with horses and buggy whips can wait outside.

However, when you need to rebuild a client or laptop or just move everything, unless you can get a cloned drive you will fall into this dilemma. How does one save/move existing sidebar apps that have been installed?

You see unlike Bookmarks or the desktop which have specific files that maintain all of the UI data, there is nothing as simple on the Eclipse side. Welcome to the double edge sword of Eclipse. With great options and benefits come some questionable benefits to life as an admin or developer.

So the IT staff could enable apps in the Update Site and the Widget Catalog and push them out via policies, but that seems a bit heavy handed doesn't it?

Why could the installed files not be installed into an updatesite file on the client side?
Even if there are pointer/directory issues, the db should be self contained so it could be reconfigured to just find the Notes path.

So as I sit here and wait for reinstalls and reboots, someone out there have a better way to make these portable?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

LotusLive, good for what connects you

I have discussed it before but one of the things I like about LotusLive is that everything is in one place and interacts with each other.

You do not need to remember multiple passwords, nor do you need to remember where you left that file last month.

When you look at it from an online meeting discussion, yes it does not do everything a full IBM  Sametime solution does, but what you get for your $6/month(LotusLive Meetings) is superior to what you get from webex...and they charge $49/month. Inside the LotusLive Suite which costs a whopping $10 (LotusLive Collaboration and Meeting Suite)offering you get some parts of IBM Connections, plus secure file sharing, plus email, plus calendar/scheduling, plus plus separate housing for your company not shared spaces. You can even do a hybrid model between you and the IBM Cloud. Now that is control as well as quite an offer. We can help you with this, just ask me how.

By the way, you probably have no idea how many people in your company are paying the Webex monthly fees, find out, the truth may be shocking.

So we can reduce your costs, one just one item, by 75% or more, shouldn't you look at our other offerings as well? We can help you reduce next month's bills today...even if you Exchange, Groupwise or Gmail.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Being on The Outside of IBM and insight from INC magazine

While I am outside of IBM, well as outside as a Business Partner can be, I can enjoy the best of both worlds, post what I want, with no lawyers on my back and yet be close with different people across the whole company because of a NDA we have with them.

I pointed out last week in a number of discussions that I never post anything that is not already public in some shape or form, though I am sure on occasion something may have slipped, no one is perfect. Also pointed out that although on Twitter I may argue about some points more strongly than on my blog, I do strive to maintain the blog at a reasonable expectation level and not provide fodder for the competition.

With this in mind, a recent article in Inc. magazine, titled "How Great Entrepreneurs Think" ,
the article was about the differences between entrepreneurs and older organizations. Some obvious ideas, some not so obvious. Case in point, one of the people in the discussion said:

"At one time in our company, I ordered our people not to think about competitors. Just do your job. Think only of your work. Now that isn't entirely possible. Now, in fact, competitive information is very valuable. But I wanted to be sure that we didn't worry about competitors. And to that end, I gave the annual plan to every employee. And they said, 'Well, aren't you afraid your competitors are gonna get this information and get an advantage?' I said, 'It's much riskier to not have your employees know what you need to do than it is to run the risk of competitors finding out. Cause they'll find out somehow anyway. But if one of your employees doesn't know why they're doing their job, then you're really losing out."
This highlights some of what we saw last week at Lotusphere. While the messages may have been sent out, not every one was on the same page. Many were, but a socially connected business must also have open communication within their own walls. IBMers knew the rebranding was going on, they knew Social Business was how to refer to Lotusphere but it seems not every one was or is aware of just what the next steps are or will be.

Naturally a company the size of IBM, about 400,000 people, it takes time to get the word out but it still seems that there is internal strife about product lines and solutions. While I don't believe this will change in the short term, in about 2-3 years all should be quiet internally as everyone settles into teh new world.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Go Forth and Conquer

My post the other day naturally had many readers. But after the shock, horror or just bewilderment (yes, some really were blindsided) the reality is time to move forward again.

The decision was from Alistair and team or possibly from higher inside IBM and no matter what those of us on the outside think, IBM will go forth and conquer.  The GM role does not last long, so some time this year or perhaps just after Lotusphere 2012 we may have a new GM but hopefully not before this mission is completed. Consistency is helpful at this time. History being rather telling. So I do not envy Alistair's position and appreciate our conversations, however brief they may have been, when he shares his insights and that he can accomplish this exterior change now that the internal ones are done.

Yes, I am not happy to see the Lotus name go away, silently or in time, but change is inevitable as most IBMers already know. If you have been following it over 2010 you would have noticed shifting in their titles and references. But does the outside world notice or care? Is it only the blogging and Business partner community that notices?

So where do we go from here? Where do you take your customers? Where will the competition start hitting your customers, if they haven't already. A post on this topic may be needed in time.

As the product line will move to an IBM moniker, we are not selling anything differently. As has been the case for some time now, selling a solution rarely matters about the product, it's about what the customer needs. While it's true one just needs a mode of transportation, bike/plane or car, the discussion around transformation of a business or what to expect from the future is the key.

Remember that your customers may not even know about this change. Some may care, some may not. Keep them informed, be upfront about it. Some analysts say IBM can sell anything once it is just IBM Software. That theory will be validated come Lotusphere 2012.

But for now concentrate on analytics, something IBM gets very much, that until recently was not part of the Lotus stack, but is more cooked into the product lines going forward as was shown in numerous demos, labs and pedestals at the show.

DO NOT let the competition imply this is a demise of your customers infrastructure, rather you should prepare the customer to explain how much more robust and advanced their tools have become compared to nearly everyone else out there.

Friday, February 4, 2011

One Special Session at Lotusphere 2011

No, this isn't about the students, but god knows they should have been at the session I am about to discuss. In fact, part of this session should be the opening act at the OGS for LS12.

Late on Wednesday there was a session done by someone who will probably live in Lotusphere lore.

The Title of the session was BP106 Titled "Where is the Love? How to get Your Users to fall in Love with IBM Lotus Notes".

By Mat Newman, which is Australian for Master Presenter.

A very packed room filled with everyone from IBMers to customers to bloggers and no doubt Microsoft people, if they were still there.

Mat proceeded to remind us all that we could do our jobs better to help people but aside from his guidelines which were simple enough to follow, he put on a 10-15 minute overview of what a Lotus Notes client can do....without discussing email at all.

Most people have a hard time expressing what can be done with Notes which is why, I and others usually like to explain and show the different ways to work and enhance your daily routines.

Yes his energy was everywhere, fueled by his yellow suit and the energy in the room he hit on:
sidebar apps
enabling widgets
live text connecting with Google maps
basic keyboard strokes like ctrl-home and ctrl-end
copy selected as table
what a journal/notebook is for
search ideas, UI nuances not everyone plays with

And so much more. While I know some one that videotaped it, hopefully the demo part will be posted someplace, I will update this post with it, if someone points me to it.

If you were not there all I can say is hopefully Mat will do it again next year.

Thanks Mat, safe travels.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Is IBM rebranding the wrong thing?

As many have said, Lotus, in name, seems to be missing this year at Lotusphere 2011.
Fair enough, it is just a name or brand after all, and not a product, as Ed has said numerous times.
Happens to be a very well known name, albeit one which, to some, does not have a good name when referencing certain software.

But what if IBM is rebranding/renaming the wrong things?

Changing Lotus to IBM Social Business Solutions,or something similar, is not really what you want to do with a name that is synonymous with collaboration, sharing and 1-2-3. True, probably few of the 500 students that Group brought to LS11 have a clue or even seen what 1-2-3 is, but the point is, the Lotus name does have a life of it's own, and for the most part is not only respected, but seen in a good light.

I propose that renaming Notes and Domino is really what is important. This is not a new concept or idea, many people have pondered why this has not happened, a la Quickplace into Quickr which provided a huge boost to a dormant program.

My discussions over the last few days show that the idea of renaming Notes and Domino is unthinkable...inside IBM. Certainly there are those outside who would balk as well. But the bottom line is the workplace times are what tarnished Notes and Domino. So why not rename them?

Will renaming Notes improve the IBM email numbers of Notes mail users? Possibly. I can't see it truly changing much from the estimated 25-40% of the market, depending on your source, it has of Notes mail.

Will renaming Domino change how Domino is viewed? I say Yes.
Potentially that has it's own price to pay as well.

Why is this?
Simply because Domino has always been, and quite possibly always will be, a niche application server for an enterprise or business.

And by renaming Domino to something that is more indicative of its role as a special server could make it a big winner against Microsoft. The efforts of Microsoft to cobble together a bunch of pieces and make that act almost like 1 Domino server does not work as a good model moving forward and because so many are tarnished by Notes & Domino this could change the tide. And of course there is all that licensing and CALs.

Should IBM drop the pillars, and the colors and the names for a monolithic, single, umbrella brand? No idea, but as has been my mantra the last few days, if IBM has data, and interprets it incorrectly, we all lose. But IBM has the most to lose, which is why, what you see, and what you hear, may not seem compatible to you. IBM may be struggling with this issue, and no doubt others as well, who can blame them?

Domino applications exist nearly everywhere within the Fortune 500 companies. Few argue this point to the contrary. So my guess is IBM feels that changing the umbrella preserves this perspective and does not kill any customer accounts or provide FUD for its competition.

Compare the above line to renaming the Domino name. This idea may lead to all types of mayhem on the customer front, something IBM and Business partners do not need right now.

There is no obvious answer.

If my previous post held a vision for IBM and how they see the future, should they not also be engaging what they are asking us to do for clients? Transformation can be painful, but the outcome can be beautiful, just like a caterpillar that comes out a butterfly.

No matter which path is ultimately chosen, one thing is clear.

Domino and Notes mail are not going away for a very long time. Yes, Notes may become a browser based client only someday, that is where the world is going obviously, but Domino will most likely out live many of us.

And there is nothing Microsoft can do about it...short of buying Lotus from IBM.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Product-> Solution Selling-> Transformation

Many people at Lotusphere seem to be scratching their head saying, hey where is the product? Why doesn't anyone say we use LotusLive/Connections/Domino to do x, y or z?  It could be Microsoft up there.

In truth, you are all correct. But IBM at Lotusphere is not selling a product per se. (You Smart Planet love/hate people, I have another post coming on that)

Look at it this way:
Years ago we sold products
Then came Solution Selling
Now its Transformation Selling

Yes a bad acronym unless your last name is Eliot.

Imagine talking to CEOs, not CIOs, not Line of Business execs but people who have a job that is to steer their company.
Bring them a direction, an angle, an idea for them to think about and other ways to expand their business. Think big, as Donald Trump says. It doesn't have to be expensive either. Let me use one example.

Think about when Mars, the owners of M&M's, set out to find a new color? The voting created huge loyalty and a major increase in sales and it cost them next to nothing. Read about this in this book.

So you say, how does this help IBM make money? There's no technology play there? (I have no idea if they used an IBM product, but this is not about ANY IBM product, this is about business discussions)

Not true at all, how did M&Ms stay in contact with the world? How do they today? How do they know when a great idea has been submitted? How do they find out?

This is Transformation in an industry that has a hard enough time bringing a new product to market.

You can do this for anyone...but I am not sure your average Business Partner has the right connections to make this happen.

But a number of issues come up:
1) Executives today are near retirement age and have no reason to start massive change
2) Idealism is great, but you need the Executive people to champion it....and believe it and do it as well, especially if you want others to have social businesses
3) Transformation is not an easy sale or a short sale, it requires the right person, providing a vision(not necessarily the right one) and having someone on the other side who can see it and help it and fulfill it.

Day 1 - Lotus Lurkers are Good

I ran into some friends from previous years that I don't get to interact with much during the year. They read my blog and those of many others but rarely comment if ever. Some call people like this lurkers.

In the Lotus world, or as it is now, Social Business world, this is a good thing. Yes it feeds the ego and ASW attitude but it also means we are doing exactly what Lotus is about. We are sharing information for others, hopefully for the right reasons. But even if you are not posting to help people per se, you prove that collaboration, KM(knowledge management) and just open sharing is valid.

So while it is always nice to know who is reading, you don't have to comment, personally I am happy to know someone reads this blog.

But when someone posts something that helps you, make sure to leave a comment saying so or reference it in your own blog post. As Kevin Spacey said during his keynote yesterday, "Send the elevator back down".

To everyone that has come up to me, and no doubt other bloggers, and said they read the blog or we helped them or just thanks for giving them hope and ideas, I thank you and enjoy Lotusphere 2011.