Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Google Beats Microsoft, Yes but beat IBM Notes? No Way

Google, I love you guys, I really do, you do some amazing things and the Doodles are the best!
But sometimes your business partners really have no clue what they are talking about and should rethink their marketing.

Case in point, a company produced a 3 page document(link to my server, not giving them the traffic) on why Google trumps MS Exchange as an alternative to IBM Lotus Notes.

The opening salvo is hyperbole at the best of times. People move systems back and forth and, although I can not name names, I know of a few well known companies that are coming back or at least increasing their Notes usage.

The document discusses how cloud is the key driver for IT and Mobility is also a trend. Funny, we had mobile apps and mail back in 1999 or 2000 on GSM phones with native Lotus Notes apps. I know because I was there at Lotusphere Europe in Berlin and ran the wireless phone system for the CXO's that came, still have one of the phones we did it on.

What took the world so long to catch up? Just like that chiclet icon map your iPhone and Android uses, came from the Lotus Notes workspace Release 1, 20+ years ago. Say what you want about IBM Notes, it was way ahead of its time.

I do not know about you, but if the word "dope" shows up in someone's advertising it usually implies one thing. A poor choice of words, or genius, given how the Cloud is so enticing, you try a little and beg for more. What? That isn't how it works? I don't know either what they are thinking.

"Gmail is familiar to most work-force as a personal email solution." This may be true, but the Gmail UI SUCKS! Sorry, showing my age there. I mean I am not comfortable with it because it doesn't do ANYTHING except email. Ok, so where is my integrated calendar? How do I schedule meetings? How do we handle archiving and offline email when traveling? Where is my integration into Facebook CRM, SAP, Vacation requests even? Training is only easy because....it does not do much of anything.

"Costing" is saved because "Migration costs, licensing costs and ongoing maintenance costs form a major point of decision. Google has a simpler, lighter cost structure." Yes and no, the basic license may be cheaper, in Year 1, but in Year 2, no way are you cheaper than IBM or MS on support licensing. Google is TWICE the price or more of a Lotus client license in Year 2-whenever. Migration costs are not free either and can become staggering when involved with vendors that are ill equipped to grasp the complexities of a Domino environment. One Google partner told me that Google has no advice for Lotus customers, they basically edited the Exchange checklist title!

"Google ecosystem has got built over time with millions of users adopting it and driving it based on their preferences on personal productivity and collaboration needs." And so few corporations. Personal productivity has nothing on corporate productivity. This is like saying my kindergartener edited my MBA thesis.

They do get two things perfect "MS Office has very powerful set of tools, but still not designed toward collaboration." and "In Lotus Notes alternative scenario, collaboration and groupware requirements trump individual productivity tool preference." WOW, didn't they just start off saying how great Google was for personal productivity? I know, splitting hairs, individual vs. personal, but this is just so much fun.

Notice they are discussing MS Office, not MS Exchange. So this is about Google Apps? Right, so there are Google Apps that handle international workflow processes? No? What about vacation requests? Conference room scheduling? No? And you want to play in the big leagues?

They must know or respect IBM Notes a bit, see this:
Then, there is a case of Business Applications. Large enterprises with an extensive Lotus Notes deployment typically have hundreds of Notes applications that play a key role in keeping the enterprise running smoothly. There could be hundreds of workflow Apps, and few very complex functional Apps (like CRM) built on Lotus over time.
Workflow apps by the way are complex usually, it is not just forward an email and click yes. They suggest the Google App Engine could replace these apps. If this were really true, IBM would not be spreading the news about XPages and the advances in the IBM Domino server that let it integrate into so much of that precious Cloud world they mentioned. IBM knows they have a product unlike anything else and it makes them quite a bit of money on an annual basis.

This was obviously another attempt by a vendor to portray their migration apps in a better light. But really, better subterfuges must exist than this SEO heavy document of theirs. If you are facing Google as competition, you have more than enough weapons about messaging and now you have some about applications too. No doubt other fellow bloggers and IBM Champions will give their input as well.

As an executive, your role is NOT to waste shareholder value or reduce your bonus by your stock dropping which is what happens to companies in the throws of a mail migration, no matter to/from whatever. Put those millions to better usage.