Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What apps should there be?

Work the Web

The problem with having a template for an application out of the box is you can't code one thing for everyone.

Take the guys in sales, if it isn't a one button wonder, they don't use it.

Take the team walking the street or knocking on doors, they need simple apps which are predefined with a lot of information.

How about insurance people? Notorious for being anti-technology the younger generation gets it and uses it, the older ones still don't understand me when I ask for a quote for health insurance showing multiple options and pricing, etc..

Car sales people? The shiny new toy is meaningless if it won't help sell a car.

Years ago I asked a room full of bankers where my mortgage application is online for me to do via cell phone. None were available then, today, some are.

Times change, applications change too, as do the way they interact with people and how people want to interact with them.

So if you had to define a list of new applications to sell people on for Domino, and Connections actually is a great app, what apps should there be?

The problem is, in some cases, the same apps we have seen and used, are still what people need. Yes, they want them on their phones or web based but maybe that is what this is all about. Work the Web.

Then again, maybe not, maybe it's about having a more interactive business application with a consumer function? Every customer has their own ideas.

I don't see or hear about free Websphere applications, yet it sells fine without them.


  1. These don't have to be full blown apps and they shouldn't be. They need to be useful tools that tell a good story to showcase what could be done.
    IBM are selling a development system, so people need to see what can be developed.
    And there is part of the problem, IBM sell Notes as Email, when Hannover was introduced it was all about email. One other template got a makeover and none since then.
    Also, Connections is a product not an app. It's built as a specific solution to be sold with a certain vision in mind.

  2. Wayne, Full apps are debatable. Are Sidebar apps full apps? If they do what you want is that enough?
    From my perspective IBM is maybe selling a development system or maybe a workflow system or maybe a communication system, and this is the discussion which has been going on.
    What defines a product versus an application? Connections to me is just a large application, it happens to be a product of IBM, but it is an application.

  3. WebSphere Commerce Server ships with a number of "starter stores". WebSphere Portal ? Connections ?.

    These are the apps.

    Not only that but the standards based app server architecture means that the customer could install another portal server on WAS. I'm pretty sure that behind every WAS sales there is some app (customer created, IBM or other) that is driving the sale.

  4. "maybe selling a development system or maybe a workflow system or maybe a communication system,"

    I needed to get away and think about this. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but the impression I'm getting is that Notes just happens to get sold if the salesman is providing a solution that happens to include Notes in its infrastructure.
    And if something needs to be built, the go to system is websphere not notes. If that's the case, then how are new customers ever going to find out about Notes unless they are looking for an email system, in which case the development side of notes isn't even a consideration. Anyway I digress.
    To me a product is something in the IBM product catalog that has a price and some requires configuration only, not building.
    How often do you end up selling notes as a development platform?

  5. @Tony, agreed, there is an app behind every was sale. To be fair, commerce server is huge money it damn well should come with something.

  6. @Wayne, I believe your theory is correct. We don't get into too many places NOT using Lotus to say would you like Ideajam as an example.
    Maybe this is our shortcoming, but we dig our own trenches.
    Your last point, never. We don't sell solutions that involve development. It's not a place we thrive. Could we? Sure, Do we? Rarely.
    I do provide many choices to clients on possible applications when it comes to Lotus but to be honest many clients have an in house development team and unless we "own" an app, they can get it elsewhere and like to go to the source.
    It's a business decision for us and self fulfilling prophecy since we focus on infrastructure.
    With clients budgets opening up we are now talking about apps finally with some people and we will see where that goes.
    We do some dev work around Quickr though which has been interesting.

  7. Keith, thanks for that info. I'm seeing parallels with two old Microsoft tools, FoxPro and MS SQL server.
    FoxPro was what I used before I got into Notes Development. It is an exceptional environment to work in but MS would never update the look and feel of the product. Nor would they market it. The argument was, not enough companies buy it to support the marketing investment. They stopped development at version 9 and portions of it has now surfaced as LINQ in the .NET languages.
    There were lots of theories why, but one train of thought was Fox too good. I could and did write apps that performed well without SQL server and the normal heaping of VB coding. These were certainly easier to maintain also. A plus for me, a minus for MS who didn't get the higher revenue SQL Server sale.
    So here I am 15 years on using a tool that is an excellent operating environment, simple to maintain but is not being updated (LS and Client interface) and seemingly not being marketed (as a dev tool).
    This cuts to the heart of Jonvons post.
    IBM doesn't market Notes as a development platform.