Thursday, September 9, 2010

Clients leave Lotus products because of us?

Met a new client Tuesday who wants to leave Notes, they have apps and are not moving them off of Domino, so we discussed mail.

I asked why they want to leave. Failures, support, errors, network, etc..

When pushed they said they had an IT manager(I think he was really a developer from the sounds of it) who in the end, after 4 years, could not get the job done and was let go.

So I asked why they would toss out a perfectly good R7 installation because of a bad IT Manager. No real answer aside from levels of frustration reserved for Chicago Cubs fans.

I asked, if we could right the ship and bring it around and assist everyone to use the system to better capabilities would they give it another chance?

OK, I also asked what was so great about Outlook and they couldn't name anything which helps us as well.

They said they would reconsider the idea after seeing R8.5.2.

Their apps were written by the now fired IT Manager. Look to be well written so my thinking was he was a developer 1st, admin 2nd. And that rarely works out for a company for long.

He also had them hosting their Domino, which would be fine, but the latency causes at least a minute every click or refresh, that isn't cool either. Which explains why they all use local copies.

While the idea to help them onto LousLive is a good one, and will save them money from their host, we have a lot to clean up in security, ACLs, ID files(they don't have all certs and passwords for them) and move them to 852 for Traveler and performance reasons for their app server, mail and Sametime will likely go to Lotuslive.

And the application should be web written and for mobile devices and they like this idea, especially given they are dispersed across the US working from home most of them.

So why do I say clients will leave because of us? Because there are those out there that can not admit what they do not know to clients or customers and that in turn hurts all of us. Know your limitations and tell your clients, they will love you all the more, although may bring in someone else to handle something. But that is ok, because if it is out of your comfort zones, you should not go there to begin with. To lie to your customer and tell them you can handle something you can't sets you and your business up to fail usually. Plus if you end up calling someone like us to help you, the cost is much higher than if you brought us in to start when bidding the contract. Much higher.

My first questions to new customers is always about their existing or previous administrators because that sets the tone for our discussions and brings out any issues that may lie hidden normally, like wanting to move off the Lotus platform.

So if you have clients leaving Lotus, then what did you do or not do to assist it?


  1. Hello, nice post.

    Today I read a below line from before reading your post.

    "It's like the old need a house to get a job - need a job to get a house thing."

    What i mean is, "Clients leaving because of Us, we are leaving because of no (new) Clients".

    You had mentioned that convinced the client with capabilities of "LotusLive".

    What is LotusLive? Is there any space for LotusNotes/Domino developers If we learn/know about the same.

  2. You got a point. I hear customers tell me that other consultants have told them that what they needed was not possible to do in Notes/Domino. And I learned that unskilled consultants say so when they have no idea. Man, they have destroyed a lot of opportunities for us and the customers.
    Difference with Microsoft consultants is that they say everything is possible, even if it is not. Then they charge a lot to reach half the way. And strangely the customer is so happy just to have the Microsoft label on it. Well not all...

  3. @Sreedhar go to and read more. It is all about IBM's Lotus products in the cloud.
    Developers on Lotuslive is a touchy subject right now, but if you have an app that can be used in an SaaS option or from the Cloud, IBM would like to hear from you.

    @Fredrik That was my point. And yes, I dislike MS consultants

  4. We've had a Lotus install since 1990 starting with Notes 3.5, I think. 80% of the company has been, and always been only Notes users.

    The 20% is a new crop of users coming in, belly aching about how awful Notes is compared to Outlook, and how their clients pick on them for using Notes. Btw, everyone is running at least 7.0.2, and we've been rolling out 8.5.1 for the last six months or so.

    Sadly, the ones crying loudly, also hold some purse strings. Luckily, it's not cheap to go to Exchange, and that's the only thing we've got going for us.

  5. @Anon, Suggest you get these VIPs on 8.5.2 and get them up to speed on how to leverage their client and sidebar apps, mobile life and the web. Outlook pales in comparison and honestly I get the flack from my friends too but then few if any are technical people. The technical people wish they used Domino and Notes once they play with it.
    This is the double edged sword of Lotus Notes, too detailed for the uneducated masses, not detailed enough for the core geek people.
    But aside from the "everyone uses outlook" comment, which whether it is true or not is irrelevant when one considers the advantages and flexibility within notes and Domino that outlook and Exchange just don't have.