Thursday, October 21, 2010

Can you name 5 reasons why you like Outlook?

BLF stands for Prefer Outlook but I  Bluff
This is my question to you, if you say you prefer Microsoft Outlook over Lotus Notes.

So far, no one ever got past 3 reasons.

Seriously, you can't give reasons, yet you just want to get rid of Notes because of why?

I stress that I am looking for reasons that are true, not a "we heard Notes is dead" or some other Microsoft fed lines. Maybe now I can reply, really, I hear Ray Ozzie is retiring and with him goes all of Microsoft's developers, so be careful out there. He's like the pied piper, people will follow him anywhere. I know I would.

Technical reasons, even functionality reasons are acceptable. BUT, realize if you are on R6, or even R7, the problem is yours, not IBM's. IBM did it's part, they made R8 so much of what you asked for, yet you didn't upgrade for some reason. But I digress.

The ONLY thing that comes up is the ability to schedule an email to be sent in the future. And yes, it has uses, but even that can be done in Notes(with a little coding of a simple agent), set it up once and then use it forever.

Saving an email locally is possible now, natively. But to all those that demanded it, what was wrong with you printing to a PDF printer file all these years? Talk about over engineering something.

No one ever demands to use Exchange. Sad but true. Even Exchange administrators respect Domino for it's ability to stay up and keep running no matter what chaos is going around it.

So come on all you Redmond readers, hit me with it, or anyone else.

I'm bored by the usual answers, provide me with more to think about. Extra credit if you can justify the same function is available in Office 365 as it is in the outlook client.

In case you were wondering, LotusLive Notes is the Domino iNotes client and it does 95% of everything like the 32bit client.

BLF in the sign above stands for Bluff, or so the site said.


  1. Having supported several customers that use Exchange, I offer these reasons:

    1) Lower TCO

    For smaller companies, they've told me that the amount of time they need to spend administrating Exchange is almost minimal

    2) Integration with 3rd party applications

    This is painfully true as the number of ISVs that produce solutions that run on Notes/Domino now is a fraction of what it used to be in the 90's.

    3) Integration with the Microsoft stack

    Outlook works seemlessly with Office, and also Sharepoint. There is more integration with Quickr now than ever before, but it took 10 years to get to that point, while Microsoft was making this happen early on and have now co-opted a market that Lotus initially had pole-position with.

    4) Cheaper support resources

    The rate for consultants or FTEs to support Exchange, or nearly any Microsoft technology, is cheaper than IBM/Lotus equivalents

    5) Lower startup costs

    I'm not absolutely sure of this one, but from what I've heard, a Microsoft SBS server is fairly cheap and easy to set up.

    Similarly, Microsoft Exchange has always had the perception of being cheaper than Lotus Notes.

  2. - The Outlook Today view
    - Categorized inbox by different criteria
    - Multiple sender addresses
    - loads faster than Notes
    - No forgot-my-id-password hell
    - Word as editor with all familiar formatting and embedded spreadsheet
    - Can keep my eMail in folders together with my files
    - Ribbon looks like the rest of Office (2010)
    - voicemail in inbox
    - Calendar: can delegate chair
    - Calendar: Quick entry in overview
    - Calendar: My own color codes for entries / categories
    - Calendar : schedule view
    - Calendar: Multiple writeable! calendars
    - OneNote Integration

    How many more do you need.

  3. @Michael:
    1) & 5) has been proven wrong a number of times. Lotus Foundations is cheaper and faster to setup than SBS.

    4) While the hourly rate might be lower... you need more of them

    There is nothing you mentioned about the Outlook client itself in functionality (only interfaces to other software). And 4)&5) talks about Exchange which was not the question. #fail

  4. Michael,
    Thanks for those, TCO is not a function and this is VERY hard to prove against Domino and Notes on many levels. But I know this gets raised.
    Integration issues, perhaps, but if Outlook is just an email client(as so many execs point out), what client should it matter?
    Integration to MS stack, not exactly and many buts and this version. True IBM has not been any better, but again if it's just email, it damn well better integrate no?
    Cheaper support? Hardly, maybe hourly but not quantity.

  5. Thanks Stephen but I will answer Anonymous in a new post, but waiting on other comments first.
    Anon, your points, while valid in the R6 or even R7 time frame, are mostly no longer valid as Notes has them. Compare outlook 2010 to Notes 8.5.x and see hwo much catching up Microsoft did especially on security.

    Onenote? anyone uses this? Seriously wondering.

  6. I love Lotus Notes but agree with #2 anonymous post. Adding to that,

    1) the regression in not being able to scroll the month view to span months and not a lot of calendar options (like ALT 2, etc with Outlook),
    2) ability to delete a mail folder and its contents at same time,
    3) printing stinks...

    are all reasons our users give to wanting to switch to Outlook. Of course, not enough in my opinion to warrant the cost of switching.

  7. Stephan,

    Talking about Outlook without referring to Exchange is like talking about the Domino mail process without talking about the Notes client/iNotes. Who uses one without the other?

    What you're saying about Lotus Foundations is great, but what difference does it make if nobody outside of the Yellow-verse knows about it?

    Exchange has major mind-share about being a low TCO, easy to administer solution. Companies want an e-mail solution that just works. If IBM/Lotus wants to address this, then they need to do much better marketing because it doesn't appear on the radar for most IT shops.

  8. How about integration with Active Directory? I get asked that a lot

  9. I use both, but here is what I prefer about Outlook when I use it.

    Speed, Outlook feels faster.

    Flagging an email is snappy, really quick, Notes kind of chugs for a while.

    With the same screen size, I feel like I can see more emails with Outlook thanks notes.

    3rd Party integration typically appears for Outlook first.

    Works well as an inbox for different back end systems, IMAP, Exchange, POP3 etc.

    There's also plenty to hate about Outlook.

  10. You can send an email from the future in Notes (sort of). Just set an alert in a calendar entry and set it to send an email. I've done that before to remind people to do things I've asked of them in advance. :-)

  11. 1) Simpler administration and set up for users. They point outlook to their exchangne server and have everything they need - email, calendar, contacts. Poof.

    2) Easy Cached Exchange Mode set up & use.

    3) Already paid for as part of Office. Most orgs have bought office and already have client.

    4) From an Outlook/end user perspective, when used with Exchange 2010, way Way better integrated archiving - from a set up, search, and use perspective.

    5) From outlook to OWA to mobile (esp. with Exchange 2010 & Outlook 2010), it's an easy and intuitve transition - OWA & Outlook work very similarly, and just about every phone you buy works with exchagne WITHOUT add'l software.

  12. From my point of View
    1. Performance/Speed of Outlook in all areas (new mail, calendar loading, sending mail with attachment etc)is much much better.
    2. Calendar is user friendly
    3. Mail Search system
    4. Follow up creation
    5. Categorize

    Lots of areas where notes needs to improve

  13. Outlook is just a basic email client. Mail, calendar, todo's. Very easy for users to grasp. The average reading level of Americans is at a grade 7 level. This tells you all you need to know.

  14. 1) I don't use Notes for email only so I worry less about speed, but I will concede Outlook feels faster.

    2) Outlook Today view is nice for an overall look at your day when you start up. Yes, you can do it with a Home Page but it takes some work.

    3) Scrolling in the different frames is individual. In Notes, you have to click in the frame (eg. Inbox or Preview) for the mouse scroll wheel to scroll that. That is true anywhere in Notes and it is annoying.

    4) Possible to change fonts and fit more on a screen at once.

    5) Integration of archives/personal folders is far better.

  15. 1a. File > Import PST
    1b. Can set a default font for my email. Easily.

    2. Tools > Apply rules to mail already in inbox AND rules work with POP3 and IMAP accounts

    3. A) Buy 3rd party product. B) Built-in support for outlook

    4. Never having to delete the workspace folder and lose my config because IBM support itself doesn't know how to fix it.

    5. Confidence that Outlook will be around indefinitely, and not melded into some huge, complex (apparently Eclipse-based Notes is not complex enough) "vision" thing.

  16. 1. HTML support
    2. HTML support (Because it is that important))
    3. Instantly Send emails
    4. No 5-24 hour delay in Out of Office messages.
    5. Run New Rule against current Folder.
    6. Tentative Meeting status, automatically.
    7. all Meeting Attendees can invite additional attendees.
    8. Reply to all for a meeting invite.
    9. I don't have to have this silly FixNotes.bat in my startup which deletes caches and renames workspace every single time I start up just so notes has an 85% chance of opening correctly.
    10. Calendaring works.
    11. Reminders that work.
    12. Rescheduling or Deleting a meeting effects attendees calendars whether they accept the meeting change or not.
    13. Distribution Group Modification for groups on the exchange server for Group Owners in Outlook.
    14. Add CCs of an Email directly to Contacts.
    15. I know I have ran into many many for functionality problems that should work but don't

  17. Dustin, Thanks for producing a list with some good points.
    If I may address the items, some of which are a personal perspective on both our parts I think:
    1. HTML support
    2. HTML support (Because it is that important)

    In fact if you ask marketing people they will tell you NO email system does HTML well. I have worked with a few that wonder why if there is a standard, that no one sticks to them. A post for another time.

    3. Instantly Send emails
    I only send emails instantly, not sure what you mean by this. In some cases your network admins may space mail to route at intervals, but in this modern time, there are few reasons to do so. I blame your admin in this case.

    4. No 5-24 hour delay in Out of Office messages.
    When one is on vacation it matters? Yes in times of deadlines this may be an issue, but one would be prudent and let their clients/editors know they would be on vacation.

    5. Run New Rule against current Folder.
    This could go many ways. Do you refer to incoming mail rules? Existing mail to be filed? Future mails? Folder rules solely for FolderA? All of these and more can be done in Notes, but I would like to understand your point with more clarity.

    6. Tentative Meeting status, automatically.
    Like a pencil-in feature? Is this really different than autoprocess even if I have an existing meeting, which is what I do in Notes? Just wondering for clarity.

    7. all Meeting Attendees can invite additional attendees.
    This one is a security perspective which IBM sees differently from others. I can see the need, but also see why preventing it is important as well.
    end of part1, my comments section is limited evidently

  18. part2

    8. Reply to all for a meeting invite.
    Similar to #7 a perspective which I can't say I would need this, but every industry has its nuances.

    9. I don't have to have this silly FixNotes.bat in my startup which deletes caches and renames workspace every single time I start up just so notes has an 85% chance of opening correctly.
    Not sure which version you run, and some had some issues, the Lotus Notes client is self correcting, if you give it enough time to complete it's task. It's a database at work. One could argue the same problem with Firefox, IE, Chrome even Windows. It happens. Does it happen often? To some people and I would venture it is an IT support issue which if someone has the time to look into it, instead of just reinstalling something, they may resolve what the problem is, be it Java, VPN, windows anti-virus or whatever. Patience is a virtue lost in modern times.

    10. Calendaring works.
    Mine works fine, but again, your mileage may vary. More clarity perhaps?

    11. Reminders that work.
    Again mine do, so please provide more information.

    12. Rescheduling or Deleting a meeting effects attendees calendars whether they accept the meeting change or not.
    This is an option in Notes, one which some people like, others do not. Autoprocessing is great, but it is up to the individual to decide how to use it. I used it, but then was unaware of meeting content when questioned in the hallway so reverted back to seeing all invitations.

    13. Distribution Group Modification for groups on the exchange server for Group Owners in Outlook.
    I may be off on this, but Group owners can edit the groups on the server side which anyone, given access, can use. Could you elaborate?

    14. Add CCs of an Email directly to Contacts.
    It's in there since 802 I believe. Nice to have but I didn't miss it in prior versions.

    15. I know I have ran into many many for functionality problems that should work but don't
    Sorry this is the case. I could argue the same points over many MS stacks of software or anyone's. When you have someone who understands a system, no matter what it is, the people using that system will always be much better off. It happens to all of us that we upgrade something only to find out it breaks something else, Java comes to mind, but great admins know how to work around the problem, if not solve it.

    Hope your company has better admins in the future and your troubles will be few. If you need some help with your Lotus infrastructure I am happy to help.