"Nice legs, shame about the face"

As I sit in a very large, microsoft-obsessed customer, I ponder my future. It'd be nice to continue being a pure Domino guy - its what I know, its what I do, and to a certain extent, its how I think. But. Well.

I could repeat myself and state the obvious. Lotus Notes is no longer considered 'sexy'. The complete and utter lack of any form of marketing here in the UK (neglecting the famous 74 boards at Heathrow Terminal 5 - the BA terminal - in the middle of a BA strike) means that most CEO's consider it legacy. And as we all know in enterprise software terms, when the big customers consider something legacy, its a different game.

The crying shame is that 8.5.2 is now the most amazing piece of client and server software. Most of the horrible UI has been eradicated by the work of the UI design team, it does amazing things, it runs forever, is highly secure and very reliable. Hence, 'nice legs, shame about the face'.

In fact, if it were called 'Google Wave', it'd dominate the world. But its not. And it doesn't.

So we are left with a diminishing pool of very loyal customers who still gain great advantage from the platform. These are characterised as customers who dont slavishly follow the analysts, but make their own decisions. Good for them.

IBM might actually shock us all and actually persuade each of their country bases to invest in the product from a marketing perspective. I just came back from NLLUG in the netherlands, and saw a very committed group of BP's being actively supported by IBM I wish them every luck.

Here in the UK? Well. Its not for the want of the local Lotus folks trying *everything*. And I mean everything. But were now at the stage where many enterprise-level deployments are approaching 'care and maintenance' level. Once-enterprise environments are now being shrank down to support individual applications.

Look at Philips. I had the joy and pleasure of working there from 1995 to around 2003, putting in the largest single deployment of Notes (at that stage). And it was a roaring success. Since then, HP have finally managed to move their mail from Notes to Exchange. From 135 physical boxes supporting 120k users to god-knows how many Exchange boxes, which seem to always be running out of disk space. A long, painful, horrible migration experience. 

Lets not forget the applications they had. I believe that they've now bitten the bullet and have decided to upgrade their servers from 6.5 to 8.5. This indicates that there's no practical way of migrating all their business-critical applications from the Lotus platform.

Whilst it rather vindicates our case, it does leave a bad taste in the mouth. The CIO who wanted change and promised a smooth (it wasnt!), cost effective (I doubt it!), fast (how many years ? 4?) mail migration has probably long departed the scene leaving them with an expensive, fragile, unreliable and insecure mail system, as well as the hassle of supporting multiple authentication directories. Nice work, that man!

So where are we now ? IBM, despite hints otherwise, point blank to invest in actually marketing their best product. Their global services seem to make huge money pointlessly migrating folks to and from the platform. So lets assume that nothing will change (as indeed it hasnt changed here in the UK for 10 years).

It leaves us in the position where the remaining customers will continue to make gains by leveraging their platform. Where some customers may decide to go cloud (and all the fun+games that entails), others may choose to let their notes application base slide into care and maintenance.

What this means for their beleagured operations departments is that they now have a complex, multi-authentication, multi-directory problem in their hands.. One quite frankly they'd rather not want.

This is where we step in, helping automate and delegate all the complex management and service operations associated with running a Domino infrastructure. We've already connected to Oracle ID manager, Active directory, BlackBerry Enterprise servers and others. In some cases, Domino 'pushes' changes to the other environments, In other cases, it acts as a 'slave' to the other directory.

We're trying to get API's from Lotus so we can make LotusLive yet another directory we can manage. They've done an amazing job getting that up and running and really offer a new perspective regarding on-premises and cloud infrastructures. They've not got around to making the API's public however. If they do, we'll be there.

 So heres the deal. If your an IT person having to support multiple directories, and you want to make your life significantly easier - go check us out. We've over at http://www.hadsl.com. We guarantee that we can help you save time, hassle, costs. Allow you to reallocate those experienced folks to something slightly more constructive than sorting out user service operations.