Friday, December 19, 2008


Why end users don't know the power of Lotus Notes

What a great Taking Notes Podcast from Bruce and Tom speaking with Getting Things Done author David Allen and eProductivity specialist Eric Mack!
Half way through, David makes a point and drives it home like no one I've ever heard on how amazed he is about the lack of respect Lotus Notes gets from end users. I'll offer up some opinions on this. David trys to understand why end users don't know the power the have in their hands. One reason for this, I've found, is that IT folks are not keen on feeding an end user freenzy. They fear the end user application that will grow and need the IT resources to support it. IT resources/costs are watched like no other. We lock down the end users from adding new databases to our servers which limits their ability to collaborate to the magnitude that David envisions. Tools like QuickPlace have emerged for that purpose.

Here's another one: Has an IT executive ever been fired for recommending a Microsoft solution? On the other side of that. People who push alt-Microsoft technologies are taking a risk.

One last thought related to the expanding adoption of Notes overall. The pool of resources available for supporting Lotus Notes is small and getting smaller. Management has little choice but to move to other technologies because they can't find resources for Notes.

Wish I were going to Lotusphere to see the GTD session. I'd love to do some real world Lunch and Learns with my end users. With exception of unleashing the Wild, Wild West of applications. :)

Excellent post, Curt. Hopefully, we can reach out to end users directly and help them in spite of management.

great post;-)

Last year, prior to LS08, Duffbert and I spun up a website on evangelizing Lotus Notes/Domino. Then, we hosted a BoF on the same topic. I bring this up because we need to do more evangelizing within our organizations. You know the real decision makers in your office. You know Lotus Notes/Domino. What you need to do is to reach out to those people and make their jobs better/easier using your investment in Notes/Domino.

It isn't easy and will probably take some time, but the benefits aren't just for your organization. You get to be known as someone who can get things done. And if you mask the conversation in generalities, the users won't know or care that you developed something in Notes/Domino, just that their work got easier and the organization made some money.

Nice post.
Thanks, excellent podcast.
I've made a career out of helping end users and living outside the "Big" system. I don't see this work drying up anytime soon although I'm often told the big answer is coming soon. Someday never comes. :)
A feel I've done that to the extent that I can without being a jerk or being inflexible. I'm sure the end users/business folks will complain if new directions don't improve their processes. Even so, the balance appears a bit over weighted to the dark side at times.
In many ways, this is another example of how one of Lotus Notes' greatest strengths turns out to harm the overall reputation of Notes-based applications. The huge Oracle, SAP or even Microsoft application that is implemented usually has so much buy-in from senior management that it is in EVERYONE's best interest to ensure that the project succeeds. Often times these projects take months or even years to complete and hundreds of thousands of dollars ... or even millions of dollars to implement. So when they succeed, even marginally, it is in everyone's best interest to talk about how great everything turned out.

With Notes-based applications, it is often the case where there was little if any senior management buy-in, the application was built relatively quickly and implemented without a lot of fanfare. (If there is no senior manager able to take credit for it, did it really succeed?) :-)

As for the question about an IT manager getting fired for implementing a Microsoft product goes, I would have to say the answer is "yes". But this was mostly in the early days of Microsoft moving into the Corporate world. Those were also the days when everyone said: "No one gets fired for implementing an IBM solution."
Ditto, I've absolutely experienced this flying under the radar effect. It's frustrating at times but then again the users gave me two awards this year for a job well done. :)
Guys, don't you think that you should look from the other angle? What needs to get through is the 'GTD' idea. Then LN being the best tool for GTD is just a simple consequence. I'm too tired to elaborate..but I hope you know what I mean.
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