It’s all about the APPS baby....

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
This weekend, I was reading the comments in a discussion thread on Engadget about RIM's BlackBerry offering.  Many commenters were quick to showcase their stupidity and inability to spell while blasting every aspect of the BlackBerry in order to  show how much they hated RIM and how badly they wanted an iPhone or Android.

Since I'm working on productivity solutions for all three, I was trying to read between the lines of the comments to see if there were any valid arguments that I could learn from. Among the large volume of useless drivel attempting to pass for comments, one commenter had this to say:


His concise statement summed up much of what many in the discussion thread were trying to communicate.

Do you agree? Is it all about the Apps?  

If so, what are the implications for Lotus Notes in light of recent discussions around an App Catalog or an App store for Lotus Notes?

Discussion/Comments (8):

Bruce Elgort ( 8/3/2010 4:42:20 PM
You need to also include sexy, shiny and new

If it's about the apps I surely don't see that many ISVs out there. You need to also include sexy shiny and new.


Patrick Picard (): 8/3/2010 4:42:53 PM
it sure is. (About the Apps)

I'm about to dump my work provided BB (locked down, cant install app unless vetted by god...eye roll) for either a milestone or iPhone 4.

I got the chance to play with a milestone this weekend and quite enjoyed it.

Eric Mack ( 8/3/2010 4:44:33 PM
re: You need to also include sexy, shiny and new

Ok, Bruce, I will grant you that.

When it comes to mobile devices, I think that for most people, function follows form. Show me a sexy, shiny app and I'll want to use it (or at least try it). I think people consider their mobile devices theres - even when company provided.

As far as Notes, I think part of the problem is that few people apart from myself, David Allen, and our happy eProductivity customers perceive Lotus Notes to be their personal tool. What's more, with a dearth of shiny new Notes Apps, there's little reason for them to have that perspective. That's why Apps (yes, even shiny ones) are so important).

Keith Brooks ( 8/3/2010 5:45:08 PM
Apps for consumers maybe

Corporate people also like shiny, but they require functionality and security over shiny.

Consumers can live with mixed functionality usually.

Would more consumer apps help Notes? Not likely unless the client is majorly changed or if solely web based or device based, it still would need to be consumer driven and really something useful.

Given what I have seen on iphones, yes some of those apps could be done in Domino, but would it be better? Don't know, what Lotus apps for Domino are out there do not involve quickr, sametime, connections or notes itself.

Eric Mack ( 8/3/2010 6:33:20 PM
Corporate users need FUNCTIONAL and SHINY

Keith, to build on my comment to Bruce, I think most consumers may look at form over function, while most corporate users (at least those purchasing) look at function first. That's a generalization, of course. Even corporate types will gravitate to new and shiny, given the chance. Just look at what's going on at the desktop. After the shininess wears off, it all comes back to the function. How many Apps have been purchased for iPhone or Android that are still in regular use 30 days later?

One of the things I've learned selling eProductivity is that our customers prefer function. How do I know that? I hear from people who complain that we do not yet use the new Java views in eProductivity. (The reason is that the Java PIM functions are slow and unreliable at this time and we chose to go for speed and reliability). I usually reach out to these people with a challenge. I'll give you an extended evaluation key and all I ask is that you try the application for 30 days. After 2-3 weeks, I call them and ask if they would prefer to remove eProductivity in favor of the shiny Notes 8 Java views. Not one person has told me they would choose the shininess of the Java views over the performance get get from eProductivity. So, at least in that demographic, they choose functionality over shiny.

To your point about the add-ons. There are other add-ons (e.g. SameTime, Quickr, Connections) that do add shiny and functional aspects and they are thriving. I wonder what else we can do in Notes to add shiny and functionality that touches the end-user? (I'm deliberately excluding all of the shiny goodness designed for Admins, like DAOS, etc.)

Giulio (): 8/3/2010 10:09:28 PM
Yeah the apps, but IBM aren’t talking about it..

This is an old religious Lotus Notes topic now repeating itself throughout the BlackBerry world. Eric, if you think the following is overly critical, I am happy for you (or anyone) to set me straight, but I only call it how I see it.

The LotusKnows campaign highlights the current strategic direction IBM is taking Lotus. Email/Calendaring and *YAWN* meetings. Apps no where to be seen.

Here in Australia some big players recently, (Westpac/Qantas/AMP), are making best speed to migrate from Lotus, starting with email. Also, note that LotusLive is no where to be seen in their future either.

So, why would large organisations go through this tectonic shift in their application platform ?

Well, what isn't helping are reports from paid independent analysts, saying IBM don't consider Lotus Notes a rapid application development platform anymore. Supporting the analysts' argument is the omission of Apps from LotusKnows.

It's really mind boggling to watch, I think IBM is in panic mode as they seem to be prepared to sacrifice other strengths of the product suite to hold market share. When, in fact it has only strengthened the competitors' case in a tough market.

So all well and good to talk about new shiny/sexy apps, but if the vendor ain't talking about it, then what do you think customers are thinking ? In fact we already know simply by observing where their cash is going.

Eric Mack ( 8/3/2010 10:28:42 PM
re: Yeah the apps, but IBM aren’t talking about it..

Giulio, yes, these are tired topics and ones that have been discussed for some time in the form of Apps and the "Nifty 50" from way back when. You raise some excellent points and I know many people would love to read something from Lotus about it's position on this. In the absence of any official statement, all we can do is make observations as you have done based on the publicly visible actions of the company. I know a great many IBMers read this blog but I would imagine have been asked to refrain from commenting on topics that could indicate a future direction for the Lotus product. That's probably something that needs to come from Ed or Kevin.
In any case, despite where this discussion may be leading, my original intent in blogging was to share my observation from what I saw over on Engadget and how in the midst of all of the noise one commenter got clear about Apps. I'm fine to take this discussion wherever it goes. I'm sure we will all learn much. Thanks for your astute observation and comments!

Henning Heinz (): 8/4/2010 2:05:49 AM
It’s all about the APPS baby....

I have never ever heard from IBM that there is a problem with IBM Lotus Notes and Domino. All I heard was that IBM Lotus Notes and Domino is doing fine and has been doing so for many years (since 2004 to be more precise).

So if I assume this is true there is little need for any change and neither Ed Brill nor Kevin Cavanaugh have to confirm anything.

If the vendor says there is no problem why is it that people still assume that change is needed!?

Apps are an important part of Lotus Notes and Domino but at first IBM would need to bring more value to the core product. With that I mean update all included templates and maybe also add some more. If you have a solid foundation you could very well extend it with an app store.

If the basic package is already powerful people will be tempted to add more value to this platform. If the basic package is of low functionality you could take any other platform too.

I currently see Microsoft being very successful here with their Dynamics package. If you own CRM and ERP and add Collaboration you are sitting in the core of a company.

Discussion for this entry is now closed.