On Thursday I met with Mark Bennett, the IT Manager for the New Zealand offices of a global organization. What’s interesting about Mark is that he comes from a very strong technical background in Microsoft and Citrix, and when he joined the Firm, he discovered a Notes shop running R5. He was horrified, and immediately started talking about an Exchange/Outlook migration. In other words, a classic default position for an IT Manager with a Microsoft background.
Fast forward a few years and he is (a) increasingly convinced of the tremendous value of Notes, (b) increasingly drawn to IBM and repelled by Microsoft, and (c) looking for ways to extend the depth and reach of Notes in the Firm.
How did this transition take place? Mark says, “A little while after I joined, I attended a wider Firm meeting where some of my new colleagues talked about the power of Notes. I kept saying to myself, ‘I didn’t know Notes could do that’. That meeting was a turning point in my appreciation of what Notes could do … and the possibilities for using Notes to Firm advantage.
The Firm is planning a roll-out of Notes 8, the use of more discussion databases, a shift to RSS-enabled news sources (as a replacement to the reliance on email), wider advocacy of the possibilities of Notes, new custom applications, and more. All of the Domino Servers run on Linux, and he’s considering the roll-out of some Linux desktops. In terms of Notes 8, Mark says, “What exactly do our people need beyond Notes 8, the inbuilt productivity editors, and a browser?” In other words, Notes 8 paves the way for a move away from both a Windows desktop and Microsoft Office.
In terms of Microsoft, he finds himself increasingly dissatisfied. Proposed solutions take too many servers, client software is attractive but less functional than Notes, and he knows that he can do things cheaper and with greater agility by looking elsewhere.
Mark says “I wouldn’t say I was ever a diehard Microsoft man; I’ve always been skeptical of its value, cost of ownership & ROI. I had just never found anything with the power or flexibility of Notes that didn’t require constant upgrades.”
When Mark took the new job, little did he know that he’d get converted to the Notes gospel and be singing from the IBM hymn book.