Domino Social Edition – Hype?

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I’ve been looking at all the hype around the Domino Social Edition and trying to understand its positioning.  Coming out of Lotusphere I saw this as a way for IBM to slow the leak.  Inevitably, lack of position in the market would lead companies to migrate away from Domino.  Mail would be first.  Applications soon after.   One of the biggest inhibitors to migrating away from Domino is how to get rid of the applicaitons.  If I can’t get rid of Notes Client than what is the real cost savings to migrating off email.

Migration of Notes is a complex endeavor.  Companies go into it because of the anti-domino sentiment that exists in a company.  They do it because they think that they are going to save money.  They believe it costs less to run an Exchange shop then it does to run an Notes shop.  They do it because they buy into the alternative.  i.e.  Sharepoint is such a great platform.  Now we could argue these points out but it wouldn’t change the fact that the world is changing quickly on us.

We’ve been working with numerous clients on a structured migration process which helps move clients through the short to long term plan based on their needs.  We provide all the critical data and guidance required for companies to make these difficult and complex decisions.  With applications its not just simply swapping out a client.

Where does the Domino Social Edition play into this?  Well, it muddies the waters a bit.  It give companies the false impression that they can now get rid of the notes client and run a light version of notes in a browser.  So, companies are now left with the impression that they don’t have to do anything with their notes applications.  Go ahead, migrate email and continue to serve up applications in a browser.

Unfortunately the Social Edition plugin is the notes basic client.  It only runs in a windows environment and runs with all the limitations of the notes basic client with some new ones.

Let me make sure that I understand the idea around this….  The Marketing spin is – Run notes in a browser.  The Reality is -You need to install (behind the scenes) a notes basic client which only runs on windows based machines (ie: no support for OSX or LINUX) and you still need to have a notes ID file.

So what have companies actually obtained.  I think that this is a great marketing pitch which helps companies stay on the platform a little longer but it muddies their longer term strategy.  It muddies the fact that companies could have started to look at better transitioning these applications to HTML5 or Xpages.  It also makes it harder for the partner community to sell these transition services to things such as Xpages.



  1. Rob Salerno  May 16, 2012

    I should have referenced Volker Webbers blog in this as a reference source ( Sorry Volker.

  2. Ed Brill  May 16, 2012

    The plug-in is a different deployment option than the Notes basic client. You do not install a separate executable on the desktop and it runs inside the same container that users are utilizing for other web applications. Saying “you need to install” isn’t correct, since the plug-in will deploy the same way as other browser plug-ins. Since the only people who have hands-on experience with it are silenced by an NDA right now, it’s conjecture to assert that it is as complicated as deploying the client itself is/was.

    I don’t feel like this muddles strategy. Every week I talk to customers who have thousands of Notes applications where there would be no ROI to transition them to HTML5 or XPages. They are simple discussions or doc libraries or teamrooms or workflow apps that have been running for a decade. What would the ROI be of doing that kind of transition? On the other hand, there are strategic apps that are core to organizations that they should absolutely transition to XPages or HTML5. The browser plug-in gets this out of having to be an all-or-nothing proposition, just to get to web-based delivery.

    • Rob Salerno  May 16, 2012

      Hi Ed. Thanks for the visit and providing some clarity.

  3. Stijn SOENS  May 16, 2012

    I understand your point of view and I have to say that this also came in mind the first time I heard about the Notes plugin. However, social edition is more than that. I think it’s also an effort from IBM to bring the Notes client inline with a more unified approach in dealing with information. Everything will blend together and the system where the info is stored becomes less relevant. Today, the Notes client is technically capable of offering that but it needs more. I really want my info surfaced and today, I don’t know any tool that can do that. Hopefully Notes and Connections next can fill that gap.
    (but I do think that IBM should make the Notes client cool; imagine a workspace that had iPad eye candy!)

  4. Richard Schwartz  May 16, 2012

    The way I figure it, the plugin approach is intended to give the customer the ability to set their own timetable. I.e., break the apps into several sets:

    – Apps that really need to migrate (because they are critical, are in need of a UI or feature overhaul, etc.)
    – Apps that should migrate, but are used by only a small group of users
    – Apps that can run in the plugin forever

    Hopefully, migrating that small number of apps in the first group, and installing the plugin for the apps in last group solves 80% of your problem. Only a small number of users have to stay on the full client because they use apps in the middle group, and those apps can eventually be migrated as time and budget allows.

    Now, obviously IBM hopes that the migration of the apps in the first group will be to XPages, and that by giving the customer a way to minimize the initial migration effort while removing a major pain point (even just 80% of it at first) I think IBM’s strategy actually might make that choice more likely.

  5. Anonymous  August 6, 2012

    Haha, this just cracks me up. I have yet to figure out why companies would ditch a perfectly stable, perfectly secure client and migrate to a client that is not controlled by Lotus but instead by Microsoft, Firefox, Google and Apple? It sure will be fun to see everyone migrate and realize that when other companies control your client, and thus break your client, that it sure was easier to just keep the Lotus Notes client up to date and working well, and thus, the move will be BACK to the client. It all comes full circle.

    And that SharePoint stuff… Please… Same issue, different client connecting every time, clients will break and apps will stop working, and someone one day will say “you know, we didn’t have these issues with Lotus Domino and the Lotus Notes client, we should just go back to that because it worked really well.”

    If Lotus would just switch to server based authentication with better tie-in to AD and ditch the ID files, then companies will stop “trying” migrate off of it.

    • Rob Salerno  August 6, 2012

      Good point. It’s seems to be a short term solution that would be prone to problems. However, the fact is migrations are happening. IBM’s lack of marketing and unwillingness to set a competitive direction against Microsoft is causing more and more clients to leave us. The only thing keeping them is the cost of migrating applications. This doesn’t stop the migration it actually allows it to happen at a quicker pace.


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