Monday, May 11, 2009

I don't have a dog in this fight: Lotus Marketing

**The comments, views and opinions in this blog post are mine and mine alone. They do not in any way, shape or form represent the company that I work for. Period. It is my opinion**

Once again coming up for air from my self-imposed blogging break. For the past couple of months since coming back from Lotusphere, I've been heads down in migrating users from Microsoft Exchange to Lotus Notes. Or as I've been calling it , Digital Moses duty. Guiding people to the promised land of communication and collaboration! Sounds all nice and flowery that way, doesn't it.
Over the past couple of weeks, I've been noticing the increasing wave of peppered blog posts and heated comment-thread debates about Lotus and how well it does or does not do with marketing it's products to the world. But one thing that I've notice from the blogs and comments are it's either an IBM employee or business partner driving the discussion/debate. Maybe I've missed it but, I haven't seen a lot of names that are customers. It's either someone who is either responsible for or gets paid by someone that is responsible for selling the Lotus product line and services related to such. Where are the other voices?

Well, here is a voice of a Domino Administrator that works at a company that is a customer.
Dear Lotus and the IBM Over-Lords,
Your marketing stinks, and here's why.

Last week the email went out about the "Smart World" campaign. Great idea and looks cool, but, the people I work for don't go to YouTube to look at products and make capital spending decisions. They don't follow Twitter or Linkedin to see what's going on either.
My company has for the most part, relied upon old-school face to face visits from vendors to hear about what is going on in the market place and what their software can do for them. They also learn about things from the vendors because they stop by all the time and see what's going on with us and how their software can help fill in any gaps. For example, one software vendor we have and that will remain nameless is here all the time. Literally. And it's not Microsoft. And it's their messaging and collaboration package that I fear is probably more of a threat to us loosing Domino then Microsoft is. But it doesn't matter to me in the end. I'll still have a job. I love using the Lotus product line, would love to see us move into using Quickr, but is that my job to be that salesperson? Or to forward a link to a YouTube video?
That stuff is all great and flashy, but the value of face-to-face communication should not be overlooked.
Like I stated in the blog title, "I don't have a dog in this fight". Well...I don't.
But from the customer viewpoint, I don't think the word is getting to the people who need to hear it.

Just my opinion.


Curt said...

I'm in your camp. It's difficult from our end championing one vendor vs. another. I wish Lotus was being pushed down from management but it's not. It's not my problem. I'm at the point where I work on what the man wants me to work on.

Thomas "Duffbert" Duff said...

FWIW... I'm also the "customer" view here. I don't work for Lotus, and I don't work for a business partner. I work for a company that has used Lotus products for many years, and is now moving towards Microsoft solutions...

Andy Donaldson said...

Thanks guys for adding to this. Glad to know I'm not alone on this.

Anonymous said...

Andy ... I am not sure what you mean by the above. Lotus has tried to reach out to your org several times to no avail. A rep can only call on a customer so many times when constantly getting ignored or told no.

Andy Donaldson said...

@Anonymous - This wasn't a post to say that the local group hasn't recently been engaged with me to get out here. They have and will now that our big company wide migration project is out of the way. But in the past, there were times when I would hear from NO ONE. Lotus or business partner, looking to see what they can do to get their foot in the door here more then they have. Hearing all of these posts lately coming from BP's and IBM people just made me think that the lone admin or developer out there that feels left out of this conversation and see it from their perspective. It's clear that you know me, so please feel free to reach out to me personally and let me know what you tried and who you tried to talk to. I just see a YouTube channel and think that here, there are never going to take that seriously here.

Jo Ann said...

Hi Andy.
Same boat as you and Duffbert. Just a plain old customer. Here, Notes is seen as a legacy app. Management seems to be waiting on the next new and hip thing to replace "my" Notes CRM apps. So far, nothing tops Notes Replication and offline work. But, we have Oracle Financial replacing our mainframe billing system and Oracle's CRM has been looked into. I'm trying hard to keep Notes here, but I am one small voice.

Darren Duke said...

Great post Andy. Good to have an actual customers input. Your not alone, we have customers from 2 people all the way to really, really big ones.

The problem is the churn, both in IBM internal personnel and via BP mergers (a big BP eats a little BP and the customer gets pissed because the service now sucks). We come across literally 100's of companies that have never been touched by IBM or BP in years. In fact we've done a tidy business servicing these customers and extending their value.

But it is difficult to touch everyone, every "x" days/months/years but we are working with IBM to touch as many as we can.

It is also region based. The SE USA is a bit like the Silicon Valley for Lotus, with STS (my company), Jimmy over at Lotus911 and a few other players in Atlanta. Even with all of this coverage down here we have a hard time getting to everyone.

I will say to anyone interested reach out to me, lets see if we can't pull some strings in your area and start pushing some face time, either with a qualified BP, IBM or both.

We are here to help you and you guys are the most important part of the equation.