This is an article I could not have seen myself writing a few months ago (or perhaps even 2 weeks ago). Ever since Notes 6 was released I have been disappointed by the lack of subsequent support I have seen IBM give to Notes client development, including LotusScript. To me Notes client development has had huge potential and it was frustrating to see in slowly losing its advantage to newer technologies.
But we live in an ever-changing world in which we must continue to monitor trends and update our views to ensure they remain relevant. A couple of weeks ago I posted the first article in my "Saving Notes" series, in which I described a range of tell-tale signs that might suggest that Lotus Notes is dying within an organization. For a range of reasons Lotus Notes often looses its appeal and support within an organization resulting in a push to move away, not just from Lotus Notes, but the entire Lotus brand. Prior to Notes 4.6 there was just one brand - Lotus Notes.
Then we began to see the Domino brand added to describe servers and the server-based Web applications. Later instead of extending the Lotus Notes Teamroom template for content management we saw a new product, Lotus QuickPlace emerge. This was then followed by a range of products under the Lotus brand including Lotus SameTime and Lotus Connections. This has been confusing to many organizations where the Lotus brand often remains synonymous with the Lotus Notes client they see on their desktop every day.
As interest in collaboration, social networking, content management, and cloud computing grow, I keep seeing too many examples in which organizations are comparing the Lotus Notes client to competitor's collaboration and content management solutions such as $harepoint. The real comparison of course should be with the entire Lotus brand. So I would ask the question.... Has the Lotus Notes client reached a stage in its existence where it has begun to hamper the image of the entire Lotus brand? And, more importantly, have we now reached a point where we could or should consider life without the Lotus Notes client? Could Notes-haters have it partially right in that the future of their organizations may be without the Lotus Notes client? Is this a threat or an opportunity?
I am certainly not suggesting we go out and shoot the Lotus Notes client today! Even if we were to stop feeding Lotus Notes with new Notes client applications and took away Mail I suspect it would still live on for quite a few years yet. Even Accenture have accepted Notes must continue to have a role eight years after it moved to become Micro$soft's #1 business partner. In some organizations it may even remain just as relevant today as did ten-to-twenty years ago. But we should consider the trends in the computer industry in 2010 and the relevance they may have on the viability of a proprietary client such as Lotus Notes not just now, but over the next 5-10 years.....