What is the future of Lotus Notes? Will it compete with other technologies?

Mat Newman  August 8 2011 19:34:45
There's a healthy discussion going on over on Linkedin regarding the future of Lotus Notes.  A lot of the discussion revolves around email, which is a misguided and poor perception of the platform.  I enclose my comment here because I wanted to share my thoughts with a wider audience:

"It's simple. If you have apps that are "Modern" (ie: Functional and NOT Ugly!), if you are on a version of Notes that is even partially current (less than 2 years old) you have a social platform, if your IT manager is NOT a Microsoft biggot who is not prepared to look at anything other than MS solutions, there is DEFINITELY room for Notes in your organisation. Today I demonstrated a stellar MODERN Lotus Notes implementation to a start-up that had already implemented Exchange and Sharepoint. They are dumping it (within 6 months of purchase and implementation) for Lotus Notes. Lotus Notes/Domino IS the superior technology. Given the right environment it will thrive, and your users love it. Put it in the "Email" category and restrict it's social capabilities and your IT managers will kill it in favour of other technology and your users not understand how powerful it is. Like I said ... It's that Simple. "

Original Discussion thread

Honestly, if it has to "compete", at least compare apples with apples, which means, Microsoft Active Directory + Microsoft Internet Information Server + Microsoft SQL Server + Microsoft Sharepoint Server + Microsoft Echange Server + Microsoft Project Server + Microsoft Lync Server + Microsoft Outlook + Microsoft One-Note + ... + ... + ... vs Notes/Domino.  Hmmmm. TCO anyone?

Final note: If you look at Lotus Notes as "just" email, then the future of Notes is already sealed and other "Email" technologies will always be under consideration.  Look at Lotus Notes/Domino as the powerful, integrated, replicated, available-anywhere with 99.99999999999% up-time platform that it IS, and it's future will never come into question.  Visualise, Virtualise or Vaporise, IBM Lotus Notes and Domino is THE best platform for on-prem, hybrid or pure-cloud.


1Keith Brooks  08/09/2011 1:54:52  
What is the future of Lotus Notes? Will it compete with other technologies?

I hadn't seen that thread been a bit busy last week.

Here are my comments as posted there:

What can I say that others have not?

The problem is not IBM Marketing entirely, the problem I believe is us. The admins and the devs who support the infrastructure or build the apps.

WE are not doing enough internal marketing to help our jobs, causes or organizations.

How often do you sit with the exec/partner/LOB Manager and go over the uptime? The # of sales added daily, weekly or monthly?

How many logind/users added content to discussions, wikis, blogs?

How many expense claims were filed? How many vacation approvals submitted?

How many mails processed or spam blocked or whatever you can get your hands on that is relevant.

Provide the stats, let your execs and their bosses understand know what is at stake, how important it all is to the business.

When you do this, and no other IT group does, guess who looks better and is remembered for it.

I wrote this blog piece after The View Admin 2011 conference last month when I discussed these ideas with the attendees.

{ Link }

2Brian Vincent  02/01/2012 10:11:26  
What is the future of Lotus Notes? Will it compete with other technologies?

My personal assessment is that IBM has three major problems, and they need to simplify Notes and reboot it soon.

1) Email: Even though you and I know that Notes is far more than mail, for many users, including executives, the primary role of Notes is email. IBM misses and obvious opportunity here by not insuring the best email experience known. While Notes 8 made the interface pretty it did so by adding the overhead of an eclipse shell, which takes an eternity to load, and operates sluggishly. Notes 8 madee usability improvements, but it still quirky. While developers know how to leverage Notes mail, most muggles don't and they don't want to take a damn training class to learn, they just want email to be quick, painless, and easy.

2) Development complexity: IBM focused too hard on using Notes as a vehicle to get customers to eclipse and other IBM brainstorms, a decade ago they tried to replace notes with "workplace," now they've literally spliced eclipse and other vastly alien products with Notes. Now the development process is a hodge podge of different languages and paradigms that are not in harmony, creating hidden gotchas alienating developers, and lengthening development cycles. Example: When 8.5 came out I asked IBM why the eclipse plug in tool was not part of designer nor did it work like designer, they responded that they envisioned the plug in system to be operated by a different person than the notes developer!?! Like IT managers everywhere were just going to add personnel.

4) Licensing: I normally let the folks in accounting pay the bills but recently a non profit I volunteer for was in need of an application and email platform. I surfed to IBM for Notes pricing, and was schooled. What cost a couple grand a few years ago now is tens of thousands in "PVU's." Given their are package deals, and multi page white papers that will numb your brain while claiming a low TCO. But after being sticker shocked and glazed suddenly development intensive drupal, or a hosted sharepoint start to look attractive.

Notes is not dead yet, nor does it deserve to die. Even the development concepts of .net and adobe air have roots in Notes dna. But Notes is losing its own dna with IBMs unfocused development of the product.

IBM needs to focus on and leverage the main reasons customers originally bought Notes. 1) Quick and easy collaboration for all. 2) Amazingly powerful development capabilities that can be developed far quicker than other platforms for less cost. 3) Low cost of ownership. If a nimble, harmonious, cheap product hits the shelves, notes could survive for decades to come.

3Sam S  02/01/2012 13:33:16  
What is the future of Lotus Notes? Will it compete with other technologies?


1. Agree - although 8.5.2 and 8.5.3 are a lot better as far as overhead and usability go.

4. IBM licensing has been simplified significantly. Your best bet in regards to getting pricing is to get a hold of a business partner who 1) will know what the best option for you is [probably not PVU licensing], 2) will know what "plays" are currently running/when a good time to buy is, and 3) ensure things like customer type are taken into account. I would be very surprised if a BP recommended tens of thousands of dollars for a small non-profit. [I will concede that IBM doesn't give stuff away to non-profits like Microsoft does through techsoup - for a small administrative fee, of course]

Additionally, IBM Smart Cloud for Social Business [the product formerly known as Lotus Live] is, in essence, Lotus Notes/Domino in the cloud with a low per user price. I suspect that it would compare well with a hosted sharepoint+exchange offering.


4Adam L.  10/05/2012 10:08:22  
What is the future of Lotus Notes? Will it compete with other technologies?

Number of comments mean something, correct?

I have been using, supporting, implementing, upgrading and developing Domino/Notes since 4.5, with varying intensity as part of my broad IT experience. I used to like it. I used to hate it, too. What prevails now, is the feeling of it being unfit for the purpose it is used. Others do email, calendar, mobile access better, faster and cheaper. Guess which platform's mobile client is always cumbersome and failing? ActiveSync? GMail? Nah, it's Traveler and those b*heads in Lotus must know about this. Guess who charges server per processor and then client per seat, and whose licensing plans are incomprehensible for but the most specialized admin? Oh yes. Guess who's never provided any range, platform, community to share, offer or solicit development works like templates? Yours dearly IBM. Whose product requires special backup agents, special AV software, special everything? Right. Lotus become in collaboration platform what Novell was in networking: a pioneer whose time got over.

Sorry Lotus, nothing personal, but on our next plans review seems you're not going to make it over again...

5Michal Puzanov  11/13/2012 3:00:40  
What is the future of Lotus Notes? Will it compete with other technologies?

I think the biggest problem in UK is to find Lotus Notes professionals. There significantly less Lotus Notes trained staff than Microsoft staff, it leads to difficulty for customers to find right people, and in the end they hire person who can work with PHP and once heard about Lotus Notes. If you want to be good lotus notes programmer you need to know a lot, but salary is far from top .Net or Java programmer, that is why quality programmers looking for better salary and better opportunity on market and they leave their position for less experienced staff, which produce less quality in application, which brings less satisfaction for employers and finally less use of Lotus Notes :-), therefore Lotus Notes is going to die.

6wayne  12/05/2012 6:26:06  
What is the future of Lotus Notes? Will it compete with other technologies?

i think it's prophetic that a search for 'domino' on job sites always seems to return a handful of pizza delivery jobs.

7Ian Midgley  01/02/2013 10:09:03  
What is the future of Lotus Notes? Will it compete with other technologies?

I started with Notes 4.5 and have been watching with sadness ever since. Even back then in 1996 most corporates were standardising on MS Office and Outlook was the de facto email client. We suggested back then that Notes needed to support Outlook as a client. It never really did so Exchange took over. We are in a similar position now with Sharepoint. SP 2010 is finally looking very good out of the box so that most people can do 80% of what they want with it by just using the web interface. That will be the final blow for Notes (sorry Domino, whatever). Now what I would like to see is for Domino to be able to be used to create productivity apps that can be surfaced in SP as web parts. That way it might just keep a foot in the door. Otherwise, it's a gonna.

8Ronald  03/26/2013 13:48:41  
What is the future of Lotus Notes? Will it compete with other technologies?

I have been developing applications in Lotus Notes for over 15 years, and the biggest lesson I have learnt is the misconception that others have of the product.

Secondly, what saddens me about IBM input into the current version (8.5) is that most of its new features are quite unnecessary. This platform has become more unstable than prior versions.

I actually continue to design all of my apps in v 7.

An ideal marketing campaign from IBM would be to re brand the R7 version, and definitely leave eclipse out of it.

When Lotus Notes is used for what it was always meant for in the first place, then all misconceptions will disappear.

9Steven Podrouzek  11/14/2013 20:36:10  
What is the future of Lotus Notes? Will it compete with other technologies?

Been developing applications on domino for over 12 years. Domino 9 is excellent.

But clients seem to have this idea that IBM Domino/Notes is dead?!

I really dunno why. A client even said that he heard that IBM themselves use Outlook and Exchange?!

I will continue to use Domino and learn the tools available, java, Eclipse, xpages, bootstrap, JQuery, Dojo, and so on. They will always be useful to know in the future.

IBM can do much better in promoting there excellent products.

10Neil Greenberg  08/09/2014 1:49:19  
What is the future of Lotus Notes? Will it compete with other technologies?

Question: In the late 1990's my University set me up with Notes to provide websites for students in my classes. Since then it has grown to MANY interlinked pages. Students and I love it, but the University says support for Lotus Notes on this campus will end soon. Can you suggest options that won't undercut what we have built up to now?

11Nate  09/15/2014 21:41:30  
What is the future of Lotus Notes? Will it compete with other technologies?

I'm not trying to be insulting here, I think there is lots of room for debate in the software world. But if you think Notes is a good piece of software you are dangerously out of touch. It is literally the worst application I have ever used, and I know more than a few people who will turn down a job offer if they find out the company uses Notes.

12Kev  10/01/2014 14:13:29  
What is the future of Lotus Notes? Will it compete with other technologies?

Been using lotus note and supporting it for over two years, and i must say its not my cup of tea. the amount of admin work required is crazy. starting from the renewal of staff .ID files, the constant corruption of bookmark files, it doesn't flow well with user profile (continous lotus note client setup for staff who constantly hop from one computer to another), when another staff need access to a particular staff emails you will need to configure the rights for that staff and emailing them the link so that it adds to there workspace etc. not to mention, multiple user share the same workspace which causes issue when another staff goes a head and remove the database from the workspace.

If i could, I would implement MS outlook / Exchange server with share points.

13Michael  12/11/2014 0:14:42  
What is the future of Lotus Notes? Will it compete with other technologies?

Mat, you're absolutley right! One has to compare....let's face it!

Microsoft Active Directory-DominoDirectory, Microsoft IIS-WebSphere,

MS SQL Server-IBM DB2, Sharepoint Server-Connections, Echange Server-Domino, Microsoft Project Server-no comparable IBM Product,

Lync Server-no comparable IBM Product, Outlook-Notes,

One-Note-no comparable IBM Product (the great thing about OneNote is that it's for free and it's great, try it!). Forgotten: Yammer-Sametime And what about Quickr, is it finally retired now? Remember 3 Years ago when IBM charged us 5000$ for a PoC and never get Quickr up and running...

And what about the DMS-Products FileNet and what's the other one again?

Anybody seen an uptime quote of 99.99999999999%? Domino runs stable, but come on, let's be serious...that's the quote of our ADS. BTW, last friday our Domino-Admins changed a policy concerning an old Proxy that retired a few years ago, afterwards no User was able to log in anymore, changed it back, didn't help, called IBM Support, said mirror each User Session, make a new Workplace with correct Parameters and throw away the old one, great thing to do for 700 Users that already had gotten the broken Policy don't you agree? What about the Notes-Client? I really don't think it's a great idea to build a client that needs 2GB RAM when nearly everybody is using Terminal Services. OK, that's the Standard- not the Basic Client. But you can't get all the other thing running with the Basic Client. We're actually trying to run the Standard Client on Citrix and it performs really bad, no chance for a Rollout unless you want only 5 Users to share a Terminalserver (TCO anyone?). What about packaging a Notes Client? Did you ever speak to these people? They need weeks to find out what to do and how. After all, they get it up and running just to find out that our config is not supported! Also the Notes-Client on Terminal Servers without Citrix is not supported! Does that make sense to you? You know that Citrix does nothing to the Notes-Client so why is it not supported without Citrix? That's weird.... After all, when I see the Notes-Client i fell like I'm back in the ninetys, the same about the applications. All the consultants that used to sell us Domino-Products are working on Outlook/Exchange/SharePoint and Lync now and they love it - that's not really funny! Why has the market share of Notes run down from 50% in 1998 to 15% in 2014? Don't tell me it's marketing, I've heard that too often and it cannot excuse these numbers, it's the product, not the marketing!

14Scott  02/01/2016 13:06:38  
What is the future of Lotus Notes? Will it compete with other technologies?

Lync Server-Sametime. Not sure why you would say "no comparable IBM Product"

Sometime free, Lync is not.

Also, Notes is still cheaper to maintain then yearly support for Exchange and Lync.

15Deepak Dubey  11/16/2016 0:31:19  
What is the future of Lotus Notes? Will it compete with other technologies?

Since 8 years , I am working as lotus domino admin but never think the end of excellent email product like that which has excellent feature (security and other advance feature at domino configuration level) compare to MS Exchange and other available product of email application. I think the reason of failing of lotus notes is that client licences cast and not properly handle by IBM as per market change . I don't think it will come again in market.

Mat Newman

THE Notes (formerly IBM/Lotus Notes) Guy. Productivity Guru. Evangelist. IBM Champion for IBM Collaboration Solutions, 2011/2012/2013. Former IBMer. HCLite. Views are my own.

#GetProductive #GetHCLNotes

Mat Newman

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