Lotus - Integrating with Web 2.0 in Lotus Connections is just the tip of the iceberg

February 16 2008


I would like to ask Lotus to please rewrite their "How we integrate with Web 2.0" strategy. The current one sucks.

Let me explain. Many people have been asking Lotus what they are going to do to fix the fact that none of the public websites in the web 2.0 world support Notes. What do I mean? Let's do a little test:

1. Go to your favorite Web 2.0 site. Pick any. Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo, WorldMate Live, Upcoming.com. You could also try Ticketmaster or LiveNation ... not very Web 2.0 but still frequently used sites.
2. Go to the Invite page.
3. Look for the section where you can import from your address book. They probably will have a Gmail, Yahoo, MSN, and maybe AOL web mail. Ignore that. Look for the corporate email supported. What do you see?

I bet you see Outlook. Here is what I found:

Facebook:

Image:Lotus - Integrating with Web 2.0 in Lotus Connections is just the tip of the iceberg

LinkedIn:

Image:Lotus - Integrating with Web 2.0 in Lotus Connections is just the tip of the iceberg

oh, and look at this ...

Image:Lotus - Integrating with Web 2.0 in Lotus Connections is just the tip of the iceberg
They have an Outlook Toolbar add-in.

Plaxo:

Image:Lotus - Integrating with Web 2.0 in Lotus Connections is just the tip of the iceberg

WorldMate Live:

Image:Lotus - Integrating with Web 2.0 in Lotus Connections is just the tip of the iceberg

LiveNation:

Image:Lotus - Integrating with Web 2.0 in Lotus Connections is just the tip of the iceberg

I could have also selected OpenTable.com, DiningIn.com, Dopplr, and loads of other sites I use on a day to day basis. Sigh.

When asked about this at Lotusphere, the answer was "Oh, we will integrate Lotus Connections with Facebook friends, Yahoo Answers, and more." When I dug into this ... it looks like those are just basic plug-ins. Nothing fancy.

People wonder why those outside the Lotus community are in shock when they see Notes and other Lotus software still having a significant role in the marketplace. If Lotus would go out and work with those folks, get them to support Notes and put that support side-by-side with the Outlook support, our lives as Lotus evangelists would be so much easier! Oh, and IBM still needs to fix the calendar issues and ical support (not talking about the subscriptions stuff shown at Lotusphere) that I talked about here. 801 is coming and no progress on that. :(

Please Lotus ... fix this. You have to reach out to these companies. Show them how to build Notes 8 Plug-ins (toolbars and Sidebar), You need to get them to build address book and calendar connectors. YOU have to go to them and evangelize. It will pay off in tenfold.

5 Responses to “Lotus - Integrating with Web 2.0 in Lotus Connections is just the tip of the iceberg”

  1. 1) Duffbert says:

    I'll second that call to action... nice post, John

  2. 2) Jim says:

    John,

    Nice post and right on target. What is also important to note is that the IBM/Notes audience is also neglected in important Web 2.0 knowledge worker & executive websites (airlines, hotels, seminars).

    When you book an airline ticket you can instantly put your travel on your calendar - if you are on Outlook.

    Most event scheduling sites (signing up for seminars, webinars, etc.) offer the quick link to your Outlook calendar.

    IBM needs to push standards and promote (or actually create) open source code to work for both Outlook and Notes in order to make it easier for companies to add this functionality into their site. Then they need to reach out, as John suggests, to these online service companies to get them to be more cross-platform.

    This needs to be done with all companies - even those that compete with IBM in spaces such as Web-Conferencing.

    Don't think this type of one-sided presence goes unnoticed by the executive ranks that influence decisions and continually support the "isn't Notes dead?" misinformation -- and it is not their fault.

    What do they see? - signs that Notes is not as integrated into the things that matter to them in their job/life. Line of business executives do not spend their time concerned with analyst reports and email client/platform comparison matrices.

    Without an aggressive response in this area we will continue to see IT departments and leadership consider the switch to Outlook because they are just too tired of fighting the "good fight."

    And while many competitive wins (and saves) can be documented, in many cases the win/save is due to the overwhelming cost of switching.. and not because users flat-out prefer Notes in their daily activities.

    It's one thing to win the battle, but it is a far greater thing to win hearts and minds.

    Notes 8 is a GREAT step forward; but as John suggests -- the effort must extend beyond the client and into the inter-connected web of services (web2.0) business users interact with on a daily basis.

    Jim

    PS> If IBM/Lotus has done any of this - I don't think enough people are aware of it. I would spend more time marketing these successes rather than the latest analyst study.

  3. 3) Nathan T. Freeman says:

    The answer is simple: IBM needs to write these services and publish them under the Apache license.

    And if they can't do it personally, they need to find a business partner and/or community through which to do it. But it has to be cultivated and nurtured.

  4. 4) Rob McDonagh says:

    Great post, John. I don't know what IBM will do about these things, but doing nothing is clearly not the answer.

  5. 5) Chris Miller says:

    Didnt we go through this at Lotusphere in the BP round tables? Adding links from Connections out isn't the only solution. Getting the sites to add links to NOtes in is the other battle. They look at csv files as the default for POP and IMAP systems. Remember they are not saying Exchange, just Outlook. Any other mail system can export to csv formatting from the address books.

    But I do agree, just hitting it from the side of the sites that say, why write 50 ways when we can write once or twice

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