Now that IBM Lotus Quickr 8.5 has shipped, it is time for a bit of commentary on the Lotus Quickr Connectors. I covered the Quickr 8.5 release in these posts last month.
For many users, their main interaction with IBM Lotus Quickr is thru the Lotus Quickr Connectors. The Connectors install on your (windows) machine and allow you to interact directly with places. The connectors allow the Lotus Notes client to save files from emails directly to Quickr. They allow users to have a plug-in for direct access to the files without using the web interface.
Lotus Quickr Connector Toolbar in the Notes client
Lotus Quickr Connector Sidebar Plug-in in the Notes client
The Lotus Quickr Connectors also integrate with Lotus Symphony (both the embedded version with the Notes client and the stand alone install).
Lotus Quickr Connector Plug-in for the embedded version of Lotus Symphony
The Lotus Quickr Connectors plug-in for Lotus Sametime Stand-alone client
The Lotus Quickr Connectors add-in for Microsoft Office
The Lotus Quickr Connectors add-in for Microsoft Outlook
The Lotus Quickr Connectors Task Panel inside a new e-mail message in Microsoft Outlook
Now, a couple of details from my usage:
1. I use Microsoft Office 2010, but the Lotus Quickr Connectors Add-in for Microsoft Office only supports 2007. Good thing is everything seems to work in 2010 without issue.
2. Notice I did not show you the Windows Explorer integration. My laptop is Windows 7 64 bit and the Lotus Quickr Connector Plug-in for Windows Explorer does not support 64 bit Windows.
So now that 8.5 is out, there are a bunch of issues that Lotus needs to address:
1. The Lotus Quickr Connector needs to support 64 bit Windows
2. The Lotus Quickr Connector needs to support Office 2010
3. Where are the plug-ins for supporting files within Lotus Connections or LotusLive (both LotusLive Engage and LotusLive Connections)
4. The Lotus Quickr Connector needs to support the Mac and Linux operating systems
The main issue I have with the Lotus Quickr Connectors is that they always feel to be a year behind everything else. From operating system and software support to comparison to their competitors. My customers compare the Lotus Quickr Connectors to the integration built between Windows, Office, and SharePoint. Yes, those all come from the same company. But it is the what customers measure against. DomDoc customers measure against the old Domino.Doc Desktop Enabler. And others use Dropbox for their file interaction with their operating system and editor applications. In comparison tests, the Lotus Quickr Connectors routinely end up 3rd or 4th on the list.
IBM needs to make some changes to how they handle the Connectors. Here are some thoughts:
1. Break the Connectors away from the Quickr product team and release schedule
2. Update the Connectors on a much faster pace to get support for Windows, Office, Symphony, Notes, etc within a quarter of those products updating
3. Use the Connectors to be the sole plug-in for all Lotus server products and cloud offerings. I should get access to all of my files, no matter which IBM product I am using, in one window. Better yet, if I am using QuickrD, QuickrJ, Connections, and LotusLive, I should get all of them as 'places' in the Connector
4. Work harder on other OS support - customers have been waiting for 3 years for any sign of a release for the Mac or Linux
5. Spend more time on user interface guidelines for other applications. Look at the Microsoft Outlook Add-in. We have large icon, small icons, strange labels, and poor use of space. Whomever laid this out has never spent any serious time working with the Microsoft Office ribbon.
6. Go back to the DomDoc Desktop Enabler and look at how that worked 10 YEARS AGO. Many features are missing that should never have been left out.
7. Add some advanced Microsoft Office Backstage functionality
IBM Lotus Quickr 8.5 is a major release for the product. I think for the first time, IBM has a low impact (read: no WebSphere required) competitor to Microsoft SharePoint. It is unfortunate that the IBM Lotus Quickr Connectors do not measure up to the same level of quality and functionality.