How to save a Lotus Notes customer

Wednesday, September 6th, 2006
This week, I met with a client that was considering scrapping Lotus Notes in favor of an alternative solution.

I told  them that I thought they should switch away from Notes. I offered to help them make a shopping list of what they would need to purchase to match their current capabilities.

Half way through helping them with the shopping list, someone said, "But our [Lotus Notes system] already does all of that."


Interruption: "Eric, can you move the XYZ demo database to our server so that we can evaluate it?"

I did a FILE, DATABASE, NEW COPY ...  I casually mentioned that the application would be deployed in 5 minutes, as soon as replication had completed.

"That fast?"  Yup. You're application is now  deployed, thanks to replication. No complex admin or deployment steps.

"That's amazing!"

They decided to stay with Notes and learn more about what they are not currently doing with Notes.

Sometimes we take for granted the simple things that Lotus Notes does so well that we forget why Notes is a powerful platform for getting things done.

Discussion/Comments (14):

How to save a Lotus Notes customer

Great job, Eric! :-)

Your last sentence is a perfect compliment to Julian Robichaux's tag line, "Lotus Notes...yeah, it can do that too"

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Congrats on this customer win! Cheers...

Posted at 09/06/2006 18:55:30 by Chris Blatnick

How to save a Lotus Notes customer

So, what was the shopping list?

Posted at 09/06/2006 20:38:47 by Sophos

How to save a Lotus Notes customer

I don't understand the "I told them that I thought they should switch away from Notes" bit?

Why tell them to move in one breath then prove there was no need in the next?

Posted at 09/06/2006 21:04:19 by Colin Williams

Some more details...


As I posted on Ed's blog, I wish I had videotaped the meeting. It was too funny how it worked out.


A lot of software and a few applications from Redmond - to get the same job done. (This is a small company)


What I did not mention was that this had become a ritual with this client, asking "What value Notes." It only happens when licenses are up for renewal. In years past, I staunchly defended the Notes decision because I "knew" it was the best for their needs. I decided, however, that I needed to be more objective in letting the client reach their own conclusion. After all, I would remain their eProductivity specialist regardless of which solution they would choose. So, when it was suggested that they were not getting value out of their Notes investment [because they were too small a company] I suggested that perhaps they were right and should drop Notes in favor of another solution. I knew that they would count the cost and reach their own conclusion. It's not hard to do.

Posted at 09/06/2006 21:14:21 by Eric Mack

How to save a Lotus Notes customer

Nice! Can't argue with any of that! ;)

Posted at 09/07/2006 2:16:26 by Colin Williams

How to save a Lotus Notes customer

This is not exclusive to Lotus Notes, but a common theme I've noticed.

We love the idea of a "silver bullet" in technology that is going to solve all of our problems. Often, our existing software can handle those requirements if we just used it to its full potential. In other cases, it may address a specific problem but ultimately introduces a new (sometimes worse) set of problems.

The grass is always greener, right?

Posted at 09/07/2006 5:17:20 by Tim Marman

How to save a Lotus Notes customer

The Ben Franklin close as our Sales people would say.

This works well when dealing with people in the "Lotus" know or a strong user.

When you have less kowing people or even no previous Notes experience you need to take them by the hand and spend some time showing it to them. Find out what is important to them from a end user perspective.

Automatic field updates? Seperate but connected domains for sales and marketing? the whole address book in the palm of your hands(care of Dircat). And on and on.

Posted at 09/07/2006 6:10:19 by Keith Brooks

How to save a Lotus Notes customer

I too have used the 'reverse' selling tactic, also finding it quite helpful when dealing with license renewal.

Great minds must think the same.

It is a very cool approach to listing the functionality that is 'taken for granted' in a Domino architecture.

Directory services, database server, application server, deployment (thick client) process/installer licensing, etc...not easy for a non technical person to see rolled up in the Notes/Domino license.

I have helped customers, who's Notes/Domino apps were properly suited, to remove their whole VPN environment and replace it with end to end encrypted NRPC. There was a huge savings in hardware, software licensing, infrastructure support AND help-desk service call volume.

Posted at 09/07/2006 6:59:19 by andy b

How to save a Lotus Notes customer

I just happened to run across this while looking for something else, and I realized why some people like Lotus Notes. Admins like it. Users HAAAAAAATTTTTTTEEEE it. Its terrible as a client. I recently had to switch to Notes, and I hated it so much that I decided to try the Notes 8 beta. It is only slightly better than Notes 7. Its just awful. I used to get through 100 emails in a couple of hours easily in Outlook because of good threading and easy macros with Visual Basic. I can do the same in Thunderbird. In Notes: I'll be lucky if I can process 30 emails. It is now a criteria for joining a company, i.e.- "You use Notes for email? See ya later!"

I went to Lotusphere one year and I realized: these are some fanatical people. Whatever. Sorry I just had to rant.

Posted at 08/06/2007 17:52:04 by Matthew

How to save a Lotus Notes customer

Nice! Can't argue with any of that! ;)

Heard of IntelliPRINT - the Reporting solution for Lotus Notes ??

It helps the business users with easy reporting

Posted at 09/10/2008 10:31:52 by Vivek

re: How to save a Lotus Notes customer

Yes, I have heard of Intelliprint, I have used the product myself in the past and I have recommended it to clients when I saw a fit. The new pricing and marketing strategies did not serve my clients well, so I have not recommended it much in recent years. Still, it does do a nice job and I will mention it when I see a good fit for a client.

Posted at 09/29/2008 20:29:18 by Eric Mack

How to save a Lotus Notes customer

You might like this doc by teamstudio named

Migrating to Microsoft from Lotus Notes? Not so Fast! IT IS IN lITERATURE /WHITPAPERS on see description below.

The Application Analyzer for Lotus Domino is a product developed by Microsoft to analyze and report on Notes applications and the ease and priority with which they should be migrated to Microsoft SharePoint. Microsoft's Application Transporter for Lotus Domino allows organizations to migrate data from IBM Lotus Notes applications to Sharepoint Services (WSS) lists. These products have been aggressively marketed along with Microsoft incentives for migrating from Notes to SharePoint. This whitepaper examines how accurately these tools portray the explicit and implicit costs associated with such a migration.

Posted at 01/29/2009 2:46:51 by Michael Wenn

How to save a Lotus Notes customer

No need to say anything to anyone. The company having technically sound management will not move out of Lotus Notes.

Posted at 04/01/2009 22:56:44 by Venugopal Reddy

How to save a Lotus Notes customer

Lotus notes is invincible! It's an incredible piece of software... In my humble opinion, the application is simply held back by hardware... and possibly physical limitations. I mean, what fool would just want e-mail and calendar functionality, when they could use up far more of their system resources doing other "things"?

in essence, i really have no idea what else Notes can do, because it crashes my machine before I can even access e-mail. At least, it's consistent! But hey, if my employer wants to pay me my phat salary to restart notes 30 times a day and not achieve anything else... who am i to complain? at least i don't have to use my brain (kinda like the lotus notes developers!). I hate it and you should hate it too... it's the only way we're going to see a disappointing product reach it's inevitable fate.

Posted at 01/15/2010 18:14:23 by Anonymous

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