IBM's Kevin Cavanaugh and Ed Brill work tirelessly, year after year, decade after decade, to develop and promote a key pillar of the IBM suite of offerings - the LOTUS brand. They do this under the leadership of Allistair Rennie and supported by the the fine Lotus development team that consistently innovate and pioneer new extensions to the Lotus suite of offerings.

I know many of these people personally and I think they do a great job and I am proud to be be associated with IBM/Lotus for these past 18+ years. That's why, after reading Dan Lynch's post today, I couldn't help but wonder how these people must feel knowing that one of their chief competitors isn't Redmond, but their own company?!!

From the: IBM Migration Services for Microsoft Exchange home page:

As a Microsoft Certified Partner, we [IBM, a Lotus parent company] have the training and experience to help you migrate to the latest version of Exchange Server from previous versions of Exchange [our chief competitor], [the industry leading] Lotus Notes, and Novell GroupWise...

Dan summed it up this way:

We've always known the IBM software, hardware and services groups are far, far apart and wildly disjointed, but this is incredible. More fodder for the C-level types to use to rationalize a move off of Notes/Domino. Thanks for making our jobs more difficult.
Should we now expect to see see a new category of "IBM Lotus Success Stories" that showcase their "successful migrations" to Exchange?

No doubt, someone at IBM considers this part of their business strategy, but I do not comprehend the wisdom of this move.

In trying to think objectively about this, I considered that perhaps IBM's thinking is that this will open the door to convincing C-Level execs NOT to migrate from Domino to Exchange by giving them an audience. Perhaps. But, promoting this on the IBM web site is a slap in the face of the tens of thousands of fine hard working people at Lotus and the thousands of dedicated Lotus Business partners and ISV's that created the Lotus ecosystem. Besides, as an exec, would YOU trust IBM to help you migrate to a Microsoft solution?

I wonder if Microsoft's strategy includes a "Let Microsoft help you migrate to IBM Lotus Domino" as part of their strategy?

Discussion/Comments (17):

Want to migrate to Exchange? IBM Can help with that!

I can't agree more ... I make a living working on IBM/Lotus SW projects and every time I see something like this I can't but wonder what kind of message this sends to clients, potential clients and those that are on the fence (for whatever reason). Not to mention how I feel about it

Posted at 08/05/2010 12:28:33 by Victor Toal

Want to migrate to Exchange? IBM Can help with that!

Some people will say this is just a web page, but I have proof otherwise.....Just today this arrived in my mail box:

"We are in the throes of crunching numbers to determine the costs associated with migrating from Domino to Exchange. Mostly driven by the fact that we are paying for the MS licenses for Exchange [due to being under a MS Enterprise Agreement]"......"FYI IBM is actually involved in this from a helping with the migration. unbelievable. Not one word from anyone on our team at IBM regarding defending our investment. I appreciate any help you can provide."

Now this is not my customer, it is a "real" IBM BP's customer (one that covers all five pillars and h/w).

Stupendous work IBM.

Posted at 08/05/2010 12:46:42 by Darren Duke

Want to migrate to Exchange? IBM Can help with that!

Has anybody shown this to Ed Brill?? Somebody needs to take this down ASAP!!

Posted at 08/05/2010 12:56:09 by George Paglia

Want to migrate to Exchange? IBM Can help with that!

OK, OK, I'm here.

IBM is a portfolio business. Global Technology Services has a robust practice in Microsoft technologies; they have one in Oracle technologies; they probably even deploy HP servers. The Microsoft practice in GTS runs Exchange environments, deploys SharePoint, and architects SQL Server. All of which obviously compete with IBM Software Solutions.

They make good money doing so, and it is logical that they should, given IBM's commitment to every client's success. If that is what an IT organization chooses to do, then IBM should be the best possible choice to help that IT organization be successful.

Now, this page is sort of waving a red cape at a bull, but Microsoft has on the pages of had a similar page with a nice big IBM logo for YEARS. It's nothing new.

Posted at 08/05/2010 13:30:16 by Ed Brill

re: Want to migrate to Exchange? IBM Can help with that!

Thank you for your comment, Ed. My post is really about my frustration, both that IBM would seemingly contradict itself so openly and for the many people at IBM (YOU for example) that work so hard to build equity in a brand only to see it undermined by another division.

I don't doubt that IBM Global Services has expertise to offer - I'm sure they hire folks away from Redmond (just as Redmond does with IBM). My concern is the wisdom of IBM marketing this and what it says (or implies) about what IBM thinks about its own brands.

Ed. You have a tough job. I'm glad we still have you carrying the banner but, frankly, I wonder how you put up with this nonsense.

You don't have to answer that. ;-)

Just know that you and team Lotus are appreciated.

Posted at 08/05/2010 14:12:02 by Eric Mack

Want to migrate to Exchange? IBM Can help with that!

I guess the question for Ed or anyone who knows is:

Are they trying to get customers to migrate?

Or just offering it to those who have already chosen to migrate.

Also calling your own software legacy isn't good for anyone!!!!

"Architecture and design services tailored to your requirements, including high availability solutions, mobile access/unified messaging, integration to legacy systems such as GroupWise, Notes, ..."

Posted at 08/05/2010 14:43:27 by Mark T Hughes

re: Want to migrate to Exchange? IBM Can help with that!

Interesting question, Mark. Right now it appears to be an unfortunate competition between two different disvions of IBM. (the operative word here, I think, is "divisions"). Is there more money to be made from migrating a customer to a competitor solution? I don't know. Interesting idea.

Posted at 08/05/2010 15:11:31 by Eric Mack

Want to migrate to Exchange? IBM Can help with that!

Thanks for stepping into this Ed.

Seriously, just because the IBM logo is on the MS site does not mean they endorse IBM and promote Exchange to Notes migrations!

This will turn into a feeding frenzy at MS if it hasn't already. There are a lot of pissed off people now in the Lotus world, people that are working darned hard to stop MS migrations in the first place!

If MS has a page (IBM has a whole division!) promoting Exchange to Notes migrations then fine, but I seriously doubt it, I couldn't find one.

Good grief, this is a clear case of profit over people, I feel sick now.

Posted at 08/05/2010 16:39:32 by Brett H

C’mon folks. Give me a break

IBM has a global consulting practice that consults in probably every technology known to man. They are a company in business to MAKE MONEY. Is this so incredible to believe?

Posted at 08/05/2010 19:27:10 by Michael Sobczak

Want to migrate to Exchange? IBM Can help with that!

We've had a number of direct contacts with IBM services here, and other than one engagement involving Susan Bulloch a number of years ago, their efforts have been overpriced, ineffective and otherwise difficult to deal with. They have not won our business in more than 5 years, on a straight value proposition; they fumble and stumble when askeded to compete for our business in the past, and they under performed when they had the opportunity.

They are extraordinarily effective at driving business away from IBM Services and to local consulting/services groups (NextStep, Wolcott)because they cannot follow up and follow through with the most simple of tasks to try to obtain our business. Other than Susan, the people thay have sent here have been awful, at @ $2K per day.

Yes Ed and Michael we get they are a different division and happy to take revenue in any way they can, from anyone they can, (IBM has a unprecedented despicable history doing that see here { Link } ) but the bad blood this engenders for IBM software customers, and thousands of independent consultants and developers, also has a tangible value that ultimately leads to lost revenue for many, many others, and eventually IBM. This sort of behavior is sometimes referred to as "sh*tting where you eat" or perhaps "f*cking the people that have helped you sell and support your products over the past 20 years".

As much as I support IBM's Lotus software products because of the value they have returned for the companies I have worked for, IBM the company (the one that manages these portfolio businesses) has a history as a conscience-less, "revenue at any cost" behemoth and unrepentant revenue whore, that is far, far outclassed by Microsoft (the company) and many, many others, who have some semblance of a conscience.

Posted at 08/06/2010 4:56:54 by Dan Lynch

Want to migrate to Exchange? IBM Can help with that!

What has changed?

This is IBM folks - nothing new. They'll sell & implement and HP box running Windows and Exchange to a Lotus Notes "legacy" customer. Why wouldn't they?

It's arguable that it's against IBM Service's interests to lock in and only do Lotus.

So who wins? Both.

Only issue is the word "legacy" - that shouldn't have made it through.

Posted at 08/06/2010 7:59:14 by Chris

Want to migrate to Exchange? IBM Can help with that!

As per Chris my only issue is with the word 'legacy' although I could say that piece on IBM's web site is badly written as it cites 'workflow applications and collaboration solutions' as 'legacy' systems too which patently they are not.

There has to be a better way of writing it. Someone at IBM should make a point of seeing that happens.

Posted at 08/06/2010 11:31:04 by Ian Scott

Re: Microsoft

I have a hard time believing that anyone can say "class" and "conscience" in the same sentence as "Microsoft".

Anyone who thinks that Microsoft executives wouldn't sell their own mothers to win business away from a competitor is naive at best.

Posted at 08/07/2010 20:43:05 by Michael Sobczak

Want to migrate to Exchange? IBM Can help with that!

IBM is without doubt a good company for most of its customers - but you can put a question mark over whether the conglomerate is the best for all brands, such as Lotus.

I think that Lotus would again be the leading collaboration tool if IBM divested it in a separate public company and let them "go their own way" (i.e. EMC and VM Ware).

IBM will continue to serve its customers - and certainly as a business partner with Lotus they would be able to state:

"As a Lotus Certified Partner, we have the training and experience to help you migrate to the latest version of Domino Server from

previous versions of Domino, Exchange and Novell GroupWise..."

Personally I think it would be a win-win situation and I would love to buy shares ...


Posted at 08/19/2010 7:52:10 by Folke Ørsted Hansen

Score one for the blogging community

Ed Brill just blogged today that in response to various blog threads on this topic, IBM has removed/changed the pages in question. Details at Ed's blog: { Link }

Posted at 08/22/2010 20:08:22 by Eric Mack

Discussion for this entry is now closed.