Who is investing?

by Volker Weber


I asked on Twitter how you would describe your use of IBM Notes/Domino. There is one surprising result: 16% or roughly 40 votes for "Investing". Can you tell me who you are and how you are investing?


No surprise - when you are at our Connect follow-up "edcom nachlese 2017" visit for example the session "The social network of business objects" from Bernd Gewehr at the end of day 2 and you will see what is possible if you invest in Domino! More benefit and a lot cheaper than migrating.

Otto Foerg, 2017-03-04

Ja, Bernd ist gut. Ich bin auf die anderen gespannt.

Volker Weber, 2017-03-04

@Otto +1 I can highly recommend Bernds session and would consider it a "must see" for every Domino shop. IBM will also show highlights from that story at CeBIT in the "Cognitive Ways to Work" area.

Erik Schwalb, 2017-03-04

Leaving the debate aside on how representative this poll is and even though I'm not spelling out names I thought I'd nevertheless respond.

For one, I am missing at least one other option to choose from in the poll which ranges anywhere from "other topics are more important" to "keeping it as most economic option".

Next, without exception, I have never heard anyone explain how life on whatever other side is suddenly "measurably" more awesome across the board. Whilst I am sure that some stuff really is better somewhere else, I am just as certain that a bunch of other things aren't, and a good amount is worse. I'm not saying the other side is worse. I'm asking what makes the other side a true and overall better, other than emotions or "some things".

I would be surprised if you get many people - let alone companies - admit in public that they have no reason to switch, or even many reasons not to switch. For one, because they are already alienated by the very nature of the poll and question, which all in all resonates as "why on earth would anyone invest", let alone not migrate. Secondly, because the overall discussion doesn't bring up any of the cool stuff IBM is doing in my opinion. All talk seems to be close to if not exclusively about what all IBM does wrong, or too late, or to little.

If anyone could tell me how to get rid of the "sign into Microsoft OneDrive" popup I get at least once every friggin day, let me know please (I googled like two weeks ago and results didn't come up with a solution - maybe I'm too stupid). If anyone could let me know how Microsoft makes every attempt to integrate other vendor solutions rather than make me spend my entire life in Office and file systems, let me know please. If anyone knows how to not need hundreds of Microsoft servers for stuff where IBM needs significantly less, let me know please.

And if anyone thinks that I'm writing this as an IBM fanboy, or because I'm afraid of companies switching - I am not. There is much for IBM to improve. I just think the same of Microsoft. Or Google. Or Slack. Or whatever one may hope to solve the many issues of communication and collaboration. Too much, too little, too noisy, too much "not there yet".

All in all I would very much appreciate a balanced debate and not brexit or drumpf like bashing.

Florian Vogler, 2017-03-04

Yes, I can help you with your OneDrive. Assuming you mean "on Windows", it's rather easy. Click on Start, type "Credential Manager", open Credential Manager and remove the "OneDrive Cached Credentials" from your Windows Credentials. Your next login should then add the proper credentials to the cache.

About the poll: you only have four options. My idea was to have four that represent the states: Going in, staying in, getting out, no longer in. If you have a better idea, run one. They are free. And no, polls with self selected samples are never representative. I let it run for five days so everybody gets a chance, there have been quite a few votes, and the results have been very stable.

Volker Weber, 2017-03-04

Forgot the integration issue you were raising. There is amazing stuff out there. Let's take Jira, because that is probably close to your business.

You could integrate that into Office 365:

You could integrate that into Salesforce:
(There are too many off-the-shelf options in https://appexchange.salesforce.com/ to list so let's just use the Atlassian Marketplace:) https://marketplace.atlassian.com/plugins/net.customware.plugins.connector.salesforce.salesforce-connector-plugin/server/overview

Hell, you could even integrate it with Slack:

So, no, you don't have to spend your whole life in Office documents. Jira is probably better at keeping track of things than Excel is.

Integration is key, and off-the-shelf solutions. You want choice. If you want to store files, you don't only want drives. You want Dropbox, and Box, and OneDrive, and Google Drive. And and and.

I believe there is no app store for Notes/Domino (or Connections for that matter). So that is a driver. But I am not asking why people are leaving. I want to know where they are investing.

Otto has mentioned Bernd. He is doing great stuff with adding new capabilties by building on top of Domino. That's amazing. Let's hear more of that.

The answer to the fewer server question is the same for all vendors: let us handle the servers and the platform. Domino, when we are not talking about plain old mail, is an exception here. If you want to build amazing stuff on Domino, you have to do it yourself, or let somebody else than IBM do it for you.

Volker Weber, 2017-03-04

Thank you for all of the above!

Before getting back to your initial question, why should one want kind of as many different file offerings as possible? My issue with OneDrive, for example, isn't it forgetting my credentials, I just don't want to use it at all, because I already have a dozen others.

And the issue with jira to me is, that it's not the widest spread Center of communication or collaboration for me. Connections is. Email is. Files are. I would most likely want to have one central something, but that's not an option anymore imo. I agree that integration is key, but it feels like having to integrate lots with lots. SAP, CRM, email, social, files (from numerous locations), jira, Slack, Skype, mobile, laptop, home, office, travelling, Browser, Notes or something else etc etc.

Anyhow, back to your question:
What we see at many customers is that Domino is invested in from multiple angles:
1.) above all, keeping it well maintained and up and running imo is a form of investment
2.) it's a robust and familiar platform to create apps on fast
3.) Verse and IMSMO
4.) blurring the line but imo adding to continued investment in Domino: Bluemix, Watson (in various shapes and forms), Connections, PINK
5.) Various non-IBM offerings that help with integration, customization, modernization, operations, etc etc
6.) IBM SmartCloud

The above list makes no claim for completeness. In my experience, pretty much all companies - whether leaving, gone, staying or investing - have the exact same struggles: finding the best mix between running communication and collaboration as commodity and the increasing needs to integrate hundreds to thousands of bits and pieces.

Florian Vogler, 2017-03-05

No, you don't want as many as possible. You just want as many choices as possible so that the vendor does not lock you in. Office is best integrated with OneDrive, and Connections is not integrated with OneDrive AT ALL. This drives people to a solution that integrates well. If you have a team space that integrates with your storage, your communications, your CRM etc, it makes life easier for the user. You need APIs and interfaces. If you use Excel, chances are that OneDrive is a good solution, but if you use Connections, then Box is what you get.

The problem that I see is irrelevance. Those other vendors don't seem to care much about what ICS is doing. They make sure they play nice with Active Directory, because you can safely assume that everybody has an Active Directory. Some have it on Azure and that opens up a world of possibilities. No, you don't want them all. But you want choice.

It's the old debate between best-of-breed or one-vendor. Increasingly it looks like for communication and collaboration it's one-vendor with islands of discovery and tinkering. You see some Notes customers going full in on Skype for Business, when they already have Office, and Windows, and Active Directory, and Project. They may also have Confluence, and Jira, and Trello. And when they consolidate, it's quite possible that Notes does not look like the great integration platform.

Volker Weber, 2017-03-05

And there is a solution to this problem. If you can't be the dog, you have to be the tail. That means you have to provide the APIs and interfaces for yourself. That is exactly what IBM is doing. Become RESTful.

Volker Weber, 2017-03-05

based on Florian's remarks, your answers and my perception of your recent post on IBM Connect 2017, I would like to ask you a simple personal question:


Do you have a personal road map for this or is this somehow business driven? Can you please explain.

Don't get me wrong, I very much like most of your posts. You are a good writer. Still your posts about IBM look a bit like a personal crusade to me. These are not like the fact driven posts that you write about other vendors and their products. Maybe I one time ask Watson's tone analyzer to compare these, in order to get evidence if this is just my personal perception or fact ;-).

Thanks in advance

Jörg Rafflenbeul, 2017-03-06

Jörg, as always, my driver is curiosity. I don't want to base my perception only on the thing that I see. I'm sure you remember that I organized a platform on Slack for a few hundred people to get more input from more sources.

What makes me curious? If somebody tells me that I have no idea what I am talking about, I need to dig deeper. You are one of these people.

As you cannot possibly see everything going around this particular question, here is one that may surprise you: https://twitter.com/FirefighterGeek/status/838408982402326529

I'm sure you read some of my posts on Windows as a Hobby. Do you know how many people from Microsoft came forward talking about a "personal crusade"? Zero.

Volker Weber, 2017-03-06

Volker, I am happy to hear that I keep you being curious. So, we share this hobby. Still I'm going to try the tone analyzer at some time.
Live long and prosper.

Joerg Rafflenbeul, 2017-03-06

I am currently working at 5 five customers personally that are investing about 50K EURO in Domino based Application Development efforts per year. Various aspects covered from pure client development via XPAges to REST/Vaadin, the whole kaboodle. I am not authorized to name them here, expect to tmeet them at the next DNUG Conferenc. Two of them are using Outlook/Exchange for email and calendaring puproses, two others are using Skype for Business, all are MS Office and AD users. The Directory is a key element that MS was able possess is the last years at almost 100% of my customers. IBM just dropped that ball with the diminishing of the Tivoli Security Products and they didn't care. Directory isn't cloud nor watson so it can't be important, right ?!

Heiko Voigt, 2017-03-06

Directory is key. That is why Google and Facebook provide authentication services for the web. And it is one of the things ESN vendors don't see coming from Workplace@Facebook. Collaboration, not just email across company borders.

I think IBM tried a few times to separate directory from configuration which both sit in names.nsf for Notes and for Domino. But as you said, IBM dropped that ball. It would make life much easier for app development, if those apps would just tie into AD.

Volker Weber, 2017-03-06

While you can do a lot on premises by integrating Domino and AD it still is a solution not for every customer. And, well, yes, we had our share of experience with managing federated identities across applications and company borders over the last three years. AD is only one piece of the puzzle, OAuth and the like are falling so incredibly short compared to a digital identity with role based fine granular access control to resources. I totally agree, collaboration across company borders will be the next big thing for collaboration solutions. That turf is yet be possessed but I don't see IBM nor their products really being a player or even being a nice citizen in this area.

Heiko Voigt, 2017-03-06

@Jörg - What's with the argumentum ad hominem? And the all-caps shouting?

Both are weakening your argument, not strengthening it.

Andrew Magerman, 2017-03-06

Heiko, OAuth is more about authentication and less about authorization. Authorization has to be handled local to the app that trusts the authentication.

Volker Weber, 2017-03-06

One of the problems with writing about the future of Notes/Domino is that both the set of people keen to promote it and those people wanting to declare it dead will perceive bias against their viewpoint, regardless of what the writing says. It's a bit like any political news story the BBC runs here receives complaints from supporters of the major political parties saying the coverage was biased against them.

I voted in the poll, as and "already left" - and I can justify that decision based on available 3rd party support and the skill sets & experience of recent graduates on the jobs market. No subjective evaluation of the merits of Notes/Domino or alternatives required. But I don't think that's very interesting, and I'm pretty sure that @vowe wasn't after more details from people like me.

Are there existing Notes/Domino customers out there who are building new apps with it? Are there new customers getting brought on board? That's what's interesting. I think the perception from most people would be that less than 16% or respondents would be investing, and that's what this post is trying to explore.

Sam Wilson, 2017-03-06

Thank you, Sam, very well put. Unfortunately we did not make much progress here.

Volker Weber, 2017-03-06

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