Eugen Tarnow September 19 2011 03:58:17 PMIn last week’s blog entry, I asked members of the Lotus Notes professional community whether they would want a full Notes client for the iPad or other such mobile devices. There were many interesting comments. Six of them were against the full client while five were in favor, and the rest were neutral. In other words, the community is roughly split in how they feel.
Nevertheless, the correct answer to the question is that that we should have a full Notes client for the iPad.
XPages are nice and serve a number of Lotus Notes customers well, but there is no reason at all why using Notes applications on the iPad should be a customization job. Most Notes customers are using Notes for applications in addition to email and have a lot invested in existing applications (some companies have thousands, if not tens of thousands of Notes applications). This investment should be easily carried over to the iPad, which currently seems to be the future of computing. This is particularly true for administrative workflow applications, something Notes is known to be superior for and the iPad is known to be a particularly good reader for. IBM expects their customers to rewrite their applications using XPages. We as a Notes community should instead expect IBM to create a Notes client for the iPad.
Consider the numbers. Let’s estimate that there are 150 million Lotus Notes users. If you assume that IBM is receiving $30 per user per year, it comes out to over 4 billion per year on Notes maintenance only. Add onto that new licenses and Lotus-Notes-related software and services revenue, we are talking $5-10 billion per year. Ten programmers, two marketers, and ten testers to make a Notes client for the iPad would cost only $4 million per year.
Perhaps Lotus Notes is a cash cow, and its revenue is diverted to other projects. And if IBM has thus thrown in the towel, perhaps we should all join the flood of those in the West converting to Microsoft Exchange (and use ReduceMail Pro for archiving reversal) instead of following a path of a steady decline in Notes’s relevancy to corporate computing.
But if there was ever a time to change that, the time is now. Lotus Notes needs to look into the future of hardware and stay competitive on the iPad. IBM needs to realize that it can’t take its Notes customers for granted. It would also be an opportunity to simplify the Notes client since it has become too complex even for end users.
Lotus Notes is still the best enterprise email and content-management system out there, especially for companies that need versatile administrative applications. Regardless of what happens, as long as Lotus Notes is around you can count on ReduceMail Pro being around and enhancing Lotus Notes in a number of ways.
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