Friday, July 25, 2003

More on InfoWorld Notes experience: "I should be shot?"

More on InfoWorld Notes experience: "I should be shot?"
"My latest column "When change is wrong" details my odyssey with Lotus Notes -- how I inherited it, decided to migrate from it, and ultimately decided not to go through with it for sound business reasons. Just a few minutes ago, I read a post in our forums from Ken Yee (maintainer of the Lotus Notes FAQ) that said I should be shot for using Lotus Notes for only e-mail because it offers so much more. In my column, I had complained about how tightly-coupled all the parts of Notes are, and Ken sees that as an advantage:

This tight integration is precisely why Notes does what it does so well. It was the first widely available PKI infrastructure, so your users can sign and encrypt documents. Security is an inherent part of the infrastructure, down to the document level, and even field level if you use encryption. You have applications (and their constant improvements) that replicate out with your data, so you don't have to have a separate infrastructure to push out new applications to users. Your users can run Notes apps remotely. All of this packaged in a RAD (Rapid Application Development) environment that lets developers (and even power users!) automate a company's unique workflows. Your developers don't have to waste time building their own pipes and infrastructure and can concentrate on making your company more efficient.

And, finally:

Having someone like Chad as a CTO to guide your company's technology decisions is pretty scary

I guess every day at InfoWorld is Halloween. :) In any case, I would suggest that Ken read Ray Ozzie's essay "Extreme Mobility," which carries some extra weight since Ray drove the original concept and development of Notes. Ray's eloquent and credible critique of Notes and his description of the design decisions behind Groove resulting from his experience in building Notes really resonate with me as a daily Notes and Groove user. Groove has it right because Ray has it right. (So does the CIO of a 100,000+ employee company, whom he quotes anonymously.) It feels good to be on the phone, drop a file into a secure "shared space" and have the person on the other end say almost instantaneously -- "got it!" No dealing with replication, firewalls, or other annoyances. That's the way collaboration needs to work in 2003.
The new environment we're all operating in does create a certain amount of fear, but I'm guessing that the folks at InfoWorld who are being productive with Groove wouldn't see my leadership as "scary" -- they're too busy feeling empowered."

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