Friday, June 27, 2008

Foundations: Where IBM went wrong...

People will have different answers to this topic but for this post I want to talk about the LFS documentation. I started keeping a list of the typos in the LFS manuals to pass on to IBM but gave up on that when I realised that the problems ran far deeper than just misspelling 'the' as 'teh' or 'you' as 'yuo'. Here are some examples:
  • In the section on FTP two posts ago I mentioned the documentation issue with CD installation which cost me an hour of embarassing 'can't-bill-for-this' time on a customer site.
  • In the section on 'Disk management' where the Lotus Foundations Start User Manual says... "To take advantage of RAID, you must have Lotus Foundations Software RAID Technology. Software RAID Technology comes standard with the Lotus Foundations Premium Edition" ... but the reality is that there is no Lotus Foundations Premium Edition. RAID support is part of the standard product.
  • If you run the compatibility testing option from the LFS main menu then when you have finished testing you are told that you can reboot and choose to do a memory test. That 'memory test' option existed in Nitix but was removed in the transition to LFS. That's confusing for a customer trying to do the right thing and completely burn-in and test their new server before loading LFS.
I could talk about some other 'gotchas' and setup issues but I'm not going to list them here since I want this post to be seen by IBM as a hefty prod with a blunt stick rather than a stiletto in the back.

Allowing for the ramp-up time to the January announcement at Lotusphere IBM had over six months to get the LFS manuals into shape and most of the work was just a rewrite of the existing Nitix manuals. They now have a bigger problem in compensating for the unnecessary workload imposed on existing Domino Business Partners whom IBM want to take this product on board. We know Domino and we could work our way around errors in an upgrade to a Sametime manual, but LFS is a whole new ballgame. Some prospective Business Partners might now decide the LFS technical merry-go-round is too difficult without an accurate roadmap and choose to invest their time in a different technology.

The saving grace for IBM is the outstanding support given by the LFS technical support team in Canada. Hats off to Rob and Allen and the rest of the team who have always gone the extra mile to get me over a technical issue. I did my own two-year stint on the Lotus Hotline in Australia some twenty years ago and I know the effort these guys have to put in to deal with support calls. Thanks for your help.

OK... my rant is finished. Over to you Kevin and Bilal. I know that this isn't your personal responsibility but you guys are the public face of LFS for Business Partners. When are we going to get a corrected user manual for Foundations?

1 comment:

Lotus Evangelist said...

I don't disagree but my issues with LFS run deeper, namely IBM bought Nitix solely, in my mind, because they had attempted to make a version which ran with Domino.
My thoughts are this was not a Lotus play, became one and now IBM is working on it, but selling it at the same time. Like Unyte.