Friday, October 31, 2008

Here's one way to spend 1,500 euro...

Got 1,500 euro to spare? You might want to get a copy of this report titled "Lotus Foundations: first steps towards the lower end of the SME market"

It's written by Ovum, the people who suggested that Foundations should not have been branded as a Lotus product in the first place.

Probably mandatory reading for the IBM Marketing Manager types but I think I'll give it a miss.


Christian Tillmanns said...

I am really not pro microsoft and I really do like foundations, BUT ... I made a in depth analysis of Foundations vs. SBS 2008 and I am really sorry to tell you, SBS 2008 is often the better offer. That is the perspectiv of a typical customer. Small company, not much IT knowledge, only the official informations to compare. We could argue about the facts forever, but that guy who should buying it, will often decide against Foundations. That bugs me a lot, but I can't change that, but IBM should.
It is a Me-Too product, lacks a few functionalities that make SBS 2008 more sexy. SharePoint - even if they don't use it - is a good selling point. The Webserver in Foundations is a joke. Live Office is easier and better (in the eye of that customer, don't forget).
Domino is cool but way to complicated for the normal customer. Therefore without a massive marketing campaign and some improvements we will see Foundations in less then 1% of the companies. That would be a huge failure for a company like IBM.

Graham Dodge said...

I'd be interested in seeing your in-depth analysis. I'm sure there are areas where SBS offers more functionality but does everyone need all of that functionality.

I'd also be interested is seeing why you think Sharepoint " a good selling point" but Domino is "... too complicated". Not looking for a flame war here, just some point by point feature and benefit comparisons where you say SBS outguns Foundations.

Richard Moy said...


I think it is wrong to treat Foundations as a Domino product. It should be viewed as a server that has a components that happens to be Domino. I am marketing Foundations not as a small business server but as a small business solution. Our job as partners is to make the experience for the customer as simple and easy as possible. Your customers should not need to know anything about Domino. Foundations has a long way to go, but the potential is there. The question is will IBM be able to provide the right message and resources. There are a number changes that I would like to see and IBM beginning to address some of them.

Bilal Jaffery said...


Feel free to get in touch with me with your suggestions. bjaffery AT

Christian, I understand where you are coming from and would love to know more about your in-depth analysis.

Graham, Thanks again for a great post, some wonderful sight here.

Christian Tillmanns said...

Ups, there is a post of me missing.
What happend to that one...
To make things clear, I made marketing analysis (I wonna know if I can sell that thing) and not a technical analysis. I am a marketing pro and a Notes developer.
I do not care about a feature comparision of sharepoint and domino, that is useless from a marketing perspectiv where I have only limited time for the message.

I am sure you guys are not interested in a marketing analysis.
@ Richard
IBM promotes Domino apps on Foundations, therefore they want you to use it, webmail only would make the situation even worse. An ExchangeIt was uses by nitix before and that would be by far enough. Why putting Domino in there then?

Christian Tillmanns said...

... and IBM was never able to do efficient end user marketing. Which is a absolut MUST in SMB markets. Any marketing pro will tell you that (except when they are employed by IBM - brainwashed if you ask me)

Graham Dodge said...

Hey Christian,

You had me quite interested with your first post but I think you lost your audience completely when you revealed that your comparison had no technical basis and then you equated IBM employment with brainwashing.

How is the weather in Seattle?

Christian Tillmanns said...

Hey graham
Is there a Christian Tillmanns in Seattle? Should contact him once.
A complete technical comparision would be a whole different story. Certainly dove very deep in Foundations, but I can't do the same thing for SBS 2008 yet (No hardware). But the prospectiv customer is even more restriced. Foundations is one hell of good product technical wise, but that does not sell a lot. In SMB Markets - at least my home market (I let you guess it) - most SMB decision makers will listen on there prefered partner. Marketing for Foundations is crucial for its success (something all IBMers agree to in private) and we have to choose the right key features that will sell.

Joe Nitix said...

I agree with you Graham, but I have to say it didn't help that he misspelled every second word of his post. I hope that its a language barrier issue, especially for a marketing pro. I would venture to say that there is no analysis to be seen, and that we may have a MS troll amongst us.

@Christian: You make some very good points, why the cheap shots at IBM employees?

Christian Tillmanns said...

A new role for me. An MS troll! Wow! No, I am really sorry, I am certainly not pro MS. I don't even use MS Office (and I am arguing with me about that Mac Book Pro). I have used and developed in Notes for the last 10 years and I am absolutely happy with it. For me it is the best business tool I can think of. And Foundations is absolutely perfect for me, because I am not an network admin. It makes life a lot easier for me. There are a few things, which are not perfect – the email address for example and does anybody know the pw of the certifier ID? – but nothing is perfect. I could run Domino on NVS, that would make it just business as usual for me. I will think about that.
There is certainly an language barrier, but it is still not very nice to point your finger at me.
Cheap shots? If you think so. I think I am rather boring, because I repeat what everybody is telling IBM for years. Ed Brill has way more critic to swallow from Volker then from me, and they are still friends. And Joe Nitix, I do use my real name.
What I find rather interesting in this conversation is the fact, that I am the bad boy, because I openly criticize IBMs marketing.
I did run in a trap a few years ago with workplace. I liked it actually. But I shouldn't have analysed the product, rather the market, that is what I am doing now and the conclusions do not make me happy.
Just today I had a customer phoning me; his server broke down. I told them for month to switch to Foundations, because I saw it coming (An IBM colleagues comment after I told him how this server was set up: “It is ALIVE”). But that customer is still rather found of his network admin and he does not want to disappoint him, by switching to Foundations. But it is that admin who made the mess. But that is how it works. If IBM would have been out there big time with the right message, it would not be only my voice. It would be a lot easier to convince them to switch. That is marketing. But if you guys have another idea, how to do the marketing, I am more then happy to hear something about it.

Graham Dodge said...


You raised some questions because your first post said that you compared Foundations and SBS and then when people want the details of why you think SBS is better you refuse to provide them.

Then you label IBM employees as 'brainwashed'.

Neither of those points make you appear like an impartial observer.

I don't agree with making fun of people's language issues and I don't think that's what Joe Nitix was doing - I think he was saying that he just found it hard to determine what point you were making.

If you have technical questions about Foundations then you can go to the Foundations Wiki and get your questions answered. See the front page of my blog for the link. If you are in the US/Canada then Bilal can help you understand more about Foundations. If you are in Australia then I can help you - I'll even buy the coffee :)


Me again.... said...

I said in the first post, why I think SBS is the better offer. Or let me rephrase that. Why I think, SBS will win more often, when someone is going to compare the two products.
First I took the point of view of the target customer for Foundations (Definition by IBM). Limited IT knowledge and only the public informations available (That is a method for a weaknesses and strength analysis).
1.SharePoint is a known product with a good reputation in the market – if we like that or not, that is a selling point for SBS because SharePoint is sexy. The person here does not know about the scalability problems or can not judge it.
2.The webserver misses an easy tool to create websites and since availability is very important for a website, LiveOffice is for many companies just the easier and better way
3.The limited supported hardware (I know, it runs on almost anything except my lawn mower, but IBM says I do that on my own risk)
4.Just the fact that SBS is known, will sell it.
5.For the normal BP it is not really a good product to sell (that is what other BP's told me), this has some influence on the whole market.
6.There are not many applications running right now on Foundations, but a lot for SBS
Those are the most important points. There are others, but what everybody thinks is one of the main selling points, the price of the license is actually not very important. Especially if the customer has already MS Office 2007. But one thing could be a strong selling point, the 4 days for migration of SBS and the higher as predicted hardware price. But at least in my market here there is a strong believe that if you buy something cheap, you get something cheap.
It does not help to sing hallelujah about Foundations if it is not what the market really wants.

But something bugs me, in my other profession out in the bush, Australians where extremely cruel with each other (and with me), but that was always just fun. I did not think I could offend an Aussi in my whole life. Sorry about that.
Look at that thread on and you see what others think about IBMs marketing. Some of those guys are even development partners of IBM.

I think the Foundations Wiki does not have a lot of informations. The Nitix Partner Site has way more. But still not what I am looking for.

Me again....Tilly said...

I should probaly add, that SharePoint and LiveOffice are part of SBS 2008.

Graham Dodge said...

There's lots of meat in this discussion. I'll make it into a separate post.