Sunday, August 9, 2009

Methodology v. Advertising

Julia White (Director of Exchange Marketing at Microsoft) has been having a bad week. She was smacked down by Ed Brill regarding her overly creative use of statistics and now I'm going to do the same with her attempt to rewrite the laws of economics.

Julia suggests...
"With Notes, the skills are dwindling and expensive. With SharePoint, they are booming and in-demand."
Julia's mantra is that companies are deserting Notes in droves so therefore the demand for the Notes skill set must be dropping rapidly. Classic supply and demand theory holds that price drops when there is an oversupply of goods and services - so if Notes skills are no longer in demand then the price paid for that service must drop. But Julia claims that Notes skills are expensive so either:
A) the supply of Notes skills is falling faster than the demand, or
B) she is talking out of her butt.
Since Lotus Notes has been around for around twenty years so there are plenty of people who have Notes skills in their resume. Even if some of them have been seduced by the Dark Side they have the experience to maintain existing Notes infrastructures so those skills are still available to the market. Hmmm... I think I'll go with Option B.

EDIT: There is always option C... the possibility that customers aren't deserting Notes and any decrease in available Notes jobs is caused by mature corporate infrastructures requiring fewer Notes administrators to manage the same environment after they have upgraded to R8.5.

Julia claims that Sharepoint skills "... are booming and in-demand.", so the price of those 'in-demand' Sharepoint skills will be increasing which will drive up the cost of supporting that infrastructure. How can we reconcile that situation with her claim that Notes is more expensive than the comparable Microsoft solution?

Julia acknowledges that Microsoft shops need two separate products (Exchange and Sharepoint) in order to play in the same ballpark as Notes but she relies on a survey about the cost of supporting an email infrastructure to make a cost comparison. So she includes Sharepoint as one of the components in the MS solution stack without adding in the costs of running that Sharepoint infrastructure. D'Oh!!! Who needs a methodology when you have an advertising budget?

I'll bet Julia used Excel to add up the numbers. I don't expect her to respond to this post. After all, the USA does have a constitutional provision against self-incrimination :)

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