So what did I learn from this?
- Lotus Foundations needs more airtime. The client hadn't heard of it and was wary about moving their key SMB architecture to an unknown OS.
- Lotus Notes is still perceived as "just email" in some companies. In this case MS Exchange was seen as an equal competitor to Lotus Notes/Domino and talking about the free application databases available at OpenNTF just didn't push this clients "tell me more" button.
- SMB relies heavily on their key IT supplier and if you're already selling hardware and network services into a company then you have pole position for helping them pick an 'email solution'. OK, that observation isn't rocket science, but while multiple IT suppliers are acceptable for larger companies, the average SMB might accept higher prices and an inferior product as a fair trade for maintaining a single 'go-to' guy for all of their IT problems.
I don't think so.
BTW I agree that it makes business sense for an IT provider to embed themselves into a client and become an integral part of that client's decision making process. There is obviously a better opportunity to professionally guide the client to choose your IT services over those of your competitor, and I don't have a problem with that scenario because I make no pretense of representing my competitor for professional services in that customer. However I don't see how an IT Provider can claim to represent IBM/Lotus if they don't seek out every opportunity to sell IBM/Lotus products ESPECIALLY when the customer will be equally well served by Lotus Domino or MS Exchange.