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LotusLive, user restrictions and the ’Nifty 50’, what IBM needs to do to appeal to small business

Mat Newman  March 3 2011 12:54:21
IBM needs to make some changes if it is to appeal to Small Business.  

Last week on TwiL, I mentioned a statistic that has resonated amongst Lotus Tigers around the world, and that was: "90% of Small Business in my region employ less than 20 people."  It would appear that that figure is similar in a number of markets outside of Australia.

Ok, the figure may have been slightly exaggerated, it's actually only 89.1%, but you get the idea.  The figure comes from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and is available via their LOTUS NOTES web-site HERE.

Ed Brill recently announced on his blog the availability of Blackberry access to LotusLive users for an additional licence fee.  While I don't see the additional fee for service being a barrier to entry (it's better than taking advantage of hosting your own BES express and paying for the underlying hardware), the user restriction is one that immediately excludes almost 90% of businesses in my region from even considering the LotusLive cloud solution if they have deployed Blackberry devices within their organisation.

The day of the announcement I had a customer walk into my office to have a discussion about moving from Blackberry to another device.  He runs a 2 (two) person organisation, they use Notes, and LotusLive for them - in my opinion - just makes sense.  Except for the Blackberry user restriction, and that LotusLive (presently) does not allow him to host all of the Notes applications his organisation uses.

The other aspect of appealing to small business is the ability for those organisations to immediately take advantage of Notes as a platform by deploying APPLICATIONS (there, I said it, not Databases) within their LotusLive corner of the interweb.  For those who came in late (old jungle saying) year's ago there was a collection of sample applications and templates called the "Nifty Fifty".  Some of these templates were extremely useful in themselves, and immediately deployable by anyone with the requisite skills (File -> Database -> New) and ability to create databases on a server (Security restriction).

Yes, the Team Room, Document Library and Blog templates that Domino ships with now are nice, but they only address a small percentage of capability that organisations need to "Get Things Done".

I've got a couple of pretty simple changes that need to be made to LotusLive that would immediately open it up as a viable alternative platform for small business.
1.        Get rid of ANY restrictions based on the number of subscribers, and
2.        Provide a batch of templates that could be immediately deployed by a nominated LL Admin subscriber.

Including a copy of the old Domino based Aptrix solution (which evolved into Web Content Manager - WCM) would also be a killer option that would enable Small Business to host and manage their Notes based web-site in the LotusLive cloud as well.  One only needs to visit OpenNTF to see some of the GREAT Database applications that have been developed by the community that are ready to go and be utilised as part of this service.

That's how I believe IBM really could begin to appeal to Small Business.


Comments

1David (The Notes Guy in Seattle)  03/03/2011 14:25:35  
LotusLive, user restrictions and the ’Nifty 50’, what IBM needs to do to appeal to small business

Amen. I would like to add that unlike enterprises, entrepreneurs and small business owners are also not bound to the status quo. They tend to be leaders rather than followers. A disproportionate number of these people (at least in Seattle, WA) favor Macs over PCs.

{ Link }

I'm anxious to introduce them to LotusLive, but I need more to make it a slam dunk.

2Keith Brooks  03/04/2011 5:19:29  
LotusLive, user restrictions and the ’Nifty 50’, what IBM needs to do to appeal to small business

Yeah, saw the minimum user required for BB on LL and thought, here we go again.

We see S as in small businesses equals less than 20, if not really closer to 10 usually.

3Mat Newman

03/05/2011 8:27:19  LotusLive, user restrictions and the ’Nifty 50’, what IBM needs to do to appeal to small business

@1, Dave: Collaboration once meant more than one user in an organisation, until the advent of 'Social'. The internet has empowered an individual to express their thoughts, communicate, collaborate, and co-ordinate. Tools on LotusLive need to represent that reality. A business of "1" is still a business, and by any definition: Small.

@2, Keith: Right on mate. That's why ALL the user limits and restrictions need to be removed. Your understanding of 'small', my understanding of 'small', and IBM's understanding of 'small' should not need to be debated.

Mat Newman IBM Champion

4Adrian  03/13/2011 9:13:09  
LotusLive, user restrictions and the ’Nifty 50’, what IBM needs to do to appeal to small business

Wow this is Déjà vu for me. From our conversation over #lotusbeers on Friday you reminded me of the pain we first had when we entered the UK Small Business market many moons ago. Sadly it appears we have not progressed much since then, however the available technology has. For us it was a case of the market not really being ready for that 'Corporate Experience' that our solutions could/would provide, or perhaps we underestimated the customers we were pitching to. In either case I can relate to this pain. One such deal was lost over the fact that the product (notes client) did not have inline spell checker. A no brainer in today's product.

Mat Newman

THE Lotus Notes Guy. Productivity Guru. Social Evangelist. IBM Champion for IBM Collaboration Solutions, 2011/2012/2013. IBMer. Views are my own.

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