Q&A with Nate Root, senior analyst at Forrester Research, about his recent "TechRankings" report covering collaboration products.
Using my self-imposed guidelines, I'm not commenting on the analysis itself.  But one Q&A does deserve examination:

[Root:] The long-term direction is, of course, that the Notes and Domino platform is going to go away and be replaced by the IBM Lotus Workplace platform built on WebSphere. Notes and Domino really is going away. IBM can't admit that because they would risk alienating hundreds of thousands of customers who have built hundreds of thousands of custom apps. The last thing they want to do is generate a panic that adds fuel to the fire of customers defecting and going over to the Windows platform.
[Advisor]: Do you have a feel for when that might happen?
[Root:] My gut feel is that within about two years we're going to see the end of the Notes and Domino product names. IBM has disclosed a product road map that shows, on the server side, Domino merging into the Workplace platform in two years.  I've heard from some of the executives some talk about version 8, but no one has ever said "version 9" to me. I think it's pretty safe to say there's the cutoff.
Since rants about roadmaps has been one of my blog themes the last few days, this particular point is worth examination.  First, Ambuj has in fact mentioned a "version 9" in public, during his speech at the Deutsche Notes Users Group just three weeks ago.  More importantly, Lotus has spent the last several months bending over backwards to make it quite clear that Notes/Domino aren't "going away".  Version 7, now in beta, will ship in 2005.  Version 8, publicly committed to, will follow that.  And while yes, there is a fair bit of work going on in converging the Notes/Domino and J2EE platforms, there is also a huge amount of effort recognizing that organizations want to leverage their existing architecture and deployment well into the future.
At any rate, when has IBM ever done anything to an existing software product, one that has hundreds of millions of users and probably as many applications, that would make it "go away"?  Application migration doesn't provide much in the way of ROI...IBM's approach is to integrate and leverage, not to migrate and replace.  And you can see that in the tools that have already been built between Domino and WebSphere Portal, Domino and WebSphere Application Server... and there will be more.
I'm so confident in the future of Notes/Domino, I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is.  Watch this space.
Link: Messaging Advisor: Collaboration Software: No "One size fits all" >

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