July 23 2003
Got this link in my lotus.com/weblog feedback...going to take me some time to decide if/what/how to respond to it. But wanted to get it out there for discussion sooner rather than later -- in fact, I'm surprised nobody else has blogged about it already....
Chad Dickerson writes:
[D]eep in every CTO's heart there is at least one technology that elicits a visceral reaction that threatens to drown all reason. For me, that technology is Lotus Notes.(You can imagine my stomach tightening up and the hair on the back of my neck standing straight as I read those words.)
Recently, I relented in a crusade to replace Lotus Notes at InfoWorld. The migration was going to be too disruptive for our users, a case perhaps of elective open-heart surgery on our organization when it wasn't absolutely necessary.
One lesson I relearned is that IT is not necessarily about being "right" or even offering the best solution. Quite often, IT is about providing a reliable and mostly invisible service to the company. Nothing is less invisible than a massive user migration. One finite resource that many IT managers forget to recognize and manage in their project portfolios is quite simple: change. ...That's for darn sure, Chad. I don't know the inner details of InfoWorld's use of Notes. I imagine, given how long they've been using it, that it's about a lot more than just e-mail (which is borne out by the rant Chad goes on in the last paragraphs about how "incredibly difficult" it would be to migrate from the "proprietary" grasp of Notes). Yet he mentions that he moved away from Notes to an IMAP client a few months ago (thus, demonstrating, perhaps, that maybe it's not as proprietary as he claims!).
(I thought: "Migrate from Lotus Notes and if all goes well, no one will particularly care -- no one will be cheering the troops in the streets. If it goes poorly, our business operations will grind to a halt.")
The good news here is that someone realized that churn for the sake of churn is no good. I think it would be better, though, if the glass were half-full, and he looked at the real value of the current system vs. its alternatives.