One of the metrics of the Notes/Domino business that my team has been tracking this year is "reinstatements," or customer purchases that bring lapsed licenses back on active maintenance contracts.

For the first three quarters of 2012, that number is a surprising 1,151 enterprises.

Why is this a focus, and why does it matter?

It matters because those organizations, at some point, had walked away from their Notes/Domino investment. Even with annual feature releases, innovation in XPages, Traveler upgrades, and entitlements, they let their software subscription and support lapse. Thus, a conscious decision to go back and reactivate those licenses is an endorsement -- a recognition that there is value in what IBM is delivering, now and in the future. These customers have determined that it is valuable to have access to support for currently-deployed mail and applications, and to the latest software versions. With Notes/Domino Social Edition, the biggest release in years, coming in Q1 2013, they may have felt it was time to recommit to Notes/Domino -- as some very large enterprises that thought they were moving to competition have recently done -- or to explore the latest capabilities of the product.

This is a focus for my team because it gives us a chance to revisit decisions from the last few years. As in the last point above, recently we have reinstated some of the marquee companies that claimed they were moving their email to Microsoft Exchange. In a few cases, they did, but those Notes applications that had built up over years or decades kept running their business. In others, the mail migration proved pointless, when they started to look at IBM's leadership in mobile collaboration, or the entitlements to Connections Files and Profiles, or the forthcoming Notes browser plug-in as a way to extend the useful life of those applications.

Earlier this year I announced that we had strengthened our business relationship with Trust Factory. Part of the motivation for doing so was reinstatements, and in fact our internal working group prioritizes Trust Factory engagements related to reinstatements. Why? Because often the outcome of the Trust Factory analysis is recognition of how strategic the organizational investment in Notes/Domino was...and what it can be in an optimized future state. We want to help those organizations that thought there was less of a need to focus on their use of Notes/Domino to, based on data, rationalize how they view that estate going forward. Trust Factory's DNA is a huge help.

Not surprisingly, we have been working with IBM sales on this focus, and in fact this data point was first brought to my attention by my sales partner, Jack Welch (no, not of GE fame). It's one of many solid data points about the strategic nature of Notes/Domino for IBM today, which I'll be blogging more about in the coming days.

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