Several bloggers in the last few weeks have written on the notion of Domino versus SharePoint.  It may have started from a posting I did last month, examining the propaganda in Redmond Channel Partner Online that severely lacked for business issues.  In almost every case where I have been involved in a customer conversation like this, it's surfaced without much in the way of business issues.

Michael Sampson picked this up and said

the mere availability of a potentially strong replacement for a Notes/Domino infrastructure is causing many organizations to re-think their collaboration infrastructure strategy. The questioning and considerations aren't new--every organization should periodically review its collaboration infrastructure decision to see whether (a) the assumptions on which the original decisions were made still hold true, and (b) whether there are newer and better technologies available to meet their current definition of those needs and wants--but what's different this time is that SharePoint is increasingly up to the game.
Michael then lists out some conditions which might exist in a customer environment to prompt consideration of an alternative like SharePoint.  But that still doesn't address the need to have a set of important business reasons for considering alternatives (or, for that matter, for considering Lotus).  For example, Michael says nothing about cost factors (both in terms of migration and in terms of acquisition), yet some research I did recently yielded the astonishing discovery that MS's collaboration stack is now twice the price of IBM's at list for a 1000-user organization.  More on that another time.

Stuart Downes has picked up my comments as well as Michael's, and expounded on them:
What I have been surprised by is the Domino versus SharePoint discussions ... they are completely different beasts.  Lets talk more QuickR or Websphere Portal versus SharePoint and have the real debate ... but is the debate needed?  Surely the debate is what are my collaboration needs?
Spot on, Stuart.  In an odd sense of deja vu, SharePoint now seems to be in the place Notes was many years ago -- "SharePoint is the answer, what's the problem?"  Which results from the ease with which LOB-IT can spin up a SharePoint trial and play with it.  That doesn't mean it's enterprise-ready or meets their business objectives or is even the right price point for them, but hey, it was easy and it looks pretty.  The lack of actual evaluation has been occasionally astonishing.

In the end, Burton Group's Karen Hobert has an excellent way to look at this landscape:
It's never been a better time for the 3Cs market and the question is very timely. All enterprises with existing 3Cs solutions or those with interest in 3Cs should be asking the same questions. Given the nature of the go-to-market approach for both vendors, the decision boils down to a platform decision, and those decisions cannot be made in a vacuum. Organizations must plan ahead and deploy according to their business requirements. They should avoid using a technology (e.g., wiki, blog, workspaces) for the sake of the technology. Rather, enterprises need to examine their business requirements and apply the technology that will serve those processes the best. Customers may find that some technologies they thought they needed just aren't necessary, now or ever. Knowing these answers will help enterprises to decide which product, vendor, or solution will be best for their organization.
(I knew Karen was going to make a great analyst!)  She even eloquently takes to task a commentor who seems to be spitting back the Redmond line to her, asking them to take a realistic look at the data.

As I acknowleged in the prior posting, this competitive landscape has heated up.  I think both of the market-leading vendors have something to offer for real value in most organizations, probably now more than ever.  The battle is not about e-mail anymore -- e-mail isn't adding new value to organizations, as I've said for some time.  It's about looking at flexibility, security, roadmap and evolution, historical success, investment protection, and most importantly -- innovation.  In the IBM Lotus world, we're focused heavily on moving collaboration forward in new ways, not just sticking to better/faster/cheaper documents.  I encouage you to check out all of the analysis, do your own evaluation as some of the new Lotus products come out the door over the next 90 days, and most importantly, have your business objectives ready.  They will guide you to the right solution -- not just the right product.

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