A customer considering whether to upgrade to Notes 8 or switch to an alternative recently challenged me that they would have to incur "significant training costs" in order to upgrade to Notes 8.  They argued that the UI had changed so dramatically that they couldn't simply upgrade and go.  Thus, they wanted to know how much to add into their upgrade projection to cover this.

With Notes 8, we had six full-time usability designers working with the product team from the project inception, who did 2000 usability tests and considered the perspective of end-users.  Their objective was quite the opposite of having to spend significant sums on training -- it was to get to a commonality with other desktop software products, consistent end-user-focused language, and simplify gestures and actions used within the Notes client.  

At IBM, we've rolled out Notes 8 to more than 40,000 users.  End-user training is entirely optional.  For the most part, the reaction has been one of "finally, I can get past Notes 'quirks' and work with it like any other software".  The help and "what's new" pages are chock-full of ways to learn about using Notes 8.

Some people need more time and media to learn about how to use something new, and that's perfectly fine.  We have put all sorts of end-user training material online at ibm.com/developerworks/lotus/notes (screen shot below).  It's all free and available anytime.

There are also several third parties providing training materials for Notes 8.  In some cases, the cost is US$1 per user, or even less.  I'm aware of three such vendors:

  • TLCC -- Their Notes 8 end-user training has been available for quite some time, and they have been around for years.  They have modules for going from Notes 6 to Notes 8 as well as Notes 7 to Notes 8, and their training itself runs on Notes and Domino.
  • WareSource has a solid ten-"tour" Notes 8 end-user update which can be delivered as a ½  day classroom course.
  • Workgroup Connections has built a full-featured Notes 8 on-line learning course, which includes a "knowledge check" to ensure successful learning.  Like TLCC, their course is an NSF, and they have options for you to deploy that on your own server.  Upcoming webinars (as soon as next Tuesday) are available to learn more about their offering
  • Recor offers standard and advance Notes 8 courses, and is working on more.

In sum, I believe that there are several levels of ensuring success for end-users with Notes 8 at low or no cost.  In the eleven months since we shipped, I've heard a lot of feedback about Notes 8 -- but never once have I heard "our users hate it".   They may be concerned with performance/startup time in some environments, but we are weeks away from shipping 8.0.2 (which I am running now), and it has significant improvements there as well.

Image:End-user training options for Notes 8

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