Yesterday, UK-based IBM and Microsoft business partner Applicable published three studies on messaging total cost of ownership.  The first examines costs for high availability in Domino vs. Exchange environments using clustering; the second examines the costs to add instant messaging and/or collaborative applications to a basic mail environment; the third looks at a full deployment of a messaging system from each vendor and then the costs associated with adding collaboration services.

What I really like about these studies is that they are not based on data reported from some self-selected small sample of customer environments -- instead, Applicable has taken their experience with hosting both Exchange and Domino and applied it, along with various vendor inputs, sizers, and sources, to real-world but theoretical scenarios.  Some may quarrel with using theoretical deployments, but it is much better than some previous TCO studies which we have seen in the messaging market where there is no way to know how comparable the customer environments surveyed are.  Applicable has also done a very good job of factoring license costs two ways -- with the purchase of Microsoft Office and without.  That way you can either view it from the perspective of "we have to buy Office anyway" (which, of course, you don't), or "let's really look at the Microsoft tax".

The findings validate what IBM has been saying about Notes/Domino since we shipped version 7 -- IBM Lotus Notes/Domino is far cheaper to acquire, operate, and maintain.  In the category of availability, Applicable finds that "IBM Solutions are up to 52% cheaper based on Infrastructure costs and subsequent user support costs." (That's without the Office license costs)  In the category of adding advanced collaboration, Applicable finds that "IBM Solutions are up to 37% cheaper based on Infrastructure costs and subsequent user support costs."  And in the category of deploying a full IBM vs. Microsoft net-new stack, Applicable also finds a 37% advantage to IBM.

These percentages don't apply at every size customer -- they have done the detailed findings on 500,1000, 2000, and 4000 user organizations.  And in every case, the finding is that the cost of ownership for Notes/Domino is cheaper than Microsoft Exchange/Outlook.

As these reports were just published yesterday, I am sure I have not dived deep enough into the detail to understand every angle and wrinkle.  As anxious as I am to get these some visibility and discussion, I also want to make sure that they are accurate and reflective of the real world.  I can anticipate some of the holes that will be poked or attempted, but I think most of them can be addressed in a way that leaves the findings intact.  Finally -- a model that shows what we've known instinctively.  Take a look and let's discuss.

We believe the information will be helpful to any organisation looking to either invest in upgrading to the latest software versions or migrate to a competitor platform - most importantly, they demonstrate the significant costs variations dependant upon deploying high availability services and advanced collaboration (Collaboration 2.0) such as team workspaces, instant messaging and social computing.
Link: Applicable Publish TCO White Papers for FREE Download >

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