I was out at a customer briefing this morning with Tim Thatcher, the Director of Workplace and Portal products.  He used a phrase in describing Notes that I hadn't ever heard before, but I really liked it.  He said most Notes customers use Notes as a platform for "situational applications" -- quick, functional tools for solving business problems.  In some way, I like this much more than "RAD" (rapid application development), which was the way we often describe Notes apps.

I did some searches on the phrase "situational applications".  Funny how many of the hits come from former or present IBMers.  Rod Smith, IBM VP of emerging technologies, talks about Web 2.0 and says

"Situational applications are a way for people with domain expertise to create applications in a very short time -- the whole idea is in less than five minutes."
It makes sense to think of Notes in this way.  In an article just out about Notes loyalty, Andrew Pollack is quoted thus:
In a way, the software's reliability works against its acceptance. It just runs, so it's invisible. Andrew Pollack, president of Northern Collaborative Technologies in Cumberland, Maine, pointed out the side effect to applications that require less budget to maintain and build apps for, let alone manage: "It doesn't get attention in the company."
Don't I know that.  My favorite example is a large customer whose IT steering committee only approves projects over US$100,000.  Since most of the company's Notes projects are done for less than that, the IT steering committee has no sense of how strategic Notes is in their environment.  It's absent mindshare because it's just there, quietly doing its job.

This is why internal marketing is a critical component of Notes success in many companies.  Otherwise, outside of the realm of e-mail, it's a situational submarine.

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