How can the Notes Community help encourage potential new Lotus Notes users?

As a result of the public launch of eProductivity and David Allen's subsequent endorsement of eProductivity as the ultimate productivity tool for IBM Lotus Notes, I now receive many requests from people that are hearing about Lotus Notes for the first time. The emails usually follow a familiar pattern: a) Eric, I heard about Lotus Notes and/or eProductivity from your [web site | blog  | David Allen's speech at ....] b) I would like to [evaluate | purchase] Lotus Notes for myself or my company, c) I went to the IBM site and I am lost at where to begin or how to get started using Lotus Notes for myself or my company. d) Would you please sell me a Lotus Notes License so that I can get started using eProductivity? I really want to set up my systems like [you  | David Allen].

My company, ICA, stopped selling IBM Lotus Notes over a decade years ago when we decided to focus our efforts on consulting. That said, we routinely recommend products and solutions, including IBM Lotus Notes, and we encourage our clients to purchase directly from the vendor or reseller of their choosing. I am more than happy to make qualified referrals and I ask nothing in return other than the assurance that people we refer will be treated with the utmost respect and concern for their needs.

Over the years, I have referred many people to IBM and CDW.COM to purchase Lotus Notes. Recently, however, the last few people I referred came back to me frustrated, either because someone at CDW said that they do not sell Lotus Notes (they do) or because they were offered them hundreds of options for Notes and the sales rep could not help them determine which Notes product to buy. I find that hard to believe but given the inquiries I'll consider it fact.

To me, this is a wonderful opportunity for an enterprising BM Business partner or blogger.

In the past, most of our large sales of Notes originated as inquiries from individuals who in turn influenced their organizations to switch to Lotus Notes. I think this is a great opportunity to help folks that have expressed an interest in using Lotus Notes. I think it would also be a great opportunity to help show the marketplace that Notes is a valuable product not just for big business but for small businesses and individuals as well. I know that there are qualified business partners out there that would be happy to serve them. Most of the Notes blogs I'm aware of focus on people within the Yellow Bubble. I'm not aware of any blogs intended for people unfamiliar with Lotus Notes or new to Notes and a Mac, but I think it is a great opportunity.  


I'm posting here, with the author's permission, a recent example of the kinds of requests I routinely receive:

From a U.S. Navy user that has a Mac and wants to use Notes:

Eric, I appreciate the work you are doing with your blogs, GTD and eProductivity. I have gleaned a lot from your postings. Thank you.

I'm a little frustrated right now because I am a Mac user, have been for about 6 years. It is only in the last 1.5 years that I have moved into a quasi-power user status, having been just a casual user at home in the past. I ran into David Allen's GTD book about a year ago and have implemented it. I ran into your websites/blogs about the same time.

I have never used Lotus Notes. I have been hearing more and more about it (through your blog and some of the other people you link to). I have investigated your eProductivity. I made a wrong assumption early on that it was only available for Windows. Well, today, looking closer at the system requirements, I see it can work on a Mac (if I'm reading things right).

I don't know anyone who is using Lotus Notes and I want to learn more about it, but I confess, when I go to the IBM website, I get confused. And all of your postings and some of the other blogs (like Ed Brill's) almost always seem solely Windows-centric and advanced-user oriented.

If I want to seriously look at implementing your programs on my MacBook, can you suggest a path I could take to learn about all of this and how I could get a sense of whether this is a realistic endeavor I could undertake?

I currently use OmniFocus and feel very comfortable and proficient. But as I looked through the screen shots on eProductivity and was drawn to the Weekly Review Coach (per Chris Blatnick's recent blog posts 1, 2, 3), I'm wondering if I can do more.

Also, are there other "Mac heads" that you are aware of who are blogging about their experiences with Lotus Notes, GTD, and eProductivity that I could begin to follow to lift the "clouds" on my understanding?

I know you're busy, and I didn't want to take up your time, but if you could get me pointed in the right direction on this, I could keep the ball rolling.

Thank you very much for your consideration.


Are you in the business of selling Notes to small businesses or even individuals? Do you have a relevant web site that I can send folks to? Are you aware of a blog or posts that would help someone new to Notes get started?

Discussion/Comments (16):

Keith Brooks (http://www.vanessabrooks.com): 3/8/2009 8:00:25 PM
IBM BP/Blogger opportunity to help future Notes users

this has been a recurring discussion since before LS09. I posed it to some people as what are we, the older Lotus people, doing to encourage the younger ones.

Or what can we do, or what should we do.

While I am active in local universities, I am met by constant discussions about this old technology.

When I started my blog, { Link } I realized I couldn't lead new people in, but I could help others with business discussions on a larger scale.

Maybe there is a way to do both, and I do sometimes post for newbies, but usually admins, not customers.

We would be happy to help and work with you on this.


Bill Malchisky (): 3/8/2009 11:51:30 PM
IBM BP/Blogger opportunity to help future Notes users

Erick:

Good post. Getting my clients motivated and excited about Notes is one of my core competencies. I would enjoy working with your clients' non-Windows Notes questions/concerns. There are plenty of partners with significant Windows experience and value their knowledge base. I use Linux and Mac for 90% of my computing needs--Notes inclusive.

Let's discuss off-line and see where we might be able to assist.

--Bill


Bilal Jaffery (http://www.Bilal.ca): 3/9/2009 8:16:09 AM
IBM BP/Blogger opportunity to help future Notes users

Great post and great idea.

Guys, if you need any assistance in SMB Notes arena, please feel free get in touch with Lotus Foundations teams.

- Bilal Jaffery

{ Link }


Mike (http://www.magnitudesolutions.com): 3/9/2009 8:24:25 AM
IBM BP/Blogger opportunity to help future Notes users

As a Lotus Foundations BP, and IBM BP, I second Bilal's recommendation. Foundations is an extremely afforadble way to get started with Notes for a SMB, or even an individual.


Bill Greenberg - Good Computer Guy (http://www.goodcomputerguy.com): 3/9/2009 10:21:28 AM
IBM BP/Blogger opportunity to help future Notes users

Finding and buying Notes/Domino has always been a sore spot for me, too. Foundations is good, but kind of pricey. If it's still around (I think so, but it's so hard to tell!) the Domino Express package makes a lot of sense for small businesses. Basically, Domino is free and Notes is no more than $150/user. It doesn't get much cheaper than that. But even I am bewildered by CDW's site and trying to find the right product. Making your products difficult to buy seems an odd marketing strategy, but what do I know...?


Eric Mack (www.ica.com): 3/9/2009 3:37:50 PM
re: IBM BP/Blogger opportunity to help future Notes users

@Keith - I think that this is a great opportunity and I encourage folks to write articles for their own blogs that would be of interest to new or first-time Notes users. I'll link to them. My NotesOnProductivity blog, while it began as a Notes-centric blog, has a growing and eclectic following and it generates interest in Notes that I never imagined. I'd like to have a place to refer folks. Thanks for your comment.

P.S. I have not forgotten your comment and offers to help re: BlackBerry. Things should settle down after the GTD Summit


Eric Mack (www.ica.com): 3/9/2009 3:40:27 PM
re: IBM BP/Blogger opportunity to help future Notes users

@Bill Happy to have this discussion with you. Meanwhile if you want to set up a page or blog post re: getting started with Notes on a Mac I can point people in that direction. Great to talk with you the other day. I look forward to talking with you after the GTD Summit.


Eric Mack (www.ica.com): 3/9/2009 3:41:40 PM
re: IBM BP/Blogger opportunity to help future Notes users

@Bilal, I spent a lot of time with the Foundations group at Lotusphere. Looks like a great product. I do mention it to clients/prospects that have a need Foundations can fill. Foundations is probably more than a single user would want or need. I inquired about Foundations last year but I think my inquire got lost in the pre-Lotusphere shuffle. I'll have to look into that again. Eric.


Eric Mack (www.ica.com): 3/9/2009 3:43:20 PM
re: IBM BP/Blogger opportunity to help future Notes users

great. I see you posted your web site. Good. Keep up the good work!


Eric Mack (www.ica.com): 3/9/2009 3:43:58 PM
re: IBM BP/Blogger opportunity to help future Notes users

@Bill Domino Express is a little-known but EXTRAORDINARY value from IBM. I have set up many clients with this. Unfortunately, the buying process through Passport can be extremely daunting. You have to really want it. Once you get through the process, it really is a fantastic value and one I recommend to everyone. - Eric


Ed Brill (http://www.edbrill.com): 3/9/2009 3:52:14 PM
IBM BP/Blogger opportunity to help future Notes users

Eric, if you are dealing with very small quantities, US customers can follow this link and buy from IBM directly:

{ Link }

We also have a "How to Buy" link on the Notes product page, here:

{ Link }

CDW is one option, but there are others.

In anticipation, I know some will say this should be easier. But the first link above looks pretty easy to me.


Eric Mack (www.ica.com): 3/9/2009 4:02:09 PM
Want to purchase single-use Lotus Notes? Here’s a link to IBM

Ed, thank you!

This link: https://www-112.ibm.com/software/howtobuy/buyingtools/paexpress/Express?P0=E1&part_number=D5CPILL,D5CS2LL,D53T5LL&catalogLocale=en_US&locale=en_US&country=USA&PT=html

Should make it easier for us to direct new users. It does not provide the excellent hand-holding that some of the IBM Lotus Business Partners can provide but now potential new customers have the opportunity to choose.

Thanks!


Bastian Wieczorek (http://www.lntoolbox.com): 3/13/2009 5:06:02 AM
IBM BP/Blogger opportunity to help future Notes users

@Ed Brill

is there something of an IBM managed short URL which points always to the correct "how to buy" page?

It would be nice to have a:

{ Link }

link which can be used from us during presentations or on our blogs. The links you provided aren´t easy to remember and if somebody call me and ask where to check for a price I need to look for the URL and a short URL can made things easier :-).


Alessandra (): 3/21/2009 5:22:17 AM
HI

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Alessandra


jenny (): 9/4/2010 12:11:44 PM
IBM BP/Blogger opportunity to help future Notes users

Eric, you posted a link to purchase single user notes... That link is now dead. Seems like the counter-marketing dept at IBM heard the link had gone public and quickly shut it down.

Good time to tell my "the last time I ever tried to contact IBM" story?

Was IT mgr for a private wealth management firm in '98. We were already a MS Exchange/server shop. But I'd been seeing IBMs cryptic TV ads, got a less than explanetory IBM marketing flier in the mail and thought it was time I got a handle on what IBM was upto since I'd last dealt with them in 1990 as my preferred PC,spreadsheet and DOS brand! We,d parted ways at the dawn of OS/2.

Back to 98... I called the number in the brochure. A receprionist answered. I asked to talk to someone who could fill me in on IBMs products and services. "They're in a meeting" she said. "But isn't this IBMs number?" "Yes" she said, "and there's noone you can put me through to to discuss IBM products?" "No" she said. "Everyone's in a meeting and I'm the only one here". "The whole of IBM is in a meeting? and they left you on your own to answer the phone?" I said (hoping that the combination of sarcasm,pity and disbelief would prompt a different response). "Yes" she said. "Well could you have them give me a call when they get back?" I said. "Yes" she said... But needless to say they never did!!

So that was that... God knows how much they spent printing and mailing that pretty brochure to IT managers across London, and then they all went down to the pub to celebrate and forgot to return!

So here I am another 12yrs on banging my head to get Outlook to work for me as I try this GTD thing I've ignored all these yrs. Eproductivity looks good, maybe its time to revisit Notes which I am still so ignorant of... Read this thread try broken IBM link, read ed's related post, go to IBM website, follow link to products A-Z. "N" seems a likely choice, yes Notes is on the list, but it links to NotesLive the web product only. Admittedly I'm using my BlackBerry, so perhaps IBM doesn't cater to BB users... Um...Seems like the marketing team never did get back from the pub.

And now its saturday so I can't call a reseller.

How much energy do I put into this? Eric sorry your losing such a large potential market sector - individuals.



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