There's another reason why I'm interested in learning how well Notes as SaaS works: As a result of my public speaking on productivity and knowledge management, I'm frequently in a position to show how I use Lotus Notes to get things done, this invariably leads to a number of discussions with people that have never used Notes/Domino before and who want to know how to get started. Unfortunately, I can't help these people and I hesitate to encourage them because I don't want to inundate our support desk with calls from first-time Notes users that can't find the download link from the IBM site or who have questions about installation. The best I've been able to do so far is to point them to this page I wrote for first-time Notes users and then offer to refer them to any of a number of respected Lotus Business Partners that I know. For Domino hosting, I often refer people to Prominic. Clients that have used them tell me they have been pleased with the result.,
Sometimes, however, a company doesn't want to deal with the licensing issues involved in managing their own or even a hosted Notes/Domino solution. Even with the reduced complexity of licensing (thank you Lotus!), it can take a lot of time and money to stand up a Lotus software suite with Notes, Domino, Quickr, Connections and Sametime. if someone can get this right as a turn-key operation, I think it would lower the cost (and hesitation) of doing pilots with the Lotus software suite. This is where it looks like Phase2 may comes in with their Lotus as SaaS model -- at least if I understand their web site right. They will set up the environment and provide the licensing for one monthly fee. (See update below)
This afternoon, I spoke with the folks at Phase2.com again. Apparently, one of their clients asked if it was possible to connect our eProductivity suite with their hosted Notes account. Absolutely - it's just a mail template that can be installed by end-user or administrator. I told them I was interested to see how the Phase2 customer experience worked. I wanted to know just how easy it is for a new user to request, provision, and deploy hosted Lotus Notes in order to experience the power of Notes. Well, it looks like I will soon have my answer. the folks at Phase2 are going to set me up with a few test accounts so that I can test the process. I’ll plan to write a follow-up post to report on how things went after I've had a few weeks experience with their offering.
I'm glad to see there’s someone hosting Lotus products in the cloud using a SaaS model for small numbers of users and I look forward to testing their solution.
Meanwhile, you can learn more at Phase2.com.
Update 3/8/2010: According to Phase2, they have negotiated a special license agreement with IBM which allows them to do this. I will try to share more details as I learn them.