Wednesday, November 3, 2010

SMB != IBM ?

This hold Lotus Foundation non-announcement has once again have me shaking my head about IBM's understanding and focus on the SMB market. As I said on Christian Tillmanns' blog.

"IBM have some of the best solutions for the SMB market, but never seem to understand the importance of this market not just in the revenue perspective, but the impact it has on the enterprise market. Remember that Microsoft’s and Google’s primary focus initially was in the SMB market. And now look where are they. If you have a good foothold on the SMB market you will gain in the enterprise market. What IBM needs to understand is that every individual consumer is a small business and they grow to become enterprises by number. Good example is what Microsoft did with Outlook. Google has done with Google Docs. IBM still does not get it. For example, if you want people to adopt Lotus Symphony DO NOT, DO NOT require people to fill out a super long form or any form at all. I told a customer to try it, but he decided it was too much trouble to fill out all that information just to download what is amount to Open Office."

But Lotus Protector is another example. There is a huge use of virtualization in the SMB market and many companies uses ESXi since it is free. So when you state that Lotus Protector is available as a Virtual Appliance why not make it easy for customers to install it onto a ESXi virtual partition using the OVF format. Instead you have to use the VMware Center Converter because Lotus Protector is in VMX format. This extra step can cause problems and corrupt your ESX partition if it is interrupted. There is a free tool from VMware out there to convert from VMX to OVF format. Why not just make it available in the naive virtual appliance format? Do you think this helps small businesses accept IBM products? DON'T THINK SO.

The concept from UX Design applies not just for visual interaction, but have huge impacts on the back-end part of the product. Cloud computing's advantage is its low barrier to entry. So you need to apply this same concept to how an IT department views an on-premise product. Lotus Foundations' concept was just that. So now that you have terminated the hardware, please give the Business Partners the ability to create their own DOM USB or CF Card so that they can have this ability using other hardware.

3 comments:

Henning said...

For me SMB = IBM Business Partner not IBM itself.

Gregg said...

For as much "transparency" as IBM Lotus wants to provide, they have been strangely silent on this topic. I've asked several IBM Lotus Foundations representatives for their take on this, future Business Partner Calls, or even an inkling of future directions with the product line and I have been met with silence. Frankly, that does not make me feel very good about this product line.

Richard Moy said...

Gregg,

It has become very frustrating. It seems as if all activity with Lotus Foundations has stopped. They came up with Smart Business as the small business solution which included Lotus Foundations which is suppose to be IBM Foundation for Smart Business. But there has been no communicate or activity at all. I was told that there was going to be big marketing and push in the small business market with many things happening this year. I have not seen anything. I guess terminating Lotus Foundations hardware was a big thing. It sound like the same old same old.