On Ed Brill's blog link for the past few days that has been a long discussion about Notes and the small business market and whether IBM is addressing this market effectively with the new product offerings that are in the pipeline this summer. The blog has progressed into the discussion about the Notes Basic client which has been a point of long discussion for me in many blogs. If you have seen the Notes 8 Basic beta client, you will find that it is pretty much the Notes 7 client with some improvements. I do not see signficant investment in improving the Notes 8 Basic client in the future. Whether it exist in the future I do not know. I truely understand the direction that IBM is moving forward for Notes 8. It may not address the needs of some small businesses (under 500), but it is a direction that best fits the medium and large businesses that makes up a major of IBM's clients.
As a business partner who focuses primarily on the true small business market, I understand that the direction may not meet the needs of small businesses. Yes, there are the exceptions that might require tools like Websphere Portal Express, but the majority of the small business are not at that stage and could not afford the overall cost. In the small business market, Notes and Exchange is competing against a much faster moving and competitve market than the enterprise market. The reason is that there are much more options for small businesses. That aside, Lotus Notes and Domino still offers to small businesses a significant competitive advantage over other solutions.
It is up to us as Notes users and business partners in the small business community to drive improvements to meet the needs of small business, whether that is involves improving the Notes Basic client or new products and solutions gears towards the small business market.
I would like to hear from individuals in small businesses that are using Lotus Notes and Domino on what improvements that you would like to see in Notes and Domino so business partners like ourselves and others can provide products and solutions that will not only support the continue use of Lotus Notes but also allow it to expand its role in your small business.