Selling internally is an important way of expanding the reach of the Lotus family of products within your organisation. Sell doesn’t mean new licensing or new products but defending the Lotus notes outlay and becoming an evanglist for the product. IBM have created a great product but there are always detractors and these are the people you need to sell to internally.
Many people forget about the differences between home and work environments. Just because you use Outlook Express at home it doesn’t mean thatyou should use it in the office. Just like how you use a key to open your hall door at home and a swipecard at work. They are different environments and users adapt to the environments that they are in.
So who do you sell to? Well the end users are always a great start, help the users, find out what they don’t like about Lotus Notes are and then show them the solutions. A lot of the time the users just need a little one on one traning and bingo the lightbulb will go off and they may start understanding Notes. You can also sell to the top, Influence the decisions.
There are normally two main factors you need to combat, the competition and the fact that Notes gets blamed for everything. Competition normally comes from the top when a high up manager decides that he or she wants outlook just like at home. There are over 15 years of of Lotus Notes and it can carry with it a history and bad preceptions. Lotus Notes is one of the most frequestly used application in a company and this is one of the main reasons that it gets blamed for most problems. The realisty is that training is required not just for the end users but also for the helpdesk. Just because somebody rings the helpdesk with a notes issue it doesn’t mean it’s notes, just because notes can’t print don’t blame notes immediatly, try printing from word and excel or another app to see if the problems if widespread.
Selling Notes internally is sometimes a cost or budget issue. The Cost Vs Value is very very important. just because exchange uses less diskspace per user then Notes it doesn’t mean that there is value. Ever hear of an exchange shop with no quotas, nope neither have I.
To reduce costs you can have a look at the different logs available on the server. The server logs may show databases replicating across the servers that are no longer required but still take up bandwidth, the helpdesk logs can show the areas of concern by looking at the different cals, classify them into notes problems and other problems incorrectly assigned to notes. User surveys and design audits can also help.
But don’t take my word for it, Lotus Notes has won many many awards over the past year. where’s the MS Exchange awards.. Actually where’s the MS Exchange roadmap.
While selling Lotus Notes internally then the new features avaiolable in the new versions can be very important. Features like the integrated IM in 6.5 can lower the TCO of the system, there is no need to go out and buy another product that required another server that needs another administrator to look after it and that needs training and spending.
Some ideas for end user training can be simple to do. Maybe feature of the week training on your internet, lunchtime training sessions, just simple ways to get users up to speed on the environments and answer their questions. Maybe after a few months of this have a look at those helpdesk logs again and see if there is reduction in calls. If there is then you’ve just reduced that cost of ownership yet again.