Notes 8

Its here, I’ve not commented on it yet so here goes my summary (I’ll keep it as short as possible):

The Architecture of the Client

Well its changed, the old look and feel has gone.  Ed shows one comparison to the Outlook client on his site.  The platform is Eclipse based so we should see some nice plugins being developed as more vendors adopt the Eclipse platorm – for example Documentum is not Eclipse based … well there is an obvious plugin waiting for someone to develop.  Eclipse has initially allowed for Lotus to properly bundle sametime into the single client experience.  I remain impressed with the presence information in Notes in terms of view based, document based, calendar view, calendar item etc….

Things I Like:

  • Start menu style launch and type-ahead to find applications
  • The power that composite applications will bring
  • Offline working, the Notes client still outclasses everyone here
  • Day at a glance (although I also see the cluttered experience it adds to as a negative)
  • ACTIVITIES INTEGRATION… if I were IBM I’d be shouting about this from the rooftops
  • Mail threads
  • Improved follow up support (though the whole area of email to task to email to calendar to deliverable to email is still nowhere near where I would like in any email client – Notes 8 included).

Things I don’t like:

  • Cluttered look and feel (its smoother but still cluttered).  I have limited screen estate on an X factor laptop and this drives me mad, I know I can minimise it all but hey its extra clicks each time I switch from docking station with large monitor to laptop with small LCD.
  • Extended monitor support

What I am neutral on:

  • The productivity tools (“open office” for Notes).  This is an interesting deployment.  I feel the power of the Office applications in future will be measured on the level of integration with portals, document repositories and team workspaces.  Will enterprises adopt it?  If so why?  ROI … well ROI is becoming less of a driver as it is the value of integration between office tools and content management solutions (basic and advanced) which is becoming key.  You only have to observe the drivers many customers site for utilising Microsoft Office with the SharePoint products.

Things I’m looking forward to but may not be on IBM’s radar:

  • More widgets, plugins and mashups – here is where the power lies.  Perhaps a lightweight mashup development environment would be useful here.  Users would like to derive more value from their data, you only need look at Teqlo and Yahoo Pipes as examples – this is an area Lotus Notes would easily benefit from (without need for the full design client).
  • More unified communications integration which will come with as newer Sametime clients are released.
  • Better plugins for personal productivity tools – OneNote etc.
  • More mail templates with content biased towards user type

Overall I think the client is a great improvement on previous versions.  Will it keep customers loyal to IBM … probably not in my opinion, that will come with the wider picture and integration between Notes / Domino / Quickr / Portal / Connections and here IBM need to make their case and shout about their differentiators and success stories.

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