Lotus community frequently discuss IBM's capability to market Lotus products. However, an important point is missing in the discussion. Lotus is a corporate brand and is not being marketed to end users. On the other hand, the competitor has the ability to address both consumers and companies.

In the background, it should be investigated how end users are influential on corporations' investment decisions. In a classical approach, end user is just a small factor, running behind other aspects like the return on investment or total cost of ownership. Is it that simple?

I'd like to open a new discussion about this situation. Of course, it's an endless discussion to alter IBM's way of marketing. This is a multibillion-dolar business and cannot be changed that simple. I am actually a bit tentative about this because it usually becomes a blame game. End users don't know about Workplace product; they don't care about XPages; they are not interesting in that Lotus will no longer be a development platform blah blah...

Let me start this issue with a smaller context: Our local market in Turkey.

First of all, the position of Turkey has changed seriously for last two years. We have moved to CEE where Turkish market became one of the largest markets in its region. That increased the attention to local issues. Sales teams have been doubled and now we see a region executive every other months. Local IBMers accepted that they should emphasize more in branding now (Lotus Knows campaign is now localized).

On the other hand, there are tough  issues. Average Turkish user is a classical "Microsoft-lover". Customers are so 'ms-believer' in market that many IT managers did not even consider dropping MS Office and move to free alternatives like Symphony or OpenOffice. I don't use expressions of 'reject', 'afraid of' or 'find it needless'. Instead, budgets for MS Office licenses are so inured that many discussions about Symphony, for instance, immediately closed after a few sentences (Organizations are not rational all the time!). Outlook (or express) is the default e-mail client every houses (!). So the user-acceptance is great with MS Outlook. End-user perception of Lotus Notes is very bad. In many customer visits, I often hear appeals like 'I were happy with my Outlook in my former company' or 'Can I use Outlook, please?'.

In short, Microsoft is powerful at SME level with its market penetration in terms of messaging and productivity applications. There are lots of work done to increase user acceptance on Lotus Notes. Although the improvement cannot be neglected, many customers are still unhappy with the product.

I am curious whether this issue is local or not? I'd be happy if you comment about the situation in your country.

Serdar Basegmez   |   September 28 2010 06:49:19 PM   |    Corporate Information Systems  IBM    |  
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