When I search for "Lotus Notes" a lot of times I'll see things like this:
"I hate Lotus Notes #withallmyheart"
"I am sure there is a special circle in hell for the inventor of lotus notes"
Just toxic baloney. Most of what you read is unspecific ranting that doesn't describe the real root of the problem. A problem isn't really being asked to be solved. It's users complaining for the sake of complaining. Like the Hatfield's and the McCoy's, there's no real reason behind the hate.
I replied to a tweet a few days ago that said that selling and training "wasn't an IT department's job." I strongly disagree. I'm not a professional trainer. I have limited sales experience from maybe 10 years ago and wasn't very good at it. I tend to get loud and drop an occasional curse word. But what I bring to the table is enthusiasm, excitement and a willingness to offer education to our users. I need to generate a buzz about our technology. If I don't, then who else is going to do it? They didn't see the Opening General Session at Lotusphere. I did. And it's my responsibility as an employee to bring that electricity, that vibe, that positivity back to our users.
Administrators, I'm talking to you here. Here are two ways to help curb the nonsense and spread positivity about Notes in your company.
1. Make sure you have adequate horsepowerIf your users complain about Lotus Notes being slow, here's the solution: Fix. The. Slow. Problem.
Chase down bad network connections. Add liberal memory to computers. Make sure they're not running old garbage hardware that YOU wouldn't use. Check DNS issues. Use virus protection that isn't a pig. Notes isn't slow! If you run this enterprise level collaboration tool on a Pentium 3 with 512 MB of RAM, the problem is the hardware! Not Notes!
This is probably the easiest thing to do because it's technical. If Bob in accounting has three 8-port hubs in his office and complains about losing connection to the server, then put your technician hat on and fix it for him.
It's no secret that Notes loves resources. So what? I'd assume it takes a bit of fuel to push a rocket into orbit, right? Notes does so many things behind the scenes compared to Outlook that it's no surprise it may take a little horsepower. Memory is so cheap now anyway that it's no big deal to buy and install. Give it resources and make it fly for your users. A little infrastructure investment will pay for itself over and over again in increased user productivity.
2. Sales, Training and EnthusiasmLotus Notes needs to be sold to your users. You know why? They're not stupid. They hear things. They see things. They use Gmail at home and see the simplicity. They have co-workers who are partial to Outlook, ill-informed about Lotus Notes and then spread toxic misinformation. Like a rumor, misinformation travels until it's corrected. Even then, the damage is already done. A reputation wrongly ruined in the 9th grade will still haunt a kid until they graduate high school.
In my company, I can point to only a few people out of 200 or so who are vehemently anti-Lotus Notes. If I were looking at it from another angle I'll tell you I have 99% happy Notes users! The two or three anti-Notes people a hard sell and I welcome the challenge. However, their dislike of the product isn't toxic. They simply haven't been trained enough with the product and have preconceived notions about what the product should do. It's a matter of hearing those complaints, finding the solutions and educating the user. In the end, those few users may not "love" Lotus Notes (although many of mine do), but they will know how to use the product to be hopefully more productive than with what product they used to have.
I've been holding two-hour training sessions for my users now 24 months after our initial migration from Outlook. I explain why we use Lotus Notes. I explain the power of Lotus Notes. I explain the strength and security of the IBM i on Power Systems platform, which our Lotus Domino servers are running on. I get excited and energized about the whole thing. You bring that enthusiasm and positivity to the users and good things will happen.
I show them screen shots of what they'll have with Lotus Notes 8.5.3. I show them simple tips and tricks like how to book a meeting room and a projector. I demo Sametime Meetings on my iPad. I tell them we're doing Sametime Unified Telephony soon and explain how it will be rolled out. I tell them how and why they'll be more productive and how our company will save money by implementing these solutions. You know why I know it works for me? Users tell me how happy they are that they can color code their mail. I'm serious. We take that for granted because we already learned it in a presentation a long time ago. But something that simple just breeds more positivity.
Stomp the toxicity. Get positive. Users will be much more productive if they learn a bit about the product.