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The small shop upgrade - Here's a customer that really loves their Notes client.

By Andrew Pollack on 12/17/2010 at 07:13 AM EST

I'm on my way this morning to perform any upgrade for an customer of mine. They're moving to Notes 8.5.x on the server as well as the client. That in itself isn't all that uncommon. Here's what you may find surprising. There are only two people in this office, and they don't use any Notes apps any more. They just just love the Notes client and they trust it, in combination with the server, to provide a reliable and highly functional mail system.

This customer originally was given a Notes client while at a small college in order to work with a publishing house doing editorial work. They had a workflow application they used as a client to the publishing house at that time. When they left the college and started a business around the work they'd been doing, I came in and helped them move to an office, setup mail and continue to use their Notes client in the same way. While that publishing firm has long since moved to a web interface and that application is no longer used, this customer and her one employee have relied on Notes for something like ten years and see no reason whatever to leave it behind. They love the reliability, the search tools, and the off-line use through replication.

When they called me to do this upgrade, I expected that they'd end up going to GMAIL or something else rather than pay for the cost of having me come in and replace the machine they use for a server, upgrade one of their workstations, and perform the migration itself. let's face it, the cost of having me spend half a day with them, plus buying a new machine capable of being a server, plus buying a new workstation for one of them, plus buying the new Notes licensing is lot of money for a two person shop when you're using it for just email and there are free options out there. I was mistaken. They really love Notes. I worked with another BP to get them the licensing they need, and today they'll be getting the upgrade on both server and workstations to 8.5.x.

The kicker is this -- they're both iPhone users. The most fun I'm going to have today is showing them Traveler.

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re: The small shop upgrade - Here's a customer that really loves their Notes client.By Kai Benjaminsen on 12/17/2010 at 08:08 AM EST
Cool. This is great reading. :)
re: The small shop upgrade - Here's a customer that really loves their Notes client.By Lars Berntrop-Bos on 12/17/2010 at 09:46 AM EST
You mention the new Notes licensing as a cost factor, but I think the Express
licenses are very affordable.
re: The small shop upgrade - Here's a customer that really loves their Notes client.By Ed Brill on 12/17/2010 at 10:08 AM EST
Yeah, for two users, Domino Collab Express is $300 net-new, less for a
reinstatement. So is that really a big cost for a 2-person business?
re: The small shop upgrade - Here's a customer that really loves their Notes client.By Jerry Carter on 12/17/2010 at 12:05 PM EST
For a two person business (unless we're talking something obscenely
profitable), $30 would be an expense to weigh carefully. Small businesses
income and outlay scales almost proportionately with the number of employees.
But a $300 investment in a major upgrade to a trusted piece of infrastructure
is one of those "gotta do it" things I suspect die-hard fans would take in
stride. Still has to fit in the budget though.
re: The small shop upgrade - Here's a customer that really loves their Notes client.By Erik Brooks on 12/17/2010 at 12:22 PM EST
$300, split amongst two people... $150 each... maybe a bit less after tax,
maybe less than that due to reinstatement.. It's still a non-trivial expense,
for sure.

For an *established* 2-person business it's probably not a huge deal, but for a
*startup* 2-person business that's a ton of money for something being given
away for "free" by Google.
re: The small shop upgrade - Here's a customer that really loves their Notes client.By Andrew Pollack on 12/17/2010 at 07:37 PM EST
I agree -- the $300 or so in licensing for the two of them is a good deal for
all they get, and wasn't the big part of the expense. Having me out there for
half day was more than twice that cost, plus having to replace a workstation
and server (outdated hardware) -- altogether, spending a couple of thousand
dollars on mail is a lot for a two person shop.

My point is that they feel it's worth the expense for the Notes client and
server email.

BTW: Traveler totally blew them away.
re: The small shop upgrade - Here's a customer that really loves their Notes client.By Jo Grant on 12/18/2010 at 05:40 PM EST
My wife insisted we get smartphones and we now have a pair of Droid Incredible.
I'm astonished at how bad the user interfaces and usability is of such a
consumer device. I signed up for the internal Traveler rollout and was
pleasantly surprised at the quality of the instructions, the setup, and
behavior of the app once installed. I though it was hype when someone said
Traveler was the best app on their smartphone. Now I agree (although the bar
is, admittedly, low.)

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