Blogger: Bill Pray
The enterprise e-mail market has primarily been split between Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange for the last several years. Changing e-mail systems for an enterprise is difficult because it is hard to justify the migration expense and user impacts. In particular, customers who have migrated from Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange tend to not entirely get away from Notes. While they often can move the e-mail functionality, they usually have also developed custom applications and workflows in the Notes environment that they have difficulty replacing.
Over the last few months, I have had several conversations with Lotus Notes customers about potentially migrating to Microsoft Exchange. Many of these conversations are spurred by the use of SharePoint within the organization – raising the question of whether or not the enterprise should migrate to Exchange also. Read more about IBM’s challenge with SharePoint in Mike Gotta’s blog.
A common question asked during these conversations with Lotus Notes customers is - Are there enterprises migrating from Exchange to Notes? Digging through the IBM press releases over the past year revealed the following information:
Gruppo Amadori – 05/21/2009 about 1,000 seats migrating from Exchange to Notes. The migration is shrouded in the story about Linux-based desktops. Also, the number of seats migrating is not quite enterprise size, depending upon your definition.
Continental AG acquired Siemens VDO – 04/02/2009 about 40,000 seats from Siemens VDO migrating from Exchange to Notes. This is a nice pickup for IBM, but is more of a story of a loyal customer – Continental AG – sticking with IBM and moving an acquisition from Exchange to Notes than it is of a competitive win over Microsoft.
Suntel – 02/05/2009 A telecommunications provider in Sri Lanka. While the release does not say on how many seats this represents, it is a nice win for IBM over Exchange in what is considered an emerging market.
A pre-Lotusphere press release (01/15/2009) gave a list of customers that “have chosen to standardize on Lotus Notes over Microsoft Exchange.” The text implies that some or all are migrating from Exchange. No seat counts were given. Some of these are fairly substantial enterprises. The text says:
“In addition, a number of customers worldwide have chosen to standardize on Lotus Notes over Microsoft Exchange, as well as migrate their existing Exchange environments to the latest versions of Notes/Domino 8. They include Minolta, Toshiba, Continental AG, EVONIK, Bank of New York Mellon, Kendle, Kohl's, Constructora San Jose, Banco do Brazil, Hitachi, Freightliner, Manulife, Sherwin Williams, Belden Wire, Ministry Of Finance Belgium, John Hancock, Ton Yang, Air France, Danone, SunTel, INEOS, Werner Enterprises and Payflex.”
Going back to July 2008, an IBM press release touted:
“The second quarter saw the largest historical client win for Lotus in North America as well. A member of the so-called "big six" accounting/consulting firms purchased more than 150,000 seats of the entire Lotus portfolio, selecting Lotus Notes, Lotus Sametime, Lotus Connections, IBM Lotus Quickr and WebSphere Portal over Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint, among other products. Other large companies that chose Lotus Notes and other Lotus software over Microsoft products included several leading banks in the U.S., the United Kingdom and Germany, as well as the Australian government.
Other clients who have recently invested in Lotus Notes and other Lotus software over the competition include consumer goods giant Colgate-Palmolive, chemical manufacturer Ineos of Belgium, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, NutraFlo, Dutch Railways, Rohm Haas, Imerys and the Salvation Army. Specifically moving to Lotus Notes 8 were CFE Compagnie d'Enterprises of France, Virginia Commonweath University, Winsol International, The U.S. General Services Administration, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, Standard Insurance, New York Life, Kentucky Baptist Convention, Verizon, Publishers Printing, Hyatt Hotels, Union Pacific and Nationwide Insurance.”
What is not clear in this press release is whether or not these are migrations from Exchange or other competitors. Based on anecdotal evidence, it appears that IBM continues to struggle with Notes against Exchange in North America, but is winning some new customers in emerging markets for enterprise e-mail, like APAC.
Due diligence by any IT team looking to make a major decision such as replacing the e-mail solution includes finding out what others are doing and why. As Guy Creese points out in his blog, “IBM's product offerings are well understood by its installed base, they aren't known outside of IBM's inner circle. IBM needs to get out more.”