I need everybody's help here. I need all of you Lotusphere attendees who are reading my blog, at least 50 of you, to go into the IBM Innovation Lab, find the researchers responsible for the new Activity Explorer product, stand in front of them, sing one bar of Alice's Restaurant, say the word "doclinks", and turn and walk away. If just one of you does this, they'll think you're strange. If two of you do it, together, in harmony... well, it would be un-PC, so I won't go there. And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in, singin' a bar of Alice's Restaurant, saying "doclinks" and walking out. They may think it's an organization. And can you imagine fifty people a day, I said fifty people a day walking in singin' a bar of Alice's Restaurant and saying "doclinks" and walking out? Friends, they may thinks it's a movement. And that's what it is, the Alice's Restaurant Activity Explorer Support for Notes Doclinks Movement.
Here's why: Activity Explorer rocks! It is a breakthrough product. It will sell IBM Workplace. Forget about Workplace's value proposition in centrally manageable provisioning and all the other stuff you've been hearing about. CIOs will buy that; surely they will. But CEOs, COOs, CFOs, line managers and end-users will buy Activity Explorer because it has sex appeal. Because it has real value. Because they will see that it will improve the way work gets done. It's important, but the big bang is never in cutting support costs. We have 15 years of Lotus Notes and Domino customer experience that proves this. You can only cut costs as far as you are actually spending. You can't save any more than that. The bigger savings are on the productivity side of the ROI equation. Change the way people collaborate, and change it for the better, and the upside is much, much bigger.
But here's the problem: Of the five data types that Activity Explorer supports, not one of them has anything to do with the data that 118,000,000 users -- the largest installed base of collaboration users on the planet, and IBM has them now -- are already using to collaborate. These 118,000,000 users collaborate now with Notes documents. The doclink is the key, the unique identifier, to terabytes, petabytes, I don't know... maybe even yottabytes of existing data that 118,000,000 users want to keep on using in collaboration. All that data is orphaned as far as Activity Explorer is concerned right now. Activity Explorer should not wait until the Notes Plugin for IBM Workplace Client Technologies is available in order to be able to work with Notes documents. It should absolutely be priority #1 to add support for Notes doclinks to the product right now.
I predict... no!... I guarantee!... that the single most certain way to get the Notes and Domino installed base to get really excited about IBM Workplace, to get them to start working with it sooner, not later, is to show them that Activity Explorer brings new life to Notes documents. I've been in this market a long time, and to me, this is just plain obvious on it's face. Making Activity Explorer work with Notes data is the best, single most logical, first step on the path to converging the best of Notes and Domino technology with everything that IBM Workplace will have to offer. This is the key to building real momentum for Workplace amongst the customers who know and care about collaboration the most... all 118,000,000 of them.
If you won't do the Alice's Restaurant bit, do at least stop by and talk to the IBM Research people about Activity Explorer. If you agree with me that this is a product that you could get excited about, that you could get your management excited about, or that you could get your customers excited about if you're a business partner, if only it worked with Notes data today... then at least give them the message that doclink support is essential, and it is essential sooner, not later. Tell them not to wait for the Notes Plugin. Make Activity Explorer work with the stand-alone Notes client as soon as possible. Tell them to do whatever it takes, because this could be huge.
Thanks for your support!
1. Stephan H. Wissel01/26/2005 01:28:10 AM
Can I do that remotely too?
2. Richard Schwartz01/26/2005 01:48:57 AM
A link from your blog will raise my page rank, possibly helping to bring this issue to the attention of people at IBM who happen to search on "Activity Explorer". An older article of mine is already the #2 hit on that
3. Adam Gartenberg01/26/2005 07:00:42 AM
Yes, you can do this remotely. I'm the Marketing Manager for Activity Explorer (and, unfortuantely, am following Lotusphere from the sidelines this year). I think you bring up an excellent point about the importance of making Activity Explorer more directly applicable to the 118M Notes users out there, and can assure you this will be looked into. (And I won't even require twenty seven eight-by-ten color glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was... although additional feedback is always welcome!)
4. Tim Latta01/26/2005 07:00:47 AM
I'm 1 of 118,000,000 and I agree with your position on doclinks (although I don't know the tune to the required song).
I too see the value in Activity Explorer as next generation collaboration. BUT, do you think the average end-user will 'get it'?
5. Pete Lyons01/26/2005 09:12:47 AM
Great post. I'm not at Lotusphere but when I see someone from the Activity Explorer team in the hallway at IBM Westford I'll be certain to break into song.
6. Stan Rogers01/26/2005 11:58:59 AM
That was horrible. If you want to stop platform wars and stuff, you got to sing loud. From the sounds of it, Rich ain't proud. Or tired.
7. Miguel Estrada01/26/2005 01:32:35 PM
Great to see (really hear and read) this reaction to AE at LS....I could not make it to LS this year....
I led the effort to take the Research project into the Workplace platform. Having done Web Publisher, Domino and Quickplace before puts me in a position of understanding the benefits and implications of what is being discussed here. That is, Domino/Notes is no stranger to the core AE effort. Suffice it to say that it is not the first time that comes up and that it is not being ignored.
I can't really say more than that at this point. Thanks for your support and enthusiasm.
8. Richard Schwartz01/26/2005 02:57:01 PM
Thanks Miguel! I'm glad to know that you are involved in this project. That fact alone gives me a great deal of extra confidence. And thanks, Adam, as well. I'm glad you've both found your way to my blog. Your product looks great. I've been looking for a compelling reason to tell people they need Workplace, and I believe that I've finally found it.
9. Ben Rose01/28/2005 05:08:18 AM
A good effort Richard, the doclink feature would be a big gain here too.
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