Saturday, January 1, 2005

The momentum is coming back

LOTUSPHERE 2005

By Richard Echeandia

This year's Lotusphere seems to be quite a bit different than the last two years. The feeling among the attendees seems to be very upbeat and energized. In talking to attendees and exhibitors, the high energy level seems to be coming from two main areas. First, the IT environment is the best it's been since September 11th, 2001, and second, Notes and Domino are back in the center of the agenda for Lotusphere.

It's this last point though that seems to be most of the 'buzz' in private discussions. After an opening ceremony that kicked off with John Cleese of Monty Python fame trying to be "reasonably offensive" to the audience (his term), Ambuj Goyal came out with a litany of good news for the product's supporters.

According to Ambuj, Lotus' messaging and collaboration products grew in double digits during 2004. Perhaps more significantly, they increased their lead by gaining share against competitors. He went on to say, "1500 customers switched from competitive platforms to Lotus Notes," which he noted is, "dramatically higher than the previous years."

There were two numbers quoted several times over the morning. Lotus now claims 118 million users of Notes/Domino, and several speakers spoke of growing the customer base to 200 million, although no timeframe was given for this goal.

In what seemed to be an effort to re-assure Lotus' customers, Ray Ozzie made a brief speech, and Mike Zissman also put in a brief appearance. Fellow Senior Technical Editor Mick Moignard and I had a chance to chat with Ray Ozzie one on one later in the evening. I'll write more about that later.

Richard Echeandia is a Senior Technical Editor for DominoPower Magazine and is President of Advecticus, at http://www.advecticus.com.