iPhone + Lotus Notes = Opportunity + Annoyance

Tedschadler_2 By Ted Schadler

Maybe you saw the IBM announcement or the NY Times article on it. iPhone now can run iNotes, a lightweight application for access to Lotus Notes email, calendaring, and contacts.

But why the complex equation? Let me break it down for you:

IBM has no axe to grind with any mobile device (unlike Microsoft, who is required to promote Windows Mobile devices -- though we've seen a lot of iPhones on the Redmond campus lately). Therefore, it can afford to be device agnostic. The Armonk software giant has long supported BlackBerry, Nokia, and Windows Mobile devices. It now supports iPhone.

In other words, these iPhone owners are change agents. They see a benefit and want to go for it. We call this behavior of employee-led adoption "Technology Populism," and it's a force majeure. Here's one cool situation we heard from a client: demand for iPhone is so high that IT put up a wiki to encourage iPhone opportunists to comment on problems and solutions for iPhone in the enterprise. It's a "very active" wiki with 70 active participants. And this after only a month.

And that's an annoyance for IT. (Sigh.) But our information and management professionals -- Rick, Giselle, Henry, and Patty -- will have to get used to the pressure and turn around to apply it to Apple to provide support or at least third-party options to manage those iPhone devices. They're here to stay.

  • iPhone. IBM Lotus has shipped an iPhone app (available in the Apple AppStore) that gives Lotus Notes users on-the-go access to email, calendars, and contacts. Why does this matter, you say? After all, didn't Apple do this for Exchange back in June?

    Well, yes, they did. Apple did it. And that's the point. This time around, it's IBM that did it -- a third-party. And that is the crux of the matter: An independent company can extend the value of iPhone by building a mobile Internet application. Nothing new there; after all the AppStore has a gazillion apps already. That's the iPhone part of the equation.

  • Lotus Notes. This part of the equation should start to attract the interest of information and knowledge management professionals on the Notes platform (about 40% of our enterprise customers run Notes, and they are the biggest companies and organizations).
  • =Opportunity. It's an opportunity for information workers to get what they want on the devices they want to run. Our survey of 60,000 consumers (34,000 of which have jobs) shows that iPhone owners are a breed apart: more affluent, more enthusiastic about technology, and get this, they are 50% more likely than other mobile owners to "tell their friends about products that interest them" (61% of iPhone owners agree, whereas only 39% of mobile owners do).
  • + Annoyance. It's an annoyance today for IT to support iPhones. While iPhone is a great application platform, it doesn't have the end-to-end system that BlackBerry alone can provide. While we're big fans of the BlackBerry for messaging (and think that the company is poised to mainstream content apps like SharePoint access and collaboration apps like training and web conferencing), the iPhone has huge developer interest. And in our experience, the platform that attracts the most developers wins.

Comments

re: iPhone + Lotus Notes = Opportunity + Annoyance

The Lotus Notes access is via a web app on the iPhone using Safari. It is not a native application (Yet?). It cannot be downloaded from the app store. The support to use an iPhone comes from the back end using Domino 8.02 +. Let's hope we can get a true native app in the near future!

re: iPhone + Lotus Notes = Opportunity + Annoyance

Thanks for your comment.You're right that today you can get browser access to Notes on an iPhone with that backend. (And when I checked that out, it had the usual browser email client annoyances.)But this announcement is of a new downloadable application (from the AppStore) that runs on the iPhone. So unless I got it wrong, you can now get a native iPhone application for access to notes. Did I miss something?Thanks,Ted

re: iPhone + Lotus Notes = Opportunity + Annoyance

Not exactly...what's downloaded is an ultralight version of iNotes...which is the browser client for Notes...ultralight, but not zero footprint. I could access my email using Outlook Web Access in the browser on the iPhone, too, before Apple announced that they would support Exchange ActiveSync, and that does not require downloading any code. So, while it's nice that Notes users can now view their email on an iPhone, it's not really such a massively big deal...in fact, it's a shame that you have to download code to...well...view your email in a browser.

re: iPhone + Lotus Notes = Opportunity + Annoyance

@Jim: Are you sure about this? It's my understanding, that you only need to point your Safari Browser to your Notes mailfile on the Domino 8.0.2 server. No need to visit the Apple Appstore or to download anything upfront.

re: iPhone + Lotus Notes = Opportunity + Annoyance

Okay, I'll get some clarity and get back to everybody.Thanks,Ted

re: iPhone + Lotus Notes = Opportunity + Annoyance

@jim: I use the inotes webmail on the iPhone and it is just as simple as pointing towards the URL. No code to be installed on the iPhone. And no data on the phone, so no security risk. You can check out furter details on the lotus website or even try it with a greenhouse account

re: iPhone + Lotus Notes = Opportunity + Annoyance

@Ted - I can't find anything on AppStore that looks like this. I searched for Lotus, Notes and IBM. I'm pretty sure you're referring to the new Ultralite browser interface for Lotus Notes/Domino mail. Any one who wants to try it can sign up for a free account at http://greenhouse.lotus.com. I've blogged about my initial experiences with it (see my link).

re: iPhone + Lotus Notes = Opportunity + Annoyance

Thanks, Mike, for this comment and post at http://dominoiphone.wordpress.com/2008/10/02/paul-mooney-doesnt-hate-inotes-ultralight.I'm still working on IBM to get some clarity around whether this was a mistake in their press release or just not rolled out yet. (For the record, I can't find it on the AppStore, either -- shame on me for not confirming before posting).But as Mike points out, IBM can't afford to ignore 40% of the market, and Apple needs compadres like IBM to get a solid foothold in the enterprise. [signed] Ted

re: iPhone + Lotus Notes = Opportunity + Annoyance

Okay, I've gotten some clarity from IBM, and it was all in the original press release. The commenters have been spot on, and I jumped the gun on my original post. But clearly IBM's intent is to build a native iPhone application. Here's the information from IBM:"IBM Lotus iNotes is listed in the Apple web app catalog (debuting as a top 20 staff pick). As noted in the press release --> http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/25282.wss. It is not in the Apple App Store as it runs as part of the Domino server and does not run natively on the Apple iPhone. After working with Apple, IBM plans in the future to provide support for accessing email as a native application via the IBM Lotus Notes Traveler solution that is a part of IBM Lotus Domino."Thanks to Liza Beth Hayman from IBM for the assist!Sorry for the confusion,Ted