Years ago, as I was nervously preparing to cover my first trade show, I asked my boss if he had any tips for me. "Grab extra cab receipts," he said. I told him I had something more reporting-related in mind. He thought for a moment and said, "Give a question to two people. If they give you different answers, that's a controversy. If they give you the same answer, that's a trend."
At last week's Admin2005 show in Boston, I talked to a lot more than two people, and the thing I heard over and over again was that administrators need control over what users do. Not a very controversial message for a show whose underlying theme is making life easier for admins, but definitely a trend.
That message came through loud and clear at a session devoted to the benefits of Notes/Domino 7. The presenter was Ed Brill, who heads sales and marketing for Lotus Notes and Domino. Whenever he mentioned one of the new features in the upcoming Release 7.0 (on both the Domino side and the Notes client side) designed to give administrators that kind of control, members of the audience clapped and cheered.
One of the 7.0 features that administrators in his session seemed to like most (judging solely by their applause) was a client policy lockdown feature that will prevent end users from choosing their mail and calendar settings. "It will make administrators happy because they'll be able to control every aspect of the Notes client experience for their users," he said.
The exhibitors I spoke to at the show also talked about control. Controlling access. Controlling viruses. Controlling spam. Controlling capacity planning. Utilizing policies.
An admin from New Jersey told me that all his colleagues at the show were talking about the latest spam-spewing attack of the Sober worm. What he told me epitomized why administrators need policies to control what end users can do.
Earlier in the week, he had to deal with a user who had come to him to ask him about the torrent of spam with subject lines in German. The admin asked the user if he knew anyone in Germany. The user said no. Then the admin asked, "Do you speak German?" Again, the user said no. Having more or less established that this e-mail should not have been opened, the busy admin asked, "So what's the issue?"
The user said, "Well, I need to know what to do, now that I opened it."Or, as one exhibit description in the show's program guide put it, "[our administration tool for Notes] removes the end user from interaction, a significant source of error."