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Radicati on the warpath again; this time it takes aim at IBM Workplace

For the second time in a year, research firm The Radicati Group has published a white paper that will serve as a lightning rod for controversy in the Lotus community.

For the second time in less than a year, research firm The Radicati Group has published a white paper that will serve as a lightning rod for controversy in the Lotus community.

On Tuesday, the Palo Alto research firm released its latest white paper, and its main finding is, "Most Domino users will not deploy Workplace, but will ride out their Domino environment as long as possible."

The report, titled A Survey of IBM Lotus Messaging Customers, also says that "A significant portion of the Domino population (79 percent) is still undecided on whether or not to deploy Workplace, or has already decided against it. This does not bode well for the future success of Workplace, or the future of IBM Lotus messaging." The report goes on to say, "IBM Lotus Domino customers have traditionally been loyal customers. However, this loyalty appears to be specific to Domino and will not transfer easily to Workplace."

Although IBM has not publicly commented on the white paper, several bloggers from the Lotus community have taken Radicati to task for the fact that the study is based on the responses of only 32 people. In his blog, Chris Byrne, managing director and technology/government services practice manager of IBM business partner The Cayuga Group, LLC, oints out that the sample size of the survey has a margin of error of +/- 17.4 percent, which "is totally inadequate if you wanted to extend results to the full universe of customers."

Another blogger, Tom Duff, a Notes/Domino developer known as Duffbert in Lotus circles, has the same reaction in his blog. "Wow, these guys are good," he wrote. "Using state-of-the-art statistical analysis, they were able to extrapolate the IT strategy of the entire 60,000+ IBM/Lotus customer base from 32 survey responses."

Conducted in the second quarter of 2005, the study is based on a survey of 32 high-level executives and IT professionals at 32 Lotus Domino customers. The respondents were predominantly IT managers (27 percent), messaging administrators (23 percent), IT consultants/analysts (19 percent) and network architects (13 percent). Other titles represented include president (6 percent), executive (6 percent), CEO (3 percent) and CTO (3 percent.)

According to the report, the Domino customers who do plan to migrate to Workplace are not concerned about their Notes applications. The report has all those customers saying, "Our Notes applications will work fine within the Workplace framework."

The report also states that satisfaction with IBM Lotus Domino is high, with 94 percent of the companies polled indicating they are satisfied with Domino.

One unusual finding was that, when asked if they understood IBM's Workplace strategy, 8 percent of the respondents said they had never heard of Workplace.

Last June, Radicati published a white paper questioning IBM Lotus' long-term strategy and claiming that the Workplace product line represented the end of the line for Domino and Notes. The white paper, entitled IBM Lotus & Microsoft – Corporate Messaging Market Analysis, suggested that the Workplace collaboration platform represented an "end-of-life" strategy for Domino and will cause Lotus' share of the messaging market to decline during the next four years.

The first report came under fire, not only from Domino users and IBM executives, but even other researchers. For instance, Michael Sampson, founder and research director of Shared Spaces Research & Consulting in New Zealand, which competes with the Radicati Group, was angered by the white paper so much that he wrote a point-by-point response. Sampson said the report made a misguided effort to directly compare Exchange with Domino and Workplace. "The two products are fundamentally different," Sampson said at the time.

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