Lotus Notes users have earned a reputation for brand loyalty. If the results of SearchDomino.com's recent survey of Notes/Domino developers and administrators are any indication, that loyalty will continue with Notes/Domino 7.0.
The survey revealed that the vast majority of Domino shops plan to upgrade to R7. Only 21 of 169 respondents, or 12 percent, indicated that their organization did not plan to upgrade. This is consistent with Notes/Domino 6; according to Michael Rhodin, general manager of IBM Lotus Software, nearly 90% of Domino users have switched to R6 since it appeared in 2002. It's also consistent with a recent SearchDomino.com poll on Notes/Domino upgrades.
That's not to say upgrades aren't a key indicator. "When customers upgrade, that's a vote of confidence," Rhodin said. "Since we launched Notes/Domino 6.0 in 2002, almost 90% of our installed base is either on the current release or upgrading."
The question for most groups, though, is when to upgrade. Of the 148 respondents who expect to roll out R7, more than half (78) are not sure when that will happen. Twelve respondents said their company will upgrade by the end of 2005, while 53 said it will happen by the end of 2006 and five plan to upgrade in 2007.
Ivan Jaramillo, manager of messaging services for Allied Domecq, falls into the majority. He plans to move his 3,000 Notes users to R7 from 6.5.4, but he is waiting for maintenance reports and reactions from other Domino professionals. "I really don't like to be the first one," Jaramillo said.
On the other hand, Cindy Cwiertak, business systems analyst for USA Credit Union, is preparing for an R7 upgrade in the first half of 2006. "We always review the options before upgrading and put into place a plan for the migration," said Cwiertak, who has 135 Notes users on 6.5.1. "Our organization is one to keep current with upgrades and not to lag behind."
Both administrators said they were looking forward to Notes 7's new Calendar features. These include the ability to archive Calendar entries – which often come with large attachments – reminders for users who book rooms and reservation capabilities that prevent double bookings. This reservation feature currently poses a problem, Jaramillo said; an online user and an offline colleague can book a conference room at the same time, and both assume they have it. "Sometimes it's confusing because they said, 'I checked. It's a bad coincidence," he said.
In addition toCalendar changes, Cwiertak said she is looking forward to the upgrade's autosave capabilities, particularly for forms, and the option to change an alias within Domino Designer. However, she wishes the updated Designer had added an "undo" option; because it didn't, she has to supplement Designer with third-party software.
One addition to Notes/Domino 7 that IBM is touting highly is support for DB2, which lets Domino data and applications sit on DB2. IBM has delayed this functionality until the first maintenance release, which is expected in early 2006. But neither Jaramillo nor Cwiertak have DB2 support in their sights.
"I personally wrote script to connect to our current warehouse data stored on SQL Server," Cwiertak said.
As for Jaramillo, he said this functionality would make sense for anyone running back-end applications on DB2. Most of his back end, though, is Oracle, and very few applications interact with the back end. "Maybe we'll test it," Jaramillo said, "but it's not within my preferences right now."