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Managing and maintaining mobile devices on Lotus Notes Domino

Learn about some issues Lotus Notes Domino administrators may run into when deploying mobile devices in their organizations and thoughts on the future of Notes Domino mobility.

In the second installment of our audiocast with Michael D. Osterman, of Osterman Research Inc. he speaks to issues facing Lotus Notes administrators deploying mobile devices in their organizations, and the direction of this market. Parts 1 and 2 of this interview are available in either text or audiocast format, allowing you to read them now or download them and listen at your convenience.

Part 1 | Part 2 What types of configuration issues are Lotus Notes Domino administrators encountering when deploying mobile devices in their organizations?

Michael Osterman: There are a variety of configuration issues:

  • Making sure the devices work well with Domino servers
  • Making sure users have access to data
  • Managing the interaction between the Domino servers and the BES servers, in the case of BlackBerry or Windows mobile server, and so forth.
  • Managing issues with the mobile server itself, being that it's just another server that you'll have to add to the infrastructure and it's another thing for IT administrators to manage.

So, [this involves] making sure that configuration is managed correctly, that it's set up properly and seeing that users are provisioned. Also, make sure that you have the ability to configure the servers and devices so that you can manage security issues you're going to face. For example, if somebody is traveling, you need to make sure that if they lose their device, you can do a remote wipe so that the organization is protected and sensitive data is not lost.

Make sure that everything is configured so that you can provide 24/7 support for end users anywhere in the world, particularly for large organizations, and so you can manage interactions between mobile servers and Domino servers appropriately.

Listen to this audiocast:

Click here to listen to the audiocast of: Managing and maintaining mobile devices on Lotus Notes Domino. What types of skills and/or additional training do Notes Domino administrators need when rolling out mobile environments?

Osterman: I think training is a key issue here, because you're introducing a new type of device, a new type of server. Certainly there are going to be training issues involved; and typically, it will be a number of hours of training on not only the new server itself, but also setting up the server, deploying out to users, provisioning to users and so forth. Also, managing interaction and developing reports between the Domino server and the BES server (or whatever other server you're using) [is important].

We find that some organizations have expressed interest in outsourcing their wireless capabilities so that mobile users would be supported on an SAS (serial-attached SCSI) network or some sort of a hosted offering, as opposed to managing it all in-house. We think that most organizations will manage it in-house, but because of configuration issues, a lot [of companies] will probably want to go with a hosted third-party solution. It seems that, in speaking to members and attendees at industry events, BlackBerry is the prominent device used in Lotus Notes Domino organizations. Would you say that your research backs this up?

Osterman: Certainly for the next couple of years, BlackBerry and Windows mobile will dominate the mobile device landscape. We don't really see one device "winning out" over the other; and certainly, both will be very prominent. We do see some other platforms coming up -- like the iPhone for example -- that is being used more in corporate environments, which is something that we had actually predicted several months ago.

Recent Apple announcements about making the iPhone play well in Exchange environments, speaks to its growth in corporate environments of all types, including Notes Domino. That said, I don't think anything is going to shake BlackBerry from its dominant role for at least the next two to three years. What do you predict for the future of Notes Domino and mobile devices?

Osterman: Notes Domino is clearly holding its own. It's in second place in the corporate environment behind Microsoft Exchange; but there are about 46,000 Notes Domino shops out there, and they're gaining new customers all the time. People that talk about the demise of Lotus Notes Domino in favor of other platforms, I think are just wrong. I think it's going to be around for a very long time with solid market share.

The growth of mobile devices is continuing. So, interaction between Notes Domino, which is a growth market, and mobile devices -- an even bigger growth market, or faster growth market -- is going to require that virtually all Notes Domino shops know how to interact with mobile devices. They [will need to] integrate them in the networks, provision users, provide application functionality on the mobile device that they need to and so forth. Companies like RIM with BlackBerry, Microsoft with Windows mobile, Apple with the iPhone, and future Symbian devices will have to play well in the Notes Domino environment. It's certainly a market that is going to be very lucrative for anybody participating in it. I think that it's going to attract more vendors and more application developers for mobile devices used in Lotus Notes Domino environments. What additional thoughts or advice can you offer users when they're considering deploying mobile devices in their environments?

Osterman: I think that mobility is critical for most organizations, particularly large Notes Domino shops. It's an absolutely critical part of doing business. Also, I think it's important to be able to support multiple devices. We're going to see more Apple iPhones in the mix in the future. The device is very popular and you don't want to go to a senior manager as an IT administrator and say, 'You can't use this device.' Managing multiple devices will be critical.

Also, be sure to focus heavily on security. I think that is probably the biggest, single issue for mobile devices. The whole notion of device security [involves] making sure that things work properly, that you don't have intrusions coming in through the mobile endpoints and so forth. I think the ability to manage [environments] properly so that everything is as seamless as possible is critical, and you're not adding a huge amount of work to IT.

This is [a situation in which] you might want to consider using outsourced or hosted services to provide some level of mobile functionality that supports those devices. Then, you can concentrate on the core. It's not going to be ideal for most organizations, but it will be for some, and [it's] something that they should seriously consider.

Michael D. Osterman is president, founder and principal of Osterman Research, Inc. He has more than 20 years experience in the market research industry, conducting research for a wide variety of technology-based clients, including IBM Lotus, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, Sun Microsystems, Nokia, USinternetworking and Qwest, among many others. Mr. Osterman has written numerous articles for a variety of trade publications and is a panelist and speaker at various industry- and vendor-sponsored events.

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