One of the questions I am asked regularly (too regularly) regards the relative merits of email products, mainly Notes/Domino and Outlook/Exchange.
Most often: “We are considering a move from Notes/Domino to Outlook/Exchange can you tell us what the possible benefits would be?”
Less often (almost never): “We are considering a move away from Outlook/Exchange to Notes/Domino can you tell us what the possible benefits would be?”
I normally follow this by another set of questions along the lines of:
“Well what do actually use Notes/Domino for?”
“Well what do you use Outlook/Exchange for?”
“Do you use and Notes/Domino applications?”
“What applications do you have integrated into Outlook/Exchange?”
The result of these questions is nearly always that this particular customer is primarily an email users with some exploitation of calendaring and task type operations. Notes/Domino customer regularly have applications in the form of Notes/Domino databases but they aren’t clear what the business value of them is. Outlook/Exchange users also have other applications which integrate into their email infrastructure but aren’t clear on their value.
My advice to them and to anyone else who asks: There is no compelling business reason to switch for email functions.
It’s actually the wrong question for most customers. The right question for most customers is this “I am wanting to move beyond email being the only way my people collaborate how can I facilitate that”. That question would result in a completely different answer and may result in a change of email infrastructure.
In a world where we are increasingly information rich and question poor I am spending more and more of my time telling people what the correct question is rather than telling them information. Are we seeing a change in the role of the advisor and the consultant. People can find the answer to any question quite quickly, what they can’t do is find someone to tell them what the right question is.