IBM, Gartner in blog tiff over Notes report

Gartner oversells interest in migrating from Lotus Notes and Domino, according to IBM

A Gartner report about users looking at migrating from Lotus Notes and Domino didn't sit well with IBM's Ed Brill, who spoke his mind in a Friday blog post. But his spin on the contents of the report is too one-sided, according to Gartner's Tom Austin, who shot back over the weekend.

On Thursday, Gartner published a report called "Migrating off Notes/Domino e-mail may make sense in some circumstances," saying that more Lotus customers come to Gartner for advice about moving to other e-mail systems.

The report is much ado about nothing, according to Brill, director of product marketing at IBM Lotus. A headline that better describes the content of the report would be: "Migrating off Notes/Domino doesn't make sense in most circumstances," according to Brill's blog post. However, that name probably wouldn't sell as much consulting time, Brill said.

To back up the assumption that migrating off Notes and Domino doesn't make sense, Brill highlights a number of quotes from the report, including that "IBM customers migrating to Microsoft will likely be disappointed" and that "IBM remains a strong and viable e-mail provider."

Talk of an increasing number of users migrating off Notes and Domino is more apt to be gossip at cocktail parties than "hard evidence of anything other than due diligence in the market," according to Brill. In fact, sales of new licences grew during the second quarter, Brill said.

That sounds like good news, but Brill's summary of the report doesn't tell the whole story, said Austin, vice president and fellow at Gartner and also the author of the report, in a blog post on Saturday.

For example, from July 1 in 2009 to April 30, 116 different clients booked one or more calls with Gartner analysts seeking advice on migrating away from Notes for e-mail, and no Microsoft customers called Gartner for advice on whether to migrate to Notes and Domino for e-mail, Austin added in a second blog post on Sunday. That disparity is a significant factor, Austin said.

Austin stressed that Gartner's research is based on substantive data and very serious discussions with professionals with serious issues and concerns.

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