IBM losing marketshare ? Organisations migrating without a business case ?

Today, I received a rather lengthy comment from Ian Randall who works for a Lotus partner in Australia. Thanks for your time Ian ;-).

The questions are apparently still not answered clearly or scattered over my and other blogs too much. Maybe this is again a good opportunity to consolidate some information I have gathered over time … here we go …


I hear the comment from Microsoft that IBM is rapidly loosing marketshare to Microsoft all the time, but little in the way of actual facts and figures to back up that statement. There are also many examples of organisations defecting from Microsoft to Lotus Domino.

Ian you are partly right. Microsoft nor IBM are explicit about the actual number of conversions either way. The only public statement I have been able to find in my 3 years of blogging was a statement made mike IBM’s Mike Rhodin. Read this post and the comments to it. Apparently Ed didn’t ‘clear’ this interview. I am skeptical to say the least to believe this. In the comments is lot’s of discussion on claimed migrations and marketshare stuff.

My approach is quite Simple. If IBM would convert more clients than Microsoft by any measure (seats, revenue or what you have) their marketshare would increase wouldn’t it ? Show me 1 analyst report of the last 3 years that proves that.

I can refer to a lot of reports (and not only by Radicati) that validate Microsoft’s constant increase of marketshare. This growth ofcourse is more than IBM Lotus Notes clients converting but it sure makes sence they are an important part of this …

The email market has become saturated of late but I believe that Microsoft dominates the market in smaller organisations while IBM has a greater market share in larger multi-national organisations or in industries that grow primarily through mergers and acquisitions.

The reports by Gartner Group, IDC, Radicati and others are quite detailed and do show Microsoft leads in all segments, specifically also the enterprise market. Unfortunately almost all reports are copyright protected so you have to gain access to them.

So what are the actual statistics? How many organisations have moved from IBM to Microsoft in the last few years and how many organisations have moved from Microsoft to IBM during the same period?

Again, Microsoft nor IBM are specific about this (see my earlier comment). If a measure would be the number of casestudies Microsoft would lead by far. For now I will settle this discussion by Microsoft showing continued and projected growth in marketshare. IBM for that matter is loosing marketshare substantially in the same period. I claim that is a solid link between the two.

What is the Size and Industry breakdown of these organisations? In which countries is the trend greatest or lowest?

Some reports show this detail others don’t. I can tell you from personal experience it does differ per country / geography.

What is the primary reason that organisations give for moving from IBM to Microsoft? It can’t be simply an economic decision, because Microsoft has no cost advantage and the cost of retraining every one is dead money.

The reason organisations give are multiple and ofcourse very depended on the type of organisation, the platform they are on, etc. Some examples

  • Mergers / acquisitions leading to a rationalistion / standardisation of the email / calendar platform
  • IBM’s (lack of a clear)strategy around Lotus Notes Domino.
  • Microsoft strategy and platform for Unified Communications & Collaboration
  • The Microsoft Platform providing a more favorable ROI.
  • Leverage of Microsoft solutions already in the organsiation

And yes, these may work the other way around, so less rational factors may very well play an important role in this process …

You claim there is no cost advantage; why you say this ? This may very well be true in some cases but I am confident (and know) cases with a clear ROI.

The issue of application migration is also a valid one for many organisations that use Lotus Domino, because some organisations have developed hundreds or even thousands of collaborative applications over the years, and the migration of these applications that you call "legacy" is not simple nor cheap for them to do when moving to the Microsoft platform.

Good point. How many organisations do you know actually depend their core business on thousands of business applications ? I know no / little companies that do.

Nobody is talking about / should talk about simply "moving applications over" in my opinion. I have said it time and time again it is a process of analysing what you have, determining what you need and rationalising to get there. This is absolutely not unique for Domino applications, this goes for MS Access, MS Excel and what you have just as well.

My simple approach to applications is :

  1. Analyse all the applications in scope using whatever tool suits you best
    1. How many applications (gross)
    2. How many instances / replica’s
    3. How many not used over period x
    4. Ho many derived from standard templates (off the shelf or developed)
    5. Dependency on external applications / interfaces
  2. Functional drill down
    1. What functionality do the databases provide
      1. Is this available out-of-the-box in the latest version of you current platform or competitive platforms
    2. Is this functionality also provided in your ERP system or other backoffice systems
    3. What are the functional components in the applications
      1. Workflow, forms, database, etc …
  3. Target platform
    1. What is you target platform given today’s standards
      1. ERP
      2. Other Back Office Applications
      3. Software Development Platform
      4. Communication / Collaboration platform
  4. Retire / Migration strategy
    1. Rationalistion i.e. what would justify maintaining / migrating applications "as is"
    2. Business case
    3. Risk Analysis
    4. Tools required for migration / interop

I am by no means a migration expert, so the list above may not be complete, But you know what, this approach is not unique for Microsoft, or IBM or whoever it is a typical approach in any standardisation / migrations process. So my question to you / Loti would be. Why is IBM so unique with it’s Domino applications that the apporach should be any different ?

The tools that Microsoft provide to assist in this migration are also woefully inadequate, so many organisations retain both their Microsoft AND Lotus Domino platforms indefinetly.

This is your statement not mine. I do not claim Microsoft makes the perfect tools providing the solution in every case. I know we can make the perfect tool if there would be a standard practice for the development of applications. We all know that not all Domino applications are developed using a standard practice. This also goes for any other developed application, macro, excel sheet, etc…

I think the selection of tools to be used is mart of your migration strategy and may very well include other 3rd Party tools as well; totally depended on what needs to be migrated. My motto ‘a fool with a tool is still a fool’

So I am intrigued to understand why an organisation would migrate from IBM to Microsoft, if there was no clear economic justification nor a realistic opportunity to eliminate the Domino platform altogether in many cases. Unless their decision was entirely emotional or unless they are being decieved by false and misleading marketing practices.

As you can read in my humble opinion there is no silver bullet. If there was you were talking to a rich man and I would certainly not blog the answer but sell it πŸ™‚

Let’s not go the way of false and misleading marketing practices. I think of all organisation Microsoft does business with very highly. I know Microsoft customers employ very intelligent and bright people that need to be convinced with the right arguments especially in such important business decisions, so tricking them with slick advertisements or a one off PowerPoint show does not get anywhere. If you do business with enterprise clients you should know this.