140,000 Lotus Symphony users at IBM

I’ve been using Lotus Symphony for several months now, both for daily use and also part of the development and translation efforts made around the product.

When talking to customers I always mentions numbers, as they provide a better indicator of a product’s success. In IBM’s case, even thou Lotus Notes 7 comes pre-installed on new machines (IBM image), there are over 80,000 employees running Lotus Notes 8.x, while our Domino servers are almost migrated fully to 8.0.1 (8.5 coming next year). There are also 140,000 Symphony users, either on Lotus Notes 8.x or the standalone software.

Impressive adoption!

Lotus Symphony
Chris Pepin – IBM internal deployment of Lotus Notes/Domino and Symphony
The Symphony Blog – IBM now has 140,000 users

10 Responses to “140,000 Lotus Symphony users at IBM”

  1. 1 Anonymous October 12, 2008 at 19:53

    Dvir, that would be a little bit like Microsoft crowing that we had half our employees running Office! Why isn’t IBM at 100%? With 386,558 employees worldwide (from http://www.ibm.com/ibm/us/en/), that’s only 36% of the total…I wouldn’t be crowing about that…

  2. 2 Anonymous October 12, 2008 at 20:41

    P.S. I’m guessing that the other 246,558 are using Microsoft Office 🙂

  3. 3 Dvir Reznik October 12, 2008 at 23:18

    John doe,

    Thanks for commenting, although anonymous is very un-social..

    First off, your observation is correct – I would also strive for 100% adoption, but we both know that’s not gonna happen over night. MS Office is an excellent product, for power-users, and Lotus Symphony (much like Google Apps, OpenOffice.org) offers an excellent alternative for average users. IBM’s strategy is to minimize the MS dependency, and new laptops are pre-installed with Symphony, not MS Office. If you’re a Linux dude (or gal), you can also download Ubuntu from the company intranet.

    Secondly, changing habits takes a while, much like with IE and Firefox – today FF has over 30% share in Europe, which I doubt Microsoft ever thought possible 3/4 years ago…

    Last point – 140,000 employees is only 36% of IBM’s workforce, but Lotus Symphony is not even 1 year old (not talking about alpha/beta versions).. so we’re actually talking about a 36% growth, Y/Y. Impressive, wouldn’t you agree?

  4. 4 Anonymous October 13, 2008 at 00:21

    Ah, but no, I don’t agree…at Microsoft, we don’t roll out a new release of Office (or Exchange or Sharepoint) without 100% of Microsoft employees being on the new version. Notes 8 is not new…it’s been in market over a year now…and only 80K employees on it?

  5. 5 Miguel Angel Calvo October 13, 2008 at 09:50

    Migrating thousands of servers and users is not done in a couple of weeks. But what’s been historically impressive with Lotus Domino is backwards compatibility.
    The migration is going to happen, but nobody is in a hurry because old releases are going to work exactly the same with new servers or clients.
    I guess there are software products from other companies that need a rip and replace, it doesn`t happen with Lotus!

  6. 6 MS Guy October 14, 2008 at 00:13

    Miguel, that’s a ridiculous answer. At any given time, inside Microsoft, there are people on the current release of Exchange, a few on the previous release, and a bunch of folks on the next version…by the way, entirely in production…and there are even a few folks who run Notes 🙂

    It has absolutely nothing to do, positive or negative, with backward compatibility…it does have to do with eating our own dogfood, so that when we ship a version of Exchange, it’s been run in production in a 100K seat shop for at least six months, though large numbers of folks have been on it for much longer. For example, there are a bunch of folks at Microsoft who are running, as their production mail environment, Exchange “Next”.

    I’ll say it again…Notes 8 has been in market over a year…the fact that fewer than 25% of IBM employees are running it is a disgrace…

  7. 7 MS Guy October 14, 2008 at 00:23

    Oh, by the way…when I worked at Lotus, we were always fully deployed on the new release when we shipped…always.

  8. 8 Dvir Reznik October 14, 2008 at 14:38

    Hi MS Guy (still not a name, but at least I know where you come from),

    Although IBM and Microsoft often compete in the business arena, we’re talking of two different scales here: IBM operates in three business pillars (HW, SW and Services), with almost 400,000 employees, whereas MS occupy only one pillar, Software, with almost 90,000 employees (http://tinyurl.com/3mmgjj – your website won’t state # of employees). So, when comparing MS internal deployment with IBM one, you need to divide your number by 3 to put us on the same chart.

    Now, within IBM Software Group (SWG), there are some 40,000 professionals. Needless to say that all of them are working on Lotus Notes 8.x, with Symphony of course. In software development, there are people on all versions (past, current and future), running Exchange/Outlook as well – that’s what developers do. Furthermore, Lotus professionals are running alpha and beta versions of future releases (Lotus Notes 8.5, Win/Mac), as you did, back in your Lotus days.

    As I said before, internal adoption is important for the success of a version, and ‘use what we sell’ is more than just a nice slogan at IBM. Some of the collaboration solutions we roll out to the market, such as Lotus Connections, were the result of internal tools that were in use by IBMers (BluePages is the famous of all). When it comes to software, there are never ‘too many testers’ – as I’m sure you’ll agree.

    Referring to Miguel’s comment: yes, backwards compatibility is highly regarded (for customers obviously and for IBM), and I’m proud to say Lotus Software has always been front and center on that. Can’t comment on Exchange/Outlook (don’t know for sure), but I do know that MOSS 2007 is different in its architecture from MOSS 2003, and ‘upgrading’ from one version to the other is the same as migrating from MOSS to WS Portal (personal experience with MS customers).

    I’ll wrap my comment with the Notes 8.x adoption. I read other numbers, higher of course, but since I’m not part of the CIO team, no point in mentioning them. For me, the minimum adoption number should be 40,000 (SWG professionals) If an IBM employee specializing in a non software related aspect of our business (like Storage or Mainframe) is running Notes 8.x – that’s excellent!

  9. 9 Ed Brill October 16, 2008 at 13:03

    Dvir, I find it interesting that the Microsoft team came out in force on your blog on this one, but didn’t bother to comment when I posted the same thing. Afraid of me, perhaps?

    “MS guy” is Jim Bernardo, who is the manager of the “Notes Compete” team at Microsoft. You must know something about him, he’s the guy who thought I couldn’t recognize the Italian language and claimed that Microsoft “doesn’t do” anything about telling customers what is going on at Lotus and then proceeded to do exactly that in a public discussion on LinkedIn.

    Don’t worry about their spin on this. The rollout of Symphony and Notes 8 proceeds at a logical rate for IBM, given our diverse businesses. I don’t think the Xbox team is the first to pile onto beta versions of Exchange or Office — oh wait, the Xbox team’s losses are being covered by the Office team’s profits, so maybe they are “good corporate citizens” 🙂

  10. 10 Ganapathiram Natarajan October 16, 2008 at 17:33

    IBM isn’t forcing anyone to move to Lotus Symphony, they are letting employees move at their pace. IBM understands that most employees are used to MS office and power users have become addicted to it.

    Those who have moved to Symphony have stayed with it, so it’s more of a mindset issue.

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Mobile & Media Consultant. I help startup companies launch products to the consumer market. Reach out: dvir.reznik [at] gmail.com



This is my personal blog. The postings here do not represent the thoughts, intentions, plans or strategies of my past employers or of my clients. It is solely my opinion.