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Domino does not require experts

Originally written 20060213 for ZDNet

In Consolidating email on the Pod, Paul Murphy wrote, "Becoming an expert with Domino is not trivial" in his explanation about how using Domino on a Sun pod has better ROI than Microsoft software on anything.

Domino does email, business applications, and integrates with every backend system, and mostly does it without requiring an expert.

As the article suggests, migrating to Domino will reduce your hardware requirements, and greatly reduces the staff for administration. New application development takes days instead of months, so you can remove the overhead of approving every new application. (You still need to prioritize, but why have an approval process for 10 -minute projects? Your developer will tell you when something will take more time.) Your employees can use MSOutlook and a web browser rather than the Notes client (although you are not taking advantage of the off-line capabilities, but you survived without them before Domino.)

Companies will want to hire someone like me eventually. Most Domino developers have no training in optimizing for performance; IBM gives awards to their business managers for "the technical expertise demonstrated on the project" when they hire me as the developer. I do performance analysis on Domino networks where experienced administrators (but beginners with Domino) configure Domino to eat bandwidth. Companies need an expert to explain best practices and the possibilities to realize the full benefits of Domino.

But Domino's greatest value is non-experts can achieve great results. Your receptionist can handle most of administration. Your manager can build useful applications. Your IT department will wonder why it is shrinking. Employees will eventually complain about performance, but the company is already benefiting from the easy and rapid development. Then give me a chance, and the screen that took 5 minutes will load in under 5 seconds, and those features that never quite worked will be easy to use.

[20040214: Responding to a request about why I use "solprovider" rather than my real name on ZDNet.]
IBM already knows who I am:
- Several programmers of Lotus Notes (from Iris) commented I know more about any part of Lotus Notes than anybody in their group except the programmer who wrote the specific code.
- IBM's internal development has used my code (although they are careful not to admit it. They retyped an entire application, and then complained to me about bugs introduced by their typist.)
- IBM's internal testing department said one of my (rather complicated) applications had the best performance numbers they had seen in years, and the only "bug" they found was in some code meant for a future release that was inaccessible in the current version. (I was surprised they do a complete audit of all code, but they missed the comment about this code not being finished or used.)
- IBM is currently negotiating to buy software from one of their vendors. The front-end is my work (and IBM knows it.)
- IBM Lotus has made 2 attempts at hiring me. They were ready to fly me to Boston, even telling me the ticket was in the mail. Each attempt ended because IBM corporate put a hiring freeze on the Lotus Group. (At least that is what they told me.)
- I recently did a performance analysis project for IBM Global Services.

If you want my real name, it should take a few secoonds with Google. Nine pages of results, there is one entry each on pages 2, 4, 6, 7, and 8 that are not about me. As I write this, the first entry (this website) has my real name in the blurb, although the order and blurbs change every few days.

My post was not about hiring me (please do!), but that Domino is so easy that you do not need someone like me to get started, or to have good ROI. Companies only need to hire an expert after they realize many of their mission-critical processes depend on Domino, and some of their early efforts need improvement.

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