Orlando is known for many things: Disney World, soaring summer temperatures, luxurious senior living communities, and being the conference capital of America. Among these annual conferences is IBM Connect, a gathering of IBM (formerly Lotus) Notes email users who congregate every January from points across the globe. Over the years, this conference’s attendee numbers have declined... partially due to increased adoption of Microsoft Exchange, partially due to the more technical and more focused nature of the event. But despite the gradual drop in attendance, it is still one of my favorite shows.
You might ask why I say that, given the delight of a five plus hour flight across the country and three days of less-than-ideal sleep. However, it’s because for 3 days I feel like the unique voice in the room. The only attendees at Connect are IBM employees, Domino users, and vendors catering specifically to IBM products. And then there’s ZL.
The agnostic nature of our platform is why ZL falls into a separate category, and it’s also why we are a perfect fit for Notes users. The general business shift away from Notes email usage has meant that fewer vendors are choosing (or able) to support the Domino/Notes platform for governance, archiving, eDiscovery, and general end-user search. But it’s not only that: if companies move from Notes to Exchange, the next question is: “What do we do with our old data, and how do we get it transferred successfully to Microsoft?” That’s where the agnostic part comes in -- being able to handle both IBM Notes and Microsoft Exchange data from the same platform. There’s no struggle to fit a square peg into a round hole. You now have something that is able to handle both sets of data fluidly, without any loss of unique metadata.
This fresh perspective on managing email, especially in the shadow of a major provider’s own conference, is what makes this show fun. Being able to educate and hopefully help users is the reason I do what I do. A situation like I see year after year in Orlando during the week preceding the Super Bowl is a prime example of that, and I’m looking forward to this year’s trip more than ever.