While analysts and users lauded Lotus Development Corp.'s knowledge management initiative, laid out at its annual user conference here last week, many users said they were too busy migrating to Notes/ Domino Release 5.0 to embrace it.
At Lotusphere 2000, the groupware maker sought out support for Raven, its alpha-stage knowledge management server. Styled as a portal, the stand-alone product offers search, automated user profiling, expertise-location and instant messaging features.
Raven is Appealing
Jim Bird, an information systems adviser at The Boeing Co. in Seattle, said Raven's functionality is appealing.
"There is so much data that is so disparate across the company. We need a way to get to our data easily and get it to the people that need access to it.
Raven seems to be one of those types of tools that could help us," said Bird.
But like the vast majority of organizations that use Notes/ Domino for messaging, Boeing has yet to migrate its Lotus messaging seats to Version 5.0.
The aerospace giant uses Microsoft Corp.'s Exchange server for most of its e-mail needs, but uses Notes/Domino in a few departments, Bird said.
Lotus officials estimate that roughly one-quarter of the company's installed base has migrated to R5 since it was released last April. Lotus cites its Notes installed base as 56 million seat licenses for end users.
Corporate users said the combination of Y2K-compliance chores and the need to move to a hierarchical naming structure in R5 slowed down the migration process.
Earlier versions of Notes/ Domino accepted a flat-use naming convention.
R5 requires hierarchical naming that includes organizational units in the following format: firstname.lastname@example.org/location.
"We went through that pain and anguish last year, so we're in a position to migrate now," Bird added.
Gresham Andrews, Notes administrator at Seagate Technology Inc., started migrating the 25,000 Notes users at the Scotts Valley, Calif.-based storage drive maker to R5 two weeks ago. "We always wait for products to become more stable and get the bugs out," said Andrews. "We were also a flat environment, and we had to move to the hierarchical system. Planning was six months, and then it took about three months of actual work."
As for Raven, some users said they plan to take a wait-and-see approach to the new technology.
Lotus has made "a big push for knowledge management with Raven, but whether it will do the job remains to be seen," said Anita Moore, manager of network administration at Discovery Communications Inc., a cable channel operator in Bethesda, Md.