Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A matter of perspective

I've been lurking and/or participating in the blogosphere for over a year. Most of the blogs I read are written by IBMers, their business partners, or consultants. Many of the discussions I have participated in show this point of view almost to exclusion.

What seems missing from most discussions is the voice of the end user and customer. The role of a BP or consultant is inherently different than someone on staff. The BP is brought in for a specific project or problem, and when they're done they move on. I don't mean that to sound cold or callous, but the reality is they aren't sitting at the same desk every day, working with the same group of coworkers. The outside vendor hopefully has an ongoing relationship with the customer, but it's still a different focus.

I'm also not saying that BP's aren't customers themselves or suggesting they don't have a place at the table. I'm not knocking the role BP's and consultants have, I value their input tremendously. They have seen more than I ever will and their expertise is truly amazing. They're usually the ones who have the opportunity to push tools in directions and ways staff developers such as myself never will. The insight they gain in that process is invaluable, and it is extremely rewarding when they freely share that experience, as many of them do.

So, to my point. I think the BP's and consultants are the minority, but in most conversations I participate in they have a majority voice. Their influence is disproportionate, and I try to balance the scales somewhat and bring the perspective of the end customer to the discussion. I don't want to sound like an egomaniac with delusions of grandeur. I definitely have my own agenda and ultimately I can only speak for myself. I am by no means claiming to be "the voice of the common man".

But I don't think my experiences or needs are so different from the majority of Notes and Domino customers out there. I keep hearing that the majority of Notes and Domino customers are small to medium businesses, so I feel that my perspective and concerns are representative of a lot of people, and I often don't feel like we are being heard.


  1. Ditto. I'm just a customer too - an admin for a 1,000 seat telco. Pretty standard for the SMB mold, I guess. I think that blogging has really helped me (and my company as an extension) have a greater voice with IBM. I now have people I can just email or call if I am in dire straits. You're right, though, that the majority of the vocal people are BPs or consultants. But, they can often speak from a wider experience in dealing with other SMBs.

  2. As a business partner that works mostly on SMB companies we focus on the business rather than on the technology first. We are as vocal as possible in order to meet the needs of our customers. IBM unfortunately does not listen much to the small business partners.

  3. This one apparently struck a nerve with me, since after starting to leave a comment I got carried away and wrote a whole blog enty :-). Enjoy: http://www.lotusguru.com/lotusguru/LGBlog.nsf/d6plinks/JDOZ-6WD6S4

  4. This one apparently struck a nerve with me, since after starting to leave a comment I got carried away and wrote a whole blog entry :-)