Logo: TUG TORONTO USERS GROUP for Midrange Systems
e -server magazine

November 1997: Volume 13, Number 2

Lotus Notes & AS/400

By Ken Sadler  Photo: Ken Sadler

he GroupWare industry which Lotus Notes represents is an area of the computer industry which could change the way we work with each other and do business in the future. It has a potential to parallel or even surpass the impact many other technologies have had in restructuring how we work. The people who designed it must be endowed with a far-seeing vision of what could be.

Notes is workgroup software used to promote information sharing across an organization. It serves as a mechanism for accessing, tracking, sharing, and organizing data into knowledge databases. Organizational learning is an area, which it can facilitate. However, not every company espouses to the same level of open communication and sharing of corporate learning as Lotus Notes promotes.

Lotus Notes changes significantly the way we do work by affecting business knowledge transfer and communication. If you want to do a lot of communication easily and using a fun tool, this is a product worth taking for a test run. In the beginning, many are skeptical that Lotus Notes can have the potential to change work methods and improve communications. The naysayers would say that faster more efficient communication is not more effective communication. Also, there is no use answering the questions that are not being asked. These are valid concerns. But Notes is a tool one can use well or choose not to. The quality is up to the user. It allows Business to get information and opinions from across the Enterprise. Discussions can take on new forms. Information and status can be communicated easily and regularly. Some discussions can be handled only electronically and can have decisions made without a face-to-face meeting. Time saving has to occur or any GroupWare tool is not adding value.

Lotus Notes does a fair job here.

Architecturally, many of us in the software world wondered where Lotus Notes would go relative to other systems solutions. With the advent of the AS/400 acceptance and inclusion, that question has largely been answered. For companies going Intranet, this acceptance has created a dilemma on whether to use the AS/400 as the architecture of choice to support the Internet technology or to use the PC server standard on which Internet has grown up. Different companies will find different answers to this question. The presentation in November will give the answer which one heavy user of AS/400 architecture and a heavy user of Notes concluded.

But no matter what the choice of the architecture, the benefits of Intranet can still be achieved. Some of them are: increased communication, better information sharing, better accessing, tracking, sharing, and organizing data into knowledge databases to increase effectiveness in the company.

Lotus Notes has spawned a new word in the computer dictionary, ?replication?. Before Notes, no one knew or thought much about it. Now this tool has several copies of the same information in several locations and all for the purpose of effectiveness.

What makes a tool successful? A key requirement is that end-users use it and believe it gives added value. For a tool to become part of the electronic infrastructure of a company is a strong indication that it adds value. November's meeting will present the end-user perspective of a company, which has seen that added value. T < G