So you’ve heard by now that Lotus Quickr is dead. Doornail, zombie, Betamax, rotary dial, dead. Somebody came back from what used to be called Lotusphere, said there were no sessions, saw a tweet and now has you scrambling for an answer to the pressing, urgent, mission critical need to provide a replacement. Dead, I say!
“Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there’s usually only one thing you can do.”
-Miracle Max, The Princess Bride
A side effect of thundering silence, which is what we heard about Quickr for a year, is a desire for new direction. I recognize that, and of course counsel clients to be best of my ability when they are making strategic, tactical, or weekly conference call decisions.
So, I shall put my powers of deductive reasoning to work here and provide you with my view of the situation and perhaps, some direction.
Quickr is far from “dead.” In the IBM software world, “dead” takes place over a period of years and takes the shape of changes to the official product lifecycle status. First we’ll see a version reduction (there are two, some could argue three, versions) with the older versions being withdrawn first. In our case, Quickr for Domino has version 8.2, and two slightly different versions of 8.5.1 – one that runs on Domino 8.5.1 and one that runs on Domino 8.5.3. By “withdrawn” I mean that the lifecycle status will change to what they used to call (and I still do) “EOL” or “End of Life” then eventually “EOS” or “End of Support.” When a product hits EOL, it is removed form IBM’s offerings and no longer sold, a letter is published about its withdrawal from marketing, and maintenance is no longer extended. EOS comes later, as customers can actually buy a product until the EOL date and expect support. Even after EOS, companies can purchase extended support contracts to keep themselves covered for longer term use.
OK, here’s one:
“First of all, I want to make it very clear, that Quickr is going to be continued to be supported for a very long time. So, there is no immediate action required on the customer side to do something right now. You can all continue to use Quickr.”
-Rene Schimmer, IBM (Ask the Product Managers, IBM Connect 2013)
But really, all that is just the mechanics of availability. What about you thousands of Quickr customers? Well IBM has laid out a roadmap, and that is a partial migration to IBM Connections Content Manager 4.5, to be released next month, and a utility to migrate Quickr for Domino or J2EE libraries to it. Problem solved! Well, for some of you.
When you start classifying your current use of Quickr, the answer you’re after gets a bit more complex.
You see, many companies (I claim 50%) have some sort of a) non-library, b) custom, c) workflow, or d) extranet use for Quickr. Or a combination. Here’s a sample from memory: Quickr is used for law firm caseloads, extranets, group calendars, marketing campaign tracking, oil exploration scientific taxonomies, network procedure tracking, drug approvals, multi-phase editing cycles, leave approvals, insurance certificate delivery, employee timesheets, global trademark legal processes, quality assurance reporting, global feedback management, training delivery systems, on-demand surveys, trade ministry envoy support, and presidential speech delivery.
Let’s say you have some level of customization, but at the end of this article believe you should still migrate to Connections Content Manager. You’ll need some services to get your Quickr server data in order, or migrate the customization work and data. That effort might be an item of value for you, or it might not. It will take individual analysis to come up with the best strategy.
There are indeed customers who may fit the use profile but do not have Connections today, are running Quickr on a single Domino server or cluster, who in order to migrate need multiple high powered servers, a services engagement for installation and configuration, and a need to acquire or hire WebSphere skills. If you’re a small shop or operate on a smaller budget, this could be a challenge.
As a replacement strategy IBM is offering a solution that does not YET have an extranet or external user story. Quickr Domino is very often used for these purposes. In fact this was the original marketing message for QuickPlace in 1999. Also, when Quickr customers use local users, the additional burden of converting to an LDAP solution comes into play.
The best advice I can give a Quickr customer is more like a meme: STAY CALM and CHOOSE WISELY. It’s a bit obvious. IBM has said that Quickr Domino will be around and supported for many years to come. It’s just not going to get new features. It will receive what they’re calling “currency updates” which means support for new browsers and operating systems on the client end…at least what can be supported based on the architecture. For those who choose to follow the migration roadmap, I propose an analysis of the current environment, feature comparisons and a readiness check for your Quickr environment.
So to migrate or not to migrate? Start asking these questions.
- If you have no customizations but use Quickr for document storage only, plus for migration
- If you already have IBM Connections, plus for migration
- If you don’t have IBM Connections but do have WebSphere skills, small plus for migration
- If you have customizations that are functional or business process oriented, plus for Quickr stability
- If you have an extranet, plus for Quickr
- If you have a small installation and no IBM Connections, plus for Quickr
- If you want some stability for several years while you work it out, plus for Quickr
- Keep in mind there are a few other options besides the roadmap — other products for collaborative document management
- More than likely, you have mixed answers
A final thought – being up to date on Quickr will be key to that “stable” environment, if sticking with Quickr is your choice. And once you’re there, there is no harm in investing in add-on products, MODERATE customizations and additional support services to enhance your business processes and client experience. Quickr is quite flexible today, and the stability of several years of support for the same version means your risk associated with ISVs and customization is actually lower now than at any time in the past. Think about that as you make your choices for 2013, 14, 15, 16…