Lotus Quickr is only Mostly Dead

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!

MiracleMax“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 First we’ll see a version reduction (there are two, some could argue three, versions) with the older versions being withdrawn first.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 By “withdrawn” I mean that the lifecycle status will change to what they used to call (and I still do) “EOL” or “End of Life” then eventually “EOS” or “End of Support.”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.

SecondOpinion

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.

Customizations
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.

Size Matters
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.

Extranets
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.

Conclusions
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.

  1. If you have no customizations but use Quickr for document storage only, plus for migration
  2. If you already have IBM Connections, plus for migration
  3. If you don’t have IBM Connections but do have WebSphere skills, small plus for migration
  4. If you have customizations that are functional or business process oriented, plus for Quickr stability
  5. If you have an extranet, plus for Quickr
  6. If you have a small installation and no IBM Connections, plus for Quickr
  7. If you want some stability for several years while you work it out, plus for Quickr
  8. Keep in mind there are a few other options besides the roadmap — other products for collaborative document management
  9. 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…

27 thoughts on “Lotus Quickr is only Mostly Dead

  1. David Schaffer

    Thanks. This is very helpful and reassuring.
    We’re in the situation of Quickr 8.2 on a single Domino server, modest customization (for cross-place searching), and no Connections or WebSphere in place.
    We were already in the mode of “We don’t need to do anything now but it’s time to start planning.” We may step back to “wait and watch”.

    David

    Reply
  2. Arif Jaffer

    Thank you for the blog post. The Quickr story does sound very similar to what happened to DDM except IBM isn’t announcing an “EOL” like they did the last time around. I suspect many customers who where given entitlements to Quickr when DDM was official “killed” are going to be more careful this time when choosing a replacement. I remember being at Lotusphere one year and demonstrating DOCOVA as a replacement for DDM. A customer told us that they would be using their entitlements and migrating to Quickr instead of choosing DOCOVA. Our response to this …”You will be back” ;-)

    Reply
  3. Richard Moy

    Arif,

    This hold thing did not surprise me. DOCOVA is a great product for document management. But if you are using Quickr for other purpose there are alternative solutions out there and it is does only be Connections.

    For smaller and mid-size organizations, Connections is not in the cards.

    Reply
    1. Carl

      Richard, I agree. We have used Quickr/QuickPlace since 2000 to share documents/ collaborate with Clients. The flexibility of it over the years has been invaluable. However, Connections Content Manager does not cut it for us and that doesn’t even take in to account the inevitable price increase that will come (in the same way that Quickr Domino and Quickr Websphere were orininally for the same price, then folked off in to separate prices a couple of years later – with Websphere significantly more expensive!). We are looking at alternatives now ( that would be a really good/useful blog post Rob!!). Alfresco is one such product that is interesting us.

      Reply
        1. Carl

          Hi Luis,
          sure, when Quickr was first released the two flavours (Domino and Portal) were available under the same annual maintenance for customers with no significant change in the manintenance cost. A couple of years later, we found our annual maintenance quote trippled. The reason was the two flavours costs were split between the two options, with portal coming in roughly double the Domino version. At this stage we dropped Portal from our maintenance and the annual costs remained approximately the same as it had been. Therefore you only then had the choice of the two if you were willing to pay the (significant) increase for portal. Out concern for the new prodcuct is ther same may happen again (i.e. it is “free” for Quickr Domino entitlement holders (annual Quickr Domino maintenance payers) for a period of time, then in a couple of years find that to continue with it the costs increase significantly. Quickr Domino is (and has been) a brillant low cost/low maintenance solution for us and while the upgrade path (to CCM) certainly looks interesting and I will definitely be installing it to see what it can do when it becomes available, we wouldn’t want find ourselves in a situation where we had upgraded/migrated only to find our maintenance costs increasing significantly.

          Reply
    2. Rob Novak Post author

      “For smaller and mid-size organizations, Connections is not in the cards.”

      I think that remains to be seen with CCM (Connections Content Manager). Let’s give it the month it needs to release, then I’ll post on how it works, how much machine you need, etc etc.

      It made for an impressive demo in the OGS, and my understanding is that the Filenet “lite” piece is a simple install. I will be testing that theory…!
      -Rob

      Reply
  4. Alexey Zimarev

    Well, you can replace “multiple high-powered servers” with “one mediocre multi-core server with some hypervisor”. We run Connections on such server with no real issues. We even run a full scale Sametime deployment on the same server. Yes, we are a small shop that doesn’t have hundreds of users, but this was a message to them (about having a bunch of servers), right?

    Reply
    1. Rob Novak Post author

      Alexey, sure you could. We run our dev servers on ESXi with 12 GB RAM on an SSD, performs well, though no Cognos in that one. Virtualization is great.

      At a workshop in Waltham, MA last year we ran Connections on Thinkpads.

      It all depends on your definition of “small” in small shop, and the risk profile of the customer. Recommendations for any size shop that treats the collaboration environment as critical would entail multiple servers, clustered. Same for Quickr BTW, at least two!

      Reply
  5. Lars Olufsen

    The “discontinuation” is the worst part.

    Likely, there will be no Quickr D version that will run supported on Domino 9, which means, that if we want to upgrade our environment to 9, we will have to support multiple versions of Domino, with the challenges of multiple versions of Names.nsf etc.

    That is bad, and will put some pressure on, to solve the migration issue quickly. And “quickly” likely doesn’t mean Websphere and Connections, if they’re not in place already. The obligatory “Sharepoint can do this” challenge will appear (again) etc.

    It’s bad.

    Reply
    1. Rob Novak Post author

      Hi Lars,
      I would be very surprised if Quickr won’t eventually (in 2013) run on Domino 9. Much of the change in architecture was done for Domino 8.5.3, separating the Dojo stack installs in particular. I don’t speak for IBM but I imagine we’ll get that in “currency updates”
      -Rob

      Reply
  6. Daniel Reichelt

    I was the “Somebody came back from what used to be called Lotusphere, said there were no sessions…” and thanks to you Rob for this estimation!
    Why can’t IBM give a clear answer about the future of their own product called Quickr or Quickplace or Team Workplace since they have bought it from a Business Partner in the end of the 90th? This product strategy has a long history. ;-)

    Reply
    1. Rob Novak Post author

      Hi Daniel,

      With no sessions (true) we still did have the ID308 session with Rene and that’s where it became a little more clear. Then at Ask the PMs, Rene and Luis clarified what I’ve described above.

      I don’t follow your comment in the second paragraph. Do you mean bought it from a BP in the 1990s? Because for QuickPlace that’s not the case, it was completely home grown at Lotus. Sametime was a dual acquisition.

      -Rob

      Reply
      1. Daniel Reichelt

        Are you sure? I thought Domino Doc was home grown? Whatever! I always had the feeling, that IBM does either not really like the product or does not really know what to do with it.
        Today I had a talk with a customer that evaluates to rollout a new Quickr deployment for a couple of thousand users. We took a short look into ID301 session with many similar slides as in ID308.
        That makes him think if Quickr is the right decission. The IBM Connections Content Manager seems to be the right an besser choice for them.

        Reply
  7. Laurence Burrows

    Bummer!

    We are are an SME in psychological services and are currently specifying needs/requirements for customers, case notes, billing and treatment plan management, all in Quickr, all running on a mix of 2008R2 / Win 7 / tablets and delivering to a web interface. And now you’re telling me that IBM are fading their enthusiasm for Quickr.

    So, what IBM tools should I be looking at?

    Reply
    1. Rob Novak Post author

      Hi Laurence,
      Honestly I wouldn’t do a thing in he short term if I were you – and it’s working for you. Update to the latest version, stabilize on the platform.

      Long term, it depends how customized your experience is or needs to be. If you’re document centric the answer will be different than if you are process driven or need a certain kind of UI treatment.
      -Rob

      Reply
  8. Dave Wait

    I spent the entire year of 2011 customizing Quickr 8.5.1 to accommodate our migration from DomDoc. We have very specialized review and approval processes and specialized forms that Quickr could not duplicate. We have a large document management usage for a mid size company and everything needs to stay ISO certified.

    Now admittedly, I have a lot of domino and LS experience (11+ years), but not so much for javascript and dojo. We hired a contractor to help us get over the learning curve and crash course me in how Quickr functions.

    So, I am glad that we’ll be able to keep it going for awhile. At least it was not all in vain.

    Corporate had already decided to move email/calendar from Notes to Exchange, so I’m pretty sure that Quickr won’t be replaced by another IBM Document Management product. It’s too bad. Once you get the hang of it, it works pretty well. I’m not sure what IBM’s marketing strategy is, but every time I try to defend Lotus Notes, DomDoc, or Quickr, they don’t do such a good job at helping me defend them.

    Thanks for the insight Rob! Here’s to IBMers trying to hang on!

    Reply
  9. Neil

    “I’m not sure what IBM’s marketing strategy is, but every time I try to defend Lotus Notes, DomDoc, or Quickr, they don’t do such a good job at helping me defend them.”

    Dave I think you make a very valid point, I have a couple of companies that had Domino Document Manager, they really liked it, they could support it with the same skillset as their Notes mail, and it really added to the value proposition of the Domino platform (everything they wanted to do on one server platform).

    DDM went EOL and they were looking at moving to Exchange and Sharepoint, but in the end the value proposition of Notes mail and Quickr won through. We spent 2011 moving them to Quickr, with some still calling for Exchange/Sharepoint, now Quickr is effectively not going to get new features where as Sharepoint is, I just cant see them taking another punt on IBM products.

    I wonder what IBM now thinks the Domino value proposition is, bearing in mind there are now really no value add products (Lotus Workflow/LEI have not been upgraded in years, Sametime has effectively gone), and there is now no Document/Collaboration offering (on an integrated collaboration environment!), so your really down to Email (lets face it you would not choose Domino if you were just looking for email) and custom applications.

    Dont get me wrong Domino is a fabulous application development platform, but when choosing a product people often look for add-on products from the vendor, and now Domino seems to have none… People dont really want to run Domino + WAS + DB2 to get the same functionality they got from Domino alone, the cost and complexity is to high.

    Its certainly going to be good for Docova (which is a great solution), but this will probably appeal to customers that already have Domino. Will many new customers prefer to go with IBM Domino and a number of products from other vendors (like Docova), or will they be looking for a vendor that offers multiple solutions that are perceived to run on a single technology stack e.g Exchange/Sharepoint etc?

    The value proposition seems to diminish with each IBM announcement

    Reply
    1. John Ryan

      Just a comment for Neil. Thanks for mentioning DOCOVA. I just wanted to mention that DOCOVA is also for companies that don’t have Domino or are looking to move their Domino applications or move away from Domino completely. So, if a company wants to run on Domino, or SQLServer, MySQL, DB2 and so on…let us demo for you. DOCOVA can be a wonderful way to avoid being locked into a platform…or to move platforms….or to move from DDM…or to move from Quickr. Anyone can give us a call and see what we’re up to.

      Reply
  10. Dean Bradock

    I too am wondering what there is left for the Domino Stack. Can’t say I’ll be all tha sad to see Quickr make an exit other than again my business credibility will be in the line with customers I steered in the Quickr direction when IBM pulled the rug from under Domino Document Manager.

    It’s truly never really cut it as a Document/file management system and the performance/fragility of the connectors in the Notes Client has been awful – never before have I had to raise so many PMR’s

    That being said I fear for my smaller (< 500 users & many < 100) – I doubt connections will really be an option.

    I'll be looking forward to the connections 4.5 release ( with a bit of fear) – I'm sort of hoping it may provide me with a way out of domino – in my city it's "mostly dead" and opportunities virtually non-existent.

    Roll on the release – let's hope it's "usable" without the need for a team of java programmers

    Reply
  11. Joseph

    IBM is crazy.
    His choices folly to pass WebSphere everyone in the world are not going well for the rest of the world.
    You will understand as they lose customers …. maybe

    IBM Connection is a product for the enterprise..non for companies 200-500 users.
    IBM the world is changing and you’re changing for the worse.

    The battle of the email you say you do not want it …
    The project Quickr now abandon him
    Lotus Foundation also…

    In your opinion dear IBM, as a customer can trust you?
    All will migrate to Google, Microsoft and so on … where the vision and the investment is much clearer.
    IBM thinks … the golden years are over

    Reply
  12. Tom Hillebrand

    I just came across this posting from Feb 2013. I loved this posting. It made a lot of sense. Fast forward a year and a half: Now it is Oct 2014.

    The current version of Quickr is still 8.2 (hasn’t changed).
    The most current fixpack was posted June 7, 2013 and is FP82028-ENGLISH.
    So…IBM was very serious about end-of-life for Quickr and pushing Connections to their customers. Not so serious about their continued support of Quickr for existing customers.

    Reply
    1. Rob Novak Post author

      Actually the current version is 8.5.1 Fixpack 44, and they are still coming just at long intervals.

      Fixpacks for 8.2 stopped as you say last July.

      -Rob

      Reply

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