Moving from Outlook to Lotus Notes (or vice versa)? It might not actually matter, and here’s why

The other day, I came across a blog post from a long-time Notes/Domino application developer. A "decent number of users" at his workplace are about to be migrated from Outlook to Notes 9.

Why would this ever happen, since so many people seem to like Outlook better than Notes? Does the migration even matter?

Honestly, I don't think these switches matter nearly as much as many people think they do (Microsoft's drum-beating notwithstanding). Here's why: many companies have migrated to Outlook after their employees have screamed to kill Notes (or, more often, after they were bought by an Outlook company), and you know what happened?


Those workers typically had similar complaints about Outlook as about Notes. They're still overwhelmed with email and tasks, there still seems to be too much to do, and their shiny new tool still doesn't help them decide what's a priority.

This happens because technology is only one factor in creating value. Relying on technology without addressing knowledge of how to use it or method for doing work will always deliver poor value.

I'm not trying to give you flashbacks to algebra, but here's how I see it (based on my research in productivity and knowledge management):

Individual Value (V) = Knowledge (K) x Methodology (M) x Technology (T)


You see, technology is (literally) only one part of the equation. All of these things multiply together to create value.

includes knowing how to use the tools at your disposal -- so you can see that ripping out one tool and replacing it with another won't make a difference if people don't know how to use either one (which they won't, if they're not trained to).

is simply how you do your work: your collection of habits and practices for getting things done, whether effectively or not. David Allen's Getting Things Done is a great example of methodology.

This equation doesn't even include the migration cost and the cost of the drop in productivity as people get used to a new system.  

Computer on fire.png

On top of this, the technology tends to be a small multiplier, at least in my experience. I've seen people be incredibly productive and valuable with nothing but a pen and paper.

Here's the bottom line: the tools you're using matter a lot less than knowing how to use what you've got.

Want to talk about productivity, technology, V=KMT, or the tools people use to get things done? Connect with me and eProductivity on Facebook and Twitter.



P.S. I'm aware of IBM's claims that Verse will take care of all of your email problems, but I'm not buying their marketing message (see here).  I will have more to say in a future blog post.

P.P.S. If you're curious, here's the original blog post. No rude comments, please.

"Scream" picture by Crosa (Flickr: Scream) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
"Computer on fire" picture by Matt Mets (Flickr: Computer on Fire) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (]

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