Monday, July 12, 2010

Why I work for Apple and the flaw in the appstore

That is right. I work for Apple*. Of course I don't actually get a salary. In fact I don't have employee number and you won't find me in the payroll system. However, I do sell Apple products. I don't mean to but it just happens. In fact I would guess that the majority of iPad and iPhone owners - also sell Apple products and don't mean to.

There are probably many different reasons, maybe showing off a new toy or showing people useful apps. How often have you asked someone, how are you finding your iPad and the next minute you are in the middle of a sales pitch of how awesome the devices is. Perhaps someone has inquired about a particular app and you give them the entire rundown or not only that app - but all your apps. I've noticed a fair few blogger have been writing reviews of the iPad - again selling the iPad to people that read your blog.

The apps store is integral to making the iPhone (or iPad) successful. It helps that the app store is integrated into the device. In one easy click I can review and purchase new apps, something to make my life that little bit better. Having the app store easy and accessible, means there is one less barrier to me finding, downloading and buying new apps which make my iPhone (and iPad if I had one!) a more treasured part of my life.

But the app store is limited and has a flaw - ME.  I'm the app stores single point of failure.

I still need the desire to want to search for new apps. I still need to press that button to see what is new or to search for 'an app for that'. That need could be from a review in a magazine, tv ads, online, being shown an app by a friend or a desire to scratch an itch (metaphorically speaking as I haven't found an app for scratching ...yet!). The store on it's own does nothing. Without something or someone generating the desire to visit the appstore it's just another icon on my phone.

Apple are clever and have removed as many of the barriers and made the process of searching, reviewing and purchasing has easy as possible. The 'path to purchase' is very consumer focused and painless.

This is something that Eric Mack and Bruce Elgort have understood, from what I have read on their blogs and heard on podcasts. They have invested time to make it easy for their customers to review and purchase their apps. Their apps are making Notes and Domino a more treasured solution for their customers - which as we have seen for the iPad and iPhone turns a great solution into an awesome solution and one where users are generating the desire in others to search, find and purchase the same solutions.

So whilst I applaud the efforts of  all involved for getting a great appstore and a great catalog available for those customers, who are searching for Lotus Notes and Domino solutions. I fear that unless said catalog (or store) is in plain sight, or unless users are motivated to search for a solution then their effort may be wasted.

In my opinion an appstore (or catalog) on its own, without reviews, tv ads and advocates is nothing more than yet another website.

 * I don't actual work for Apple. In fact I have never worked for Apple and any resemblance to any apple employee is purely coincidental. I do, on occasion, eat apples as they are a healthy and nutritious snack.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Lotus knows how to respond better to the needs of students

Here is a recent IBM case study about a Lotus Notes and Domino solution that Cirrus Australia implemented for a client. It's not unusual or remarkable as Cirrus Australia are continually developing and implementing solutions in Lotus Notes and Domino.

It is just business as usual. Much the same way as many IBM business partners around the world continue to sell, build and implement solutions every day in Lotus Notes and Domino. It may not be as attention grabbing or as headline worthy as perhaps other types of projects, technology and solutions. Nevertheless, customers are continuing to choose Lotus Notes and Domino based solutions, ticking along, without the fuss and drama - much like a well maintained Domino server.

Edmund Rice Education Australia transforms student record management across a multi-site learning network

Moving to a Lotus Notes environment with integrated custom applications enabled easier and quicker access to the information. Lotus Notes provided us with immediate benefits of efficient information management and automatic alerts on important student information

The Flexible Learning Centre Network Lotus Notes project has been so successful that Edmund Rice Education Australia is now also considering rolling out a similar system to another education program.