Is Lotus a well-behaved Lotus ISV?

If an organisation becomes a Lotus ISV, i.e. builds products and solutions on the Lotus portfolio of products, IBM has certain unwritten expectations (they’re probably written as well, but I can’t find them on Partnerworld)…

Expectations that probably include:

  • That the code written will be reliable and secure
  • That the product will not be marketed in a way that conflicts with Lotus’ own marketing
  • That the product will keep up with support for new versions of the Lotus products

All fairly reasonable from where I’m standing – the ISV benefits from the relationship with IBM and there is a quid pro quo to be maintained in that relationship.

Of course, IBM/Lotus is also a Lotus ISV – they build products that rely on Lotus Domino as the framework for collaborative functionality – e.g. Lotus Quickr services for Domino and Lotus Sametime.

My reason for writing this post is that I feel that the final point listed above is not always maintained by Lotus itself, and I think at times, this damages the reputation of the Domino portfolio.  

An example of this is Quickr 8.2’s support for Lotus Domino 8.5.1.  There has been a long-running forum discussion about this issue, with IBM’s formal response being:

Lotus Quickr 8.2 has not undergone complete System verification test with Domino 8.5.1. While development and test are not aware of any issues specifically related to the Domino 8.5.1 code stream, IBM has not performed sufficient testing to declare the latest Domino maintenance release supported.

The Domino 8.5 embedded version included with Quickr 8.2 continues to be the fully tested and supported Domino platform for current Quickr customers.

This stance causes significant issues in many customers Collaboration Matters works with and supports, as they either already have, or plan to upgrade their entire estate to Lotus Domino 8.5.1FP1.  

I do recognise that testing a large product such as Quickr on every release of Domino is a significant task, and also that IBM’s support of so many languages and platforms does make the Lotus products different to the average ISV’s, but I still see this as something that can and should be improved.

So readers, what do you think – is Lotus a well-behaved Lotus ISV?

Stuart McIntyre is a Senior Strategist at Fostering Community Limited. He curates a number of product-focused news sites, is a lapsed podcaster, founded the Social Connections user group and regularly speaks at conferences and events. This blog represents his own slightly-eccentric and usually-controversial opinions!