I have been getting shocked looks the last couple of weeks when I told customers that we shut down our Sametime servers as part of the move to our new offices. Why would we do such a thing? Well it’s not like we didn’t utilize Sametime heavily in our day to day work and it’s not like we haven’t touted the benefits of Sametime far and wide.
So why did we do this? Well it was a simple calculation of hours spent on maintaining our own environment vs. the benefits of having our own environment.
After installing Sametime 8.5.1 internally and getting it to run we realized that it didn’t make any sense for us, a 25 person company, to operate our own Sametime environment. A community server maybe but then what about meetings? (and yes we know about “Sametime classic”) It made sense from a training and test perspective but that’s about it and as we don’t mess with the production system for testing purposes we needed multiple systems. So it was actually an easy decision. So as of 3 weeks aro we drew a line in the sand and shut down all the Sametime related servers (all 5 of them).
Instead of running our own Sametime environment we’re now mixing it up by combining on-premise and in-cloud services by signing up for LotusLive Engage. We’ve registered all employees with our company account and we’re now using Sametime as part of LotusLive. As an added benefit we also get access to communities, activities and meetings as part of LotusLive and it’s great. We’re loving it.
Making the switch from on-premise to in-cloud hasn’t been without issues and questions that needed to be addressed. Some of what we’ve been discussing internally has been
- what do we do now when there are no central groups for departments within the company?
- what password do I use?
- what does it mean to be part of a bigger infrastructure such as LotusLive?
- what does it mean to be a network contact?
- who can I contact on Sametime in LotusLive?
- how do I control my visibility within the greater LotusLive network?
While some of these questions have easy answers some of them also highlight key weaknesses. For instance when moving from on-premise Sametime to in-cloud Sametime you loose public groups – there’s no way of adding all from Sales to my buddy list. You loose privacy controls in Sametime (who can see me online when). You loose the ability to see Sametime awareness in Lotus Notes applications as you’re known by your e-mail address in LotusLive and not your Notes qualified name.
Some of these points can be worked around and some can be addressed by training but some are more serious and needs to be addressed. The lack of awareness in Notes applications is severely limiting and frustrating – I hope something will be done about this. As to the groups thing I’m working with IBM and a Dutch business partner on addressing this using plugin technology.
Overall however we’re happy with the move and although there has been bumps along the way our server room is a lot quieter and we’re drawing fewer watts. As of now we’re one happy on-premise/in-cloud customer and we’re still chatting away in Sametime.
See it wasn’t as bad as one could have thought… 🙂