Friday, March 30, 2007

Has Outlook Become a Killer App?

Some applications gain so much marketplace domination that, regardless of quality, they become Killer Apps. Outlook has gained that kind of domination, and is now a driving force.

Some church and donor management systems interface with it directly, allowing users to synchronize content from them with their PDAs. Websites interface with it too, offering the option of writing booked airfare itineraries or ticketed events directly to it.

But is Outlook the best solution? Unfortunately, no. The features of Notes and GroupWise are much stronger, but because they have not gained market dominance, their users will probably be relying on Outlook soon just as they do Microsoft Word. And anyone who is old enough to remember WordPerfect will tell you that it was a much more capable word processor than Word still is (remember Reveal Codes?).

There are a couple of benefits to Outlook that Notes and GroupWise don't have:
  • Easy native PDA synchronization, and
  • Ability to interface with other programs.
The ability to interface with other programs is not so much an Outlook ability as much as it is the recognition of many other application providers that it is a dominant presence with which they can easily interface.

According to the Gartner, Outlook's total cost of ownership is double that of Notes or GroupWise, but as the marketplace dominator, it cannot be ignored. Outlook is a Killer App.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

MS Vista in Church & Ministry Offices

Well, now that MS has done the big release of the Vista OS, the pressure will begin to mount on church and ministry network administrators to update all workstations to it. The problem is that it's not really ready for the ministry office environment, and would likely cause many to lose time to trying to make it work. We've already heard from many about how the software they depend on won't work in Vista. And its hardware requirements are huge and will likely bust the budget!

Those who work in ministry offices are typically entrepreneurially-minded and often want to use what they have at home or what they heard from a friend-- or read in an airline magazine-- is best. My recommendation for ministry IT teams is to create a policy adopted by the governing board stating that new OSs won't be considered until their first service pak is released.

What do you think?