I was talking a person how was using Lotus Notes to administrate some of their interfaces towards the users. That made me think if Google Wave can replace Lotus Notes.
I have been using Notes 6.5 and seen some of their databases. I did try to create some databases/application back in Notes 5. I was not really great at creating the applications. Some of the companies I have worked with have been using Notes to mange parts of their enterprise. Some use notes to employees easy has access to create new customers instead of using the more complex SAP screen for it. Or to build workflow applications to make the approval process of new customers easier than developing the same in SAP. I have also seen Databases with extract from SAP, where Notes just was a different interface.
I have not see how the newest version of Notes 8.5 works, but a lot of improvements should have been implemented to make it even more user friendly. I have always seen Notes as a system which was not really user friendly. The previous versions of Notes mail solution was not worth using compared to outlook, but the new version should be better. So I have always thought the killer app of notes was the many databases you could create and not the mail feature.
Lotus Notes is like Wave a collaborative software, which helps many people work together. I don’t think it is possible to edit documents together. But Notes has the Instant messaging feture, which works nicely together with the email contact. I see Notes databases as a strong force that it has the option of synchronization to off-line work.
Can you create an application on Google Wave to perform the same as you would to in a Notes database? Lots of the examples that I have created like the workflow and form demo, es-robot could be examples an example of where an application was exposed on Wave instead of the ERP system. That is basically what Notes also does.
Wave is not a good container for lots of unstructured data. In the instance we want to have our customers in Google Wave, we can either create a Wave pr customer or we can create one Wave with all the customers. The best would probably to have one Wave pr customer. It will be easy to find a specific customer using the search function, for name or street. But if we need all customers in the northern part of Zeeland ie post numbers 1000-3000 it will be difficult. You could tag the customers with lots of different tags like area, this will require a structured approach to create the customers.
When you have found the customer you want to perform an action on there could be a form making it possible to create order in a new Wave or a link to the Wave of previous orders.
It would be interesting to have all orders in Wave. I don’t think that it will create so much value, because you can just find them but not do anything with them. I think that it will be a bit deficult to make a great Wave robot/gadget for analizing changing sales orders. From my experiacnes with sales orders is that they are quite complex, when you use scheduling and have different processes for handling them.
But back to the question if Wave will replace Lotus notes. I think that companies what to have their data more structured, which Lotus Notes supports best. In university I learned about the semi structured data, but I don’t see that it adopted on a massive scale. On a longer sight there might be a swift toward using unstructured data to store data unstructured, with the structured data in the ERP system. I think Wave could be one of the places where Notes databases should be dropped.
If the development APIs for Wave became better to make applications, it would probably be easier to expose your data in Wave.