Two topics: Western National Insurance, and IBM Workplace Forms

June 13th 4:30 - 6:30 PM
Cost: Free, as always!
Location: Western National Insurance, Edina, MN

Mike Miller of Western National Insurance will talk about how his company uses Notes. If there's time, he'll go into how he's used web services within Lotus Domino.

Also, Steve Peters of Peters Technology Group will brief us on IBM Workplace Forms, including how it relates to and works with Lotus Notes/Domino.

Please RSVP to for this event.

Meeting Notes

The user group meeting started off with Mike Braun, VP of Information Technology at Western National Insurance, welcoming us to the facilities and giving us an overview of the company and his IT department.

Western National Insurance is 100 years old. Headquartered in Minnesota, they are a regional multi-state company selling life, auto, home insurance, with a niche in SMB companies. There are about 30 people in Western National's IT department. One of them is does Lotus Notes application development. Business analysts at Western National report to LOB managers, not IT.

Application development at Western National is done with:

  • J2EE (WebSphere and natively on AS/400)
  • RPG
  • Lotus Notes
  • .NET

Western National has always been progressive in how they use technology. The company works with independent agents; Western National Insurance differentiates themselves by making it easy to do business. Being able to respond quickly and to report easily to the independent agencies is crucial.

Mike Braun said that prepared applications Western National needs influences the platforms they use more than the platforms influencing which applications they use.

While Mike personally likes the look and feel of Outlook more, "email is email" and he recognizes that Lotus Notes has less support issues, a lower total cost of ownership, is more secure, and does a lot more than just email. Mike would like to see his company use Lotus Notes more, and he's especially interested to watch where Lotus Notes goes in the future. In particular, he wants to see how the WebSphere and Lotus Notes technologies might be shared with each other (e.g. some of the composite applications possibilities in the Notes 8 client).

After Mike Braun, spoke, Steve Peters of Peters Technology Group gave a good overview of IBM Workplace Forms. Click here for Steve's presentation.

Mike Miller of Western National Insurance finished by talking about why and how he learned Java and added web services functionality to one of the applications there. Click here for Mike's presentation.