#domino2025 Webcast

February 28, 2018

I, along with a reported 1,500+ others, attended the IBM/HCL #domino2025 webcast today. I was happy to hear the excitement in the voices, the number of questions being answered, and the overall positive reviews from the faithful. But then, the skeptic in me kicked in, and I wasn’t that surprised at all; IBM/HCL was preaching to the one group of people that would be overjoyed to hear about the future of IBM Notes/Domino.

After some introductions, IBM/HCL launched into their presentation. The first slide that caught my attention was titled “Experience in Domino V10:”

I sure hope, that after my last post, the highlighted area is well and truly delivered when the product is released, sometime in late 2018.

Then, there is this slide:

I suppose that “Rocks JavaScript” is a fun little phrase. However, it is the “future proof” and “abundant skills” that caught my eye. I’ve heard a similar take on “future proof” as it dealt with earlier releases, hell, I can probably find something like it from the R5 days. But if you don’t keep pushing forward, you find yourself at the back of the pack. And then there is the “abundant skills.” I don’t know a damn thing about Node.js, however if you tell a prospective developer that he will be working on Node.js in Domino or with Domino, is that a guarantee that the developer will be happy to sign on? Or, do you play it safe and not even mention Domino?

Keeping an eye on the Q&A chat, there was a lot of “yes, we are looking into that,” but there was also this question and answer:

This really pleased me, as it appears that IBM/HCL actually listened to us. What gets delivered this year will probably be a “bit” different, but at least they were reading IdeaJam. Mr. Skeptic wonders, though, “What took you so damn long?” Years of adding ideas, voting on them, IBM had a gold mine of improvements from the people that actually use the product, in the real world. Your customers were telling you exactly what you needed to know to make the product better. But then, some other things probably got in the way. Hopefully, this is the one area that HCL will leverage to their advantage.

Time for a poll question.

That looks pretty good. And, based on the reactions from the presenters, exactly what they were expecting.

Finally, their “Go to Market” slide.

So, they’ll be presenting their vision and slides to more of the faithful this year. Good, get them all happy to see the new version. However, what’s the plan for those that aren’t attending THINK or any of the user group events? And by that, I mean, those that may already have Notes/Domino but never attend any of those events? Shouldn’t you be contacting them in some manner, letting them know what is on the horizon? Allowing them to realize that they aren’t running “legacy” software? That is a pretty tall order, I know, but there is only so much THINK and user group attendees can do for Domino 10. You are basically rebooting Domino, how about rebooting how you communicate with your customers, from the little shops to the large corporations?

Finally, about the presentation itself. It assumed a lot of knowledge from the attendees. There were a lot of jargon and abbreviations thrown around with no explanation of either. Based on the Q&A chat, I wasn’t the only one confused at times by what I was hearing and seeing. If you’re going to use jargon and abbreviations, please allow the speaker to explain them so that nothing is lost during the presentation.

Overall, I was very happy to see and hear the new directions that Domino is taking. There is a lot on HCL’s plate and it will be very interesting to see what is delivered later this year. Hopefully, we’ll continue to see the progress that HCL is making during the year and also learn more about the message that will be delivered to the marketplace.


Goodbye IBM Notes: City of Cornwall

February 28, 2018

A couple of articles on the same topic, the City of Cornwall has decided to move off of IBM Notes to Microsoft Office365 (emphasis, mine).

Cornwall’s information technology department is asking to spend almost $900,000 on software and equipment to keep up with the times.

The budget is proposing $898,000 for several different projects. There is a three-year phase in for a Microsoft Office upgrade and desktop virtualization.

 

. . . There is also money for moving corporate emails to Microsoft Outlook which will more seamlessly integrate with the other programs the city uses. The migration to Microsoft programs will lead to the city abandoning Lotus Notes, a software suite now owned by IBM, in favour of Microsoft’s shared and remote-computer platforms.

There is also money for a new records management system called for social housing after the province pulled support for implementing such systems recently in favour of producing their own system.

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But the “money quote” comes from a second article:

“Hallelujah!” Coun. Bernadette Clement remarked on word the city would be ditching Lotus.

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That is exactly the problem IBM has long confronted but never addressed.  Now, that same sentiment will spill over to HCL. You can argue the technological advantages of IBM Notes/Domino all you want, but it doesn’t make any difference in the minds of a lot of users and, more importantly, the decision makers with the purse strings.

So, I ask, “IBM, how is Domino 10 going to change those people’s minds?” Because until you can show me that the updated version is positioned to make people think well about their Domino investment, and I don’t mean the faithful that have attended some or all of your #domino2025 webinars and sessions, it won’t matter. Oh, you’ll keep some accounts that were waffling, maybe gain a couple of new ones, but until you can change the minds of the users, all of the work you are doing on Domino 10, and beyond, will only make the faithful happy.

 


HCL and IBM Domino

February 19, 2018

A very interesting view of HCL, a company that has bought the Intellectual Property (IP) of several companies, IBM included.

HCL’s strategy is underpinned on investments of $1.1 billion in licensing intellectual properties (IPs) from companies and then building products around them for clients.

The trouble is some of the acquired IPs are decades-old and are ceding share to rival offerings. A case in point is HCL’s acquisition of International Business Machines Corp.’s (IBM’s) Lotus Notes, a product that is fast losing relevance in today’s world.

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“Building products around them for clients.” Maybe that will allow for increased awareness of Domino within the existing customer base. But it doesn’t appear that it will translate in gaining market share from Google or Microsoft. However, I don’t think that gaining market share is what HCL is hoping. Hoping for a cash cow, it’s more believable that HCL wants to get more revenue out of existing customers to recoup their investment. If they win a few new customers, well, that’s just gravy.


#Domino2025 Virtual Jam – What’s the Point?

December 18, 2017

Sure, a bit of a clickbait title, however, why not?

I attended the #Domino2025 virtual jam today. The first half (or more) was primarily focused on Application Development. The remaining time was on Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Sametime, the Notes Client, and iNotes. Throughout the presentation, the moderators allowed 10 minutes of open Q&A and also asked us to answer some survey questions. Sadly, none of the survey questions included an option for “Not Applicable,” “No development needs,” or similar answers. You had to pick an option, even if it didn’t apply to you or your company.

It was during the conversation about mail, calendar, and the Notes client that I perked up. I watched the online Q&A, I listened to the speakers, I listened to the audience. It was then that it struck me – IBM is asking the same questions they’ve asked us over the years. The online Q&A was filled with the questions you’ve heard and asked throughout the years. The answers were all pretty much the same, “thank you for your feedback.” In fact, IBM had a Twitter widget in the Jam, that was watching for mentions of the hashtag #Domino2025.

Being a bit of a realist (I’m trying that word out, instead of “cynic”), I tweeted and received a reply:

Now, who among you have attended Lotusphere/Connect/whatever over the years? Did you attend the sessions “Ask The Developers?” “Ask the Product Managers?” That line, “we’ll take it back with us,” is a handy phrase from both of those sessions. Realistically, it means that nothing will happen.

Now, back to the Jam. What is the point? IBM is asking the (remaining) faithful for their opinions. I ask, what have you done with all of the opinions we have provided to you over the years?

Let’s start with IdeaJam. There are still ideas, voted on by people that work with the products, on that site. What did you do with any of those ideas? Why wouldn’t you go to a site that is designed for ideas, mine them, and implement the most popular ones? This site goes back years. At any time in the past, all you had to do was to take a look and implement some of them. You would not be in your current position of asking, yet again, for our thoughts and ideas. Further, if you had implemented some of the more popular ones, you may not be in your current position.

Next, every year, in January or February, you gathered the faithful in Orlando. You had two, specific sessions, where the audience asked for features, direction, and wishes. I am guessing that none of you ever wrote down the questions or the answers and never “took it back with you.” Although, I do know one person that did. And you didn’t like that he would return, year after year, to simply ask for an update. Yet, as far as I can tell, nothing ever came from those sessions, popular as they were.

Finally, your sales reps and technical reps appeared in companies that used your software. They were told certain things, they were begged for certain things. What happened to all of that feedback? Who collated that information and turned it into enhancement requests? Which Product Manager added those items to the build list and delivered those features?

It is telling that the very people that bet on the success of IBM software, that shared their wants and needs with IBM, were, in essence, ignored. These were people that  made their living selling, listening to customers, upgrading, creating applications, using your software. And they all told you how to make it better. You chose not to listen.

Now, here you are again, hand out, asking for feedback, answering with “we’ll take it back with us.”

I’ve read many editions of this book, in many different formats, the ending is always the same.

 


Connect 2017: The Really Good

February 28, 2017

[Note: I was going to create one post on Connect 2017, but have decided it would be better to break it into sections. This is Part One.]

This was the first year I have attended Connect that I did not attend any sessions that dealt with IBM Notes and IBM Domino. Well, other than the forced sessions, such as the Opening General Session and the Technical Session. It’s not that I don’t want to know what’s coming, it’s that in my current role, I am focusing primarily on IBM Connections. So, if you were expecting something from me on IBM Notes and IBM Domino, this is not the place.

But, I will say this: Last year my team upgraded our Domino 8.5.3 environment to Domino 9.0.1 Social Edition, removed 95% of the IBM Notes clients in the environment by moving users to iNotes, and the remaining 5% of the clients are running IBM Notes 9. Applications? What can be moved to other platforms is nearly complete. What wasn’t moved in the first phase, will be moved, probably this year. Unlike a lot of places, we are using IBM Domino for (strictly) mail. And it’s all on-premises.

That said, I was very impressed with Connect 2017 as a person with an IBM Connections focus.

The Really Good:

  • Catching up with my friends in the IBM stack. This is arguably one of of the few conferences where I can see and talk with most of the people I consider “friend” in this space. Because it is the one large, international conference for all things IBM Notes/Domino, Sametime, Connections, and so on, it will attract the most people from around the world. Regardless of the name or location, they will be at this event. This year, it did not disappoint in this regard. Most of the people were here and it was a great week to talk to them in person.
  • If you haven’t, or don’t, travel internationally, this is the place to talk to your non-USA friends about world views. Sure, it’s a technology conference, however since I have known a lot of these people for quite some time, I do not hesitate to ask about Brexit, the current political climate in their home countries, or in the USA. It is a great way to experience the world from other perspectives. And as I respect them and their views, it broadens my view of the USA and the world.
  • There was a plethora of Connections sessions from which to choose. In fact, on Wednesday, I was double and triple booked during certain time slots. This caused me a lot of stress. Too many sessions, too little time. And no repeats.
  • Wednesday was the best day of the week. Many of the Customer Stories were presented on this day and they were excellent. There is nothing like seeing how other people overcame obstacles, integrated other business applications into Connections, on boarded new Connections users, and increased adoption, to get your enthusiasm to increase. There was furious note taking happening. Also, I introduced myself to several speakers, hoping to parlay the introduction into a more informative conversation in the next several months.
  • Also on Wednesday, there was an onslaught of Connections Pink sessions (see point #1, above). It helped that I was privy to a special meeting with Jason Gary, so I was able to miss several of those sessions, as I heard everything I hoped to hear, directly from him.
  • The Product Showcase was primarily focused on IBM Connections Business Partners and IBM Connections 3rd party applications and extensions. It was perfectly suited to someone like me. After working with Connections for several years, it’s nice to go into the Product Showcase knowing exactly what you want to learn more about as it pertains to your installation and culture. I think I was an “easy sell” to several vendors.
  • While there was a lot of walking within Moscone Center, it was primarily confined to the second floor.
  • The Opening General Session was a nice mix of customer stories, demos, music, and more. It seemed to flow very nicely from one thing to the next. I know that many were ecstatic that IBM Notes and IBM Domino were mentioned, especially concerning IBM’s continued support of the platform. For the nuts and bolts of that support, you had to attend several sessions dedicated to the roadmaps. I was missing from those sessions.
  • The featured speaker, Dr. Sheena Iyengar, author of The Art of Choosing, was an excellent choice. Appearing toward the end of the of Opening General Session, she wove what we had seen and heard, specifically Watson, Watson Workspace, and cognitive, into our current lives and choices. It was enthralling.
  • The Technical Keynote, hosted by Ed Brill, was just what we needed to see and hear. Chris Crummey led the demonstrations and, as expected, did an exceptional job using “real world” examples using real people and real situations, not some made up company with made up problems.
  • The Closing General Session, as usual, recapped the week. However, as is IBM’s custom, their featured speaker, Eric  Whitacre, a classical music composer, was outstanding. Ever since I witnessed Benjamin Zander in Orlando, I absolutely love music themed Closing General Sessions. I suppose it reminds me what I already know, I need to see more orchestras. While I love rock (the harder and more angry, the better), it is classical music that affects me emotionally. I think we all should seek out art that affects the emotions. Eric’s story was spectacular. But, as the session closed, there was no announcement of Connect 2018. No dates, no location. What 2018 will bring for this conference seems to be . . . unknown.

Wednesday was “Pink Day” at Connect, and in response to that, here is a photo of Jason Gary for your enjoyment or amusement:

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I think that Jason must use the same bespoke tailor as Mat Newman.


Goodbye IBM Notes: Australian Securities & Investment Commission

December 8, 2016

The Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) has completed a proof of concept using Microsoft Office 365, and will be moving their mail and applications from IBM to the Microsoft cloud.

Perhaps most limiting of all, it has left ASIC glued to its ageing Lotus Notes system and the capability of its platform lagging well behind that of other government agencies.

“There’s a valid reason for that. We’ve still got a lot of systems that run off Lotus Notes applications and some of that is held up because of the registry separation decision. Because we’ve got Lotus Notes applications we haven’t been able to get off the Lotus Notes email but we’re doing both those things in parallel now. In effect we’re getting off the Lotus Notes email while getting off the old Lotus Notes systems,” Bryant said.

Bryant was referring to ASIC’s new project to split its classified and unclassified workloads to make way for Office 365 email and cut a path to move off the ageing Lotus Notes systems.

This really isn’t groundbreaking news, but what I found most interesting is the list of approved cloud providers.

None of the Australian Signals Directorate’s panel of approved cloud providers, which includes Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Macquarie Telecom, Salesforce, former CRN Fast50 No.1 Sliced Tech and Vault Systems, have yet been certified to carry ASIC’s classified data.

Hmmm, there seems to be a missing “premier” cloud provider on that list. But, I suppose that if you’re leaving IBM products in the on-prem world, why would you consider the IBM cloud?

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CIO: Can IBM redefine the future of email?

February 5, 2016

I was in the middle of the great email battle between Microsoft and IBM [Disclosure: Microsoft and IBM are clients of the author] in the 1990s and there really wasn’t much competition. Microsoft had Exchange, which had its greatest power in its focus on users. IBM bought Lotus to get Notes, which had stronger administration tools and a far better focus on collaboration, but sucked at email. In the end, Microsoft dominated, massively, and Exchange is the recognized standard for business email.

However, IBM just brought out Verse, its new advanced email offering, and it comes to market with many of the same advantages over Exchange that Exchange had over Notes. But, this is email, and experienced CIOs know that changing email is potentially a career-ending process. In order to succeed with a user-focused product you have to get the users excited about it, which may be a skill IBM no longer has.

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