Monday, March 18, 2019

The Rebellion Strikes Back

My apologies, this was scheduled incorrectly.

If you were not at the HCL Factory Tour Part 2 recently in Milan, you may not appreciate all the Star Wars references but, us being geeks, we go with the flow.

There were about 100-120 customers, business partners, and IBM Champions in attendance, many of us worn down from travel to/from Think in San Francisco barely 10 days ago.

We converged on the HCL offices in Milan, Italy with Richard Jefts and his crew of ex-Empire leaders.

We proceeded to have 2 full days, 3 if you stayed for Portal day (I did not due to flight schedule) of sessions. Myself and a few other IBM Champions were tired from all the learning. 

We are used to doing the sessions not attending so many in a row.
I messaged my kids at one point that I was reminded how they feel every day at school, been 26 years since I finished my MBA.

Nothing, was boring.

There was a track for technical and a track for Business. I skipped the developer sessions, I am sure my developer friends covered that stuff very well or will soon enough for your review.

Business partner sessions, sales sessions, HCL services, the future of the Champion program session, and some other ones I can’t really discuss publicly, as much of it is not written in stone until the deal is finalized and should properly come from HCL itself.

However, we did get to weigh in on many aspects and I think the partner community will be quite happy.

We also had the pleasure of walking around Milan on our way to dinner the first night, and as you can see from the picture below, we all did a group photo at the Duomo in the center of Milan. 

Thanks HCL for a great time and, my luck, got to spend time with Russ Holden at my table who now heads all Notes and Domino development (maybe more, but if you know Russ, then you know it is in great hands) and Richard also sat with us but, as the host, was quite busy.

So what can I tell you? Let’s talk about the current and future of Notes Clients/Verse, Sametime, Nomad, Places, Technical Advocacy (near and dear to my heart) and closing speaker @VoWe.

V10 highlights on the left graphic and Verse on Premises upcoming Features and you can read them on your own. 

An interesting highlight, for me, is while web browser apps will maintain all languages, Notes and Domino and on premises applications are going to lose some languages, including Hebrew. So if you are from a smaller country, you may want to verify there will still be a client in your language. It is a monetary decision based on licensing and number of users. I hope to change their mind, will see.

There was some discussion about a mix of Verse and NOMAD, the application to read your Notes applications(except mail) via a browser and not the old NOMAD of running Notes from a USB. Ideally it would be good but doesn't sound like a true panacea just yet.

V11 Notes client is shaping up. Plans are to do a release a year (YEAH!) and over time make it easier to update your clients. There is of course the Verse client that was meant to be light weight and the “future”, but undoubtedly, due to key customers, the Notes client as we know it, java et al, will continue on.

Not surprising, the UI teams efforts, while clean, were reminded that the, ahem, elder employees, need more contrast schemes. It looks a little cleaner, some things are getting reworked and less “html section” like so the UI appears to all be one window.

Sametime Update

There will be a release, the Limited Use V10 version out soon. As you can see below some of what is included but the main item is Persistent Chat is part of it. 

We will have to wait until the end of the year for the next full version of Sametime which will also be numbered in synch, and possibly emerge, at the same time as Notes and Domino 11.

Unfortunately we did not get the previews of the revised templates coming but it sounds like at Engage, in May in Brussels, they may appear. 

The team was quite surprised but our enthusiasm to see/hear and give feedback about some core templates in need of modernization and not just UI.

At the end of the 2nd day, Volker Weber gave us a history of Lotus coupled with his take on the HCL/IBM deal and future. Always great to see him and spend some time talking with him.

Overall, what I heard and saw was impressive. Yes some items are off limits until the deal closes but you can see the fun is back in people's eyes, something we have been missing for quite a few years now. Now to see if the tide can turn and give Notes and Domino a Renaissance like when Steve Jobs came back to Apple.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Hey You!

Yes, You! 

You reading this post. 

You have a job to do. 

Sadly I know from experience only 5% of you will follow through on this, but here it goes anyway.

If what we have been doing all these years in the Domino space did not change anyone’s opinion, why should it now? The answer my friends, is it can change, only if we change.

When I set out writing this blog, over 1,000 posts ago, I had started and stopped a few times while I found what was missing in our YellowVerse. The Evangelist. IBM did not, and in some ways still does not, provide the information people in companies today need to help them keep their jobs, and thus IBM hardware and software, soon to be HCL software.

The SWAT teams, the Tiger teams, the Men in Black (I was one) did not publish anything public over the years. They were probably not allowed (?!) and so it happened that IBMers told me to keep writing and doing more, because their hands were tied.

The only exception, was when Antony Satyadas ran his "Project Liberate", to compete against MS, which was really about price points. His efforts were the closest anyone came to really pushing back against the world and promoting Notes & Domino. Sadly that was short lived and in 2008 and 2009. As we know, the CXO never chooses a product because of functionality, and rarely on price alone.

So what do I want you do? I want you to earn your IBM Champion (hopefully soon to be HCL Champion) status by being the person that your company needs, wants and relies on, and not in an the usual administrator or developer type of way.

Your mission, and you really have no other choice but to accept it, as you will see, is to make every.single.person in your company know what Notes & Domino, Sametime, Traveler, Connections, etc. do for your company.

If you have Connections or Sharepoint it will be pretty easy to accomplish this task.

Stealthily or upfront, makes no difference, you can do this, and you will, we will get to why you should do this soon enough.

Afraid your boss will go crazy on you? You are making them look better, even though they will say otherwise. Tell them you are helping their cause by asking for more budget to support all the great applications.

Your peers will think you are crazy….until they “get it” and start doing it themselves for their own applications and areas.

You need to start simple, here are some ideas.
  1. What applications do you use inside your company that run on Domino? You may not even know what they all do. Look at your Domain catalog and get some clues. Ask people, look at the apps, if you have access, and think about these questions:
  2. What does this application really do for our company? Does it onboard people or make the process easier/faster, manage passwords, handle expenses, payroll, sales, marketing, audio/video, PR, manage executives calendars, etc.
  3. How much money does this applications make the company? There is a reason Fortune 100 companies still run Domino applications inside their world, because they are critical to their businesses.
  4. Alternatively how does this application save us money/time/resources? If not, you may want to raise a new project to your boss to retire some older ones.
  5. What applications could benefit from some new coding or UI/UX? Why raise the downside? Because if the app is so meaningful, it should be treated like an Enterprise application, not a back office cast off.
  6. Going Cloud or staying on premises can also get the same treatment because there is a reason you have chosen to go that route.
  7. Support ticket updates. This can be tricky but important. If you know that you have rarely seen repeat tickets from users, this is a high rate to promote yourselves as permanently fixing issues. You may see how many people you supported in a month, or a year, and realize your reach is much more than you thought.
There are unlimited possibilities for you to provide these “status updates” or blog posts or wiki details inside your company. Talk about the data, the business value, the greatness that you love.

Start with one item, alternate every week or every few days. Explain it in business terms and in your own way.

You will slowly get feedback, and followers. You will also get complaints and enhancement requests, both excellent feedback for you and your team. If you know how to respond to the complaints, do it, if not, ask me or one of the other bloggers or IBM Champions.

You may get known as The Notes Guy or Lord Admin or Domino Guru or Lotus Evangelist. And that is always a good thing for you. You may also want to share and discuss some of this with your IBM/HCL or Business Partner representative when the opportunity arises since they can help you further.

Here’s why, if you read this far…

Your job is at stake.


Every single day/week/month/quarter, maybe not now but down the road, if you don’t do the above “promotions”, your management, and your users, dream up ways to get some other product brought in to be used because they don't even know what they own or run.

Not fair? No, it isn't, but you need to fight back and find a way to get the word out.

If your company does get that far, guess who is probably out of a job? You might get retrained, but so far, from my view, that is about 25% of the time. Not good odds.

It will be hard, you will get flack, and you will think no one is reading it, and you might be low on the totem pole, but if you have tagged the posts well and sprinkle in some magic terms that relate to your company business, you will start getting noticed. 

Be prepared, don’t just say you were doing this for fun, or because I sent you, provide your mission statement.
“My job is to do the best I can for the company and encourage management in their efforts and by providing this data I believe will make us a better company”.
Or something along these lines.

No double speak, no BS marketing mumbo jumbo, no buzzword bingo, just straight and to the point.

Nothing hurts as much as an ignorant executive make a choice that may not be in the best interest of their company without pointing out to them what their business value is, and why they have it. They don't know, often don't care, and that is why this is so important of a task I assign you.

This is not a technical battle front, it never was aside from the early days because no one did anything like Notes. Yes, we have new goodies inside R10, and down the road R11, but those need to be put in business benefit terms, as I have written about previously.

So, are you going to save your job?

Going to be a part of the next generation of Domino applications in the world? Become an IBM/HCL Champion next year because of what you started this year?

Or going to live in fear forever.

Need help? Reach out to me through any number of ways from my blog or other ways. I am easy to find.