Monday, April 1, 2019

Is Your Company #DominoForever or Exiting Stage Left?

A good friend of mine sent me a link to this post from David Giller and I recognized much of what he posted (crowd sourced) happens in all industries and businesses.

But for those on the cusp of debating "should we stay, or should we go", read on.

"Too little, too late" is what I hear and see from people and my reply is, quite honestly, well, there is not too little now thanks to HCL.

Too late is a relative term in an Enterprise. If you decided today to change your course, it would be months, possibly years for some of you larger companies, before you even took a step forward with a new partner or vendor to architect where you are going.

There is also the costs involved in any big project, and this would be a big project. Ask yourself, or your executive, do you really want to spend money on swapping one mail system for another?

A rough estimate I use with customers asking is, at a minimum, the cost to migrate will exceed $1,000 per user/email address moved.

The number doubles if you are big enough and need both worlds maintained in parallel. 

The number triples if you also "must have" coexistence so your calendaring and scheduling can work together.

And I did not even get to your licensing and hardware purchases, if you are not going to a Cloud solution.

If you are going to a cloud solution, don't forget the costs and time involved to get your security, Directory and single sign on parts to work and upgrade your telecommunications because that bandwidth is going sky high next.

Okay, enough scary tactics, feel free to argue with me, I am all ears to anyone who says I am lying. Maybe my numbers are off, if anything, they are low. Seriously.

Back to Mr. Giller's post, here is my SCNDT (Sametime, Connections, Notes, Domino, Traveler) version of some of them. You need to recognize and fix these before you face the end of the road:

  • No business teams are providing requests for new applications, if they ever did, and you find you are not being involved in the meetings about the future of business applications.
  • When was the last time someone asked, and you got approval, for application enhancements?
  • When was the last time you DID NOT SAY "give me a few days/hours I will come up with something". And instead explained to your boss how this would be a serious enterprise required application that should be on the next IT budget meeting. If your apps are not Enterprise need, your infrastructure is not either.
  • Your admins left or were moved along and it is now up to the help desk or the developers, if any are still around, to maintain the environment. Would you let the pizza delivery person fix your Porsche?
  • Rolling out SalesForce? ServiceNow? Not integrating them with Domino? You have lost a huge opportunity because you know what? Both of the former require a small army to customize it so it is useful. You already had much of this at your finger tips. 
  • Your company may say they want "best of breed" or the latest app in the Cloud, but you know your company and why that is probably not the safest most secure way to implement something that really could have been built on Domino.
  • Someone complains about the high cost of maintaining the Domino Infrastructure.
    • Ha, April Fool's, no one ever complains about the high cost of the Domino Infrastructure, except Microsoft and Google.
  • Executives say they want O365 but really have no business reason for it. the Outlook they use at home is not the same as in business. Directories and lookups, calendars, public/private information, multiple depositories for files are just some of the "functions" they have yet to use or think about. 
  • Look at the companies that tried to blame their problems on their email system and moved away from Domino only to die a miserable death soon afterwards or fall into a serious free fall. Hello Comcast, BlockBuster, and Qantas Airlines to name some famous ones.
  • If your executive that has backed SCNDT all this time is now shying away, or leaves, who you gonna call? I am available.
  • Have you tried to provide ideas for how your infrastructure could be leveraged to management? They are grasping at straws and need a light, no matter how small, to help them.
  • You hear about database bloat. Look, you are the admin or developer and you should be trying to retire a database a day, that is about 250 a year and no one will argue with you even if you say you removed 30, 50  or 100. Be proactive or face a negative reactive management.
  • There is lack of vision by the management to understand how to leverage the SCNDT platforms to streamline and automate processes – instead of simply replicating the same backwards manual way things have always been done….in Excel. And Excel, which is over 30 years old, is what runs many sales teams and finance departments. Just. Stop. It.
  • Some Microsoft tech complains about having to cover your servers when you are on vacation, you do take vacation I hope, and you don't try to educate them, you lose the best chance of getting them on your side. Remember, no one ever says they love Exchange.
  • Training doesn't exist. I get it. But you know what? Leverage the hell out of your intranet. Wiki, blog posts, status updates, if you are not posting something, then the executives think it doesn't exist and what doesn't exist, doesn't get funded and disappears. 
  • 1 great admin can manage a few dozen servers and between 1-3,000 users or more if given the right tools, for support issues and has minimal complaints and usually exceptional uptime. Learn your craft, read more blogs, go to user group events....The opposite of having bad admins is a sure sign the end is nigh.
  • Management thinks that Domino data is simply “ONE OF” the other systems that we have (resulting in siloed data being dispersed across multiple systems throughout the organization, making 360 degree reporting practically impossible). This one I stole from Mr. Giller's post because it is still true.
  • If your organization cannot articulate their current or future business processes and expectations in a way that makes sense to a normal person, you may have a problem.
  • Middle management is more interested in their job and budget than benefiting the company. Small mind = no advancement.
  • Not leveraging Domino policies, Panagenda's Marvel Client, or any of the configurable options that make users lives better. I have been told by clients that Notes "should look and act like other apps" so they do not enable all the preferences. My retort usually is something like "Tesla didn't build a car, they built a car everyone wants because they included options people want and need. Yes, this is public enemy number one of a reluctant IT staff to maintain Domino.

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.