Thursday, September 15, 2016

See the Future You Want to See

IBM recently announced the continued support for Notes and Domino through the year 2021. As we transition to the Cloud, and Verse becomes more prominent, it is not surprising that we reach this apex.

Remember cc:mail? What about the IBM Notes Server? How about Microsoft Mail? Windows for Workgroups? Palm Pilot? Apple Newton? Yes, the technology landscape is filled with artifacts that were stepping stones to the great products we have today. Every generation leads to newer, faster, leaner (physical disk space size, ok, in this case quite the opposite!) improved products.

While it is still in beta, Verse on Premises is that next giant step forward. Does it include Domino? Just as much as Windows clients and servers rely on DOS commands. Built for the future it is the direction IBM is leading us. It is an exciting adventure filled with unknowns. Remember how Domino, the beta Web server, became THE Domino server and brought us into the Internet realm? 

Well Verse is doing exactly this and bringing IBM and its customers to the Cloud realm. So we drop a name or two and stop point releases, outside of your admins and devs, who need to know to support the system, does any user care what version they use? It is all about the Pokemon Go integration! Seriously speaking, it is about being up to date with security and integration points with tools everyone needs to get their daily lives and jobs accomplished.

Ok, maybe some older products will fall by the wayside, just like Domino.Doc led to Quickr which led in some ways to IBM Connections. Will Toscana replace Sametime? Will the new deals IBM made with Box, Cisco and Genband bring an end to the Sametime product line which I have been playing with since it was in beta back in the mid 90’s? I can’t say for sure, but I can see where the next generation needs to break free.

But life carries on, and so do we, as IBM customers, Business Partners, and IBM Champions eagerly await the next generation of products. Will they be based on SoftLayer and Bluemix? Maybe a new platform not yet announced? Will Watson really know all about your projects and needs and take care of them before you get to the office? I don’t know, but it sure is fun guessing isn’t it? It would be nice to know that when you start a new job your favorite candy is waiting for you? (Watson, remember, Candy Corn for me, thanks!)

I am currently attending, and speaking, at the ICON UK event in London held at IBM Southbank. Here, surrounded by the Big Blue Lovefest crossed with the Yellowverse of Lotus fans we are producing that green with envy feeling from people who wrote off IBM and Notes, to their sometimes regret. Haters got to hate, and as an Enterprise your choices are few, is it really in your interest to NOT look at what IBM has on offer today?

Box integration is nice, I am a DropBox user, but it is just storage in the Cloud. I see no difference between them for my purpose. I prefer to think that online storage will have a specific guideline so everyone can universally use it, similar to how SMTP works across all servers. Many people say “mail is ubiquitous”. If so, then why not use IBM Verse? Is it so against your mindset to be open to the fact that the IBM fresh out of school whiz kids are creating some future mail clients? In return people ask me why I don’t use O365. I answer, I have, and on a personal level, I may one of these days, but as a business, I don’t want an app that “just” does email and nothing else. I prefer not to have the chaos of 20 mini apps to do what I could get from one client and one solution. Now with the Cloud side this is getting harder than when everything was on premises. This is the conundrum the developers and futurists think about, how we achieve the full client experience, from a browser. Indeed we will come full circle and that new generation of client and integration is just starting to see the light.

My crystal ball is cloudy and the next few years, as the last few, are steeped in random acts of genius crossed with WTF theories. The end result will be smart, practical and integrated and anyone’s guess which product or solution will be the winner. I hope it is IBM. As I watch the IBM of old get younger and younger, they are working towards a better future for everyone and not just a Smarter Planet.