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.