HCL Software, Day One

July 1 2019

Today is the day that many of my friends and community members started a new journey. HCL Software closed their deal with IBM yesterday, and today my LinkedIN, Facebook, and blog feeds are filled with people announcing their new roles. I am overjoyed that so many of the people I have worked with for years at IBM on the Collaboration products are moving to HCL. It's very rare that this kind of opportunity happens - and I hope all those involved celebrate properly.

I also think this is a real opportunity for HCL Software to start clean. Now only do they have a new Software group, they have a new partner program, and let's be real - a whole new business model. They are not just selling services, but software, to their customers. They just gained a lot of new customers in their systems - which comes with relationships. This is the time to view every one of those relationships as an opportunity. I would recommend that the new sales team at HCL make it their number one priority to touch every one of those relationships in multiple ways in the next 90 days. Beyond emails and calls, there needs to be face to face meetings. Not just with the IT team, but with leadership at those organizations. Hear their story, their vision, and their plans. Focus on that - especially in the US.

I have no doubt that the teams of people at the new HCL Software are going to work and deliver amazing products. Domino 10 is proof that can happen. But I also think this is the time to do some major strategic thinking. Here are a few ideas:

1. First, every product acquired needs a roadmap. For sure, the next 365 days. I would suggest a three year roadmap. And make those public and online - like what many other companies do. Pick a day to publish those, commit to it publically, and meet or beat that.
2. Look at partner relationships in new ways. I think we are seeing that across the board already, but you aren't IBM. You don't have the IBM baggage. Showcase that.
3. If OpenNTF.org is going to be the premier delivery model for HCL delivering out-of-cycle product code, then fully fund it. Keep the infrastructure and the partner and customer involvement, but give them the financial backing to never worry about it.
4. Every product needs a major version, not some CF or point release. In the next year. I am looking at you Connections and Portal.
5. Announce a conference for the products. ASAP. January in Orlando sounds ideal.
6. Get HCL marketing behind a strong campaign announcing the move and the long-term support planned. I am not saying it needs to be TV Commercials, but something major. On the level of the Lotus Knows campaign in terms of investment.
7. A strong development roadmap that answers things like the success of low-code solutions, RPA, and on the other end, enterprise development that is taking place in the PaaS world - cloud based development using CI/CD and all the bells and whistles of AWS/Azure/Google Cloud/etc. Domino needs a very clear direction in the space.

I think we are going to see a flurry of hiring on the sales side, as HCL doesn't have the sales organization and they haven't sold software like this before. And give those sales professionals the power to get out and inside their client's & prospect's offices.

There are two more suggestions I have, both which are a bit more personal.

First, HCL needs a XPages roadmap OR a definitive statement that it's not strategic and a path to the other development options. I know they are working on this - I have been involved in some of the conversations. But something specific needs to happen here.

Second, HCL needs to figure out how the collaboration ecosystem it now owns competes in the Office365 and GSuite environment. I know that there are plenty of customers outside the US who don't want to use a cloud-based collaboration platform, but in the US, it's a large part of the equation. The sheer numbers of customers who migrated to Office365 is astounding. Yes, there are a lot of Notes & Domino (and even XPages) applications still out there. But HCL needs a strategy on how to compete with the sheer weight that is Office365. And I don't just mean email. I mean SharePoint Online, Flow, PowerApps, PowerBI, OneDrive, Teams and everything else that comes with it. HCL has the pieces, but they need to get them all working together seamlessly and with a easy to use, admin, and configure package in the cloud. But most importantly - how about enabling the HCL components to work with Office365 better? First of all, make it easy to connect Domino data to Flow, the CDS and PowerBI. Second, enable Domino apps to work inside Microsoft Teams with the proper extension points. Third, make Connections work smoothly within the Office365 world, again with Teams enablement and integration with SharePoint. And Last - make all of the HCL collaboration tools work with Office365 Exchange email as well as Domino mail does.

I am excited about the HCL stewardship of the IBM software, including Notes and Domino and Connections. I am also eager to help our customers navigate the changes and make the best decisions for their business going forward. Those won't always align, but the future is bright for all involved. See everyone at the Factory Tour.

Thoughts and emotions : HCL Buys Numerous Software Assets from IBM, including Notes, Domino, Connections, and Sametime

December 10 2018

The news has hit - on the day before the 29th anniversary of Lotus Notes 1.0 being released, HCL has agreed to pay IBM 1.8 million for IBM Software Assets including Notes, Domino, Connections and Sametime. This also includes software products AppScan, BigFix, Unica, Commerce, and Portal. All on-premises software. All with an ecosystem of customers, partners, and history. With an expectation to close mid-2019 (and if you dig into the HCL notes on this from their website, some of that can push closer to the end of 2019), there are a lot of details that are unknown.

So first, some thoughts on the actual deal. It's clear that IBM no longer considers on-premises software strategic - at least the software included here. Many of these had already had their development and support outsourced since 2016, so it's not a huge shock, But this means sales, marketing, accounting, and community will all move from IBM to HCL. Current IBM employees will move to HCL - and yes, some might be out of a job. But we don't know what that means today. What we do know is that change is ahead - lots of change. At some point before the end of 2019, customers will get a bill from HCL. They will download software from a website other than Passport Advantage. Companies such as PSC will have the option to become HCL partners (one assumes again). And multiple communities built around software will switch from IBM to HCL.

HCL is a traditional services organization grown from it's home base in India. They traditionally have competed with the likes of Infosys, Tata (TCS), WiPro, and others. These companies aren't known for building software, sold to companies via license sales. It's going to be a whole new world of them. There will be hiccups and bumps in the road. The daunting process of just getting a clean current and past customer list seems overwhelming.

Emotionally, this hits me and so many others directly. I started with Lotus back in 1993 and Ami Pro. Notes is something I got involved with 1994. I attended Lotusphere 1996, and only missed one until the last one in 2017. My career is intertwined with software, people and activities that are based on this software. I am nostalgic about those past times and many of the friendships and relationships that  have come and gone because of some software.

As PSC's business has grown from the IBM software space to embrace more tools and solutions, this is an opportunity. The opportunity to move people off of Notes and Domino will increase with this transaction, especially in the US. I think there will be other opportunities for growth opportunities and HCL invests and creates new products from their technology and IP they are going to acquire. The only thing any of us can say for sure is that 2019 will bring a year of change.

Congratulations to the team at HCL that has worked on Notes and Domino 10 - because I think this deal doesn't happen if there wasn't a base of success to model on. I am hoping that they can work real magic as the teams across the former Lotus/ICS product line are reunited at HCL.

"May we live in interesting times" has been called both blessing and a curse - you get to decide how you react and relate to that. And putting the HCL transaction in that perspective, it is certainly interesting times.

Hello World 2.0

December 10 2018

It's been over 13+ months since I wrote on here, mostly due to changes in my world - both professional and personal. I also found myself spending my time interacting with people in new and different ways - much of it away from technology.

A lot is happening in the world of technology these days, which begs me to find a medium to respond and comment on. Change is constant, and I love and embrace change.

Thanks for reading and hopefully you will find something where you will want to interact with.

How IT Leadership Can Fundamentally Change or Affect the Culture of Your Company

October 27 2017

Mark Roden and I spoke at the October 13th IT Leadership Strategies event run by Camp IT.

This session will challenge the tendency of IT leaders to focus on the technology. Meaningful organizational impact starts with changing the culture, not changing technology.

In this session, we will discuss how to cast a vision for your organization, take a realistic inventory of where you are today and build an attainable implementation roadmap. We will draw from specific examples where culture change has impacted an organization more than any technology change (for better and for worse). Key topics will include productivity, efficiency, empowered talent, and the ‘cool’ factor in transforming how IT is perceived.


How IT Leadership Can Fundamentally Change or Affect the Culture of Your Company from John Head

Thoughts on the IBM announement on Notes and Domino #domino2025

October 25 2017

IBM today announced IBM Notes & Domino 10, coming in the second half of 2018, along with a strategic partnership with HCL to develop the release, along with the following products:

  • IBM Notes and Domino
  • IBM SmartCloud Notes
  • IBM Notes Traveler
  • IBM Mobile Connect
  • IBM Verse
  • IBM Mail Support for Microsoft Outlook (IMSMO)
  • IBM WISPR
  • IBM Enterprise Integrator (LEI)
  • IBM Sametime portfolio
  • IBM Connections Chat/Meetings
  • IBM Client Access (ICAA)

This does not cover IBM Connections, the 'Pink' release, and IBM Watson Workspace. It seems the Cisco and Box relationships stay within IBM as well, but I did not confirm that.

There will be a 'jam' for all of those who want to participate in what the Notes & Domino 10 release looks like, including influencing the road map. RSVP for the Jam here.

My thoughts: I am excited to see new life and attention put into the products and a new major release coming next year. But reality sets in and you realize that to get that life and attention, IBM had to enter a strategic partnership i.e. outsource to one of the large outsource vendors in the marketplace. That means that for whatever the pot of money being invested, it gets spread around much farther. That means current developers at IBM will move to HCL, which will include new developers in locations other than the US or Ireland. This also includes support, which is moving to HCL. Product Management, Sales, and marketing all remain with IBM. As many of us know, when things are outsourced to teams outside the sphere of influence of the main company, quality and service can take deep declines. I don't want to be a debbie downer here. I am happy that IBM found a way to get new life into the products. Will the quality move forward? Will customers trust an outsourced development team? Will IBM be able to manage remote developers? Will the renewed energy stop the migrations off the platform? These are all great questions that need to be answered. No one knows the answer today. I am willing to keep an open mind and give IBM the chance to reenergize the product.

What I would like to see from IBM is more than a roadmap. We need a strategic plan on how they are competing with Office365, Slack, Salesforce, and GSuite. How will a new Notes and Domino release, along with the Cisco and Box integrations, connected with Connections PINK and Watson Workspace. The power of Office365 and GSuite are not the individual products, but how they integrate together. Making the parts more powerful when they all integrate with each other. That strategic plan also needs to be specific on cloud and application development, both which have severely fallen on the wayside the past 24 months. I am doing what I can to provide my input - both externally and internally - and will continue to do so.

Speaking at XChange 2017 - Keynote: Livin’ On The Edge: The Tech Solutions That Will Drive Tomorrow’s Revenue

August 15 2017

I am excited to be part of the panel keynote at XChange 2017 entitled Keynote: Livin’ On The Edge: The Tech Solutions That Will Drive Tomorrow’s Revenue. The abstract:

Solution providers are always looking for the next big thing when it comes to tech solutions they can offer their customers. But placing bets isn’t so easy especially when it comes to the risk-reward ratio. Being too far out in front of a trend could spell disaster but missing out on one could result in a lost opportunity and boost to margins. Any new tech solution requires an investment in skills, sales, marketing, customer support and vendor acquisition. This panel discussion will feature partners who are the first movers adopting technologies ahead of the mainstream market and had positive results or learned valuable lessons. This panel will discuss the benefits of adopting such tech solutions as IoT; DevOps; containers; hyperconvergence; public cloud; next-gen security and mobile. Today’s reality is that solution providers must adapt or they could be swept away.
The panel is moderated by Robert Faletra, CEO of The Channel Company.

Congratulations to the PSC team for being selected to develop AADE’s Technology Institute portal

August 14 2017

Congratulations to the entire PSC Group team for being selected to build American Association of Diabetes Educators' (AADE) their Technology Institute portal. You can read more in the press release posted to PRNewsWire:

SCHAUMBURG, Ill., Aug. 10, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- PSC Group, a leading business technology consulting firm, is proud to announce an agreement with the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) to develop AADE's Technology Institute portal. Details can be found at: https://www.diabeteseducator.org/techinstitute.

The AADE's Technology Institute seeks to offer Diabetes Educators best practices in implementing technology solutions. The latest product and device information and training will be made available along with CE and non-CE online courses and certificate programs, relevant research, discussion boards and other resources.
"PSC is proud to help AADE design and build the Technology Institute to intelligently serve its educator members," said Tony Fremarek, Partner at PSC Group. "The PSC team will ensure the project is delivered to help AADE make a significant impact on patient outcomes now and in the future as the cadence of new treatments and technology continue to rapidly evolve."
"By partnering with PSC Group for technical and aesthetic aspects of the project, our team can focus on the strategic content required for successful adoption," said Crystal Broj, Chief Technology & Innovation Officer, AADE. "This will be a leading resource for sharing emerging diabetes technology, late-breaking innovation and market intelligence with educators."
About PSC Group, Inc. 
Founded in 1990, PSC Group, LLC is a business technology consulting firm focused on enabling strategic technology driven tools, processes and objectives that help companies improve and grow their value. Our process begins in the way we listen and ends with our clients experiencing a greater return on their technology investment. With offices in Chicago and Kansas City, PSC has a proud history with our clientele that is based on mutual respect, integrity and honesty. www.psclistens.com
About the American Association of Diabetes Educators
AADE is a multi-disciplinary professional membership organization dedicated to improving diabetes care through innovative education, management and support. With more than 14,000 professional members including nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, exercise specialists, and others, AADE has a vast network of practitioners working with people who have, are affected by or are at risk for diabetes. www.diabeteseducator.org

MWLUG 2017 BP102 Collaboration and Productivity from the other side  

August 14 2017

I presented BP102 - Collaboration and Productivity from the other side on Thursday, August 10, 2017 at 1:00 PM EDT at MWLUG 2017. Here is the session abstract:

The IBM Collaboration and Productivity experience is well known to this community, but there are other options. The Microsoft experience, including Office 365, SharePoint Online, Groups, Teams, Dynamics CRM, MS Graph, PowerBI and more. This session will give an overview of the offering and how the cloud is allowing for rapid delivery of functionality. We will showcase customer solutions built on top of the platform, including intranets, document management, workflow, and business solutions. We will highlight the customization and development options available, including Office add-ins, MS Teams toolkit, Nintex Workflow, Winward document generation, and Azure custom .Net development. We will highlight a day in the life demo for sales, knowledge worker, and executives.


MWLUG 2017 - Collaboration and Productivity from the other side from John Head

MWLUG 2017 BP110 The Data and Analytics Journey Why it’s more attainable for your company than ever before

August 14 2017

I presented The Data & Analytics Journey – Why it’s more attainable for your company than ever before on Wednesday, August 9, 2017 at 1:00 PM EDT at MWLUG 2017. Here is the session abstract:

The typical perception of Big Data, Analytics, and Predicative/AI is that only the big companies can reap the benefits. Many believe they need a data warehouse, expensive reporting software, & an army of data scientists to get any value out of effort and cost. This session will explore and debunk that myth and showcase how companies of any size can participate. While there are many maturity models available, most are not designed to be practical guides to solving common business problems. Because of the explosion in cloud services, the barrier to entry has eroded significantly. We will look at some practical steps to access these capabilities and provide examples to where market-leading and growth companies have seen large benefits. Attendees will walk away with broader understanding of what’s possible to move their company through the journey in 2017. We will take a close look at IBM Watson solutions and how they integrate with IBM Collaboration and Social solutions.


MWLUG2017 - The Data & Analytics Journey 2.0 from John Head

MWLUG 2017 BP102 - Collaboration and Productivity from the other side  

August 9 2017

I will be presenting BP102 - Collaboration and Productivity from the other side on Thursday, August 10, 2017 at 1:00 PM EDT in Beech Room at MWLUG 2017. Here is the session abstract:

The IBM Collaboration and Productivity experience is well known to this community, but there are other options. The Microsoft experience, including Office 365, SharePoint Online, Groups, Teams, Dynamics CRM, MS Graph, PowerBI and more. This session will give an overview of the offering and how the cloud is allowing for rapid delivery of functionality. We will showcase customer solutions built on top of the platform, including intranets, document management, workflow, and business solutions. We will highlight the customization and development options available, including Office add-ins, MS Teams toolkit, Nintex Workflow, Winward document generation, and Azure custom .Net development. We will highlight a day in the life demo for sales, knowledge worker, and executives.

See you there! Remember to bring your PSC ad from the conference guide to get stamped for a chance to win an Amazon Echo Show!

MWLUG 2017: AD109 - Making the Shift - From Notes Dev to Web Dev with Angular and Node

August 9 2017

Kathy will be presenting AD109 - Making the Shift - From Notes Dev to Web Dev with Angular and Node on Thursday, August 10, 2017 at 10:00 AM EDT in Beech Room at MWLUG 2017. Here is the session abstract:

In this session, Kathy will take an XPages/Domino application and create the same app with Angular and Node. She will show you how to build the application, but she’ll also discuss the differences between the two. While you can port many of the skills you’ve learned for XPages, there are shifts that need to be made to get those skills to work with Angular and Node. Kathy will discuss differences in architecture and design between Notes/Domino and Angular/Node. Kathy will discuss IDEs and how they differ from Designer. She will cover pitfalls and how to overcome them to help you make the shift from a Notes developer to a modern web developer.

See you there! Remember to bring your PSC ad from the conference guide to get stamped for a chance to win an Amazon Echo Show!

MWLUG 2017: BP110 - The Data & Analytics Journey – Why it’s more attainable for your company than ever before

August 8 2017

I will be presenting another version of The Data & Analytics Journey – Why it’s more attainable for your company than ever before on Wednesday, August 9, 2017 at 1:00 PM EDT in Plaza Ballroom 2 at MWLUG 2017. Here is the session abstract:

The typical perception of Big Data, Analytics, and Predicative/AI is that only the big companies can reap the benefits. Many believe they need a data warehouse, expensive reporting software, & an army of data scientists to get any value out of effort and cost. This session will explore and debunk that myth and showcase how companies of any size can participate. While there are many maturity models available, most are not designed to be practical guides to solving common business problems. Because of the explosion in cloud services, the barrier to entry has eroded significantly. We will look at some practical steps to access these capabilities and provide examples to where market-leading and growth companies have seen large benefits. Attendees will walk away with broader understanding of what’s possible to move their company through the journey in 2017. We will take a close look at IBM Watson solutions and how they integrate with IBM Collaboration and Social solutions.

See you there! Remember to bring your PSC ad from the conference guide to get stamped for a chance to win an Amazon Echo Show!

Come see PSC at MWLUG 2017!

August 7 2017

I hope to see everyone at MWLUG 2017 in the Washington D.C. area this week! Kathy Brown and I will be doing three sessions combined, and we have a great prize to give away. The key to winning the prize - and Amazon Echo Show - is that you need to come to all three of our sessions and the booth! See everyone soon!

Image:Come see PSC at MWLUG 2017!

Social Connections 11: The Data & Analytics Journey – Why it’s more attainable for your company than ever before

August 4 2017

At Social Connections 11 in Chicago on June 2nd, 2017, Mark Roden and I delivered our second pass of the session The Data & Analytics Journey – Why it’s more attainable for your company than ever before - and it is different than the version we gave at CampIT. Better slides, edited for a shorter time period, and honestly - it just flowed better a second time live. The session abstract:

The typical perception of Big Data, Analytics, and Predicative/AI is that only the big companies can reap the benefits. Many believe they need a data warehouse, expensive reporting software, & an army of data scientists to get any value out of effort and cost. This session will explore and debunk that myth and showcase how companies of any size can participate. While there are many maturity models available, most are not designed to be practical guides to solving common business problems. Because of the explosion in cloud services, the barrier to entry has eroded significantly. We will look at some practical steps to access these capabilities and provide examples to where market-leading and growth companies have seen large benefits. Attendees will walk away with broader understanding of what’s possible to move their company through the journey in 2017. We will take a close look at IBM Watson solutions and how they integrate with IBM Collaboration and Social solutions.


The Data & Analytics Journey – Why it’s more attainable for your company than ever before from John Head

CampIT: The Data & Analytics Journey – Why it’s more attainable for your company than ever before

August 4 2017

On April 13th, 2017, Mark Roden and I spoke at the CampIT conference on Business Intelligence / Analytics / Big Data Strategies in the Chicagoland area. The session abstract:

The typical perception of Big Data, Analytics, and Predicative/AI is that only the big companies can reap the benefits. Many believe they need a data warehouse, expensive reporting software, and an army of data scientists to get any value out of effort and cost. This session will explore and debunk that myth and showcase how companies of any size can participate in the journey. While there are many maturity models and journey maps available, most are not designed to be practical guides to solving common business problems. Because of the explosion in availability in cloud services, the barrier to entry has eroded significantly. During this session, we will look at some practical steps to access these capabilities and provide examples to where market-leading and growth companies have seen large benefits. Attendees will walk away with broader understanding of what’s possible to move their company through the journey in 2017.


The Data & Analytics Journey – Why it’s more attainable for your company than ever before from John Head