Why LDC Via? The non-technical reason for our strategic partnership

August 23 2016

Last week at MWLUG 2016, PSC was proud to announce our new strategic partnership with LDC and their Via offering. It is getting some coverage in the community, and when we get the press releases out, hopefully some press attention.

Image:Why LDC Via? The non-technical reason for our strategic partnership


I have been asked "Why?" quite a bit since that announcement. There are a bunch of technical reasons and I will let Mark talk about that. Keep an eye on his blog for the next few weeks for some specific technical discussion.

But let's talk from a business point of view. What I care about is what helps me in my effort to help my current customers and get one ones. Yes, I am in sales - you all know that. So how does this fit into my sales strategy? It's really simple. We have many customers who are existing Notes client, Domino Web, & XPages customers who are looking for options to move their applications off the platform. Let's put all the emotional stuff aside, but this year has seen a massive increase on that request. And it's no secret that PSC has been working with customers to modernize and migrate applications from Notes to different platforms for years. SharePoint is still the top target platform and our partnership with Nintex has really led to some great customer experiences. We added QuickBase and OutSystems to that practice the past two years and are seeing success. But what do we do with the customers that just want a web application platform without doing a complete migration? That is the key.

As we discussed in our MWLUG 2016 presentation, moving data is straight forward these days. Legacy applications that are tied to a rich client require a user experience rewrite to bring in the UI and mobile functionality customers are asking for. But the security model of Notes & Domino, along with replication for off-line use, is what keeps so many applications tied to the platform. I have many customers that have moved email to another platform and made announcements, both internal and external, that they have depreciated Notes & Domino as an app dev platform and picked something else. But most of those customers still have many Notes apps running the business. No platform or tool handles the usage and migration of the Notes security model.

Image:Why LDC Via? The non-technical reason for our strategic partnership

Our presentation last week broke down the “Why?” question with a few points:

·        Working together to meet client needs for low-risk migration
·        Modern development platform
·        Familiar REST based API Model
·        Familiar security model baked in
·        Data Migration tools

Let’s dive a bit deeper on the point that really resonates with us. LDC Via provides a secure encrypted cloud repository, but it also mimics the Notes security model like nothing else we have seen. It allows existing applications to exist as they are today, while still removing the dependency on Notes & Domino. Via provides a bridge to existing customers and an easy path for Notes/Domino/XPages developers who might not be technically ready for something more extreme. That isn’t even thinking about all the whitespace application development that is possible.

Image:Why LDC Via? The non-technical reason for our strategic partnership

Our goal with this partnership is to be able to offer an existing Notes/Domino/XPages customer multiple options along a roadmap of application modernization. Some customers will jump straight to another vendor. Others will select a pure open source solution. But many will look for a platform that allows for a transition vs. a migration. LDC Via helps us with that transition strategy and more.

We are excited about this opportunity to work with the LDC team. Keep an eye out on the PSC blogs and social accounts as we talk more about our vision and partnership.

One final thought: I have heard people ask “What does LDC get out of this partnership with PSC?” as this announcement was made. While they should answer that themselves, I think having the largest North American XPages consultancy working with them is something that they find quite attractive. I would hope having a partner in me, a dedicated salesperson focused on selling application modernization and modern web development, doesn’t hurt either

Congratulations to PSC’s new Microsot MVP and IBM Champion!

August 23 2016

PSC is proud to announce that Dr. Mark Roden was named as an inaugural 2016 IBM Cloud Champion, to go along with his three time IBM ICS Champion awards. We are also excited to announce that Chris Johnson was named a Microsoft MVP.

That brings us to seven total IBM Champion awards and two Microsoft MVP awards at PSC in the past year. Congratulations to all!

The fork in the road - the Application Modernization Roadmap for Notes Domino XPages customers

August 22 2016

Here are the slides for our sponsor session at MWLUG 2016. I was joined by a guest speaker - Mark Roden - and we announced our new partnership with LDC around their Via product. Much more to come over the next few weeks.

For the past five years, PSC has presented at conferences all over the world sharing our vision of how applying a modernization methodology to Notes & Domino can lead to major improvements in user adoption and accessibility. The impact is felt by the user, the developer, and the ROI of the application. During this time, we have been successfully applying the same proven processes to other technologies outside of the ICS realm. It is now time to bring those worlds together. There are a lot of questions in the community about what to do with our applications given the change in Notes/Domino application development roadmap. This session will give you the PSC perspective on your options. It will include our vision for IBM XPages, including IBM Bluemix and will highlight our integration work with IBM Digital Experience. We will showcase our work with other technologies, including Microsoft (Office365, Azure, Addins, and more), Nintex, OutSystems, QuickBase, to name a few. This session is for Notes/Domino/XPages customers who want robust options to modernize their existing applications. We will show you other platforms as well as announce an exciting partnership that will allow IBM XPages apps to have life on other platforms as well. Come and see real world demos of how our strategy is working for our existing customers and will work for you. We can help you navigate the road ahead.


The PSC Marketing Message at MWLUG

August 18 2016

Image:The PSC Marketing Message at MWLUG

MWLUG 2016: Kathy & Shean talk Using Dashboards to Transform Application Data Visualization

August 1 2016

My colleges and fellow IBM Champions Kathy Brown & Shean McManus are giving this session at MWLUG 2016 in Austin on August 17-19th, 2016. Here is the abstract:

When you're driving a car, you need a lot of data quickly. How fast are you going? Are there any problems you need to address? Where do you get that data at a glance? Your dashboard, of course. All the info you need at your finger tips, easily understood. Your applications have a lot of data and important information, but can your users get to it quickly? Can they easily spot issues or know what they need to do right now? Shean and Kathy will take you for a test drive through some XPage application dashboards. They will demonstrate how to move away from email-driven tasks and buried information to show you how you can easily visualize your critical business data. Come see how an application can provide a visually striking, functional, and easy to use Data Visualization for common workflow actions, important info, charts, and key metrics. Put your users in the driver’s seat!

Look forward to seeing everyone in Austin!

My session at MWLUG 2016 : The Fork in the Road: The Application Modernization Roadmap for Notes/Domino/XPages Customers

July 25 2016

I am giving the PSC Group, LLC sponsorship session at MWLUG 2016 in Austin this August 17-19, 2016. Here is the abstract:

For the past five years, PSC has presented at conferences all over the world sharing our vision of how applying a modernization methodology to Notes & Domino can lead to major improvements in user adoption and accessibility. The impact is felt by the user, the developer, and the ROI of the application. During this time, we have been successfully applying the same proven processes to other technologies outside of the ICS realm. It is now time to bring those worlds together. There are a lot of questions in the community about what to do with our applications given the change in Notes/Domino application development roadmap. This session will give you the PSC perspective on your options. It will include our vision for IBM XPages, including IBM Bluemix and will highlight our integration work with IBM Digital Experience. We will showcase our work with other technologies, including Microsoft (Office365, Azure, Addins, and more), Nintex, OutSystems, QuickBase, to name a few. This session is for Notes/Domino/XPages customers who want robust options to modernize their existing applications. We will show you other platforms as well as announce an exciting partnership that will allow IBM XPages apps to have life on other platforms as well. Come and see real world demos of how our strategy is working for our existing customers and will work for you. We can help you navigate the road ahead.

Looking forward to seeing everyone in Austin!

PSC Group is the Sponsor of the Week at MWLUG.com

July 18 2016

PSC Group, LLC is the Sponsor of the Week on MWLUG.com this week. PSC is proud to be one of the Platinum sponsors at the biggest US user group event of the year. We have been a sponsor every year of MWLUG. We will be at this years event in Austin talking about what we do best: Application Modernization and XPages. We will have an exciting announcement about our future vision of modern web applications and IBM Champions Kathy and Shean will talk about Dashboards. Look forward to seeing everyone in Austin!

Image:PSC Group is the Sponsor of the Week at MWLUG.com

SharePoint to QuickBase Integration Video

July 15 2016

The fifth and last in a series of demonstration videos, my coworker Ken Lamey shows our Microsoft SharePoint to Quickbase integration services that PSC Group, LLC provides. Please enjoy the video - and feel free to contact me directly if you are interested in services like this with Quickbase! You can reach me at jhead@psclistens.com.

QuickBase and SharePoint Integration Video

July 13 2016

The forth in a series of demonstration videos, my coworker Ken Lamey shows our Quickbase to Microsoft SharePoint integration services that PSC Group, LLC provides. Please enjoy the video - and feel free to contact me directly if you are interested in services like this with Quickbase! You can reach me at jhead@psclistens.com.

O365 Mail to Quickbase Integration Video

July 11 2016

The third in a series of demonstration videos, my coworker Ken Lamey shows our Microsoft Office365 and Quickbase integration services that PSC Group, LLC provides. Please enjoy the video - and feel free to contact me directly if you are interested in services like this with Quickbase! You can reach me at jhead@psclistens.com.

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July 11 2016

Hello 42 ... Happy Birthday to me!

Lotus Notes to Quickbase Migration Video

July 7 2016

The second in a series of demonstration videos, my coworker Ken Lamey shows our IBM/Lotus Notes to Quickbase migration services that PSC Group, LLC provides. Please enjoy the video - and feel free to contact me directly if you are interested in services like this with Quickbase! You can reach me at jhead@psclistens.com.

The Legacy of Legacy Applications and the Road Ahead

July 6 2016

Note: an edited version of this entry can be found on the Quickbase blog as a call to action to their "Early Stage Digital Transformation: Leaving Your Legacy Systems Behind" webinar. You can still view the webinar by completing the form here.

The “Legacy” of Legacy Applications and the Road Ahead

As any professional knows, the dream of using modern, mobile, fast applications all day, every day is measured against the realities of time, money and resources. Every organization has those line of business applications that run the day to day operations that no one likes to use. But why can’t IT modernize those applications fast enough? What alternatives are out there? Let me give you my perspective.

My entire career in technology, which started in 1993, has been on working with line of business applications – or as analysts call them today, Systems of Engagement. I far preferred working with business professionals and face down writing code. Learning what they did, how they did it, and how I could improve those processes. I allowed my coworkers to deal with the backend systems – today’s Systems of Records. But I immersed myself in learning the ins and outs of my customer’s business. It’s what a good consultant does. In the mid-90s, this meant working with word processors, spreadsheets, light-weight databases, and the immerging world of groupware. My clients used Lotus Ami Pro, Lotus 1-2-3, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access, and Lotus Notes. Lotus Notes, now IBM Notes, spread like wildfire within an organization. Why? Because anyone who could write a macro in a spreadsheet could build an application in Notes. As someone without a formal programming education or experience, I could build a fairly powerful application. And as Notes and the productivity suites – Lotus SmartSuite and Microsoft Office – evolved and added a scripting language – my development skills evolved with them.

These applications were usually workflow-based form routing. Processes like New Product Development, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and anything that required collaboration. I had customers with hundreds, if not thousands, of these applications. And for the most part, the IT department did not need to be involved. IT was focused on the large financial (ERP) systems and other bigger tasks. But that lead us to the problem of a stagnant catalog of applications.

As technology gave us better hardware, mobile devices, and a platform for universal development delivery in the web browser, IT began to lock down on the rapid application development that Notes had become. Other tools took its place – Lotus Quickplace/Quickr, Microsoft SharePoint, and more. But these platforms were still controlled by the IT department. As the IT budgets crunched and their focus spread across infrastructure and applications – most organizations developed a backlog. The users had to find a solution.

I remember the first time I heard about Basecamp, what I consider to be one of the first ‘shadow IT’ products. A customer told me about how one of their projects was struggling to work with their customers. They needed to collaborate across files and project schedules. The tools IT provided were not cutting it. Email was too slow and cumbersome and they couldn’t email around the huge files they needed to collaborate on. My colleague shared with me that the complaints stopped and IT went on to the next fire drill. A few months later, he said he had some time and investigated the project. Turns out that the project executive was so frustrated he turned to the web. He searched for a project management tool and found Basecamp. 100% on the web, it gave them the basic tools they needed. They could tailor it to the project. And they could pay for 10 users with a credit card. But of course, like many Shadow IT initiatives, there was no backup, no legal retention, and all of the other things that IT thinks about when they implement a system. Thus began the struggle between the business and IT. Other products such as Salesforce and Quickbase also got their start focusing on being alternatives to the solutions IT offered users inside the firewall.

I find it so surprising how many people I talk to still use a spreadsheet for a core business function. Why? Because they can. There are not constraints about what they can do within that spreadsheet. Need a list? Done. Need a project plan, easy. Need a quick macro to figure out projections? Give a power user a day or less. But all of these users tell me they want more.

The idea of Application Modernization is not new, even if the name has only been embraced by the analyst community in the past few years. The need to upgrade business critical applications has always been there. The problem is finding the time for IT to work on them. One of the discussions I have with my customers most is how we can help them with this problem.

Image:The “Legacy” of Legacy Applications and the Road Ahead

Figure 1 - PSC's Application Modernization methodology

I am lucky to speak at conferences like Empower 2016 on this topic all over North America. In these talks, I focus on the five Application Disruptors that cause users to look outside the provided applications and platforms inside their company. They are:

1.        User Experience

2.        Cloud

3.        Social

4.        Mobile

5.        Modern Workflow

Image:The “Legacy” of Legacy Applications and the Road Ahead

Figure 2 - The Five Application Distruptors

Any of these can be applied to the reason why a person or organization looks for alternatives. For a user, they are looking for a solution to solve a single problem. IT organizations are looking for tools that allow them to respond to business requests faster. They also want platforms that can empower their users to build their own solutions, called Citizen Development, but still provide functionality and control. Single Sign-on, backups, and legal retention give the IT team peace of mind. And the platforms are stepping up.

As platforms such as Quickbase straddle the Shadow IT and Citizen Development spaces and cater to both the user and IT departments. Not only can Quickbase provide the spreadsheet power user the perfect tooling for enhanced collaboration and functionality, they can provide corporate IT with a company-wide application platform to rapid application development and peace of mind.

2016 seems to be the year where organizations of all size are ready to focus on their legacy application portfolios. Why? I think there are many factors converging all at once. The focus on mobile, the move to the cloud, the impact of millennials and their habits, and the drive to getting away from large scale platforms that cannot be easily upgraded. Both Lotus Notes and Microsoft SharePoint are the top two targets in this space.

No matter if you are a business user looking for a better way to get your daily work done, or an IT organization looking to respond to the needs of the business faster, there are a lot of opportunities for modernization of legacy systems today. The only option is to do nothing. If you do nothing, someone else will.

SharePoint Migration to Quickbase Video

July 5 2016

The first in a series of demonstration videos, my coworker Ken Lamey shows our Microsoft SharePoint to Quickbase migration services that PSC Group, LLC provides. Please enjoy the video - and feel free to contact me directly if you are interested in services like this with Quickbase! You can reach me at jhead@psclistens.com.

Social Connections 2016 Toronto - “What the App?”… A Modernization Strategy for Your Business Applications

June 30 2016

Here are the slides from my session “What the App?”… A Modernization Strategy for Your Business Applications that I gave at Social Connections 2016 earlier this month in Toronto.

It’s 2016 – your application portfolio is being reviewed and scrutinized. Email and application platforms are being separated. Users’ expectations of their work experiences are higher than ever. Your social platform is stable and maturing. But you’re invested in your applications (Notes, Domino, and much more) – what do you do? Looking through the lens of IBM ICS solutions, we will answer that question by providing a roadmap and experiences to help you choose the best path. We will deep dive into the five aspects of Application Modernization: User Experience, Cloud, Mobile, Modern Workflow & special focus on the last – Social. See demos of actual application transformations and the impact they have within an organization. We will also show how your applications, integrated into your social platform, increases productivity and engagement. Learn how new functionality in the products will make your journey easier. See live demos putting AM into practice.


“What the App?”… A Modernization Strategy for Your Business Applications from John Head