Most times you take a week off work and nothing happens except a load of emails. Then there’s a week like last week: probably the most significant news for the platform since the extensibility API. For anyone who’s not glanced at Planet Lotus lately or picked up on the news. IBM have announced a strategic partnership with HCL for a list of ICS products including Sametime and Domino. Domino 10 will be released in the second half of 2018. Plus a face-to-face and web jam will gather a wish-list of future features for Domino, with the hashtag #Domino2025.
As many have said, this isn’t something new to IBM. IBM have already partnered with HCL for products like Rational. It’s also partnering, not outsourcing. Some aspects will continue to reside with IBM and it will not be a completely new development team. Knowledge of the history of the product and strengths / weaknesses will move across to HCL, ensuring there is no extensive period of getting up to speed. So some thoughts from me:
- The commitment to Domino 10 shows again that IBM are listening, evaluating and changing strategy based on feedback (see the recent announcement about Domino on Docker). Personally I had no problem with the move to Feature Packs. I don’t have figures on up-take since FP8, but I don’t doubt that’s been taken into account in the decision about Domino 10.
- The jam demonstrates further the willingness of IBM to develop the product with the community. It’s an attitude I’ve seen more and more under Barry Rosen and the team who have supported him. It has been proven time and again over the last year, so I strongly encourage everyone to get involved. Think about requirements and justifications based around why it’s good for the product.
- IBM has previously been coy on naming beyond Domino Next or Project X (e.g.Hawthorn for IMSMO, Hannover for Domino 8). Coming out and calling it Domino 10 is a good move, in my opinion, and cuts through a lot of politics in all areas.
- When IBM moved away from a new version, some used the usual terms to tell customers Domino was being left for dead by IBM. When they announced support until at least 2021, some chose to ignore the key words “at least” and tell customers IBM was giving them five years to migrate. When IBM announced no plan for end of life or support last month, IBM tried to end that FUD. FUD will continue and I expect some to claim IBM is killing Domino by outsourcing it or claim #Domino2025 means no more Domino after that year. Yeah, right.
- HCL may be an unknown name, but they’re much bigger than any of the names offering migration products for Domino customers.
- Some customers may have already started migrating. Some will be doubtful about the benefits of a Domino 10 release. But I’m doubtful how many of those migrations will be complete and the customers Domino-free by the time Domino 10 is released.
- I suspect HCL will be investing as well as just developing the products, which is good news.
- Domino has a very specific technology requirement. So does Sametime. Connections Pink has a very different technology stack. In my opinion, that is a factor in the decision-making and makes sense logically.
- I think Project Live Grid has great potential. I’ve not heard concerns voiced that Live Grid would replace Domino, but we’ve been in the position before about IBM products with Websphere. This announcement confirms what I suspected, that Live Grid and Domino both have a place in IBM’s portfolio. That makes sense because Domino is much more than a dumb NoSQL database. It always has been.
- Although Watson Workspace Essentials will be getting audio video capabilities, I’m firmly of the opinion that it shouldn’t try to be instant messaging. This announcement also confirms these two also have a place.
We’ll have to see what goes into Domino 10 and beyond. But this is a forward step in my opinion.