Ask HCL Anything Session at HCL Factory Tour Sept 2022


As a reminder that I’m not here to ask the easy questions. I am here to ask the tough questions. I consider myself as much an ambassador of the customers and business partners as an ambassador of HCL. Thank you HCL for the transparency to allow me to moderate this session.

Question 1 from David Hablewitz: Will you skip version number 13?
Meant to be a humorous question making light of superstitions, this went down a path I wasn’t expecting.

Question 2 from David Hablewitz: The community formerly known as Lotus has become fragmented and scattered, gathering online in many disconnected and hard-to-find places where we communicate, share knowledge, find resources, try out software, etc. For instance, there are groups on Skype, Slack, Discord, Facebook, and LinkedIn. There is the HCL support forum; there is a sandbox for Nomad web; there is a community for trying out and discussing the early release of Notes / Domino 12.0.2; OpenNTF; the HCL Academy and youtube channel; the HCL blogs; the software documentation website, not to mention an entirely separate website for downloading software. All of these are fragmented and difficult to find. Furthermore, HCL has is no community at all to bring business partners together or to support them. Why don’t you have this all in one place and use the products themselves to host it as a proving ground of its capabilities?

Response: To summarize, the answer wasn’t clear, but I think with more discussion and clarification of what I am looking for from HCL, we could get somewhere. I will pursue this further.

Question 3 from John Shultz, Prominic (off camera): How do you empower us to leave this event with tactical and tangible information to share with my team? Something I can share with people in my support and marketing teams so they can share your vision?
Response from Francois Naser, Go to Market Leader: You will be receiving an invitation to training for business partners within the next 3 weeks. 3 sessions: 1. Domino & Sametime; 2. Volt MX; 3. MX Go (I can confirm this happened. Video recordings are available.) This will also be presented in person at the Milan Factory Tour.

Question 4 from David Hablewitz: When are you going to start recognizing the HCL Ambassadors for the value they bring to the community with HCL Ambassador branded gear?
(Note: until I asked this question, the HCL Ambassadors had not been mentioned or recognized at all for the entire 3 days at the Factory Tour.)
Background: When IBM was involved, IBM Champions were given items such as a plaque to put on the wall recognizing their service, jackets, shirts, and other items with IBM Champion logos. At conferences like this Factory Tour They would get special lanyards for their name tags that clearly identified them as IBM Champions. HCL has had the Ambassador program for 4 years now without giving any recognition to these individuals. One of the dinners at the Factory Tour We were served Maine lobster. Surely if HCL truly valued the dedication of these people, they could find funds to support the program.

Response from Maria Nordin (off camera) “We might have a solution, but I do not want to promise anything because I know how that feels. Maybe in 2 or 3 months, we may have something. I am working on it very, very hard.” Richard Jefts added “we were able to get for T-shirts for the HCL staff at this event, so there may be something they can do.
In addition, Richard Jefts went on to say regarding marketing [paraphrasing] “Meanwhile, HCL Tech has signed on as one of the sponsors for the Metlife Stadium where the New York Jets and New York Giants football teams play. HCL Software plans to follow suit with branding on F1 racing and European Cricket and sponsorship for the World Cup in Qatar. There are discussions about having Domino branding in geo-specific airports in places like Frankfurt and Tokyo.”
While the brand awareness somewhat matters, I applaud the efforts to advertise the Domino product. IBM was infamous for making the mistake of building brand awareness and ignoring promoting products. Without product marketing, brand marketing is a waste.
In any case, if you can spend hundreds of thousands to put your name on a stadium or an F1 car, it only makes sense to invest in the most dedicated people who unselfishly support and promote your business. Research has proven a loyal fan base is an essential component of product success.

Question 5 from Bill Malchisky: [paraphrasing] While we appreciate all the new products and features, where is your commitment to making the existing Notes client software stable, in particular the latest problems with the Mac Notes client?
Response from Andrew Davis: Apple has introduced regression bugs and we’re working with them to resolve. Meanwhile, please create a support ticket so we can work to resolve them.
Response from John Paganetti of Client Advocacy group: You can also reach out to your client advocate if you have more.
In addition, if you are not already in the Client Advocacy Program, contact Deronza Sanders or John Immerman, or John Paganetti. Every customer should have a contact in this program.

Question 6 from Bob Ascott: Who will be filling in for the next generation of developers in this software?
Response from Luis Guirigay (off camera): The HCL Academy will be releasing 80 to 120 hours of education for new software developers. They will be releasing similar education program for administrators. Along with this are certification tests coming out soon which will further legitimize it.
Response from Jason Gary: This is why the development in the product to translate code
Response from Michael Alexander: We are also working on producing documentation and other assets and why they are embracing languages like Javascript.

Question 7 from Carl Tyler: What features of the product do you wish were more widely understood and used by customers?
Response from Andrew Davis: Domino Domain Monitoring
Response from John Paganetti: ID Vault and Transaction logging
Response from (person off camera): Notes Stream and the stream class, a feature under used by developers
Response from Richard Jefts: Leap is not being used widely to build NEW apps. Also, Nomad is under-used.

Question 8 from David Hablewitz: Platforms are only as good as the ecosystem they support. When are we going to get an app store and make it accessible directly from within the Notes client?

Response from Andrew Manby: HCL is working on their next generation of SOFI. Their intent is to move it to become their full marketplace to have one location to handle apps for all products: DX, MX, Domino, They are working on it, though it is taking longer to develop than they expected.
Thomas Hampel: We have an internal prototype already running and it is already on the roadmap.
This is an awesome response!

Question/Comment 9 from Jamie Magee: Developers won’t be the ones picking and choosing to use Domino. It will be assigned to them. The marketing will determine the adoption by business owners which will lead to developers building apps in it.
Richard Jefts: We don’t have a true CSM (customer success manager). We call our inside sellers who handle renewals CSMs, but they are not CSMs. The only product we have a true CSM organization for is Volt MX. There should be a team at HCL ready so when a customer buys, for example, HCL Volt (Leap?), we have someone who will engage the customer and help them build their first apps. This where I see we have a gap. We still have that IBM mentality where after the sale, the next time they hear from us is when it is time to renew their software licenses. KK (VP at HCL) has just become aware of this gap and is onboard with creating this resource.

Final comment from David Hablewitz: My tap water comes from the Cascade mountains in Washington state where I get 100 cubic feet of water for $3.24. A local bottled water company takes that same water, packages it into bottles, and resells it for $15,000. What is the difference between my $3.24 of tap water and the bottled water that makes it worth $15,000? Marketing. THAT is the value of marketing.

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Posted on November 16, 2022, in Conferences, Domino, HCL, Lotus, Marketing. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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