Category Archives: Domino

HCL Software Certification Tests are now Available


The opportunity is prove your skills in HCL Domino 12 Administrator is finally here, along with
HCL Volt MX 9.x Associate Developer, HCL Volt MX 9.x Developer, and
HCL BigFix Platform 10 Professional

Note that the Volt MX Associate Developer is a practical skills rather than a written test and it is NO CHARGE.

Learn more and get registered for a test here.

Be sure to check out their education resources to prepare for the test. They can be found at the HCL Software Academy.

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There Will Be No V13.0 of HCL Notes/Domino (formerly Lotus Notes)!


If you viewed my previous post, I asked HCL leadership the question: “Will you skip V13.0?” at the HCL Factory Tour. The conversation quickly went down a rabbit hole and I never got a clear answer. But the answer is quietly revealed on this website listing the fixes. You will notice there are already entries posted for V14.0.

While I’m here, I was looking at the historical data to see any trends or other noteworthy facts. HCL purged the data before 9.0.1 FP7, but I happen to have the original Notes database taken from when we could use Lotus Notes to access the Notes.net website and from that view you can see the following data going back to version 7 and earlier:

There is also a view of the number of fixes for each release and it becomes evident the number of fixes per year has dramatically increased since HCL took over. As I look back at the history, it also tells the approximate release dates for major releases. Can you tell where HCL Software took over?

In the beginning, Lotus was in control and putting out a major release about every 3 years. IBM maintained this pace until 8.0 was released in 2007. After that, IBM all but shut down feature development, taking nearly 11 years to produce the next two releases before development was taken over by HCL. With HCL, the development team was let loose and the results have been a new major release in a bit over once per year. Major versions are where the new features are introduced. What I find most impressive is that HCL also had to deal with the transition of taking over the business in those first 2 years and then COVID hit in January of 2020, right after the release of 11.0. The software development aspects have clearly improved with the transition to HCL. It looks like there will be no V13, but I expect we will see V14.0 sometime in 2023.

Coming soon, I will address Question #2 from Ask HCL Anything session: Why doesn’t HCL host a centralized location for this community to congregate and collaborate, using HCL software to drive it?

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.

0:00 Introductions
2:52 Question #1: Will you skip V13?
8:34 Question #2: Can you give us Greenhouse again?
12:42 Question #3: Give us material to share your vision
16:07 Question #4: HCL Ambassadors deserve recognition
20:20 Question #5: Mac Notes client chronic problems
26:55 Question #6: How will you attract the next gen developers?
31:47 Question #7: What features do you wish would get more use?
37:36 Question #8: Where’s the app store?
39:52 Question #9: Adoption will not come from developers
44:58 Closing

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.

Breaking New Certification: HCL Volt MX Certified Associate Developer Badge


What does it take to earn this badge? In a nutshell, build an app that works on mobile & web and performs a set of minimum requirements.
Learn more at https://hclsw.co/vmxcert
and see the table of minimum features here: HCL Volt MX Certified Associate Developer Rubric

You need to know a bit of JavaScript and other tools too. This is the first time I have seen a certification process like this, but I think I like it. It will also incentivize people to actually create something.

What? You don’t have the software? Contact an HCL business partner, like Divergent Solutions to get a license.

Hot Press: HCL Announces Dates for End of Support for older versions of Notes/Domino. v12.0.2 coming soon.


HCL just announced the dates that v9.0.x and v10.0.x of HCL Notes and Domino (Lotus Notes) will no longer be available for download and the date when HCL will no longer offer technical support for them.

Dec 1, 2022 – End of Marketing (EOM) – HCL will remove the software downloads from Flexnet. If you want a copy of this software, you have just 5 months to download it.

Jun 1, 2024 – End of Support – HCL will not provide customer support after this date and there will be no option for extended support on it. But seriously, why are you running a 12-year-old version of software for mission critical apps anyway?

While we’re talking about software versions, HCL continues the hot pace of prolific software development. You can see the progress of version 12.0.2 right here. It also shows progress on the maintenance release 11.0.1 FP6.

Innovation Adoption Curve

This is great news as it will push the laggards along on the Innovation Adoption curve. When organizations cling to an older version of software (imagine if you were still using Windows 8?), their employees develop an inaccurate, bad opinion of the software. That inaccurate publicity hurts the success of the software which feeds upon itself, causing the company leadership to think the problem is the software rather than their failed maintenance of it. So Kudos to HCL for driving customers to do the right thing and upgrade.

You can read more about their announcement at HCL’s blog.
You can read more about how versions are named, numbered, and supported here.

The Lion King’s Rafiki Words of Wisdom about old software versions:
“It doesn’t matter, it’s in the past!”

HCL Notes and Domino V12.0.1 is Now Available for Download and Approved by Freddy the Bassett


HCL Domino V12.0.1 available for download in Flexnet

I have been very happy with the beta 1 and beta 2 releases I’ve been running for the past several months. The final release is now available and from what I understand, there is more that wasn’t even in the beta releases. Go download it now and get started. Don’t know what Notes and Domino is? Only the most advanced business application development environment ever crafted. Loved by early-adopters and feared by software giants. Feared so much so that it was the target of the second largest counter-marketing attack ever run by Microsoft (Only their attack on Apple Corporation was larger.)

Wondering what makes HCL Notes & Domino worthy of such devotion and fear? Ask anyone who has created a Notes application or managed a Domino server. Security, versatility, ease of rapid application development and deployment from prototype to production. If you want to see what HCL Domino and Notes can do for your tiny to medium to enterprise-sized business, just ask me. And if you’re already using it, go download V12.0.1 and get started on deploying those new features. What’s new? Visit

https://help.hcltechsw.com/domino/12.0.0/admin/wn_12.0.1.html

HCL Notes and Domino V12.0.1 is approved by @FreddytheBassett.

HCL Notes & Domino V12.0.1 Beta 1: How to Download, How to Join the Forum, What’s New


The Beta 1 version of Notes and Domino V12.0.1 is now available on Flexnet. If you are licensed for Notes & Domino, this video shows how to download the beta. It also shows how to get to the HCL blog post with lots of details including what is new and how to participate in the beta forum with the developers.

HCL Software’s Prolific YouTube Channel


Most recent videos posted on the HCL Software YouTube Channel
Most recent videos posted on the HCL Software YouTube Channel

In case you’re not paying attention, HCL Software has a YouTube channel where they are posting an almost continuous stream of How-To videos. In fact, today alone they posted 10 videos. They are covering many varied topics that could turn a dedicated viewer into a Domino expert. It is especially useful because they are covering the new features in V12.

Is it possible they could make our user group conferences with all the How-To presentations obsolete? nah. Deep dive sessions are still important from a strategic perspective and a broader understanding of why you do things. But these short videos produced by HCL are very handy and remind me of days gone by when I would replicate the Knowledgebase database from Notes.net every morning and review the new technotes to start my day (easily identified thanks to unread marks and “show unread only” which you just can’t do with a web browser.)

If I were to offer HCL some advice, it would be to create an indexed website/table of contents with each of these videos embedded so they read like a help database with chapters and sections of related topics. I would also recommend paying more attention to the audio. In some videos, I have trouble understanding what is being said because the presenter has a thick accent. (That is my American-centric perspective and not everyone may agree.) In other videos, the recording seems to be made using a microphone of poor quality or low recording levels. Viewers will tolerate bad video quality, but bad audio will quickly lose viewers. Subtitles would be helpful too.

I would like to see content identified as intended for end users in a way that I could direct users to follow the channel and not be turned off by too much irrelevant information for that audience, though that may be partially addressed by the title labeling and playlists.

Speaking of title labeling, I do like that the titles are well thought out. The content of this channel covers a variety of products, so each title begins with the product; for example, “HCL Notes”, “HCL Accelerate”, “HCL Domino”, “HCL Sametime”, “Unica”, “HCL Commerce”. Viewers can focus on the labels of interest to them, yet still see what other topics and software is out there, which may peak their interest to broaden their understanding of the software portfolio (myself included). The playlists are also created for each of the products using the exact same name as the labels in the video titles — except for the ones that matter most to me, which are all put into a single playlist: HCL Digital Solutions, instead of having playlists called “HCL Notes”, “HCL Domino”, etc. This is not intuitive, especially for end users who have no idea what “digital solutions” is. They never call it that. It’s just Notes to them. So perhaps create additional playlists for those would be helpful.

Clearly, HCL is committed to filling the gaps created by the former product owners. It just keeps getting better.
If you haven’t already, click here to subscribe to the HCL Software YouTube Channel.

CollabSphere 2021 is Taking Abstracts for Sessions Now


So many new things to talk about! So many products in the HCL Collaboration portfolio have all new versions with tons of totally new features (not just enhancements). There is a big need among the community to learn from each other how to best put the latest software to work. If you have any tips you have learned, this is the place to give back to the community as well as build your own credentials as an expert in your profession. If you had to figure something out, chances are high that others out there are looking for that same knowledge. CollabSphere is October 19 – 21 and it will be held online. The cost is free because the labor comes from us in the community along with generous sponsors, most notably is the organizer, Richard Moy of Phora Group.

Here is the link to the conference website where you can register and where you can post your abstract for a presentation idea that you are willing to give. You have through the month of August to submit your abstract. If you want to be considered for HCL Ambassador, presenting at user group conferences will certainly add to your case.

A Dozen Business Solutions You Need. All on One Platform.


I have been asking — begging — HCL that businesses don’t need platforms. They need solutions. Solutions to common business problems. Domino is an incredibly powerful platform on which businesses can build solutions. But businesses want more than just an email app out of the box. To make Domino more valuable on Day One, it should include a collection of apps for the most common business problems.

HCL came through. Check out these dozen sample apps that are included with the Domino Volt ecosystem just released with Domino V12. These can replace a dozen different applications, subscriptions, or services that I previously had to buy — and administer. That is 12 different apps I had to worry about managing users’ access, deploying, securing, and backing up. And there wasn’t a good way to integrate them with each other because they were each a standalone solution. HCL has (re)started something here that I hope is just the beginning. Domino provides the platform to quickly develop custom business apps, but now it can also provide these most common business solutions right out of the box with Domino Volt. I’m expecting they will continue to expand the list. They went with a dozen to fit the release of version 12. You can read their details published by HCL. Here is the list:

  1. Candidate Recruitment
  2. Vacation Request System
  3. Asset Tracking
  4. Expense Tracking and Reimbursement
  5. Employee Onboarding
  6. Order Entry and Procurement
  7. Basic CRM /Sales Tracker
  8. Visitor Registration
  9. FAQ Management
  10. Case Management
  11. Event Management
  12. Online Booking (Healthcare)

https://www.hcltechsw.com/domino/offerings/domino-volt/showroom-announcement

Footnote: for #12, check out a feature-rich solution for managing your bookings at https://clickbook.net
This is vastly more complete and yes, built on Domino.

Domino Jeopardy! at CollabSphere 2020


I recently had the honor of playing the role of game show host of a Notes/Domino edition of Jeopardy! at CollabSphere User Group Conference. This was the Day 2 Lunchtime entertainment.
The contestants were Helen Mendoza, an HCL customer from Chicago, IL, USA; Roberto Boccadoro, an HCL business partner from Milan, Italy; and Luis Guirigay, an HCL employee from Boca Raton, FL, USA.
Hosted by me, HCL Ambassador David Hablewitz.

Many requested it, so here is the replay of that fun game.
It opens with the pre-game chat to relax the contestants and wait for the audience arrive. The actual game starts at timestamp 5:00 and ends around 38:00 followed by more conversation. Actual attendance was about 60 people. Event organizer Richard Moy (Donna) did have a gift certificate for the winner.

Sadly, on November 8, less than 2 weeks after this event, Alex Trebek, the host of the actual TV game show for 36 years, passed away from pancreatic cancer. It was a great honor and tribute to have the privilege to serve as moderator and will make this event so much more meaningful to me. While you’re watching, please take a moment to view the video in youtube and subscribe to my youtube channel or click the subscribe button at the end of the video.

A few logistical details for those interested:
The meeting was run as a webinar in Zoom, though it could have been done in any online conferencing software. Helen and Luis chose to use the virtual background feature in Zoom. Roberto used the IRL background feature (in real life). For my background, the introduction bumper, and some game controls and audio effects (which were muffled) were managed using Open Broadcaster Studio (OBS Studio) software. The website used to host the online game was https://www.playfactile.com/

The game website does provide for a method of using a buzzer, but I opted to keep this as simple as possible to avoid potential technical difficulties and it really was entertaining to hear the contestants’ voices when they buzz. This also switched the speaker view in Zoom to the person when they buzzed. The recording of the event only shows one camera at a time, but during the live event, the cameras of all 3 contestants and the host were visible at all times. This was really fun to do and it was a great success, especially considering I had only a week to pull it all together. Freddy The Bassett also made a cameo appearance at the very beginning.

Should you stick with Notes, Domino, Connections, & Sametime now that HCL bought them from IBM?


(If you are a technical expert and you are not sharing this information with your business management as well as your IT management, then you are not doing your job.)

Since HCL bought Notes, Domino, Sametime, Connections and several other products from IBM, many people are asking: “Now what? Is this the end or the beginning?”

I have been watching closely what HCL says as well as what they do.  I have had long conversations with people at some of the highest levels of HCL.  Those of you who have seen me at the conferences know my IBM Champion or HCL Master titles be damned, I don’t hold back any punches.  I’ll the first to point it out when “the Emperor has no clothes.” So let me share with you what I know.

HCl Collaboration Software

HCl Collaboration Software

My first observation:
HCL is more interested in producing product than marketing it. HCL confirms this.  Right now they aren’t doing a lot of blowing their own horn from a marketing perspective, at least not yet.  I have asked about this and their answer is simple:  They would rather let their actions speak loudest right now.  That does not sit well with me having watched IBM do NO marketing for the past 20 years, but I am told that will soon change.  I hope so because the absence of a message leaves people to make up their own.

My second observation:
If HCL were a car, it would be a Tesla because the only other time I have felt this much acceleration, that’s what I was driving.
That is how I would describe the pace of software development since HCL took over.  The first sign of this was that HCL has more than doubled the number of people on the  software development team since taking ownership.

My third observation:
HCL mishandled the initial announcement of the decommissioning SmartCloud Notes / Connections Cloud (SCN/CC).
Yes, the implementation of SCN/CC was clunky and the environment was mismanaged by IBM so it was losing money for IBM.  HCL was smart to shed this and focus on what they do best.  But it would have been better if they had announced the transition partners at the same time or in advance of declaring they were dropping SCN.  HCL also recognizes this error and has worked hard to make it easy to transfer to the partners.  For what it’s worth, IBM was not too cool in how they handled that part of the software deal with HCL and that was beyond the control of HCL.  If you are hosting on SCN/CC, you are much better off transferring to one of the designated hosting partners than trying to go through a migration to a different platform.  The end results will actually be even better than what was available in IBM’s cloud.

If HCL is letting their work speak for itself, what exactly is their work saying?…

HCL first got involved in the software development about 2 years ago and the final acquisition was June 2019.  In those 2 years HCL has:

  • Produced 2 major releases of Notes & Domino (IBM produced only 4 major releases in 20 years)
  • Produced major releases of Connections and Sametime
  • Created Nomad, an entirely new product: a lean & clean Notes client for iOS & Android
  • Are close to releasing a Notes client that runs entirely in a browser
  • Are close to releasing Volt, the software that will put low-code software development back in the hands of the power user like it was in the earlier days with Lotus Notes
  • Added Node.JS support to Domino so JavaScript developers are now Domino developers
  • Added Domino Query Language (DQL) for better database searching
  • Online training courses are coming for end users, developers, and administrators

They achieved all of this by increasing horsepower and removing the throttle limiter – They told the software development teams “You know best what we need. You make the choice and you make it happen“.  Then HCL went on a hiring spree, more than doubling the resources.  Then HCL got out of their way.  It is amazing what brilliant people can do when you just let them.
(Yes it really exposes just how much IBM starved software development for decades.)

Oh, by the way…
This was all done while at the same time HCL was busy creating this entirely new business line within the company — Digital Solutions— along with all the necessary back office corporate infrastructure like marketing, software development protocol, business partner support, HCL Masters program, software inventory control, product rebranding, technical support, documentation, a process for receiving product ideas and feedback, websites to support all of those pieces and on and on.  In essence, they are a 2-year-old multi-billion dollar startup.  It feels as if Lotus is back in charge and it feels good.

With all the work they are doing, it is your responsibility to implement the solutions.  Make sure you are taking full advantage of what HCL is providing:

  • Be on Notes and Domino V11
  • Have Sametime chat and online awareness and Connections Files and Profiles running
  • You should have Nomad deployed to iPad users and plans for deployments to iPhones and Androids
  • MarvelClient Essentials should be deployed to manage the client software.  All of this is part of the typical standard licensing
  • Investigate how you could be using Domino apps to solve business problems including the free apps at OpenNTF.org
  • Consider saving costs by running these servers on Linux instead of Windows
  • Properly train users, developers, and administrators

After that, if there are features or enhancements your business needs that you don’t see in the product, post them at the Product Ideas Lab website.  Since HCL started this feedback website a year ago, they have already shipped 134 of the proposed ideas, 67 more are in development and over 600 more are marked as likely to be implemented.  This is all in addition to the hundreds of features, fixes, and products they were already doing on their own.  It is impressive just how responsive HCL has been to the suggestions posted.

My Conclusions:

  • HCL is doing superhuman work advancing their products and adding new ones to the portfolio.  They have more than doubled the development team and invested over $2 Billion on the software suite so far and they are just getting started.  The future of the HCL (Lotus) software suite is the brightest it has been since Lotus was bought by IBM.
  • They have a few challenges they are working through (pricing models, Marketing).
  • It is your responsibility as a savvy business owner to be sure you are leveraging everything you are paying HCL for.

In Summary:
I have performed many email migrations to/from every major platform out there. I even worked on Microsoft’s O365 team.  Migrations are always vastly more expensive and disruptive to businesses than expected with less payoff than anticipated.  And if you have Domino applications then migration costs can be prohibitive, so you will still have Domino for apps even if you aren’t using it for email.  It would be far more productive spending that same money on improving and cleaning up your existing system and educating users instead of migrating.  The HCL acquisition of the IBM collaboration software portfolio is what we have needed for a long time.  The beauty is if you are already on Notes & Domino, you’re in the right place at the right time.

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