Category Archives: HCL

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.

HCL Notes/Domino Events Calendar


There are so many activities going on these days in the HCL (Lotus) software community! The buzz is going strong as people rediscover the power of the software and it is being led by HCL’s huge investments and attention to the market. Here are some of the activities that are coming up as well as a few that just happened that you may want to go watch the replay. There are so many things going on, it’s easy to lose track. If you know of any I missed, please post in the comments directly on my blog (Not just on the social media sites where this is shared).

May 9 – Nordic Collaboration User Group (NCUG) – The future of Domino V12. Watch the replay here
Subscribe to their YouTube channel to see all of the videos from this event

May 20, 11am EDT – OpenNTF Webinar – Overview and Status of Popular or New Projects – Register here, Details here

May 27, 11:00am ET – HCL Business Partner Academy (HCL BPs only) – Volt MX & Domino 12 Highlights (see below)

June 7th – HCL – Join Andrew Manby and the HCL Digital Solutions team for this monumental launch of their best ever releases of Domino and Sametime! Register here

June 10, 11:00 am ET – HCL Business Partner Academy (HCL BPs only) – Domino 12 Essentials for BPs (see below)

June 16 – HCL Verse – Configuring a Proxy for HCL Verse High Availability Register here, Details here

See all OpenNTF webinars upcoming and replays at https://openntf.org/webinars
Panagenda upcoming webinars and replays are at https://www.panagenda.com/webinars/
The most recent replay is on Notes & Domino Security

Here is the whole series being presented for North America HCL Business Partners:

Session Details and Registration – For Business Partners Only – Partner ID required
Register for:  Series Kickoff and HCL Software Portfolio Overview (April 29, 11:30 am ET 60 min)
Register for:  Why Enterprises Are Buying HCL BigFix More Than Ever (May 6, 11:30 am ET 60 min)
Register for:  Automate Anything, Run Anywhere:  HCL Workload Automation (May 13, 11:30 am ET 60 min)
Register for:  How to Sell the Secure DevOps Portfolio from HCL Software Combining the speed and governance of DevOps, with the safety and reassurance of AppScan. (May 20, 11:00 am ET 60 min)
Register for:  Making Money with Volt MX & Domino 12 Highlights (May 27, 11:00 am ET 60 min)
Register for:  The New Cloud Native HCL Commerce (June 3, 11:00 am ET 60 min)
Register for:  Domino 12 Essentials for Business Partners (June 10, 11:00 am ET 60 min)

This post sponsored by @FreddytheBassett

HCL Domino Online Meeting Integration (DOMI) pre-release demo!


Short notice, but that doesn’t change the value. Tomorrow, 4 May, 2021 at 5:00am PDT (13:00CET) the Nordic Collaboration User Group (NCUG) will be hosting a 3 hour presentation that will include HCL Domino & Notes V12, HCL Volt and Volt MX for end user development tools, HCL Connections V7, HCL Sametime and DOMI.

DOMI is a new feature that integrates Sametime, Zoom, and Teams with Notes so you can schedule those online meetings entirely within your HCL Notes calendar.

Get all the details at ncug.org schedule and registration page.

HCL Domino

Updated Zoom Plugin for HCL Notes V11


[blog post update: The new software and documentation from Zoom can be found here.]
HCL Notes users: If you are using Zoom instead of HCL Sametime for your video meetings, you may have discovered that the Notes integration plugin provided by Zoom that made it easy to schedule Zoom meetings in your Notes calendar broke with Notes V11. Well I have good news. Zoom is finally releasing an update that works with Notes V11. See their response in the Zoom support forum. You can find the earlier release of the Zoom plugin for Notes V10 here. The update is scheduled for release on Monday. If that is at a different URL, I will add it here when it is available.

If you want to eliminate this problem altogether, your company should be using HCL Sametime for video conferencing. It is more secure; you have total control of the software; it allows you to keep all of your data inside your company with no harvesting of user data or chats; it is — and always will be — tightly integrated with your HCL Notes and Domino environment; and it’s less expensive.

Congratulations to the 2021 HCL Ambassadors!


This has been a challenging year for all of us. In the beginning of March, I was in Holland attending the Engage user group conference when the pandemic started and I returned home just 2 days before the border restrictions would have left me stranded in Europe. It turned out that was the last time that any HCL Ambassadors would gather this year.

What is an HCL Ambassador? As described at the HCL website:

“HCL Ambassador is a distinction that HCL awards select members of the community that are both experts in their field and are passionate about sharing their HCL knowledge with others.

HCL Ambassadors are exactly that, ambassadors. Importantly they are not employees, but their commitment to sharing their expertise has a huge impact on the HCL community. Whether they are blogging, writing books, speaking, running workshops, creating tutorials and classes, offering support in forums, or organizing and contributing to local events – they help make HCL’s mission of making technology play nice, possible.

HCL Ambassadors are eager to bring their technical expertise to new audiences both in person and online around the world.”

This year it has been exceptionally difficult to contribute in the typical ways, but this group of individuals managed to make the transition, holding several more user group conferences online, which actually made it possible for more people to attend than ever before. Certainly these heroes are the glue that keeps our software community together to make it possible for all of us and the companies we work for, to maximize our success. There is no stronger brand loyalty in the industry. See the entire list of HCL Ambassadors here. I am honored and humbled to be surrounded by such a team of positive, generous, innovative people dedicated to our profession and the HCL Digital Solutions community, I am! If you know or work with any of them, please take a moment to thank them.

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.

Are you getting the most out of HCL Notes (Lotus Notes)? Subscribe to HCL’s youtube tips


If you support HCL Notes and Domino (formerly Lotus Notes and Domino) environments, you can get many great tips on how to be more productive and discover the wealth of features that only come with 25 years of software development. Follow HCL Digital Solutions’ Youtube channel.  Here is one example:  How to Delegate a User’s Mail and Contacts https://youtu.be/rEijwzyAshA

Watch for tips that your users might appreciate and share the videos with them.

New HCL Notes, Domino, & Connections content is back on Domino!


HCL_Domino_light@3x

I’m thrilled to share that HCL has brought over important content from IBM that was hosted in Domino!

Note these are .nsf databases.  Yes, Domino databases.  I have asked if they will open it up to anonymous access with Notes clients like they had been in the past.  Meanwhile, this is another accomplishment in the process of HCL invigorating the proof of the product.  HCL will add the forums too after passing the privacy requirements; not a trivial task.

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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