Category Archives: Marketing
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.
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
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
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.
Domino Mobile Apps for the iPad is Here!
A Notes client (sort of) for the iPad has just been released! This is the announcement. I’m looking forward to the next steps when they port this to the iPhone and Android phone. All the security, replication, workflow and offline functionality of Notes with the portability of a mobile device and no redundant develop to web-enable any apps. Nice job IBM and HCL.
The Unsung Hero.
It’s always been there, quietly doing what it does oh so well. So good that you probably forgot it’s there. The unsung hero. Watch…
Is your company small? medium? large? Grande? Domino does it. Learn more at https://www.ibm.com/destinationdomino
The marketing might have taken a 2 decade break, but the software never did.
Learn About IBM Notes & Domino 10
Divergent Solutions is now a certified IBM Notes & Domino 10 Sales Advisor which is fancy-talk that means you can contact me to learn…
WHAT… the new features are in Notes and Domino 10 and the new partnerships
HOW… to take advantage of the new software and partnerships
WHY… these features and partnerships are going to radically change your company’s application development strategy
What do Apple, Twitter and Facebook all have in common?
IBM is doing some interesting things to blur the line between consumer and business computing and the pace they are moving at has accelerated like a Mad Max roadster on nitro. In the past year they have joined forces with Twitter, Facebook, and most notably, Apple. The partnerships all bring together complimentary products and services. The venture with Apple, in particular, is worth paying attention to. Apple has virtually no formal enterprise solutions, yet they still dominate the business world with mobile devices. IBM on the other hand, has MobileFirst, their set of mobile solutions for business. Meanwhile, IBM has no mobile or desktop hardware and OS, so it must rely on other vendors to provide that foundation. Combining the solutions from Apple and IBM makes for a compelling case against against Microsoft and Google. The one partnership that seems to be missing is LinkedIn.
Add to these partnerships with consumer-focused companies, IBM is doing some consumer focus of its own. They have just released IBM Verse, a new online email application intended to compete with the likes of Hotmail and Gmail, at least to get consumer adoption, with the intentions that it will become the first choice for business too. While Verse is in the early stages, a steady stream of features are being added on a weekly or monthly basis.
All of these signs lead me to believe that after all these years of analysts and business partners urging and pleading, IBM finally recognizes that it needs to win the consumer first in order to win the business.
They have stepped up their marketing efforts at the same time, which is a treat for business partners. Who knew that for several years now IBM has posted the largest revenue of cloud services? (even over Amazon Web Services)
Yes, they still have work to do in marketing their web services. Often I give demonstrations of IBM Connections Cloud, an ecosystem of software services comparable to Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps for Work, and I always get several people in the group asking “Why are they keeping this a secret?”
One final step IBM is taking is in making their solutions more attractive to small business, not just enterprise-scale organizations. Their solutions make a powerful case for businesses of all sizes now. I think the next year is going to be game-changing for IBM. The surveys from 3 years ago are actually proving out. IBM is proving why it was named one of the Four Horsemen of technology companies.
IBM partners with Twitter
IBM partners with Facebook
IBM expands partnership with Apple
IBM’s next generation cloud email solution is coming to CONSUMERS for FREE!
Last week IBM provided a glimpse into their next innovation in email. Code-named MailNext, it is now formally named Verse. This is the next evolution of Connections Cloud, their enterprise cloud suite of software.
Now, just a week later, IBM has announced plans to make Verse available to CONSUMERS for FREE!!!
This is unprecedented by IBM. First, this is the first time IBM has targeted consumers rather than businesses. Second, the price is right to attract users to experience the new concept in messaging. Free. A brilliant strategy to finally take an aggressive action toward marketing their product by first winning over their market as individuals and then as businesses.
Long ago Microsoft did this by including Outlook with every operating system. Consumers used that interface to use POP to access their personal email accounts. Familiarity at the consumer level made it easy for businesses to be persuaded to use it along with Exchange server for an enterprise messaging system. Then Google repeated this successful recipe to build a strong consumer base before diving into the enterprise messaging marketplace.
Now IBM is going to apply the same formula. Unlike Google however, IBM is not going to turn consumers directly into profit like Google does with their advertising and scanning of email. They will be targeting Businesses to provide the revenue.
The beauty of this formula is simple. Email is the software equivalent of a Gateway drug into the collaboration software market. And IBM intends to get you addicted to theirs. In this case, those hardcore drugs are IBM’s collaboration software suite: Connections (team, B2B and B2C tools for file sharing, activities, wikis, blogs, forums, surveys, & more); Sametime Instant Messaging, video, audio, web conferencing, and Notes & Domino. And IBM is taking the same approach as the State of Washington, making their gateway drug very accessible and affordable to everyone.
I have to wonder if this isn’t at least partially driven by IBM’s new partnership with Apple who has proven how successful consumer loyalty can be. Many of us who work with the IBM technology and understand how much more powerful it is than the competitive products have long blasted IBM for shunning the consumer market. I have often thought one of their biggest mistakes was separating the application designer tools from the Lotus Notes client which took away the power for end users to apply their own energy to create the custom applications they needed. At that point in time they disarmed their greatest allies and advocates of the software. It looks like the giant has finally awoken and recognizes the power that the individual has on the choice of software in the workplace. I am anxious to see what this new evolution will do for improving our productivity in the most widely used software category in the world. How do you think this will impact the landscape of the collaboration software market? Want to see for yourself? Pre-register here.
Domino Developer Needed (closed)
Posting removed. Thanks for all the great candidates!
Passport Advantage Revisited 2 years later…
In August 2011 I posted an article giving a detailed analysis of the design of the IBM Passport Advantage website. That article received a great deal of attention, not only from the Lotus user community, but also from executives at IBM. I was even contacted by the person who oversaw the team responsible for the site. Finally, I thought, we would see some relief in our pain dealing with this website.
It’s nearly 2 years later. There have been some changes to the IBM websites, but Passport Advantage has had no significant changes. I’m here at IBM Connect 2013 to once again ask the question “When will you fix this website?” If you’re here, watch for it at “Ask the Product Managers” session. I will report the results later.
SmartCloud leads IBM to dethrone Microsoft on CNN’s “Four Horsemen of Tech” list
The times, they are a’changin’! In the shifting sands of technology, IBM is proving to be the Rock of Gibraltar.
CNN Money just conducted their annual survey of technology and investment experts to determine which 4 technology companies are the best investments in the industry. Apple, Amazon, Google, and IBM are what they describe as “The Four Horsemen of Tech”.
Microsoft and Dell are no longer on that list. And as recently as 2 years ago Research in Motion might have been expected on that list. The CNN article describes the changing of the guard is due to the shift from PCs to mobile and cloud solutions. I think it goes deeper than that.
Apple, Amazon, and Google are all following the same track that led Microsoft to its fame and glory days by riding the fast-but-fickle success opportunities provided by the consumer market. They are simply the latest fashion trends. In this list of top performers, IBM is the dark horse, being the only one not involved in consumer products whatsoever. They also just celebrated their 101st birthday this year. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
Rides on the consumer wave are relatively short. Google is 16 years old, Amazon is 18 and Apple is 36, though Apple’s great surge came in the last 6 years starting with the introduction of iOS. For reference, RIM and Dell are 28 years old and Microsoft is 37 and they are already declining. They too, based their success heavily on consumer products and are now feeling the consequences. Yes, RIM’s BlackBerry is intended to be a business tool, but it is a consumer device first and foremost. It is considered even more personal than a personal computer (PC). One might argue that Microsoft also makes software for business, but their primary focus has always been on consumers and their foray into the business product market has depended on consumer-driven brand recognition. Also, because many of their products service both business and consumer needs, they are driven by consumer markets. (See RIM.)
Similarly, the focus that led 3 of the current Four Horsemen to their place in the lineup has a consumer emphasis: mobile devices and advertising. Apple’s iPhone and iPad redefined mobile. Google has Android devices and search (advertising). Amazon is into selling (and advertising) along with the Kindle for a mobile presence. All of them are also dabbling in cloud services for businesses. Then there is IBM, the seasoned veteran of business solutions. What makes them part of this leadership crowd? I isn’t just for their SmartCloud solution, I think it is the fact that they have stayed true to their earliest beginnings. Unlike all of the other players, IBM has focused their attention, with laser beam precision, on the proven stable base of the business market.: They provide business solutions for businesses. IBM has resisted the temptation to cross the line into the consumer market, even at the urging of experts and loyal customers who pushed to have Lotus Notes repackaged for consumers. Doing so in the short term would certainly win consumer approval and thus fend off the consumer-led push for the Microsoft Outlook mail client to be used at both work and home. But that would have forced IBM to chase the whim and fads of consumers rather than staying focused on long-term needs of businesses.
When it comes to technology, IBM is all business.
I predict we will see a rise and fall of all 3 of the consumer-driven horsemen in CNN’s list, replaced with 3 new ones as the what’s-hot list changes. I also predict that IBM, with it’s exclusive commitment to serving up business solutions, will continue to stand at or near the top as it has for decades. For consumer products, you shouldn’t care. But for your business, it matters.
Slideshare: 5 Tips for presenting to Executives
Everyone is a salesperson. Understanding this one fact could have the biggest impact on your career advancement.
Check out this article and short slideshare presentation on presenting to executives.
Whether you know it or not, whether you want to be one or not, you are a salesperson. Don’t think so? Ever had a job interview? You were selling yourself. You might find yourself in a meeting discussing a new project. You had to sell your idea or opinion. How about at home where you need to convince your partner the family needs a new car? Shoppers coming to visit your garage sale? Yes, even though your official title may never come close to salesperson, everyone finds themselves in situations of selling on a regular basis.
There are two books I particularly like that cover this subject: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini and Neuromarketing: Understanding the “Buy Buttons” in your Customer’s Brain by Patrick Renvoise and Christophe Morin. (Terrible title, but great book). These books combined have a wealth of insight. These books and slideshare on the topic will help you understand where executives are coming from and how to give them the information they need in a manner that will maximize your impact and value.