What could have been, if …

Well, lately I do not have a lot to do with Notes and IBM stuff in general. But it continues to creep up on me. For a while now, I brood over what could have been if IBM would not have bought Lotus. Would it have been as dominant as Exchange/Outlook today? Who knows.

But now things have changed. IBM announced the partnership with HCL. I frankly would have preferred an outright sale of the whole collaboration stack – yes, including Connections – to somebody with a vision. What happened is the complete opposite. The outsourcing of development and services of a part – Connections may follow later if you ask me – to a company that has no vision. The „vision“, strategy and marketing rests with IBM. Seriously? The things IBM hasn’t really excelled in – a very polite description – will stay with IBM and the jobs IBM was good at, will be outsourced. HCL will probably do a admirable job, but I suspect they will eventually get a bit impatient with IBM, about the success of IBM’s strategy and marketing department. Which I suspected for years was either a ghost department or outsourced to Microsoft.

From the IBM point of view, where cutting cost is the only strategy, this makes sense. My business senses just tell me, this is just another in a long row of such decisions, where cutting cost is more important, than investing in growth. While I admit, growing with these products today, which have been neglected for so many years, is close to useless. It would take a lot of investment to turn that ship around and we probably would not recognise Notes/Domino anymore.

I have a suspicion. It was the only way for the ICS group to achieve the cost cutting targets without completely killing products. Would the later have happened, an avalanche could have been triggered, where even the most loyal customer would have pulled the plug.

While IBMers are doing the I-am-so-exited-about-this-news-dance (and some partners will chip in shortly), I can not see anything in the announcement that would provide confidence. While „dead by 2021“ will not happen, I am not convinced, that the agony will take much longer. When you read the announcement or listen to IBM videos, there is just „We continue to invest“ or „joint investment of both companies“. No number, no target, nothing that could mean that IBM would really change the way they did business the last 20 years.

IBM announced also the #Domino2025 project. Everybody can now give their opinion about the future. Well not quite: seats are limited. I registered, but I have little hope that I will be among the chosen ones. I am just not important enough. My only qualifications are being a developer of many applications on that platform and I really, really care about it. But I am probably not nice enough, either. Will we ever know what comes out of it? Experience says no.
We had that before and I hope that IBM threats us a bit more like adults. After all, thousands of blog posts and articles have been written by partners and customers in the last 20 years about what we expect from IBM.
Some of our colleagues have already expressed a strong opinion towards killing the client. But let’s stop right here with anybody else’s view, I will give you mine.

I want to steal what Team NZ said after the last Americas Cup. Let’s throw the ball as far as we can and let’s see how we can reach it.
What are the problems?

Old client that many users hate. Make a new one. One that runs mostly in the background. Let Notes-Applications be directly on the Desktop/Sidebar/Dock/Menu/Whatever. Treat them as individual Apps. The user does not need to see every App that makes up a whole suite like a CRM that uses multiple databases. That allows that the user to have his independent mail client. And make it fast. Real fast. Even faster. Let Outlook be a alternative but make a better mail client, also for iOS and Android.

Way too many different programming languages. How about Swift and Java Script only? Should do the trick.
In any case there should be just one way to develop for the client and for the browser.

Integrate MSOffice in a way that mimics Sharepoint. For years Microsoft sold Sharpoint as a replacement for Notes. Let’s make a better Sharepoint. That would mean, that IBM should bring new Apps included in the license.

Open it up to individuals. There are many out there that would benefit.

Make an App-Store. Many developers would like to sell some easy to use apps for a few bucks.

Cloud service for everyone. Even individuals.

A new Designer would be nice too. One that let’s you build also mobile apps real fast. Plugin for XCode anyone?
Give designers everything they need to build really good locking apps in the shortest time possible. That is key.

Even with every security specialist now groaning, let users build their own apps again. Once it was Notes, then they moved to Excel, because the admins did not like what users did. What is more important, a happy admin or happy users?

Ready-to-use servers including Linux. Yes, I think Lotus Foundations was cool. Had potential.

Complete overhaul of .nsf and Domino. Why not using a more modern database, like MongoDB?

Way too many products. Shouldn’t Traveller, LEI, Mobile Connect and so on, just be part of the whole thing? Yes it should.

Well that’s about it for now. Many more ideas where these come from.

Ein Gedanke zu „What could have been, if …“

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