On October 25 IBM announced some big news. To be short: IBM is investing in the Domino platform for the next years without even mentioning an „at least“ date for support and product development. They call it #Domino2025. They also announced that there will be a channel for all to submit proposals for the upcoming release and feature packs. By the way: there will be finally be a Domino 10 released in H2 of 2018 - which is surprising.
In this post I want to share my thoughts on any of the given bullets - after settling them down for a few hours after I received them.
You know me. I am a critic with all things IBM related as I work with the products for quite a long time, seeing things come and go, products live and die - and even people influencing and finally leaving our yellow-sphere. This is life.
This day I missed the IBM Champions call on which IBM „exclusively“ announced the details after Ed Brill published the Domino 10 news earlier. I slept over it literally because I took a 4h nap after an early start heading back home from a customer workshop in Vienna this week, so my first impressions came from tweets directly afterwards and various blog posts. I don’t link them here, search them for yourself on CollaborationToday or via the hashtag #domino2025 on Twitter.
What IBM told us
IBM will outsource the development of Notes, Domino, Verse and Sametime to HCL Technologies. Domino will reach the 10th iteration, project name „Sapphire“ - which totally makes sense as FP9 was called „Zircon“, so they keep the „gem“ terms.
What is surprising is the number 10. IBM told us for the last 1,5-2 years that a new version is difficult due to internal legal processes. So they once introduced the „Feature Pack“ strategy. Now, suddenly, it seems that they solved those issues and we finally get the „10“ - congrats!
But what does outsourcing mean? HCL Technologies is a global player, based in India (!), fulfilling all the common outsourcing-cliches but this company does a lot of work for other global players such as Microsoft and Amazon. So I don’t see an issue on that. What makes me wonder is that IBM still is leading the strategy and marketing role for the named products. Strategy is fine but also carrying on with marketing for Domino & co does not make any sense to me. We had that for decades which lead us to where we are now. Another development team doing the heavy lifting will not change anything except from regular updates. To be honest, regular updates weren’t a thing that made me frown during the Feature Pack period - IBM delivered.
I also wonder what will happen to the IBM developers of the products - there still quite a lot of them. As we already have seen they will change to other teams inside IBM like the Ireland crew who now focuses on Livegrid and Pink, formerly XPages.
Finally the support channels stay the same with submitting PMR.
This announcement is a very important one - but unfortunately at least 5-10 years too late. During the last decade IBM lost a lot of customers which basically means that the customers do not use Domino exclusively but in combination with other products like Sharepoint. IBM missed a lot of opportunities binding customers. I doubt that this will change with this new strategy.
And: will the lately published Domino Developer Edition also benefit from this progress?
Again, IBM shows increased interest of what the community (partners, customers, influencers) has to say for the new product and launched the #Domino2025 jam. You can register for it to participate.
Of course I wish our bread-and-butter platform all the best for the future and I hope that Domino 10 won’t be just another name for feature pack 11-15 but offering current technologies such as REST, graph, analytics and cognitive parts as well as separation for mail from application parts and modularisation and containers. One last thing: please don't invest in the Notes client.