On Oct 10th IBM announced the release of IBM Notes and Domino v10. Get it, v10 on 10/10? Nice how that works in either MM/DD or DD/MM format. Anyway, as you probably know I started my technology career at IBM as a Lotus Notes administrator and developer using v2 back in 1994. So being part of the v10 launch event in Frankfurt Germany had personal meaning to me both as an analyst and as an ex-Lotus employee. You can read more about the release in this blog post from IBM GM Bob Schultz.
Notes/Domino has had a challenging journey to get to v10. Back in the early 2000s Microsoft made a huge push with Outlook/Exchange and SharePoint to migrate customers, and that took a large toll on IBM’s customer base. At the same time, IBM itself inflicted some wounds, rebranding the product several times, causing confusion on the technology side between Domino and WebSphere, and being unclear on commitment and vision between Domino and other platforms like IBM Connections.
Fast-forward to 2018, and things are more positive around Notes/Domino than they have been in many years. Around the end of 2017 IBM and HCL announced a partnership where the two organizations will share various responsibilities for the future development, marketing and sales of Notes/Domino and its associated products. The momentum for v10 began at IBM Think in earlier 2018, and the partnership seems to be working quite well, as in less than a year HCL has delivered v10 with several features that appeal to end-users, application developers, and system administrators. Similarly, IBM and HCL have continued to engage with customers, business partners and prospects in several ways including:
- A new marketing website named Destination Domino
- Online “jams” where people could engage with IBM and HCL executives, developers and product managers
- A live tour of HCL’s offices for 100 of the top Notes/Domino customers and partners
- A new online community for feature requests
- A lot of social media branded originally under #Domino2025 and now the #DominoForever hashtag
With V10, IBM is refocusing on what made Lotus Notes a valuable business tool in the first place, rapid application development (RAD). While the market has evolved the term RAD to the more trendy "low-code platforms” the value proposition remains the same today as it was decades ago; enabling organizations to develop, test and deploy applications quickly with minimal involvement from IT services. With V10 IBM has announced that Notes applications will be able to run on mobile devices such as iPads, and that web developers will be able to use modern programming frameworks like node.js.
In the video below I provide an overview of several of the new features, discuss the target audiences, as share my thoughts around the challenges and opportunities IBM has with Domino v10.
I'd like end this blog post by calling attention to one of the more interesting customer stories I've ever heard. While at the launch event I met with members of the Polish Medical Air Rescue organization. This group uses helicopters to transport people in dire medical conditions. They use a Domino application in their command centre to manage the process, so as they said: "Domino is used here to help us save lives." They are excited about v10 because they believe the new application development features will allow them to speed up their process by 30 seconds, which translates to a helicopter being 3km closer to the patient. That's amazing. I look forward to hearing an update from them next year.