Ask the Expert: Theo Heselmans

Lifetime IBM Champion and Engage boss Theo Heselmans makes Notes applications look cool on mobile devices.

What key responsibilities do you manage?

TH: At Xceed, I’m a senior consultant, working with customers, implementing solutions mainly based on IBM Notes/Domino and Microsoft Excel. For the Engage User Group, I organize events to bring together the community around IBM Collaboration Solutions.

What are the key challenges in a typical Notes modernization or migration project?

TH: Notes has always been an amazing platform to build efficient and secure solutions upon in a fraction of the time needed using other environments. This has not changed, even after more than 20 years. The biggest challenge we currently face is convincing customers that this is still the case.

Have you been involved in any recent development or deployment of new apps based on Notes and Domino? Can you please share any additional information?

TH: As we are currently able to run a Notes client on mobile devices, I’ve developed a Notes database that looks modern and even “cool.” This was not a customer’s project, but something I wanted to do for some time, simply to prove it can be done and that the Notes client is still a great way to produce rapid, nice solutions, without needing to use more “modern” frameworks and web tools.

I think HCL and IBM are going for no-code and revived low-code in future generations. So, I’m absolutely looking forward to that.

Maybe with the revival of Domino V10 we’ll see more new projects coming up—either from existing customers (who are happy with Notes/Domino but don’t invest in “new” for the moment) or from brand-new customers seeing what’s possible with a limited time frame or budget.

IBM Notes—pros & cons?

TH: Pros: Speed of development, granular security, low TCO, server stability, and offline synching. Cons: perceived as “legacy” in the market.

IBM/HCL team’s intention is to “go back to the genesis of the product.” How do you interpret this intention? What are your expectations?

TH: Notes was one of the first Low-Code development environments, and it has grown into a full-fledged professional development platform. I think HCL and IBM are going for No-Code and revived Low-Code in future generations. So, I’m absolutely looking forward to that.

The biggest challenge here (and this is unrelated to Notes/Domino) is to convince the IT department or CIO that “citizen development” has its place, that it can be controlled, and that it can produce awesome results.

The Expert Profile

Theo Heselmans is a lifetime IBM Champion and a legend in the IBM Collaboration Solutions community. He is the sole person responsible for the biggest ICS user group meeting, Engage. In addition, he is a speaker at conferences, a wine lover, and a contributor well-known for his original ideas for IBM Notes solutions, both when it comes to the user interface and in terms of background coding and agents.

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