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Will HCL Places replace IBM Notes?

While HCL says HCL Places is not intended to replace the Notes client, everything about it screams that’s just what such a product will do.

By Hogne Bø Pettersen

A lot of people are wondering why IBM Connections wasn’t part of the deal between IBM and HCL when the two companies agreed on the future of the IBM Domino product family. Personally, I think HCL Places is why they didn’t also take Connections.

HCL only teased us with HCL Places at the Engage user group meeting in May. At ICON UK in September, they showed us a full-fledged demo. The demo, which was made in cooperation with Red Pill Now, looked like this:

HCL Places - a new collaboration client

In short: HCL Places lets you access your newsfeed, email, calendar, chat, files, and so on. The product will also be very easy to integrate with all third-party platforms and apps that have an API.

You can comment on and like content, chat, share files, work directly with applications, and more. HCL Places also makes it easy to work with documents in your IBM Notes applications. Several people can even edit the same Notes document at the same time, as if it was an IBM Docs or Google Docs document.

HCL isn’t satisfied with just working with the existing portfolio. They will release competing products using Domino as a database platform.

This makes HCL Places a new universal messaging and collaboration client. Now, that’s what IBM Notes has always been. OK, HCL Places will give you the opportunity to do much more than the Notes client currently can, but if you are using Places, there seems to be no need for the Notes client.

 

And that is a signal for the changes to come. You see, HCL isn’t satisfied with just working with the existing portfolio. They will release competing products using Domino as a database platform. These products will use Domino in a completely different way from what we are used to.

At ICON UK, Jason Gary, Vice President of Engineering and Innovation at HCL, said there will be a Domino server in the future without the abbreviation IBM in front of the name. This basically means they will use the Domino platform, but they’ll use their own version of it.

HCL and IBM: Frenemies?

Some have issues with HCL’s plans, though. They fear that customers using the Domino platform and other ICS solutions will be confused. They’ve made the following arguments:

  • While HCL says HCL Places is not intended to replace the Notes client, everything about it screams that’s just what such a product will do.
  • This will only increase customers’ insecurities about IBM and its commitment to the platform.
  • Who is the customers’ supplier: IBM or HCL?
  • HCL’s role in relation to IBM will be even more muddled than some customers already perceive it to be.
  • Only people “in the know” have heard about all the new stuff coming because marketing is still lacking, even though it’s better now than it has been in years.
  • IBM and HCL are still telling us what’s coming, but it’s results that count.

However, those who think this is a great idea have said the following:

  • Because of the huge investments HCL is making, Domino’s future has never been brighter.
  • The amount of publicity and commitment to the platform is stronger than anything in almost a decade.
  • Giving ICS customers even more choices on how to work with data on Domino will make complete migrations off the platform less likely.
  • Using Domino as a NO SQL database will make it even easier to bring new customers onto the platform.
  • HCL isn’t making products to replace IBM’s products but working towards complimenting them.
  • Competition from HCL will get IBM to shape up around ICS in a way in which they haven’t for quite some time.

 

Hogne Bø Pettersen is a freelance writer, photographer, user trainer, and developer situated in Norway. He has worked with internet based solutions since 1990, as a professional journalist since 2000, and with IBM collaboration solutions since 1995. He likes Yes, Jean-Michel Jarre, and Star Wars.