IBM Notes and Domino: State of the Union – Part 1

This article has been in draft mode for several months and I thought the timing was right to publish it. First let me state that my love affair and relationship with IBM Notes and Domino is now in it’s twenty-first year. So much of my identity as an adult has been tied to the people and technology involved with Notes/Domino. Whether it was my work at Underwriters Laboratories, OpenNTF, SHARP, Taking Notes, Elguji or my consulting customers; everything I did was intertwined together with Notes/Domino being the common thread. I am writing at this time to share the current “state of the union” as it pertains to IBM’s Notes and Domino.

Here is the first part of my address which, focusses on the Independent Software Vendor (ISV) and Business Partner ecosystems. Frankly, it’s the shortest section of my address. The next part will focus on IBM Notes and Domino customers and my thoughts on what they should be planning for.

The State of the ISV and Business Partners

First let me speak from an ISV and Business Partner perspective. Elguji and our IdeaJam software created an amazing opportunity to sell a packaged software application for IBM Domino. We set out in 2007 to prove a few points. The first point was to prove that Domino was an extremely capable environment for creating Web 2.0 apps. Secondly, we were fortunate to have sold a lot of licenses. To this day we continue to sell and improve both our IdeaJam and IQJam products.

It’s no secret that the overall ISV market has drastically shrunk. Sure there are some great ISV offerings out there to help manage Notes and Domino infrastructures, mobile app and other development tools, but its not like what we had say 10 years ago with hundreds of ISVs. One of the things that I hoped would happen and didn’t, was that a web app ecosystem would have developed. Especially with the introduction of XPages and the IBM XWork server. I am aware of a few ISV’s who have created vertical apps with XPages and the XWork server who are doing quite well. This is awesome.

A new PaaS offering was announced at IBM Connect 2014 based on SoftLayer however, I’m not really seeing this as a play for ISV’s to create cloud apps. Much like hosting market leader Prominic do today (and do it very well – Elguji is a happy customer).

The number of exhibitors at the annual IBM Connect (Lotusphere) Product Showcase has also gone down significantly. Frankly, I didn’t recognize many of the exhibitor names at this years conference. Sure, the big ones like Panagenda, Teamstudio, Ytria, BCC and others were there, but not the dozens that used to exhibit.

It was a rich app ecosystem that helped propel the adoption and allure of Notes and Domino in the enterprise. So the question becomes: How can this be turned around or changed? At this point, I’m not quite sure if it can or even needs to be changed. Is there even a need for 3rd party products and apps?

What are your thoughts?

Part 2 coming soon.

They are the Champions: Part 1

Last week IBM announced a new class of champions for 2014. This blog post is the first in a series highlighting the great work of some of them. Here I go:

David Leedy

I first met David in New York City in October 2009 at the Tri-LUG user group meeting. While we had perviously met virtually, this was the first time we met in person. We shared a few beers and dinner and at that time he had given to Gayle and I an awesome set of all things Elguji branded coasters that he and his wife Becky made. It was truly an awesome gift. David and I have developed a very rewarding friendship. I can talk to David about anything and he is always there to listen.

As many of you may already know, David is the producer of the very successful NotesIn9 Screencast. Not only has David produced over 130 shows. While the screencast focusses primarily on IBM XPage technology, it also includes other topics including mobile app development, source control and much more.

David is also a strong and vocal advocate for IBM XPages technology. He is like no one else in this regard. David has published several versions of the XPages Cheatsheet.

David, thank you for all you do in this world. You are not only an IBM Champion but a personal hero of mine.

Julian Robichaux

It’s been a little over ten years since I first met Julian. We met at a blogger meet-up in Orland, Florida. I remember telling Julian I really liked the design of his NSF Tools website. The NSF Tools site was one of my favorite go-to reference site for advanced Notes and Domino code. It was truly a great privilege and honor to have met Julian. I felt as I was in the presence of one of the greatest coders I had ever known. This still holds true today.

It wasn’t until November of 2006 that I approached Julian to do a podcast. Thinking back, I had no idea why I approached Julian specifically to do this. Long story short, we started the Taking Notes podcast in 2006 and recorded 177 episodes. While we haven’t recorded any episodes since March 2013, the podcast is in temporary hiatus.

I am very grateful to call Julian a friend and to have had the honor of working with him on Taking Notes, several OpenNTF projects and application development projects for Elguji.

Part 1: What has Bruce been up to?

The last year has been a total absolute blur. Between teaching at Clark Collge, working on projects at Elguji, volunteer work and more has consumed every available minute of my time. I have also been quiet on a few fronts on purpose. Let me first start with Elguji.

Elguji Software

Elguji has been very fortunate to have a loyal (and still growing) Notes and Domino customer base. While sales of our flagship IdeaJam for Domino have slowed down a bit, we are still serving dozens of customers around the globe. In fact, we are hard at work (and have been for some time) on IdeaJam 2.0. IdeaJam 2.0 is not simply an upgrade to IdeaJam 1.9.2 but, a complete re-write of the core application made to be “mobile first”. Yes, it will still be a great web application that will blow your mind and we are very excited at the progress we have made. For now just know that we have done our best to include the feedback we have received from our customers. Stay tuned for more on IdeaJam 2.0.

Where Elguji has really transformed and rolled with the times is with our “event-based” IdeaJam cloud platform. We are now providing customers around the globe with what we call “event-based” jams. These jams can be provisioned in 60 seconds or less. Jams run anywhere from 1 day to 3 months. It’s whatever the customer needs. Some of you may have seen that we are running jams for IBM Rational, IBM Websphere and IBM developerWorks. In fact, we just completed a project directed by IBM CEO Ginni Rometty. Our customer work also includes colleges and universities, branches of the US Government and many other global institutions. We couldn’t have done with without the professionals at The London Developer Co-Op.

You might ask “who is driving all of this business to Elguji?”. Let me tell you that there are two primary product evangelists for Elguji 1) IBM and 2) Existing customers. IBM is constantly referring customers to us, primarily for our event-based jams. One of the worlds largest financial institutions who will go unnamed has also sent us plenty of new customers. We are very fortunate to have such great relationships with IBM and our customers.

Elguji is also cooking up a brand new product that frankly, I’m super psyched about. It’s 1,000 times bigger than IdeaJam and I am lucky to be working with some of the brightest people in the world on it.

OpenNTF

In October I departed the world of OpenNTF and not longer after that the community which I was part of for over a dozen years gave me the most wonderful send-off I have ever seen. Dozens of blog posts, tweets and more – all with the #thanksbruce hash tag. I wanted to thank everybody sooner but as usual, life got in the way. Thank you to all my friends and colleagues for their heartfelt love on Wednesday, November  2, 2013. I owe much of my success in this world to many of you.

I am now wrapping up the development of a new website for OpenNTF with Niklas Heidloff, Per Henrik Lausten and Martin Rolph (Oval Systems). A new website was long overdue for OpenNTF and I felt compelled to see the project through it’s fruition. It will be a few more weeks before you see the new site. We are now in the user acceptance testing phase.

Once the website launches, I will remain an Honorary Board Member and continue to help support the efforts of the open source community. I do however wish that the IBM Connections team would embrace OpenNTF more than they have. It’s important for the overall IBM Collaboration Solutions app dev community more than ever. </getting off my soap box>

Part 2 coming on Monday.

Jive: Partner Communities IdeaJam

jive_idea_jamI’m so glad that we named our product IdeaJam and also trademarked the name. Notice that Jive uses “Idea Jam” and not “IdeaJam”. Ninety percent or more of the prospects that Elguji sees lately think that IdeaJam is an IBM product. It’s actually quite fascinating and we are very blessed. Our event-based IdeaJam cloud services are booming.

This made us smile…

Thank you card from the University of Texas LBJ School

Elguji Software just wrapped up an IdeaJam event for the University of Texas, LBJ School of Public Affairs that took place last week. In the mail today we received a handwritten thank you note from the jam’s primary stakeholders. Gayle did an awesome job as the success manager for this event.

I absolutely love what we have done and continue to do with our IdeaJam product. We get to work with so many great companies and organizations from around the world. We are truly blessed.

Getting playful

Here is the first cut at skinning Elguji Software’s IQJam software to make it iOS7-“ish”:

Screen Shot 2013-08-02 at 11.07.00 AMThis was recently requested by an IQJam customer.

Just one look and you are up to speed

 

IdeaJam_Status_BoardIf you haven’t checked out Panic’s Status Board app for the iPad I highly recommend that you do. Using a combination of the IdeaJam API’s  and RSS feeds I was able to put together the status board that you see above. The super cool thing about status board is that you can use AirPlay to beam it to an Apple TV connected to an display panel. You can also direct-connect the iPad to a display panel like Panic talks about in their blog entry.

Each of the panels auto-updates every minute. In addition to the panels you see on the screen I have created some others that chart various other IdeaJam metrics. If you have Status Board and want me to send you the IdeaJam status board just let me know.

 

It’s time to tell IBM how you really feel about some things…

IBM developerWorks has launched the developerWorks LIVE Jam which runs from June 11-18. Here you as a professional developer can give the developerWorks team your thoughts on how you prefer to learn technical skills, share your expertise, and build your online reputation. You can use your IdeaJam.net registration to participate in the jam. If you are not already registered you can register here.

f-rc-dwlivejam

The IBM developerWorks Live! Jam

Registration for the IBM developerWorks Live! Jam is now open. The jam will open on June 11th and will focus on the following themes:

  • What would you envision as the perfect web site for developers?
  • How do you want to build your technical skills?
  • How do you want to build your on-line professional reputation?
  • How do you want to share with other developers?
  • How do you want to stay informed of what’s new on developerWorks?
  • What developer sites do you use?
  • How would you make developerWorks better?

dwliveIf you have already registered for the Jazz Plan Jam, the VoICE Jam, the Info Experience jam, the Inner Circle Jam or any other IdeaJam powered event you are good to go. If not you can register at http://dwlive.ideajam.net/register.

Thank you IBM for the marketing and sales work you do for Elguji Software

A week doesn’t go by without a call or an email from an IBMer referring a prospect or customer to Elguji. IBM is now Elguji’s primary sales channel for our IdeaJam and IQJam software. Whether it’s for an IBM Notes/Domino shop, a new Connections customer and of late for a cloud based IdeaJam. We also continue to work more with IBM as an Elguji customer. Last week we launched the Rational Jazz Plan Jam which is part of the Innovate 2012 conference being held at the Dolphin and Swan in Orlando, Florida this week.

The Jazz Plan Jam was coordinated with a team of IBMers from the developerWorks team and Jazz teams. We went from zero to jam in just a matter of days. The jam is now in it’s fifth day and is set to run through Wednesday, June 6th.

The feedback Elguji has received from the jam participants has been incredible. Many of them are wanting to learn more about Ideajam and how they can use it with their company and customers. None of them asked what technology was used nor did they care.

So on behalf of the Elguji team I want to thank the entire IBM Collaboration Solutions division for their continuing support of our success. We couldn’t have done it without you. We also want to thank the Websphere, Lotus, Rational and IBM CIO Office for being Elguji customers.

Oh and here’s what the Jazz.net home page looked like a few days ago. Notice the “Come jam with us” graphic. Good stuff.

IBM Rational Jazz.net Site

IBM Jazz.net site

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