One of the rumors making the rounds at Social Connections 12 was that IBM were getting ready to sell Notes. Today the story behind the rumor became clearer, with Ed Brill announcing that as part of its plans for extending the Notes/Domino platform beyond 2025 they are outsourcing the development for Notes/Domino to an Indian company HCL Technologies to jointly invest in the Notes, Domino, Verse, and SameTime.
While it is logical to lump Verse in with the other products because its is essentially a Web client for a NSF mail database, I still find it interesting that IBM are choosing to outsource the development of Verse rather than fold that into the Connections Pink platform. Verse Pink seems to make sense but perhaps IBM have other ideas for how it will integrate mail into its Connections offering moving forward.
As part of the development of Notes/Domino for 2025 and beyond, IBM have also announced there will be a Domino 2025 Jam for customers and business partners to provide feedback on the long-term direction of the Notes/Domino platform. There is also the announcement of a new Notes release (Notes 10) in 2018, something also mentioned at Social Connections 12. I would imagine details of Notes 10 will be covered at IBM Think in March.
It has long been my view that Notes/Domino would have taken a much different path if the software development had remained within IRIS as a separate company and not acquired by Lotus and later IBM. For me it will be interesting to see the consequences of outsourcing its development back to another company. Although in this case we are talking about a company (HCL Technologies) that has its interested divided with a number of other products and services that are quite different to Notes and collaboration. This includes a previous deal to outsource the development of other IBM Products such as Rational and Tivoli.
I am sure this initiative is going to generate a lot of interest in the community and we will be watch closely (and participating) in the discussions as we start to get a clearer picture of where the future of Notes/Domino lies moving ahead. I believe it is going to be important that all members of the community with a genuine interest in the future of Notes/Domino approach this with a degree of enthusiasm to drive the types of changes we need. We live in interesting times.