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So much news from HCL Digital Solutions ... So little time - August 2020 edition

Mat Newman  August 24 2020 20:05:54
So Much News ... So little time  


Warning - This is a loooong post; because there is just SO much to share with you.

While most of the world remains in lockdown due to COVID-19, our development labs have remained busy over the past few months. HCL Software - Digital Solutions extensive teams of developers have been busy working on updates to our software portfolio, adding exciting new capabilities to our offerings that are designed to help you through this trying period. Here are just a few of the highlights:
  • HCL Nomad - A NEW way to access your existing Notes/Domino applications on any Mobile Phone or Tablet.
  • HCL Domino Volt - Solve business problems quickly without having to rely on your IT department. Unlimited applications, forever, with no additional charges per application.
  • HCL Sametime Meetings Trial - Cut costs, Own your data, Meet and Share with a simple click.
  • HCL Traveler for Microsoft Outlook - Another option for accessing your Domino Mail, Calendar, and Contacts.
  • HCL Safelinx - Secure access to your internal systems from anywhere, on any device.

Let's go into these in more detail.

HCL Nomad


Traditional Domino applications are critical to your business. But your users now need access to those applications and they don't have access to a computer running a Notes client. How do you get your users to access those applications?

The answer is right there in your hand.

Whether you are holding an iPhone or iPad, Android Phone or Tablet, HCL Nomad is literally a Notes client running on a mobile device!

Imagine all of those traditional Notes applications - Forms, Views, Formula Language, and even Lotusscript - running on a mobile device, with absolutely no changes to your databases. No additional development work is required to turn all of your existing Notes-based databases into mobile apps.

The biggest innovation that Nomad brings to your existing applications are features available on mobile devices like Geo-Location and built-in Cameras. Imagine being able to enhance your Safety Incident Reporting or Delivery Tracking databases - as an example - by adding a "Use Current Location" button, or a "Take Picture" field to an existing Form.

But what about security?

Like I mentioned earlier, Nomad is the mobile equivalent of a Notes client running on the desktop. Once you have installed the app from the Google Play or Apple App Store, you need a Notes ID to be able to configure Nomad and access your Domino servers and Databases.

The easiest way to give your users access to their Notes ID is to leverage the Domino ID Vault feature on your existing servers, or to enable that feature if you haven't already done so.

HCL Nomad is available now and is a free entitlement for all of our existing customers on active Subscription and Support.

HCL Domino Volt 1.0.1


When we launched Domino Volt in April this year our aim was to go "Back to the Future", to go back to the original objective of Lotus Notes which was to put simple, easy to use application development tools into the hands of users to enable them to quickly create apps that solve business issues. Over the years - what is now HCL Notes and Domino - has morphed into a full-stack application development environment that enables enterprises across the globe to create mission critical applications that run core business systems. While we continue to enhance those full-stack capabilities - and indeed even extending access to those applications to mobile devices with HCL Nomad - we recognised that all businesses still have situations where users need a tool, they need it quickly, and they don't necessarily need to engage a Business Analyst, a Project Manager, and a team of professional Application Developers to help them.

Typically, users get around this situation by creating forms using a word-processor, or track lists of information using a spreadsheet, but problems quickly arise when that user needs to share that document with someone else either inside, or outside their organisation.
  • Once the form is completed, where does the data go, how is it collated, and where is it stored?
  • Spreadsheet lists are great for tracking and analysing data, but what happens when more than one person needs to update the information simultaneously?
  • In both cases, how is the information shared and secured to ensure that only the appropriate people have access to it?
  • And finally, what if a review or approval is required of the information stored in the form or list?

The last two requirements are where users usually have to turn to their IT departments for assistance.

Domino Volt is HCL's solution to solve all of these business problems. Domino Volt falls firmly within the No-Code/Low-Code application development category.

How easy is it to create and modify Volt apps?


My friend and HCL Software Business Partner Karl-Henry Martinsson recently blogged about how easy it was to import a spreadsheet to create a Volt App, and when his (non-technical) wife asked him to add some fields, he showed her, and she modified it to suit her requirements. Really, there is no technical background required to create apps with Volt, if you know how to use a word-processor or spreadsheet, you can be a Volt developer in moments.

Domino Volt leverages the power, flexibility, reliability, and security of the underlying platform that HCl Domino is renowned for, but it takes a completely new approach. While HCL Nomad enables users to access traditional Domino applications on a mobile device the same way that they would using a full Notes client on the desktop, HCL Domino Volt is a completely browser based tool that puts the ability to quickly create forms and lists into the hands of your users.

Users can create Volt applications from scratch, import data from a spreadsheet, or even begin from an existing template. Templates are included out-of-the-box to help you get started with Domino Volt, and more are available online through our Volt Sandbox. The Volt Sandbox is a great place for your users to get started with Volt, and we have included many tutorials and lessons so that your users can get up to speed quickly on how to leverage more advanced functionality available within the system.

Volt also includes powerful Workflow capabilities so that your forms can be configured with workflow stages (eg: Draft -> Submit -> Review -> Complete), Roles to determine who should be notified of a workflow stage, and the actions they can take (eg: Submitter -> Manager Approve/Decline -> Finance Approve/Decline).

Volt can be extended to integrate with virtually any existing system and has been designed with extensibility in mind. Services in Volt can be configured to interact with your existing systems to Create, Read, Update, and Delete any information. As an example, one of your application developers might create a Service called "Get SAP Contact Information". They write the code that Volt uses to look up contact details from SAP based on an input (eg: a Name), and then return variables (Fields) which the service then supplies as output. A user (with no understanding of how to write this code) clicks on the "Name" field on their form, clicks on the "On Change" event, and chooses the "Get SAP Contact Information" service. They then choose the Service output variable, and map those to the Fields on their Form. The user publishes the Form, clicks in the "Name" field, types a name (which does a look-up from the "Get SAP Contact Information" service), choose the name from a list, and that contact's information is auto-magically inserted into the mapped fields.

For our existing Domino customers, Volt is a simple add-on to an existing Domino server - running at least Domino version 11.0.1. HCL have created a simple pricing structure for purchasing Domino Volt and existing customers can access Volt for as little as 10% of your last Notes Subscription and Support renewal rate.

For customers who are not currently licensed for Notes/Domino, we have also come up with a cost-effective per user/per month subscription based licence to enable you to easily deploy and leverage this powerful new capability.

And the BEST thing about Domino Volt: Once you have purchased a Volt licence there are no additional costs involved. You can create an unlimited number of applications, unlike online Low-Code platforms, there are no additional charges when you create a new app, and you can even create online forms that can be filled out and submitted by an unlimited number of external users.

HCL Domino Volt solves business problems quickly without having to rely on your IT department. Unlimited applications, forever, with no additional charges per application.

HCL Sametime Meetings 11.5 Trial


Being stuck in lockdown myself now for over 5 months, I have not had the opportunity to visit any of our customers or partners in person. Instead I have been leveraging the pre-release version of our upcoming HCL Sametime 11.5 meetings capability.

Sametime Meetings is intended to enhance your exiting on-premises collaboration environment by extending Voice, Video, and Screen-Sharing to your existing Notes/Domino, Connections, and Sametime Chat infrastructure. Sametime Meetings can also be implemented as a stand-alone meetings implementation hosted either on-premises, or on a private cloud.

I am already using an online meeting service, why would I be interested in Sametime Meetings?


Yes, there are a lot of online meeting services available. The main concerns that most business have about these services is how quickly costs can run out of control as more of your users create host accounts, and the level of security and privacy that the service offers.

You corporate data should belong to you, it should not be monitored by the provider, and it should be secure.

Enter Sametime Meetings.

Sametime Meetings can be installed either on-premises or on private cloud infrastructure. Sametime Meetings is cloud-native, which means it is easily deployed either on your own on-premises or private cloud Kubernetes infrastructure. It is designed to be robust, scalable, secure, and easy to install and maintain. HCL supplies Docker Container templates, which are deployed to your Kubernetes implementation, and configuration scripts enable you to quickly configure the system to connect to your existing Sametime Community server for chat, presence, and authentication purposes.

When combined with our existing HCL Sametime 11 persistent, multi-device, 1-1 and Group Chat, Sametime Meetings enables users to seamlessly transition from a chat conversation to a Voice/Video meeting with a single click.

Sametime Meetings will provide unlimited external guest access - if enabled - allowing you to extend your meetings to anyone outside of your organisation.

What is the Sametime Meetings 11.5 Trial?


Before we release the General Availability (GA) of Sametime 11.5 in December, 2020, HCL are offering Sametime Meetings on a trial basis for selected customers to deploy and use free-of-charge.

It is important to note that the Sametime Meetings Trial does not contain all of the functionality that will be available with the full GA release, however it is fully tested, certified, and supported by HCL Software.

You can leverage Sametime Meetings to quickly, easily, and securely connect to anyone inside (and even outside) of your organisation, and when the GA version is available in December you can continue to utilise Sametime Meetings after upgrading to the GA version using our special offer for existing customers.

Sametime Meetings 11.5 trial is now available from the HCL Software download portal, just get in touch with one of our friendly HCL Software Business Partners or HCL Product Specialists.


HCL Traveler for Microsoft Outlook


Every organisation has one of those people. Despite the fact that you've shown them how good Notes or Verse is, or that you've enabled all of the good stuff, or that they are integrated seamlessly into all of your corporate systems, that person just wants the basic functionality that Outlook provides. How do you give Outlook to them without throwing away your safe, reliable, scalable, easy to manage, and secure Domino environment?

Simple: HCL Traveler for Microsoft Outlook.

HCL Traveler - as part of our open client strategy - now provides seamless access to Domino Mail, Calendar, Contacts, To-Do's, Directory Lookup, and Free-Time scheduling; directly within the Microsoft Outlook client.

Now you do not have to 'throw away the baby with the bath-water', and get rid of Domino, just because someone in your organisation want's an alternative mail client.

It's simple to install and configure, and seamless to the rest of the users in your organisation. They won't even know that the sender of that message, or the person inviting them to a meeting, is using an alternative client to Notes or Verse.

HCL Traveler for Microsoft Outlook is a free entitlement for your existing Notes licences, and is available now on the HCL Software download portal.

HCL Safelinx


You now have a better understanding of some of the fantastic updates and new capabilities from HCL Digital Solutions, but you may be thinking:

Great, now how do I simply and securely provide my users with access to all of these applications?


HCL SafeLinx (formerly IBM Mobile Connect) provides remote users with secure web-based and client-based access to enterprise applications. Safelinx supports an extensive list of standard Internet Protocol (IP) and non-IP wireless bearer networks, server hardware and operating systems, and mobile security protocols. HCL SafeLinx enables remote users the flexibility to connect to the internal network from a range of devices, such as desktop, notebook, and mobile devices as well as operating systems.

With a Safelinx client installed on any mobile device or desktop operating system, users can directly access any application on your internal network utilising your choice of multiple robust authentication options (Radius, Secure ID, LDAP, Active Directory, Certificate) and Encryption (DES, Triple DES, RCS, AES, and FIPS 140-2certified).

Safelinx also includes powerful reverse-proxy and client-less VPN access through a browser on any device to browser based applications running behind your own firewall. Again, multiple authentication options are available to ensure security of access, including Two Factor Authentication (2FA), or Multi Factor Authentication (MFA). In addition, Safelinx allows Role or Group based access to enable you to configure which user can access individual internal applications.


As you can see from all of the above updates, we have certainly been very busy here at HCL Software.

Please feel free to reach out to me if you would like more information or a demonstration on any of the applications mentioned in this update.




Comments

1Glen  08/25/2020 20:11:27  
So much news from HCL Digital Solutions ... So little time - August 2020 edition

Thanks for the update. It's good to see that time and money is being spent on the Notes/Domino platform.

Could you give us any more information on what is happening with xPages? Is any future improvement on xPages planned or is it frozen?

Are HCL recommending any new web development use alternative methods? i.e. App Dev Pack.

We have invested a lot of time in xPage applications and are unsure whether we should continue or look at alternatives.

Mat Newman

THE Notes (formerly IBM/Lotus Notes) Guy. Productivity Guru. Evangelist. IBM Champion for IBM Collaboration Solutions, 2011/2012/2013. Former IBMer. HCLite. Views are my own.

#GetProductive #GetHCLNotes

Mat Newman




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