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My thoughts on the HCL Redesigning Templates Project

Having absolutely no inside knowledge of whatever-is-going-on-lately in the world of IBM / HCL Lotus Notes & Domino, and coming solely from the perspective of an enterprise software developer who spends his day writing code across several different platforms but mostly still Notes & Domino with new development efforts using XPages, /*deep breath*/ here are a few thoughts on the recently announced HCL Templates Design Project.

First, let's make sure we're all on the same page here: Gabriella Davis [The Turtle Partnership] announced in her June 25, 2019 "Redesigning Templates - A HCL Design Project" blog post a new HCL+ project. Their goal is

"to reinvigorate the Notes and Domino templates as they roll out on new client platforms"

-- Click through and read the article, which itself - at the time of this blog post - contains a link to a project microsite and a quick survey.

From what I can tell, their initial efforts will focus on the discussion and team room templates. While this does absolutely nothing for me, I applaud the effort and initiative, and hope this addresses some need for Notes & Domino customers who rely on those templates for their day to day operations.

There's no "but" here. No "however...". The following suggestion is not an attempt to supplant the template redesign efforts, but rather something that came to mind when I was reading through the announcement and microsite.

I would like to see an effort to create a suite of "killer apps" that - in my opinion - every existing enterprise business customer could use. Imagine, for example, if HCL dropped the following "killer apps":

  • Request Management

    A simple configuration-driven form + workflow system. How many times have you written this app? 

  • Asset Management

    Track physical or virtual assets via a simple yet feature-packed app. Integrate GPS and Google Maps for some management dashboard fun!

  • Document Management

    Version control and content collection + delivery all in one. Combine this will "mail merge"-type functionality via configuration-driven integration with a Contact Management solution and you're playing with power.

  • Contact Management

    Every business has customers, vendors, partners... And every business should be tracking information on (or linked to) those contacts. Allow for integration with a Document Management solution via API (or natively with the above Document Management solution) and never send another "Dear Valued Customer" email again.

  • Project Management

    Simple task assignment and tracking, with critical path and project lifecycle management. Throw in a gannt chart generator and an optional kanban UI for maximum management-level adoption.

If those application templates are available for an enterprise customer currently paying maintenance for a bunch of "legacy apps" that are critical to their business operations, I think you'll find said customers positioning the platform as an option when they find themselves in need of a solution.

These could be "quick wins" that win you back your customers, and - as the Redesigning Templates project highlights what HCL and our community already knows - that's where we should start.

About the author: Chris Toohey

Thought Leadership, Web & Mobile Application Development, Solutions Integration, Technical Writing & Mentoring

A published developer and webmaster of, Chris Toohey specializes in platform application development, solutions integration, and evangelism of platform capabilities and best practices.

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