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Engage 2023 – Amsterdam

I’m a week late coming back to write about Engage. What an event it was. Last year I found it easiest to break down the event into a series of series of points of interest from the event I’ll do the same this time out. So here it is 21 points of interest from Engage in Amsterdam

1. The venue, the location. The event. So as always with Engage we get an amazing venue and location. This year was no different. We got the amazing venue Felix Meritis in Amsterdam. Relatively recently renovated with amazing craftsmanship on a new spectacular staircase* (*post publish edit: Theo has let me know this is the original staircase! If you ever have reason to be there, check it out)

This is added something which happens every year at Engage. The venue itself adds uniqueness and personality to the event. Yes this meant walking a lot of steps. If you were going to walk steps, these are amongst the most aesthetically pleasing you could. For those who couldn’t as easily there was a lift. The Expo floor on the ground floor was smaller than in general, which meant, it’s just more straight forward to chat to people beside you. What isn’t unique to this year, is you meet a melting pot of people at Engage, some familiar, some new, you get unbelievable content. You get honesty on what’s happening in the marketplace and with products good, bad and indifferent. You share trends and ideas. You have a good time.

2. The organisers. Theo and Hilde Heselmans (and indeed the Engage board and/or everyone on the ground who helped) Well what can we say here. The first thing that might have fallen off the radar for most is this event was originally planned for another venue in Hilversum (i.e. not even the same city), and just a few months ago Theo and crew (through not fault of their own), had to pivot and change the venue (and city) at short notice. That isn’t a small undertaking. On one of the busiest week’s of the year (King’s day is the day after Engage in the Netherlands). I can’t over emphasise in that context how impressive it is that Engage delivered as always. Thank you again for your amazing work.

3. Opening General Session

After an intro from Theo, Richard Jefts gave us and insight into HCL’s overall strategy. “Lets Go Build” was the tagline. Application development is the core of HCLs message, while acknowledging Domino as a cornerstone, there was focus on some of the emerging offerings here, and Jason Gary took us into some detail on Volt MX Go.

4. New Lifetime ambassador. Wannes Rams was announced as a Life Time Ambassador. The first in years. Well deserved.

5. Unified Digital Platform. Andrew Manby gave us insight to HCL’s overall vision in the HCL product line being able to integrate with each other, and how different products compliment each other. The vision is that the products will be designed for seamless integration. This included plans for a central resource site for developers. This makes sense to me and I think HCL understand that adoption of new or other technology should be encouraged rather than enforced. If you want a completely silo’ed Domino experience, you can have it.

6. Domino North Star. Several sessions (included the OGS), emphasized that Domino is the North Star, it’s HCL’s biggest and brightest star and will continue to be.

7. Roadmap. More details were put on existing roadmaps. Brief overview here

8. Feedback. Is a key component with HCL is how much they encourage feedback. Aha is somewhere for new ideas. There’s a Admin survey (which you can do here). The data from it, was shared on the last day, with just stats essentially from people attending engage, here’s a brief overview.

There are multiple other channels that HCL have opened for feedback. They may not always do exactly what you want them to. But they always listen.

9. Domino 14 is coming. (yes, version 13 is being skipped for cultural reasons in some parts of the world) An important feature of Domino 12 was the Early access program. Again it’s completely open to anyone licensed. Starting in May.

9. Auto Update. Coming in Domino 14. Check for new versions of Domino automatically and update automatically. Completely opt in or not. Again HCL are looking for your feedback on same.

10. Product Managers. Product Managers were front and center at engage. I attended Nancy Huber, Tim Clark and thomas Hampel’s sessions. I also met the new Product Manager for Sametime Trevor Tallackson. I have to credit Tim Clark here for particular transparency around Verse and deployment timelines.

If you see Tim please ask him about Feature Parity with iNotes. He loves talking about it. (sorry)

11. Nomad web is a no-brainer. I attended several sessions on Nomad Web. Including Max Sutton and Christoph Adler. Even more so than ever I come away from Engage think Nomad Web is a no-brainer for anyone with a CCB license. It reminders me of when Traveler first came out. It works, it’s simple to deploy, why would you not deploy it.

12. VSS Backups. Not quite a no-brainer, but close to it. If you or customers are looking at VSS backups in Windows, you need to look at the functionality in 12.0.2. Daniel Nashed had an excellent session on backups (including a tangent doing an unsupported backup/restore from Notes client program directory). I recently deployed the new VSS backups on a customer site that already had Veam. It is very easy to deploy.

13. Security in Domino was emphasized across several sessions. Domino is secure, HCL have invested in Domino being the most secure platform and will continue to do so.

14. Default things that need to be turned on. This was mentioned in a couple of sessions (and to be fair has been flagged for some time). You need to turn on ID Vault. Newer features (Nomad Web is a current example) will have ID Vault as a prerequisite. Thomas Hampel listed some of these in one of his sessions.

15. Default things will come packaged. Plans are afoot for some things to be bundled in Domino like Verse and Nomad Web. You’ll still be able to install newer versions over Domino but this is a good development. I think it would be nice in the deployment to tick a box on install (with default turned on). We’ll see how this progresses through the EAP.

16. Updating the core. One of the biggest challenges of the Domino 14 upgrade is updating the core. Details below.

17. Domino Admin Central is coming. Thomas Hampel covered this at couple of sessions. It’s a Web interface to a .nsf to do admin task. This makes sense. There have been vendors who have solutions here (FiRM still do, and GSX used to). I would say the first iteration looks more “helpdesk” person creating users, than an admin tool in the first iteration. That is not to say it is not logical and has value. Also HCL have specifically asked what should be in it. You can give your feedback. I think it’s one that will develop logically over the EAP.

18. Domino 9 and 10 End of Support is coming. With yearly releases of Domino it’s logical that Domino 11 will likely follow the year after. This all makes sense.

19. At Engage you will always learn in every session. Even in sessions where you know 99.9 per cent of material you will pick up a couple of important (or even trivial) tips. For example Christoph Adler taught me about task manager for your browser (handy for troubleshooting Nomad Web). Shift and Esc (or from the settings menu).

20. Share my time. A new free feature from OnTime is available. Share my time. This sounds really great. Some people really want to be able to share there freetime information with external resources. I can also see this being a great resource for organisations with more than one mail service.

21. Next year’s Engage is in Antwerp and will be Theo’s last as organiser. This will be a BIG event given it is Theo’s last as organiser. It’s one not to be missed. We have been in a three year lifecycle around Domino. Domino 14 is planned for the end of this year and 15 is on the way the year after, so the roadmap around Domino next year will be particularly interesting.

Cormac McCarthy – Domino People Ltd

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