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C3UG Blog

HCL Agrees to acquire IBM Collaboration Solutions as part of deal valued at $1.8B

Hi C3UGers! There is some HUGE news this evening. Something which some of us have quietly speculated about has happened sooner than expected. HCL is buying IBM Collaboration Solutions products as part of a deal valued at $1.8B. See https://newsroom.ibm.com/2018-12-06-HCL-Technologies-to-Acquire-Select-IBM-Software-Products-for-1-8B

This includes Notes/Domino, Connections and apparently Sametime also.

This could be a good thing for customers. Here are a number of reasons and considerations:

1) HCL has a lot of skin in the game, having already made a significant investment for the development partnership with IBM, and making an even larger investment with its acquisition of these products. HCL expects to get a return on investment. To do that it must retain customers and attract new ones by giving customers even more reasons to invest in the platform. Customers should see HCL as a very motivated software vendor.

2) HCL has shown an intensity and motivation to move Notes/Domino forward during its short tenure leading Notes/Domino development in partnership with strong IBM offering management. Domino 10 has brought a lot of new and exciting things which have brought optimism to customers. Application modernization is at the forefront, embracing current development tools and techniques. Domino 11 has been promised and Domino 11 Jams are already being scheduled for the near term.

3) These things have created new buzz in the community, the likes of which haven't been seen in some time. HCL employees who were IBM employees that moved over to HCL also seem genuinely happy and excited about their new employer and the future prospects of the product family.

4) HCL has already been innovating around and on top of the platform. To date the discussion was that there could be HCL-branded products to complement the core IBM-branded ICS products. It is early to speculate what this means to the capabilities HCL has been building, in terms of product and packaging specifics. Acquiring the ICS products certainly won't put a damper on HCL's product capabilities, but could instead manifest the bundling effect wherein customers are offered more value as part of existing products or via bundled product groups. Customers like that. They always have.

5) What is the downside to the customer? There is new optimism about Domino 10 and beyond, and likely new optimism about the other affected products. The new owner (pending closure of the deal in mid 2019) is excited about these acquisitions, and is dedicating energy and investment into them. There isn’t, at this time, an obvious and significant downside to customers, just as we’ve been saying about the existing IBM/HCL partnership. HCL has provided a positive presence at ICS community events. We will likely hear more of HCL speaking in its own voice about its plans for the portfolio.

We’ll continue working with IBM/HCL during the transition period as we have to date since the existing partnership was announced. As is customary of such arrangements, we will likely be told that it is business as usual for the time being. It should be exactly that. As more developments unfold and are shared with us, we will share them with you at the earliest date we are allowed to share them.