We in Digital Solutions marketing are new to HCL. And we have a lot to do. The recent logo and branding re-imagining and the launch that we broadcast live from Tokyo is the beginning of a new era.
From a marketing perspective, we wanted to signal a change, put a flag in the ground to say, “Forget what you knew about these products; it’s time to look forward.” And after only a few weeks, we delivered an entirely new brand with new logos and creative under HCL Digital Solutions. We leaned heavily into a new color pallet, and completely redesigned all product logos. It was a chance, not one often given to marketers, to remake something that is already well-known and revered.
Our lead designer on the project was Liam McCormick, and I think he describes the design system best when he tells us, ”We went in search of something in HCL’s history that we could build upon, and what we found was what we considered the design DNA in the original HCL logo — it is shear angle of 24.24 degrees. We took that angle and built a grid system, and (take or leave a few hundred iterations) the new logo family was born from this original structure which can always be traced back to the mother brand of HCL.” And trust me, we could not have had better talent working on this redesign (Liam also helped design the Cisco WebEx and Vodafone logos).
But that wasn’t all we needed to do. We needed to capitalize on the momentum started with the launch of HCL Domino v10 to the rest of the portfolio. The first out of the gate on October 7, 2019, was HCL Digital Experience 9.5, a proven digital experience management platform and the very first product release for the newly acquired products. The new release provided many significant business and technical benefits, including unsurpassed standardization and flexibility, accelerated time-to-market, liberated experience delivery, and a lower total cost of ownership. And hundreds of clients and valuable business partners joined us in-person in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Milan to celebrate the launch.
Then, just a mere five months after the acquisition the major moment had arrived — on December 4th, 2019, HCL announced the general availability (GA) for HCL Domino v11, HCL Sametime v11, and HCL Connections v6.5. It was a milestone moment for the business, and I want to give a round of applause to the development teams that made it happen, many of which didn’t even have access to the code until post-acquisition in July. They worked tirelessly to reinvent the products and deliver on our commitments to our customers and business partners around the world. But it was the excitement that surrounded the launch that made me burst with joy, and our willingness to do something different that led to unforeseen impact.
“In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.” —Coco Chanel
Too often teams throw around words like “different” or “amazing,” but not acknowledging what we were able to accomplish with this truly “different” type of launch would be a misstep on my part as a leader. We knew we couldn’t go to a market like IBM — we aren’t that type of company, and frankly, it was time for a change. So, I tasked my team with thinking outside of the box for this launch.
And think outside of the box they did. They came to me with the idea of running a “Netflix-style” launch in which we broadcast the keynotes “Live from Tokyo” and then deliver 35+ pieces of new content ranging from thought leadership pieces to technical deep dives all at once in a “binge-able” format. I was dubious of course, but if there ever was a time to try it — now was that time.
After months of planning, we all got onto planes and flew to Tokyo for our big day. On December 4, 2019, at 9 AM ET (11 PM locally) we went live to the globe for the announcement of HCL Domino v11 and HCL Connections 6.5. And the impact was immediate: Thousands upon thousands of customers and partners tuned in live all over the world, and over 50+ business partners held concurrent viewing parties to celebrate in 20+ countries. The world map looked like a lit-up Christmas tree!
And it wasn’t just the marketing team that delivered impact in such a short timeframe. The product management and development teams made significant technical advancements for these products. We announced:
HCL Domino v11 builds on our mission: Apps that run your business.
- Domino apps go mobile: HCL Nomad makes your existing apps available on Apple iPhone and iPad, Android and Chrome OS tablets with minimal effort
- Domino apps get low-code development: HCL Domino Volt provides a new low-code development paradigm to build new Domino apps 60-70% faster and makes it easy to develop powerful new secure applications without any specialized skills rapidly
- Domino apps integrate and synchronize: HCL Domino v11 is the most open version of the platform yet, with active directory synching to simplify integration with Microsoft Office 365 and enable enterprises to more fully leverage Domino with other tools and applications across their business
HCL Connections 6.5 has powerful new features to drive adoption and builds a foundation for future releases:
- Bring your community with you. Connections Sidebar, an always-on dashboard connects your users to Connections from anywhere in your IT environment
- Grow your communities faster with Connections Touchpoint, an onboarding wizard that connects new employees to the communities and content they need
- Do more with Kudos Activities Plus — rapid, agile project management built for every employee
HCL Sametime v11 delivers secure conversations across every device:
- Sametime has a new, intuitive user experience that works the way your users do
- Built with the latest tech — now supported on Docker with the Sametime proxy running on Tomcat
- Lower TCO than ever, with a simplified architecture and easier administration
Suffice it to say, this launch was one for the record books, but it is only the springboard with which we will start a new decade. And if you were to ask me what I felt like this moment meant for us, I’d say it’s providing the foundation for real innovation on the platform. Which brings me to where are we going.
Where We’re Going
Our transition to HCL has meant moving not just a suite of products but also people and teams. If there’s one question that the leadership team gets asked the most by our customers and partners, it’s, “Are you going to invest in the products?”
It’s a straightforward question, and there’s a straightforward answer to it: Yes. I, for one, am incredibly excited and humbled by the amount being invested into the teams developing these products, the marketing and sales engine that drive them, and into the teams solely dedicated to pushing the bounds of what’s possible on our platforms. With that, here are a few of the essential ways we are investing — deeply — in our teams and technology:
- We are hiring hundreds upon hundreds of new developers around the world dedicated to HCL Domino, Sametime, Connections, and Digital Experience
- We are substantially increasing our global marketing investment for brand building, awareness, and lead generation for our portfolio
- We are focusing on innovation and the “art of the possible” by naming Jason Gary, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for HCL Digital Solutions, to lead R&D and push the bounds of what these products can do
- And finally, we are further investing in our people like the Domino & Sametime product management team
At HCL, our motto is “Relationship Beyond the Contract.” And we mean it. My commitment to you is that we will listen to you more and be bolder in our plans. We don’t have the luxury or the crutch of working for a software behemoth anymore, but we also don’t have the red tape to stop us from trying new things. Our marketing will be different — I assure you.
But more than anything, know that this is only the beginning, and I am so excited about where we are headed. It’s time for all of us to usher in a new decade at a new company for these legendary products.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year,