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When I write the Prominic “year in review” article each year, I often find myself resorting to the same themes. So as we leave Thanksgiving in the US and gear up for Christmas, it’s appropriate this will be a story of “thankful” and “hopeful”.

2020 was a year of record growth due in part to the shutdown of IBM’s SmartCloud / Connections Cloud service and our position as the only official Cloud Hosting Managed Service Provider in North America. Not knowing what 2020 would bring, I was pleasantly surprised to see the steady stream of new customers both migrating from on-premises environments and even some coming back to Domino! Given HCL’s massive investment in the product and the “vibe” we’ve seen in the market, I think we can finally dispense with the notion that Domino is dead. I know the collective “they” have been trying to kill it for 20+ years, but consider that push to have officially failed!

WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO

This year we built a new option for multi-factor authentication for HCL Domino called MFA for HCL Domino®. It is free and open source, licensed under the Apache license, provides both SMS and TOTP support, has a fully customizable user interface, and includes multi-language prompts.
We continue our partnership with Equinix to provide hosting services in two data centers located in Europe, in Amsterdam and Frankfurt, allowing us to meet our EU customers’ data residency needs.

As HCL continues to evolve their Domino-centric product stack, we continue upgrading our hosting infrastructure to accommodate those changes. All of our Connections servers have been upgraded to v7. Our new Domino customers get set up on v12, and we’re working with our existing customers on upgrading to v12 as well. We not only use the new Nomad Web feature internally, but set it up for our customers as well. Plus, our non-technical people have started using Domino Volt to build applications internally.

GIVING BACK

This year OpenNTF celebrates its 20-year anniversary. It’s been our privilege to be involved with this amazing open source community since it started back in 2001. We not only host the website and server infrastructure for them at no charge, our very own Doug Robinson has been serving on its board for years.

We continue to serve our worldwide community by both sponsoring the two biggest HCL Digital Solutions conferences – CollabSphere and Engage –and by providing them with hosting as well.

We’re also members of the Penumbra Group, and we’ve started hosting their website too. Penumbra is a group of select HCL Partners who pool technical resources and management skills to create the ideal Software provider network for HCL software. If you’re not familiar with them, head to the website and check them out! It’s full of some of the most talented and dedicated people in our industry.

LOOKING AHEAD

When thinking about what’s in store for Prominic in 2022 it’s hard not to get excited. 

As you may know, we’ve been making an effort to communicate our values and commitments with regards to data privacy and ownership. We simply believe our customers own their data and it is our duty to take care of and to protect it. Our continuing investments in cybersecurity technologies and best practices are all part and parcel to those commitments.

In addition to our general commitments to security and privacy, we’re exploring FedRAMP certification in order to provide secure cloud services to the United States Federal Government. This would build on our annual SSAE-18 SOC-1 and SOC-2 certifications, our secure HIPAA initiatives for hosting medical data and personally identifiable information, and our European GDPR initiatives. What we learn from all of this makes us better and stronger for all our customers.

You will also see a more proactive effort to introduce our Domino-based customers to both HCL Connections and Sametime Meetings. The security and cost benefits this new version of Sametime offers as an alternative to all of the organizations currently using Zoom, Webex, etc. are extraordinary! HCL is also continuing its efforts to evolve their collaboration platform, HCL Connections, and their new version 8 will be out in the first half of 2022. 

One of the exciting things about all the improvements HCL’s been making to their Digital Solutions products is they’re investing heavily into making Domino and its satellite products play well with others (especially Microsoft). The goal is to enable all those organizations that rely on custom-built Domino applications to integrate well with other solutions within their environment, without having to spend millions on migrating off the platform if they decide to add some Microsoft services. I think the notion of meeting people where they’re at is long overdue and will finally kill the notion you need to fully choose one vendor over the other.

Prominic has been a Microsoft partner for many years, and while a dominant portion of our customer base runs on Domino, we have expertise in both. As the ability of HCL’s Domino suite to integrate with other platforms grows, we’ll start to see more and more companies with these blended cross-platform environments. Given our history and skill sets, we’re perfectly positioned to serve this both on the infrastructure and support sides.

Finally, to share our moonshot project with you, we’re exploring a possibility of adding a solar farm to our Illinois data centers, to both increase our use of renewable energy and to improve our data centers’ self-sustainability in case of a catastrophic disruption of local power providers. This would be our largest project in our 23 year history and there are about a million hurdles left to overcome, but we’ve been working with industry experts for months and have a plan, so that’s half the battle! Stay tuned for more on this later in 2022 – the science nerd in me hopes we can make it happen!!

To all of our customers, to the HCL Ambassadors, the various user groups and conferences, our friends in the industry, and all of you at HCL – a big thank you! I’m glad to know you and share this space with you. Some of you have been my friend for more than half my life, and I can’t think of a better place to have spent a career than right here where I’m at. So Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Holidays, and good fortune and good health into 2022!