Tomorrow night in Cambridge, MA USA, GBS will launch Transformer 2.0 at the MIT Museum. It looks like quite a party; regrettably, due to a volunteer opportunity here at home, I won't be there.

Who will?  A host of IBM executives and of course the GBS leadership team. Their mission - to launch into the market the Transformer software which modernizes Notes applications into XPages web applications.

Image:GBS launches Transformer 2.0, part of every conversation on Domino applications

Many in the Lotus community will have heard about the Transformer over the last twelve months. For many years, competitors have tried to create a magic black box to migrate Notes applications away to something else. Other than discussions and document libraries, most of those tools have generally failed.

Transformer is different because it retains the basic premise of a Domino application -- unstructured data, security and access control, integrated directory services, etc. Further, moving from one representation of that application to another within the Domino engine is a more straightforward process, since the mapping is to application logic already in the core Domino engine.

The Transformer has been part of almost every customer conversation I've had in the last few months. Since taking over the Notes/Domino application development mission at the beginning of the year, I've learned there are three phases of work going on with those apps in most customers: Remediation, consolidation, modernization.

The remediation and consolidation phases are often driven by business partner tools, such as GBS's Permessa tools or Trust Factory's DNA. Clearly, many Notes/Domino shops have run the product for a decade or more, and it's time to assess whether all of your apps are really needed and in what form in the future. Consolidation is also a part of looking at that decade+-long investment, moving from distributed to centralized architectures as a result of server horsepower and network connectivity. Modernization, either through the Transformer tool or other XPages practitioners, brings those existing Notes apps to a modern, web 2.0-based UI, accessible on all browsers, as part of a portal, or on mobile devices.

I've been excited by the first stories about the Transformer that GBS has shared in the last few months. I am hopeful that at tomorrow's event, they'll bring some public reference stories and demonstrations of how they've modernized existing Notes applications. The first such story, about a semiconductor company that was essentially forced to upgrade Domino due to a need to move off of an old Windows Server and Domino R5 (yes really), was most surprising to me because I had never heard of that company ever having been a Notes/Domino "shop", in my own 17 year association with the product. Reactivating that organization into the Notes/Domino marketplace is good for all of us -- for me as the vendor it brings back dormant customers, for you as customers it increases market share, and for partners it means more organizations with contemporary opportunity.

Later this week, I'll recap my conversations at DNUG (the German Notes Users Group) from last week including the announcement previews regarding XPages licensing. I realize I am beating this drum pretty frequently, but I'm doing so based on solid and consistent feedback that XPages is getting traction, and needs us as the vendor to help with the inertia to take it to the next level.

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