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Lotus Notes Applications and other eMail Systems

Microsoft's competitive strategy with Lotus Notes is to migrate eMail to Exchange (more likely to Outlook with Exchange included as collateral damage) and to sunset or migrate applications thereafter. Looks good on paper and eMail is eMail isn't it? The hangover from the "Hooray we'll do Outlook" party comes when running the numbers on application migration. Remember: Every minute/dollar spent on migration doesn't get spent on new user requirements and productivity improvements. Their poster child Accenture, with Steve Balmer sitting on their board (would that eventually have influenced their migration decision?), took more than 6 years and still according to Vidya S. Byanna, Global Infrastructure Executive Director Accenture 200 business process supporting databases are still not migrated (nicely put by Vidya: " are in the process of migrating"). Update: Accenture has removed the blog entries, but The web does not forget! Quite interesting finding given their access to Microsoft and their claimed technical expertise. So if you have started a migration, good luck to you. Running your numbers carefully, you might end retaining and extending Lotus Domino as your collaborative platform (There are a lot companies doing just that). eMail is sooo last century. Of course the question of interoperability needs to be answered. When you build web applications, you probably already wrote a class MailNotification that generates notification eMails with http hyperlinks in the message. If you have existing (client) applications you need to deal with the way @MailSend and NotesDocument.send is working:
  • You have retained your Notes clients: Don't do anything. Connect your other eMail system to the Domino system using SMTP and the SMTP router of Domino will convert the DocLink into a hyperlink using the notes:// protocol. Of course I presume you have configured your Domino server properly (hostname anyone). If your user typically use local replicated databases the links created will point to local databases using notes:///. That can be a problem if the receiving end doesn't use a local replica. In such cases use Geniisoft's CoexLinks.
  • You web enable your application using the Domino http task (classic or XPages alike): you either need to touch all your applications and replace @MailSend/NotesDocument.send or use Geniisoft's CoexLinks. CoexLinks is an unobtrusive server tasks that does link conversion. It also takes care if users on Lotus Notes send you a DocLink. And NO. There is no magic button for web enablement. Depending on the code quality and structure of your applications it can be very easy or a little painful. See my session at Lotusphere to see what could be automated.
  • Your messages use stored forms and that forms contain actions and buttons and the like: Sorry. You need to rework these parts.

Posted by on 16 November 2008 | Comments (6) | categories: IBM Notes Lotus Notes


  1. posted by Wild Bill on Sunday 16 November 2008 AD:
    Here' another story. IBM Global service migrating a 25k user customer from Notes to Exchange (no applications being migrated - too hard).

    13tb of Domino space taken up by Domino mailfiles. Large. Amoun of disk space to provide clustering on Exchange ? 57tb. FIFTY SEVEN TB of space. Some 44tb MORE. And they say Exchange is easier on the disk ? Not if your clustering...!

    And this is Notes 6.5. Wonder what Notes 8.5 would do ?

    ---* Bill
  2. posted by Carl Tyler on Sunday 16 November 2008 AD:
    This is also the stick however that is used to argue that Notes/Domino are lock in solutions, that once you select it, it will be hard to move away. So this is a goof argument to try and stop of the flow of people switching, it doesn't work well when tyring to get new customers.
  3. posted by Stephan H. Wissel on Sunday 16 November 2008 AD:
    @ Carl: Any platform has their sticky points. Just look out how much VB6 applications are still around. But you are right. Sticking to a platform because it is to expensive to move is as attractive as a sour marriage you continue because counsellings is cheaper than divorce. If that would work divorce lawyers would be out of job. You want to stay with your partner because you want to, not because you have to.
    Same applies to an application platform. After quite a while of sleeping beauty Lotus Notes woke up, having grown to R8. Some Doomsday sayers cry "Too little, too late" but I think quite the opposite. The server has been rock solid for years and the Universal Collaboration Client is coming of age rapidly.
    Seems to be a little like the "Pinacolada Song" right now.
    Emoticon smile.gif stw
  4. posted by Dave Harris on Thursday 20 November 2008 AD:
    As for retaining Notes clients for apps, and mailing links, I remember writing a script library back in R5 days (when I was still a developer, but knew nothing about writing classes) that sent out .ndl files.

    That customer had migrated for mail to MSX 5.5, but the business unit, which is now a separate company after an MBO, still uses that app. Don't forget that this was at a time when the average desktop setup probably wasn't well configured enough to recognise { Link }

    @Bill - Global Services, doncha just love'em?
  5. posted by Me on Friday 29 May 2009 AD:
    Y'know, it's a pitty and it could be the doom of Notes that techies like you are doing a better job at marketing than the actual marketers. These numbers and the consequences of using MS software as an alternative to Notes/Domino (Exchange alone is not a replacement, you also need AD, IIS and Sharepoint to get the most relevant functionality of Domino) should be known to any IT department in every company which is relevant for Domino/Notes sales. Instead, only programmers who know about Notes and Domino know about them.

    I'm working for a small company. In 2000, when the company was established, we were doing exclusively Notes. Today, only a small part of the company still does Notes, because it's so much harder to get Notes contracts than it is to get .Net contracts. In spite of development on .Net being more expensive in terms of effort required for similar functionality. IMO, this is clear evidence that IBM's marketing for Notes/Domino needs to get fired, and ppl really understanding marketing should get their jobs.

  6. posted by Edwin on Wednesday 12 August 2009 AD:
    Our company is only focussing on total solutions for customers. We have fortunately a free choice to select tools we would like and can select the Notes environment for RAD.
    In case the customers won't like to setup the Domino server, we can host applications as well.