Replacing Lotus Notes? Here's How It Really Goes Down

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A look at what really happens when an organizations migrates from IBM Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange.

I first posted this because I was tired of seeing the pattern time after time and the participants denying what was happening.

Published in: Business, Technology
  • Excellent analysis Mr.Peter. I agree about your point regarding the sales guys. But I dont agree with living with Lotus environment. Most of the applications on these lotus platform are old enough to be thrown into dustbin. Like you said its better to identify first what user need then prioritize and slowly move things to some other platform. That would save more money instead of getting frustrated with lotus domino apps.
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  • @Mike. I find it interesting that you talk about successfully migrated from Domino to Exchange. So where are the apps? Mail is now a commodity item. You hardly drive business value by changing from one mail platform to another. If companies are successfully migrating their applications from Notes to something else we would have plenty of case studies. That's the whole point of the presentation. Its the applications that are so hard to migrate. And because it is so hard to do we rarely see an accurate disclosure of the effort, cost, or risk.
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  • Interested in what you mean by not successfully migrating away from Lotus Notes? I work for Quest Software (now Dell) and some of those customers you have referred to are migrated to Exchange and where they aren't successful there are often internal mitigating reasons why, there is also a large number of customers you didn't mention that have successfully migrated from Notes.
    In most cases a migration solution + good consultancy can move your organisation from Domino to Exchange, I do believe you are correct with the Microsoft 'Cool Aid' being consumed by many organisations but that is happening again now with the migration to Office 365. The secret: Plan, Document, Plan, Plan, Pilot and Plan again before migrating. Moving from Notes to Microsoft can work out very successfully with the correct approach.
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  • Slide deck has been modified based upon feedback provided by some viewers. Nothing major...
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  • This is just a little part, what to say about an upgrade to the next version of the product! moving from sharepoint 2007 to sharepoint 2010 in most cases far more expensive then the upgrade of the domino environment. I don't get it why that much companies migrate to M$ ????
    I hope someone can tell and prove.
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Replacing Lotus Notes? Here's How It Really Goes Down

  1. 1. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.Replacing Lotus Notes?Here’s How It Really Goes Down
  2. 2. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.In The BeginningIn the beginning there wasMicrosoft. Microsoft lookeddown and said “let there bemail”. And so it came topass that Outlook andExchange soon spreadacross the land like a virus.There was much money tobe made by convincingothers to migrate to thisplatform and forsake allothers.
  3. 3. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.And So It Begins....The Microsoft salesmanarrives on your doorsteptelling you how you dontwant to be the lastcompany on the planetusing Lotus Notes. He/shemay also have a cure forbaldness and a bridge inBrooklyn going for a song.
  4. 4. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.Oh The LiesThe migration will be easythey say. They have ALLthe tools needed to handlethe migration. It will onlytake a matter of weeks andthe cost will be minimal.The decision is a slamdunk.... Or so it seems!
  5. 5. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.Closed MeetingsThe discussions that takeplace next are always heldin closed meetings inwhich outdated facts andmisleading information ispresented.Informed professionals(aka dissenting voices) arekept at a safe distance toensure a quick sell.
  6. 6. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.Phase 1: Replacing Notes Mail
  7. 7. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.Domino AdministratorsDomino Administratorsarent always consultedbefore the "decision" hasbeen made but theyusually have sufficientconnections to ensure theirneeds are factored into anymigration plan that issubsequently developed.
  8. 8. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.TrainingOften the first thing thathappens after that"decision has been madeis for the DominoAdministrators to be sentoff on training courses tolearn about Exchange andplan for the migration.
  9. 9. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.More HardwareTruckloads of additionalhardware are ordered andthe process is started toreplace Domino serverswith new Exchangeservers. For some reasonmore servers are neededthan originally budgeted.
  10. 10. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.Mail Users MigratedNotes mail users are migratedto Outlook. In many casesusers are offered little, ifany, end-user training.Productivity levels falldramatically during thetransition period as people livewith increaseddowntime, increased technicalissues, and the need to get upto speed with the new mailclient. (dont bother looking forthose costs in the originalproposal)
  11. 11. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.Migration IssuesThe migrations will almostalways take longer thanplanned due to someunforeseen migration issues.It is never clear why they are“unforeseen” given they almostalways occur.I guess the sale to theunsuspecting CIO alwaysneeds to based on all those"unforeseen" issues not beingcosted into the originalproposal!
  12. 12. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.Two Mail SystemsComplications are likely to beencountered moving from a Notesmail system in which each userhas their own mail file to a singleExchange mail store.In many cases the Dominoadministrators will decide to leavethe existing mail where it is. Onlynew mail is to be handled byExchange.Needless to say, users will not beimpressed with now having twomail systems to search.
  13. 13. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.Desktop SupportDesktop support teams areplaced under enormous stress toassist with the migrations andhandle the large increase insupport calls.Now instead of hearing frompeople why feature "A" or "B" inOutlook is not available in LotusNotes, desktop support peoplehave to explain why feature "D" or"E" or "F" or "G” or .... that theyhad just yesterday with IBM Notesis not available in Outlook.The grass is always greener onthe OTHER side of the hill!
  14. 14. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.A Project Out Of ControlThe migration project nowfalls well behind budget interms of the elapsed time,resources required, andthe total project cost.The good news is theconsultant is more thanhappy to increase theirbilling hours.
  15. 15. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.IT SucksThe whole of IT getsa bad name becauseof the project. Wecant say whetherNotes sucks orOutlook sucks orSharePoint sucks soeveryone just shouts“IT Sucks”.
  16. 16. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.Phase 2: Replacing Notes Applications
  17. 17. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.Notes DevelopersNotes developers typically do notfind out about the change until afterit has been announced. They areunlikely to have been consultedabout the effort involved inmigrating applications.In some cases organizations maynot have considered the cost ofapplication migration at all.The consultant will possibly have itin the fine print of the proposal. Ifthey do, they are unlikely to havecosted it out. If they have, there isnext to no chance that themigrations can be done with thebudget allocated.
  18. 18. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.Fail... PleaseIn many cases theconsultants want to makethe existing developmentteam fail so they can comein and make a truck-load ofmoney for themselvesfixing the mess that thedevelopment teams willnow be blamed forcreating.So be careful!
  19. 19. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.Sorry, No Funding!Because the Mail migrationhas fallen behind budgetthere is little chancedevelopers will be sent ontraining classes to learn howto use the proposed "new"technology (usually ASP.Netor SharePoint). They haveto learn as best they can.If it’s ASP.Net you have achance. If its SharePoint....Well, then good luck!
  20. 20. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.How Do I Test All This?Many organizations will discoverthat most of their Notesapplications contain little or nodocumentation.The chances are low that formaltest plans will exist, making itquite a challenge to develop a testplan that ensures migratedapplications continue to performthe same way they always have.Testing will be critical as the datamigration will most likely require aone-off cut-over to the newapplication.
  21. 21. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.The Slow MigrationApplications will slowly bemigrated from Notes/Domino to anew platform. The applicationswill be slow and costly to migrate.The new applications will rarelywork as well as the old ones.This will irk your users no end.This aspect of the project willALWAYS be down-played by theconsultants when the proposal ismade.
  22. 22. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.Its Not My FaultBy now the CIO will just wish theentire project will go away and alot of political pressure will bebrought to bear to quieten theissues that continue to exist.It quickly becomes the project no-one wants to work on. The smartpeople have either transferred toother projects or found a job withanother company.The project manager almostalways transfers at some stageduring the project so that it isnever clear who was at fault.
  23. 23. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.But Still Notes PersistsAt some point in time it will bedecided that enough money hasbeen wasted invested and theremaining Notes applications willbe allowed to remain until suchtime as they are replaced with"strategic" solutions.It is never intended, but thisusually means Notes applicationsremain for many years. So theNotes client remains onworkstations, and supported, for awhole lot longer thanplanned/costed.
  24. 24. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.Wallpaper The Black HolesThe development teams thatpreviously supported Notes will befolded into existing teams or arestructure will take place in anattempt to wallpaper over the massiveholes that remain.The concept of a team of peopledoing "Rapid ApplicationDevelopment" will almost certainlydisappear. Nobody really cares asthe Notes development team wasprobably always a square peg in around hole that was never wellunderstood. Besides, they just madethe other development teams look"slow".
  25. 25. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.A New Solution NeededEnd Users will look forsomething else they canuse to build their ownsolutions. Many will belooking out for the next"Lotus Notes" to appearbecause it sure aintSharePoint.
  26. 26. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.The Consultant DisappearsAt some time around now theconsultant disappears into thedistance to count all the cash theyhave acquired from their latestvictim engagement....If they are lucky they will haveconvinced the CIO that all theissues encountered were thedirect result of a lack of supportfrom key people in the project.The Blame game will be pointedat those that were saying "this is astupid idea” or the failure to giveall the work to the consultantsfrom the very beginning.
  27. 27. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.What You Will Not See
  28. 28. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.You Will Not SeeAny analysis of theproject to establishthe true total cost ofthe project and theROI it achieved. Ifsuch a documentexists the CIO willlock it away inhis/her top draw.
  29. 29. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.You Will Not SeeThe consultant learningfrom all the problemsencountered andfactoring that into theproposal of their nextvictim client.
  30. 30. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.You Will Not SeeThe consultantadmitting that they maynot have disclosed allthe likely issues to beovercome.
  31. 31. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.You Will Not SeeThe consultantadmitting they mayhave oversold whatSharePointscapabilities really are.
  32. 32. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.You Will Not SeeAny reduction in thecost of operating mail inthe organization. It willprobably haveincreased (even withoutadding the costs of themigration!).
  33. 33. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.You Will Not SeeThe victim companysuddenly being able todo things with their e-mail client they were notalready doing with LotusNotes Mail.Mail after all has nowbecome a commodityitem.
  34. 34. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.You Will Not SeeA case study where a company:• Successfully migrated awayfrom Lotus Notes 100%.• The project came in ontime, under budget• It delivered a significantlowering of the costs foroperating messaging• Provided an even faster (lowercost) service for rapidapplication development.But you can bet the consultantprobably promised all those thingswhen the project started!
  35. 35. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.What You Will SeeMicrosoft now has itshooks in yet anothercompany that is lockedinto its proprietary stackof products for quitesome time.But for some it is not toolate….
  36. 36. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.What You May Hear(comments posted on social media related to an article about a migration project at Qantas)I have two companies whom were migrated toExch/SP. The environment is about 25-30%bigger. They have operational problems anduser issues. They lost someapplications, migrated apps have lessfunctionality. SP has performance problems.Lot of money was spent over the first price.These "its progressing but itstaking longer than weplanned" (aka "our migrationto exchange and the MS stackis stuck half way and weretruly buggered") projects aremore common than Seinfeldre-runs.Have been dealing with a lot ofcompanies that thought aMicrosoft migration would beas easy as Microsoft/MSpartners tell them. Not a singleone of the companies I´ve beenworking with over the last 11years in Notes/Domino EVERcompleted the migration.The nation’s largest airline Qantas hasrevealed that it’s still in the process ofmigrating its corporate email platformoff IBM’s Lotus Notes/Dominoplatform and onto Microsoft’sOutlook/Exchange system, with therollout now into its fourth year.Add to the list just about every largeNotes migration done in Australia,Defence probably has the record,they still use heaps of Domino. Butadd Caltex, DFAT, Centrelink,Westpac, etc. All in the same boat. Allspent a ton of money swapping emailand then keeping what they had.BTW You should askAMP where they’reup to as well in theirmigration… theystarted in 2010
  37. 37. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.A New Approach is Needed
  38. 38. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.What Should I Do?Start by identifying whatyour customers want, ratherthan what they don’t want(The Notes client)Don’t skate to where thehockey puck is, but where itis anticipated to be whenyou get there.Differentiate between mailand applications. Notes isboth… Outlook isn’t.
  39. 39. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.Extend Rather Than ReplaceYour existing IBM Notesapplications have probablyserved your company wellover a great many years.Don’t under-estimate theirnumbers and the total costto replace them.Look for solutions that fillthe expectation gap withoutthe need to replace whatyou already have.
  40. 40. www.redpilldevelopment.comlearn. do. dream.The World Is Going MobileWithin a few years there will bemore mobile devices on this planetthan people. This is where thehockey puck is likely to be in a fewyears time.Imagine the delight of your users ifthey came to work one day to find allthe content stored within their Notesapplications was now readilyavailable to them on mobile devices.Was that a gleam in their eye and asmile on their faces. They didn’t hatethose Notes applications after all.They just didn’t like the way theywere being packaged.

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