“Mobile is just a fad.”
“Cloud is too risky. We’re staying pure-play client-server.”
“To align IT with business, we’re going to migrate from SharePoint to IBM Notes.”
We don’t usually give career advice on this blog, but I’d say that if you’re hearing any of those pronouncements around your company lately, you should probably start looking for another job. Especially that last one. You’d have to look long and hard to find many organizations pivoting toward Notes – from anything, really.
Companies are, however, migrating from Notes to SharePoint for several business reasons, and Jean-Pierre Siebel and Randy Rempel have outlined those reasons in a paper called “Business Benefits of Transitioning from Lotus Notes to SharePoint.” In this post we’ll summarize the first three arguments in the paper:
- Business transformation
- Cost reduction
- Capability enhancement
Next time, we will cover the last two arguments in the paper.
1. Business transformation
Business transformation is a lot like root canal: you know you’ll be better off afterwards, but you’d always rather have it in your past than in your future. KPMG found that 60 percent of 910 U.S.-based multinationals surveyed had started or completed at least one major transformation initiative, with 30 percent citing “coping with change in technology” as the top reason ("Business Transformation and the Corporate Agenda," KPMG, 2013). Many of the customers we talk to point out that technology transitions such as the one from Notes to SharePoint also represent an opportunity to transform their business and become more agile and productive.
In fact, technology now nurtures transformation instead of hampering it. Back when business units like HR, Accounting and Sales were locked into separate vendors or Notes applications for their software direction, the organization stood little chance of transforming as a whole. Now, consolidating on a computing platform is easier because of the almost universal family of Microsoft enterprise applications like SharePoint.
2. Cost reduction
Saving money is a good reason to migrate, and the Notes-to-SharePoint migration offers lower costs in two areas:
- Reducing user training – Because most users are already familiar with Microsoft products, they require little training to take advantage of SharePoint’s features. This is not the case with Notes and the applications built on top of it. In fact, many organizations must provide additional training in Notes beyond what they provide for Microsoft Office.
- Improving productivity – Even with training, many users never achieve the level of productivity with Notes that they achieve with SharePoint. The consistent look and feel of Microsoft applications enhances productivity, but that consistency does not apply to Notes, which requires users to adjust as they move between the platforms on the same PC. When users must continually ask themselves whether they’re in the Notes world or the Microsoft world, it detracts from their productivity. Within the Notes world, the variations allowed in the user interface can cause yet more confusion, with inconsistent placement of buttons, labels and navigation. Across an enterprise, the additional training and seconds of slowdown add up to real costs.
3. Capability enhancement
As more organizations recognize that SharePoint represents the future and Notes represents the past, the functionality gap between them becomes wider and deeper, particularly in three areas:
- Search – The ability to find information in Notes suited the needs and expectations of enterprise users a decade ago. Now, users inside and outside the enterprise take for granted search functions such as intuitiveness, relevance and ratings, which SharePoint includes. When information is only as valuable as the ability to find it, search is of primary concern to smart organizations contemplating migration.
- Integration between applications – Given the dominance of Microsoft Office in the enterprise, the tight integration between Office applications and SharePoint is a strong argument in favor of migration. In real-world use cases such as multiple users collaborating on a Microsoft Word document or Excel spreadsheet, SharePoint-to-Office integration far outstrips Notes-to-Office integration.
- Workflows – Successful business processes rely heavily on automated workflows like task assignments, reviews and approvals. Without its own workflow engine, Notes is poorly equipped to propel these processes, but SharePoint’s workflow engine is built upon a service provided by the operating system. The engine is readily available to developers, who can easily integrate workflows across products.
Watch for our follow-up post shortly. Meanwhile, you can read the entire paper, “Business Benefits of Transitioning from Lotus Notes to SharePoint.”
Or, if you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and begin planning your own transition, have a look at Randy Rempel's post, “Grouping Notes Databases into Migration Categories for Migration Planning”. Or you can download a trial of Migrator for Notes to SharePoint and use the free discovery tool to perform inventory and assessment on your Notes databases.
What do you think about IBM Notes, SharePoint and migration? Let us know in the comments below.