Migrating Off of IBM Notes: 1, 2, 3

by | Oct 11, 2017 | Managed Services | 0 comments

Planning Considerations

Just thinking about a shift in communication and collaboration platforms can be mind-blowing. Where do I begin with my Notes to Exchange migration? How much will it cost? What are the benefits of a transition? Is now the time?

The goal with anything complex is to break it down into digestible chunks. First off, IBM Notes is a platform that can be thought of as three primary technologies:

Email – IBM Notes is a client/server application for providing email and calendaring. Analysts tend to give Notes high marks for collaboration and architecture, but often lament about the UI and underwhelming industry adoption for both their on-premises and cloud solutions. 

Communications – IBM SameTime is a platform providing personal/group chat, conferencing, VoIP and full call control.  The product showed early promise to Gartner analysts years ago in 2011 when they were identified as a challenger, but in a more recent Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications (2015) they still found themselves in the bottom half as a Visionary.  They also suffer a low (<1%) market share penetration (Source = IDataLabs).

Applications – IBM Domino / WebSphere is also used for document management, workflow, and application development.  The front-end is often a Notes client or a web browser used to access discussion forums, document libraries, and numerous other applications (Source – Wikipedia).  This is an area of strength for IBM as organizations historically invested in customized development to create efficiencies.  A local search for job postings for SharePoint vs. Domino/WebSphere found twice (2X) as many openings for Microsoft SharePoint (www.indeed.com, Chicago)

HOW to Move?

Now that we have some data we can utilize to begin the comparison, let’s break it down another layer.  In future blogs, we’ll provide more detail on the information below, but for now let’s overview some of the ways to view the platform and migration considerations:

WHY Move?

 Organizations often cite the following reasons for moving to a new platform:

  1. Costs – Transitioning platforms will incur one-time costs for services and technology, as well as indirect “change pain” organizationally.  Cost offsets often include Notes platform maintenance, software costs, and organizational agility.  Many times, organizations move forward only after they are a) facing a capital spend on Notes hardware/software, b) re-designing to increase uptime (DR/BCP) or c) tire of support challenges or an “incident”.  We have a formalized process to help internally evaluate alternatives at a cost / benefit level.
  1. Support – Like any platform, the technology requires solid people and process to maintain health and security.  Notes market share does not share the talent pool of knowledgeable professionals with rich experience in system maintenance.
  1. Industry / Risk – Communication systems such as email, conferencing, and group collaboration have become a commodity business.  Furthermore, the shift to cloud-based platforms offering out-of-the-box uptime, DR, and management have further pressured organizations doing Notes platforms on their own.  Often compliance or risk-evaluations will drive decisions to shift responsibility to turnkey offerings.
  2. Organizational Shift – Notes platforms enjoyed their time and market share.  Microsoft now enjoys over 100 million commercial monthly active users of Office 365 (SOURCE) and leaders recognize the time for digital transformation has come.  In addition to leadership, employees have a sense relative to “experience” and often work for digitally relevant organizations.  Especially sensitive are millennial employees entering the market.

Continue watching for future blogs where we will dive deeper into many of the topics covered here.  If you are already ready to embark on your migration strategy or have questions, contact us at info@peters.com.  We are happy to help!