It’s a stampede…
In my humble opinion I believe that IBM could have saved themselves from the juggernaut of Notes to Exchange Migrations. More accurately stated, it is in fact “Domino to Exchange” and “Notes to Outlook” migrations.
Why is that relevant?
The fact of the matter is that user’s actually don’t care about mail servers. They care about the mail client. The truth is that people love Outlook, especially Outlook 2007 and even more so Outlook 2010.
IBM should have accepted this fact and made the Domino Server play nicely with Outlook. They should have made a MAPI interface from Outlook to Domino. In fact, Microsoft themselves put out the “Outlook Connector” for Outlook 2003 and IBM attempted similar with the DAMO Client Outlook Add-In (Domino Access for Microsoft Outlook).
The problem with DAMO was that it was/is flaky. It was OK if you kept a organized mailbox filing regularly with a few items maintained in your Inbox and you were not a big Calendar user, then chances are you could get by. However, if you were anything but that i.e. a heavy Calendar users and kept all your mail in the Inbox then you were in a world of pain.
Especially with your Calendar!
Receiving reschedules were a nightmare. No amount of hotfixes seem to be able to resolve this. Don’t even get me started about the installation routines, not to mention that is/was very picky about the version of each Notes, Outlook and DAMO that you used.
Replacing Lotus Notes & Domino with Outlook & Exchange
The Lotus Notes Client (and Domino Server) is actually very misunderstood by non-Notes people generally, but standard users (and Microsoft Admins) also don’t really understand that the Notes Client it is actually an application interface/portal of which their Mailfile is just another database/application.
In the same way a Domino server is not comparable to Exchange. Domino does Directory Services, Mail Routing, Calendaring, HTTP, Instant Messaging and Application Sharing.
Think about this, to replace a Notes & Domino Infrastructure you would need the following:
• Active Directory performs Directory Services
• Exchange does email routing and Calendaring
• Lync does Sametime functions
• IIS does Web Serving
• SharePoint does Application provisioning
The result of this misconception has made the argument for enterprise email not quite right. The real argument is Outlook versus Notes, not Domino versus Exchange.
And that is the real reason we migrate…
Users LOVE Outlook
Users care about their Mail Client. Users don’t like the Lotus Notes Interface for mail. If users can use Word, Excel and PowerPoint – they can use Outlook. Users have Outlook at home. Hotmail is just OWA by another name.
Non-technical Directors on the board love Outlook.
The Board of Directors have influence, make decisions and control purse strings.
• To get Outlook, you need Exchange..
• Ergo; so begins the migration discussion.
It all begins with Senior people hating Notes and loving Outlook. It is really isn’t a decision on Cost Savings or Infrastructure Savings, inevitably the project neglects to decommission Domino and needs to retain Lotus Notes Mailfile data for compliance and regulatory purposes for 7 years. Applications remain for the foreseeable future. Domino Admins remain, you hire some extra Exchange Admins, and now you maintain two estates.
But at least you have Outlook 🙂
The Project Scope and rationale obviously becomes about technology of the future and cost savings, but we all know the truth 🙂