Microsoft Snake Oil

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Strongback Consulting

Ed Brill once mentioned this guy on his blog and I go back and check it every once in a while. He’s been blogging about his company’s move from Notes to Exchange and the effects its had. There are some real eye-opening comments for both IBM and Microsoft fans. His last post was back in August, but it brought to light the flexibility that Notes/Domino has in its programming and architecture. Domino has hands down the best rooms/reservations system, which is increasingly critical to large enterprises. Small businesses don’t worry about it so much as they may only have a single conference room, if at all.

We’re down to 75 apps. All mail is finally off the system. Apps still send outgoing emails, but we have no more incoming emails. Room reservations are finally gone. I expect some people will be surprised that they stayed on Notes so long… the truth is, Exchange couldn’t compete with the flexibility of the Notes reservations system. We had a customized system that would allow people to order different table/chair configurations for conference rooms. The only way we got off of Notes for meeting reservations was to force it via management…. just telling people that they were losing functionality and had to deal with it.

Now, imagine telling your SVP of Sales to ‘just deal with it’, after moving to Exchange. Yeah, that will go over well.

So, the moral of the story is to do your due diligence before you migrate off your email system to a competitor. No matter what Microsoft says, there is NO migration tool for custom Lotus Notes apps! I’ve used their tool. The only thing it is good for is moving standardized, Lotus provided templates such as the discussion room, and document library template. If you have a custom CRM application, or help desk app, or any other custom coded Lotus Notes application, Microsoft (or one of their partners), will gleefully run this tool which will give you a general relative score of how complex the application is. They will then say “Oh we can migrate that – its just Notes. Here is our services proposal. No problem.”

Be sure and ask for a chaser if you drink that snake oil.

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