5 tips for migrating from Lotus Notes successfully

Systems or solutions run the risk of becoming outdated over time or new alternative methods. This will probably not come as a surprise to you as a change leader.

When Lotus Notes was first introduced, it was something completely new, and it revolutionized our way of working. But as with so many other revolutionary solutions, the test of time has caught up with Lotus Notes. Today, other systems or solutions are better suited for today’s ways of working. For example, modern cloud-based
solutions with a user-friendly interface allow you to streamline operations at an unprecedented pace.

In this guide, we share 5 tips for a successful migration from Lotus Notes.

1. Document your applications portfolio

2. Choose the right platform

3. What should happen to all the applications?

4. Migrate your first application!

5. Embrace change!


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1. Document your applications portfolio

The first step is often among the most strenuous - even, in this case, it can be a demanding process. Especially if you have hundreds or even thousands of Lotus Notes applications. Documenting your portfolio is still essential and, in many cases, an absolute requirement.

When to handle the documentation of a portfolio, you have three crossroads:

  • Do it too manually
  • Buy a tool that does it for you
  • Build your own tools

Doing it on your own by, for example via programming, is often time-consuming. Some organizations have saved the applications portfolio in a directory outside of Lotus Notes and added new applications as they proceed. If this is not the case, documentation can be a time-consuming and strenuous process.

Buying a system that does this documentation for you can be a good choice, provided it is an individual server. Usually, there are problems when a system has multiple servers to take into account. Hence it can quickly become time-wasting even when using this method.

If you have multiple servers to consider, the best option might be to build your own tool. You can then create one consolidated view of all the applications you have in your portfolio. When doing this, you need to classify these based on a pair of fundamental factors. For example:

  • Who - and how many - is using the application?
  • What type of application is it? Is it is a process, a communications platform, a document manager, etc.?
  • How often is the program used, and how often are changes being made?

These issues will be crucial for the order of priority in which the applications will be
migrated to the new platform.

2. Choose the right platform

There are a plethora of aspects you should keep in mind when choosing a platform. We have decided to dive a little deeper into five of these.

Lotus Notes has always been associated with a high pace - this is probably something you do not want to lose when choosing a new platform. The ability to quickly create new applications should therefore be a decisive factor.

A platform with extensive functionality that is lacking in user-friendliness will sooner or later start collecting dust. It is imperative that those who work in the platform should be able to feel comfortable with the tool and that it feels modern.

Cloud-based software offers several advantages over on-premise installations. Security is one of the reasons. In case of an unexpected accident, everything is being safely stored in the cloud. Improvements to the software are easily made through remote updates.

Flexibility and maintenance
Is it an application that needs to be changed to suit your particular way of working? These can be good to start migrating at an early stage as they can demonstrate the positive aspects of the migration project and the new platform.

Programming resources
Do you have extensive developer resources in place already that are ready to take on new projects? Avid Lotus Notes users often have some programming knowledge, but they are seldom programmers. Make sure you choose a platform that matches your resources in-house and doesn’t flood the IT department’s backlog.

3. What should happen to all the applications?

What should you do with the applications once the documentation process is done? This is when you have to start to categorize these applications in different cells:

  • Delete
  • Replace with new systems or solutions
  • Migrate to the new platform

Start by reviewing what qualifies as a strong candidate to migrate into the new platform. This will take some guts, as you need to delete quite a few and postpone others. These are some of the criteria an application should meet in order to qualify as a strong candidate for early migration:

Elect core processes
You should ask yourself if the application generates value and is an integral part of the business. If the answer is yes to that question, it’s probably an excellent application to migrate at an early stage.

Which applications are most used?
A prerequisite for the migration project to succeed is that the users accept the new platform. Therefore, it is essential to analyze which applications are used the most and migrate these early as they are the most important.

Elect the users 
Who are the people that will use the new software? These people must embrace change and act as ambassadors for the new platform. A positive first impression can do wonders!

Strive for change
Even if a change seldom comes without a cost, sometimes headaches, the positives more often than not overweighs the negatives. The status quo is one of the most dangerous places for a company to be in for a more extended period.

4. Migrate your first application!

Now we’ve come to the actual migration, the first steps made, and soon you and your colleagues can start working in the new software. The migration will not only give you more knowledge about the new software, but it will also provide a fantastic opportunity to take the rest of the organization with you on the journey!

Before you start migrating the applications, however, you should review whether there is anything that can be improved in the existing application. There are often several things that can be streamlined.

Here are some tips to help you get started:

Create momentum
Get started with the migration rapidly and give the users something tangible to work with right away. That way, the theoretical becomes practical, and users begin to improve themselves in the new platform. Offering user-friendliness functionality is, of course, a bonus.

Produce measurable KPIs
To demonstrate positive results, or improvement points for that matter, both during and after the project. It can be anything from user frequency, transparency, pre-existing KPIs compared to the previous platform, and anything that comes to mind.

Improve, iterate, refine
Don’t stop analyzing and measuring the applications just because they are launched. There is almost always room for improvement - even if it is only a minor change, it can bring significant gains!

5. Embrace change!

Once the migration is completed, it doesn’t mean that everything is done and dusted - this is only the first step. You can now accelerate digitization and take an “end-to-end” approach. Just because one part of a process is digitized or automated doesn’t mean that it’s digitized as a whole. For example, collecting data via an intelligent form but then processing it analogously. There are huge gains to be made by taking a more comprehensive approach in this example. But don’t forget to embrace digitalization and create a positive feeling in the organization!

The new software or platform will raise  expectations of an increased rate of
digitization. It will also bring expectations that the platform is easy to use, drastically improve the process and impact the day-to-day situation for the employees. It is crucial to meet these expectations and be ready for new application areas targeted for change. Above all, it must be something that takes place cross-functionally with several parts of the business involved. It is the business that takes ownership to streamline its way of working.


Next step

We hope you enjoyed these tips and that they may help you in migrating from Lotus Notes.

If you have any questions or want to meet with one of our experts, you can book a demo with us via the link.

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