How to deliver successful Lotus Notes to SharePoint migrations

Is your company still on Lotus Notes? Are you looking to migrate your databases over to SharePoint or o365? Did you start your search? Would you say you are in the kicking-the-tires, preparation, migration, validation, or post-migration training stage? Did you even break down your stages as such or do you have a completely different approach?

Over the last 10 years or so of helping organizations migrate from Lotus Notes to SharePoint I’ve come to realize that many organizations have their own strategies and timelines when migrating from Lotus Notes. No matter how you approach the task at hand, success will fall in place EVENTUALLY.

But I’ve also realized that in order to deliver success faster and at a cheaper cost two stages need to be thought about and accomplished thoroughly.

Pre-migration assessment (a.k.a the fact finding stage)

This is the stage where you are getting to know your environment better. For example, how customized, large, simple, template-d, used, or integrated it is.

This stage merits thorough consideration so you know exactly what needs to be migrated, how and for how long.

Here are some success recipes for this stage:

  1. Determine the number of databases that are not being used.
    • Your retention policy determines the month/year of your cutoff date.
  2. Determine the number of databases that are Lotus Notes specific
    • In other words, help databases, how to upgrade Domino, bookmarks, etc.
  3. Categorize the remaining databases into buckets.
    • Standard: Discussion, Document, Team Rooms, Announcements, etc.
    • Custom: Training, project, expense tracking, asset management, etc.
  4. Determine the complexity levels of the remaining databases
    • How many: forms, views, agents, scripts, @Formulas, sections, etc.
    • What type of workflows: Action, email routing, approval, validation, or super custom
  5. Look for items that won’t migrate
    • Long file names, large files, files with specific extensions, corrupt files
  6. Aggregate and rationalize your findings
    • Put all findings into a single interface
  7. Seek third-party help
    • Dell Notes Migrator for SharePoint has a FREE analysis tool that can help you with all of the above. Alternatively, your Lotus Notes admin or hired services manager would be able to assist

User training and adoption (a.k.a the headache eliminating stage)

This is the stage where users are climbing up a new learning curve full of “how’s” and “where’s” scenarios of the new collaboration platform, SharePoint.

It is critical for this stage to be considered thoroughly so users can hit the ground somewhat running with SharePoint and so you can reduce the congestion on your help desk team.

Here are some success recipes for this stage

  1. Keep users informed
    • Email communications before, during, and after the migration on what to expect, high level process, and where to go for resources are highly improtant
  2. Educate and train users
    • Put together a SharePoint site for FAQs, video tutorials, discussions, etc.
    • Put together live presentations, webinars to show the how’s and where’s
  3. Prepare your target
    • Out of the box: Apply themes, enable features, configure approvals, etc.
    • Look for solutions like Dell’s Quick Apps for SharePoint to provide Lotus Notes specific features that users will want to keep such as tabular, sectional, and behavioral forms, audience-specific navigation, multi-level field groupings, search all metadata fields, etc.
  4. Keep things simple
    • SharePoint can arguably serve a lot of needs, but you should keep its value add simple and focused on the new home for the migrated content
  5. Hire and train help desk engineers
    • No matter how good of a job you do in educating and training, help desk is bound to receive unparalleled number of tickets

The other stages of a migration such as assigning tasks, building target environments, migrating content, mapping security, or whatever else you’ve introduced shouldn’t be ignored, but they, due to everyone’s attention, are bound to fall in place and succeed.

However, what you ensure when you complete the above two stages thoroughly is critical:

  • Knowing what content needs to be migrated
  • Preparing target environments with Notes-like features
  • Setting users with success through a smooth transition

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