Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Advice on E-mail Platform

Let me just say, if you are currently in an environment that has Lotus Notes/Domino and Microsoft Outlook/Exchange (you can add lessor players in the mix if needed - GroupWise??) and you are looking to consolidate on one as a result of a merger, consolidation, need to standardize on a single mail platform, etc., take a really close look at the environments and what they are doing for you today. It seems the main problem when this comparison comes up is that a committee gets together and looks at doing e-mail only and has people say they like the Outlook client better (and they are use to it as they use Outlook Express at home, etc..). DON'T limit the evaluation to just sending e-mail and DON'T just buy into the ROI hype and say we're going with Microsoft.

Look at what applications are running in the Notes/Domino environment and what effect changing the e-mail system may have. If you don't and the applications actually have any use at all, you will probably end up with one of two scenarios.

Scenario One.

Move everyone to Microsoft Outlook/Exchange, many will be happy as the e-mail is flowing fine, but you have just turned the world upside down for those that came to rely on the Notes applications. You will probably be sending them back to manual processes or writing new applications to take the place of the old and realizing that the you just can't get the workflow that they are requesting.

Scenario Two.

You decide on Microsoft Outlook/Exchange but also realize the need for the Notes applications, so you move everyone to Outlook/Exchange for mail and keep some Notes/Domino around simply for running the applications. You have now limited the inherent workflow functionality of Notes, increased User Administration and are paying for an environment that could still do mail, but you are limiting it simply to applications.

Additional note:

I might add if you are simply looking at these e-mail systems for the first time don't discount the application side of Notes/Domino or you can often find that 6 months down the road you have people saying that they want workflow applications and you end up with all kinds of applications written with each application having it's own user administration.

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