In today’s IT world, all organizations wants to get away from the word ‘Legacy’ and the applications related to this legacy. Business wants to thrive their strategy and achieve their goals by moving away from this legacy applications and migrate to web based applications which can be used anywhere with limited maintenance and support.
When I first got into the Lotus Notes Migration program, there were many questions that came in to my mind:
1- Why do we need to migrate?
2- What is the best possible target platform for migration?
3- Why to migrate to SharePoint?
4- How to categorize the target as template based or custom apps in SharePoint?
5- Are there any migrations of the Notes Email as well to target?
6- How to do Application and Data migration? Should we use any tool?
Following are the answers for these questions:
1- The capabilities Notes offers are still great. But Lotus Notes is always expensive and taxing to maintain compared to Microsoft technologies.
2- We always evaluate alternate platforms with Pros and Cons and decide on the feasibility based on the requirements and features available. Migrating to SharePoint is cost effective with most of the functionalities and features retained.
3- Why to migrate to SharePoint is driven by the business need after careful technical evaluation and most of the functionalities can be obtained through OOTB features of SharePoint.
4- This can be done by analyzing the Lotus Notes applications – templates and design elements.
5- Notes Email to Outlook is possible and very much happening from usability perspective.
6- There were various tools in the market to do the application and content migration. Organizations buy the tools based on the cost and size of data that can be migrated without any loss of data.
SharePoint Migration - Lists, Libraries & Pages
Migrating your Lotus Notes applications to Microsoft SharePoint is a two-step process. First, we must move the application content, and then work to migrate over the application design. Migration can be started in one of the following ways:
- Correct content migration is often considered the most business critical aspect of the migration process. We can always tweak the design of an application later, but if we fail to preserve the legacy content with adequate fidelity and completeness, users may be very unhappy.
- Some legacy content is very sensitive for compliance reasons or other business reasons, so the stakes are very high to get both the content and access permissions right.
- In many cases, there is no need for design migration. We simply migrate the old content into one of the new SharePoint site or list templates and we are done.
- In some cases, we will want to take the time to rethink the application design to take advantage of all the great new features of SharePoint and SharePoint Online. This would also eliminate the need for a design migration.
Lists, Libraries and Pages:
First, we should understand that there are three basic ways to store content in SharePoint: lists, libraries, and pages. Each of these has a number of interesting variations, but it is important to understand the differences between these three fundamental types so we can best decide what we want to migrate to. Each type is described briefly here; the sections that follow explain in detail how to migrate content to each.
Lists are similar to tables in a relational database. A list is a flat collection of data records (called items in SharePoint) with a fixed set of data fields (called columns). Each data column has a fixed name and type. Lists can have one or more binary attachments and may have one or more views, which allow users to select and sort the items in various ways.
All of this should sound pretty familiar to Notes customers, because a list is actually the closest thing in SharePoint to a Notes database. The biggest difference is that SharePoint lists are highly structured with a fixed schema (like a relational database), whereas Notes databases can be very unstructured, with every document having a different set of data items.
Libraries are collections of binary files, such as images, Word documents, or audio clips. While lists and libraries are very similar internally, the metaphor is very different: in a list, the document may contain several binary file attachments; in a library, the binary file is the document. The emphasis in libraries is the document management functionality, including versioning and check-in/check-out. As with lists, libraries can have many additional data columns defined for capturing additional information about each document.
In the Notes world, the closest thing to a SharePoint library is a Domino.Doc file cabinet. (Domino.Doc was a popular document management system built on top of Notes.) Many organizations also built custom Notes applications that attempt to implement document management functionality. Any time you see a Notes application where the file attachment is “the document,” consider migrating it to a SharePoint library. It is also common for Notes “team site” applications to have a document library section as part of the overall application.
Pages are the building blocks of all SharePoint sites. These are the web pages we actually see in the web browser every time we click on a link to view a site, open a document, enter some information, or do just about anything else. Most people do not realize that the same pages that make up the sites themselves can also be used as data documents. SharePoint actually allows us to create several types of content pages, including basic pages, wiki pages, web part pages, and publishing pages.
While content pages have no exact equivalent in the Notes world, they can be a great way to migrate certain types of Notes applications. Any time we see a Notes application in which the main intent was to publish a library of rich text pages to a large number of users, consider migrating it to a SharePoint page library or a publishing site. This includes the many Notes applications that implemented public web or extranet sites.