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Domino – Maintain, Commit to, or Vacate?

Lotus Domino still lives, and you have options for migrating away from or remaining with the platform.

If you have a Domino/Notes footprint that is embedded within your business units and business processes and is taxing your support organization, you may have met resistance from the business and been asked to help the organization migrate away from the Lotus Notes platform. The Lotus Notes platform was long used by technology and businesses and a multipurpose solution that, over the years, became embedded within core business applications and processes.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

For organizations that are struggling to understand their options for the Domino platform, the depth of business process usage is typically the biggest operational obstacle. Migrating off the Domino platform is a difficult option for most organizations due to business process and application complexity. In addition, migrating clients have to resolve the challenges with more than one replaceable solution.

Impact and Result

The most common tactic is for the organization to better understand their Domino migration options and adopt an application rationalization strategy for the Domino applications entrenched within the business. Options include retiring, replatforming, migrating, or staying with your Domino platform.


Domino – Maintain, Commit to, or Vacate? Research & Tools

1. Domino – Maintain, Commit to, or Vacate? – A brief deck that outlines key migration options for HCL Domino platforms.

This blueprint will help you assess the fit, purpose, and price of Domino options; develop strategies for overcoming potential challenges; and determine the future of Domino for your organization.

2. Application Rationalization Tool – A tool to understand your business-developed applications, their importance to business process, and the potential underlying financial impact.

Use this tool to input the outcomes of your various application assessments.


Domino – Maintain, Commit to, or Vacate?

Lotus Domino still lives, and you have options for migrating away from or remaining with the platform.

Executive Summary

Info-Tech Insight

“HCL announced that they have somewhere in the region of 15,000 Domino customers worldwide, and also claimed that that number is growing. They also said that 42% of their customers are already on v11 of Domino, and that in the year or so since that version was released, it’s been downloaded 78,000 times. All of which suggests that the Domino platform is, in fact, alive and well.”
– Nigel Cheshire in Team Studio

Your Challenge

You have a Domino/Notes footprint embedded within your business units and business processes. This is taxing your support organization; you are meeting resistance from the business, and you are now asked to help the organization migrate away from the Lotus Notes platform. The Lotus Notes platform was long used by technology and businesses as a multipurpose solution that, over the years, became embedded within core business applications and processes.

Common Obstacles

For organizations that are struggling to understand their options for the Domino platform, the depth of business process usage is typically the biggest operational obstacle. Migrating off the Domino platform is a difficult option for most organizations due to business process and application complexity. In addition, migrating clients have to resolve the challenges with more than one replaceable solution.

Info-Tech Approach

The most common tactic is for the organization to better understand their Domino migration options and adopt an application rationalization strategy for the Domino applications entrenched within the business. Options include retiring, replatforming, migrating, or staying with your Domino platform.

Review

Is “Lotus” Domino still alive?

Problem statement

The number of member engagements with customers regarding the Domino platform has, as you might imagine, dwindled in the past couple of years. While many members have exited the platform, there are still many members and organizations that have entered a long exit program, but with how embedded Domino is in business processes, the migration has slowed and been met with resistance. Some organizations had replatformed the applications but found that the replacement target state was inadequate and introduced friction because the new solution was not a low-code/business-user-driven environment. This resulted in returning the Domino platform to production and working through a strategy to maintain the environment.

This research is designed for:

  • IT strategic direction decision-makers
  • IT managers responsible for an existing Domino platform
  • Organizations evaluating migration options for mission-critical applications running on Domino

This research will help you:

  1. Evaluate migration options.
  2. Assess the fit and purpose.
  3. Consider strategies for overcoming potential challenges.
  4. Determine the future of this platform for your organization.

The “everything may work” scenario

Adopt and expand

Believe it or not, Domino and Notes are still options to consider when determining a migration strategy. With HCL still committed to the platform, there are options organizations should seek to better understand rather than assuming SharePoint will solve all. In our research, we consider:

Importance to current business processes

  • Importance of use
  • Complexity in migrations
  • Choosing a new platform

Available tools to facilitate

  • Talent/access to skills
  • Economies of scale/lower cost at scale
  • Access to technology

Info-Tech Insight

With multiple options to consider, take the time to clearly understand the application rationalization process within your decision making.

  • Archive/retire
  • Application migration
  • Application replatform
  • Stay right where you are

Eliminate your bias – consider the advantages

“There is a lot of bias toward Domino; decisions are being made by individuals who know very little about Domino and more importantly, they do not know how it impacts business environment.”

– Rob Salerno, Founder & CTO, Rivet Technology Partners

Domino advantages include:

Modern Cloud & Application

  • No-code/low-code technology

Business-Managed Application

  • Business written and supported
  • Embrace the business support model
  • Enterprise class application

Leverage the Application Taxonomy & Build

  • A rapid application development platform
  • Develop skill with HCL training

HCL Domino is a supported and developed platform

Why consider HCL?

  • Consider scheduling a Roadmap Session with HCL. This is an opportunity to leverage any value in the mission and brand of your organization to gain insights or support from HCL.
  • Existing Domino customers are not the only entities seeking certainty with the platform. Software solution providers that support enterprise IT infrastructure ecosystems (backup, for example) will also be seeking clarity for the future of the platform. HCL will be managing these relationships through the channel/partner management programs, but our observations indicate that Domino integrations are scarce.
  • HCL Domino should be well positioned feature-wise to support low-code/NoSQL demands for enterprises and citizen developers.

Visualize Your Application Roadmap

  1. Focus on the application portfolio and crafting a roadmap for rationalization.
    • The process is intended to help you determine each application’s functional and technical adequacy for the business process that it supports.
  2. Document your findings on respective application capability heatmaps.
    • This drives your organization to a determination of application dispositions and provides a tool to output various dispositions for you as a roadmap.
  3. Sort the application portfolio into a disposition status (keep, replatform, retire, consolidate, etc.)
    • This information will be an input into any cloud migration or modernization as well as consolidation of the infrastructure, licenses, and support for them.

Our external support perspective

by Darin Stahl

Member Feedback

  • Some members who have remaining Domino applications in production – while the retire, replatform, consolidate, or stay strategy is playing out – have concerns about the challenges with ongoing support and resources required for the platform. In those cases, some have engaged external services providers to augment staff or take over as managed services.
  • While there could be existing support resources (in house or on retainer), the member might consider approaching an external provider who could help backstop the single resource or even provide some help with the exit strategies. At this point, the conversation would be helpful in any case. One of our members engaged an external provider in a Statement of Work for IBM Domino Administration focused on one-time events, Tier 1/Tier 2 support, and custom ad hoc requests.
  • The augmentation with the managed services enabled the member to shift key internal resources to a focus on executing the exit strategies (replatform, retire, consolidate), since the business knowledge was key to that success.
  • The member also very aggressively governed the Domino environment support needs to truly technical issues/maintenance of known and supported functionality rather than coding new features (and increasing risk and cost in a migration down the road) – in short, freezing new features and functionality unless required for legal compliance or health and safety.
  • There obviously are other providers, but at this point Info-Tech no longer maintains a market view or scan of those related to Domino due to low member demand.

Domino database assessments

Consider the database.

  • Domino database assessments should be informed through the lens of a multi-value database, like jBase, or an object system.
  • The assessment of the databases, often led by relational database subject matter experts grounded in normalized databases, can be a struggle since Notes databases must be denormalized.
Key/Value Column

Use case: Heavily accessed, rarely updated, large amounts of data
Data Model: Values are stored in a hash table of keys.
Fast access to small data values, but querying is slow
Processor friendly
Based on amazon's Dynamo paper
Example: Project Voldemort used by LinkedIn

this is a Key/Value example

Use case: High availability, multiple data centers
Data Model: Storage blocks of data are contained in columns
Handles size well
Based on Google's BigTable
Example: Hadoop/Hbase used by Facebook and Yahoo

This is a Column Example
Document Graph

Use case: Rapid development, Web and programmer friendly
Data Model: Stores documents made up of tagged elements. Uses Key/Value collections
Better query abilities than Key/Value databases.
Inspired by Lotus Notes.
Example: CouchDB used by BBC

This is a Document Example

Use case: Best at dealing with complexity and relationships/networks
Data model: Nodes and relationships.
Data is processed quickly
Inspired by Euler and graph theory
Can easily evolve schemas
Example: Neo4j

This is a Graph Example

Understand your options

Archive/Retire

Store the application data in a long-term repository with the means to locate and read it for regulatory and compliance purposes.

Migrate

Migrate to a new version of the application, facilitating the process of moving software applications from one computing environment to another.

Replatform

Replatforming is an option for transitioning an existing Domino application to a new modern platform (i.e. cloud) to leverage the benefits of a modern deployment model.

Stay

Review the current Domino platform roadmap and understand HCL’s support model. Keep the application within the Domino platform.

Archive/retire

Retire the application, storing the application data in a long-term repository.

Abstract

The most common approach is to build the required functionality in whatever new application/solution is selected, then archive the old data in PDFs and documents.

Typically this involves archiving the data and leveraging Microsoft SharePoint and the new collaborative solutions, likely in conjunction with other software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions.

Advantages

  • Reduce support cost.
  • Consolidate applications.
  • Reduce risk.
  • Reduce compliance and security concerns.
  • Improve business processes.

Considerations

  • Application transformation
  • eDiscovery costs
  • Legal implications
  • Compliance implications
  • Business process dependencies

Info-Tech Insights

Be aware of the costs associated with archiving. The more you archive, the more it will cost you.

Application migration

Migrate to a new version of the application

Abstract

An application migration is the managed process of migrating or moving applications (software) from one infrastructure environment to another.

This can include migrating applications from one data center to another data center, from a data center to a cloud provider, or from a company’s on-premises system to a cloud provider’s infrastructure.

Advantages

  • Reduce hardware costs.
  • Leverage cloud technologies.
  • Improve scalability.
  • Improve disaster recovery.
  • Improve application security.

Considerations

  • Data extraction, starting from the document databases in NSF format and including security settings about users and groups granted to read and write single documents, which is a powerful feature of Lotus Domino documents.
  • File extraction, starting from the document databases in NSF format, which can contain attachments and RTF documents and embedded files.
  • Design of the final relational database structure; this activity should be carried out without taking into account the original structure of the data in Domino files or the data conversion and loading, from the extracted format to the final model.
  • Design and development of the target-state custom applications based on the new data model and the new selected development platform.

Application replatform

Transition an existing Domino application to a new modern platform

Abstract

This type of arrangement is typically part of an application migration or transformation. In this model, client can “replatform” the application into an off-premises hosted provider platform. This would yield many benefits of cloud but in a different scaling capacity as experienced with commodity workloads (e.g. Windows, Linux) and the associated application.

Two challenges are particularly significant when migrating or replatforming Domino applications:

  • The application functionality/value must be reproduced/replaced with not one but many applications, either through custom coding or a commercial-off-the-shelf/SaaS solution.
  • Notes “databases” are not relational databases and will not migrate simply to an SQL database while retaining the same business value. Notes databases are essentially NoSQL repositories and are difficult to normalize.

Advantages

  • Leverage cloud technologies.
  • Improve scalability.
  • Align to a SharePoint platform.
  • Improve disaster recovery.
  • Improve application security.

Considerations

  • Application replatform resource effort
  • Network bandwidth
  • New platform terms and conditions
  • Secure connectivity and communication
  • New platform security and compliance
  • Degree of complexity

Info-Tech Insights

There is a difference between a migration and a replatform application strategy. Determine which solution aligns to the application requirements.

Stay with HCL

Stay with HCL, understanding its future commitment to the platform.

Abstract

Following the announced acquisition of IBM Domino and up until around December 2019, HCL had published no future roadmap for the platform. The public-facing information/website at the time stated that HCL acquired “the product family and key lab services to deliver professional services.” Again, there was no mention or emphasis on upcoming new features for the platform. The product offering on their website at the time stated that HCL would leverage its services expertise to advise clients and push applications into four buckets:

  1. Replatform
  2. Retire
  3. Move to cloud
  4. Modernize

That public-facing messaging changed with release 11.0, which had references to IBM rebranded to HCL for the Notes and Domino product – along with fixes already inflight. More information can be found on HCL’s FAQ page.

Advantages

  • Known environment
  • Domino is a supported platform
  • Domino is a developed platform
  • No-code/low-code optimization
  • Business developed applications
  • Rapid application framework

This is the HCL Domino Logo

Understand your tools

Many tools are available to help evaluate or migrate your Domino Platform. Here are a few common tools for you to consider.

Notes Archiving & Notes to SharePoint

Summary of Vendor

“SWING Software delivers content transformation and archiving software to over 1,000 organizations worldwide. Our solutions uniquely combine key collaborative platforms and standard document formats, making document production, publishing, and archiving processes more efficient.”*

Tools

Lotus Notes Data Migration and Archiving: Preserve historical data outside of Notes and Domino

Lotus Note Migration: Replacing Lotus Notes. Boost your migration by detaching historical data from Lotus Notes and Domino.

Headquarters

Croatia

Best fit

  • Application archive and retire
  • Migration to SharePoint

This is an image of the SwingSoftware Logo

* swingsoftware.com

Domino Migration to SharePoint

Summary of Vendor

“Providing leading solutions, resources, and expertise to help your organization transform its collaborative environment.”*

Tools

Notes Domino Migration Solutions: Rivit’s industry-leading solutions and hardened migration practice will help you eliminate Notes Domino once and for all.

Rivive Me: Migrate Notes Domino applications to an enterprise web application

Headquarters

Canada

Best fit

  • Application Archive & Retire
  • Migration to SharePoint

This is an image of the RiVit Logo

* rivit.ca

Lotus Notes to M365

Summary of Vendor

“More than 300 organizations across 40+ countries trust skybow to build no-code/no-compromise business applications & processes, and skybow’s community of customers, partners, and experts grows every day.”*

Tools

SkyBow Studio: The low-code platform fully integrated into Microsoft 365

Headquarters:

Switzerland

Best fit

  • Application Archive & Retire
  • Migration to SharePoint

This is an image of the SkyBow Logo

* skybow.com | About skybow

Notes to SharePoint Migration

Summary of Vendor

“CIMtrek is a global software company headquartered in the UK. Our mission is to develop user-friendly, cost-effective technology solutions and services to help companies modernize their HCL Domino/Notes® application landscape and support their legacy COBOL applications.”*

Tools

CIMtrek SharePoint Migrator: Reduce the time and cost of migrating your IBM® Lotus Notes® applications to Office 365, SharePoint online, and SharePoint on premises.

Headquarters

United Kingdom

Best fit

  • Application replatform
  • Migration to SharePoint

This is an image of the CIMtrek Logo

* cimtrek.com | About CIMtrek

Domino replatform/Rapid application selection framework

Summary of Vendor

“4WS.Platform is a rapid application development tool used to quickly create multi-channel applications including web and mobile applications.”*

Tools

4WS.Platform is available in two editions: Community and Enterprise.
The Platform Enterprise Edition, allows access with an optional support pack.

4WS.Platform’s technical support provides support services to the users through support contracts and agreements.

The platform is a subscription support services for companies using the product which will allow customers to benefit from the knowledge of 4WS.Platform’s technical experts.

Headquarters

Italy

Best fit

  • Application replatform

This is an image of the 4WS PLATFORM Logo

* 4wsplatform.org

Activity

Understand your Domino options

Application Rationalization Exercise

Info-Tech Insight

Application rationalization is the perfect exercise to fully understand your business-developed applications, their importance to business process, and the potential underlying financial impact.

This activity involves the following participants:

  • IT strategic direction decision-makers.
  • IT managers responsible for an existing Domino platform
  • Organizations evaluating platforms for mission-critical applications.

Outcomes of this step:

  • Completed Application Rationalization Tool

Application rationalization exercise

Use this Application Rationalization Tool to input the outcomes of your various application assessments

In the Application Entry tab:

  • Input your application inventory or subset of apps you intend to rationalize, along with some basic information for your apps.

In the Business Value & TCO Comparison tab, determine rationalization priorities.

  • Input your business value scores and total cost of ownership (TCO) of applications.
  • Review the results of this analysis to determine which apps should require additional analysis and which dispositions should be prioritized.

In the Disposition Selection tab:

  • Add to or adapt our list of dispositions as appropriate.

In the Rationalization Inputs tab:

  • Add or adapt the disposition criteria of your application rationalization framework as appropriate.
  • Input the results of your various assessments for each application.

In the Disposition Settings tab:

  • Add or adapt settings that generate recommended dispositions based on your rationalization inputs.

In the Disposition Recommendations tab:

  • Review and compare the rationalization results and confirm if dispositions are appropriate for your strategy.

In the Timeline Considerations tab:

  • Enter the estimated timeline for when you execute your dispositions.

In the Portfolio Roadmap tab:

  • Review and present your roadmap and rationalization results.

Follow the instructions to generate recommended dispositions and populate an application portfolio roadmap.

This image depicts a scatter plot graph where the X axis is labeled Business Value, and the Y Axis is labeled Cost. On the graph, the following datapoints are displayed: SF; HRIS; ERP; ALM; B; A; C; ODP; SAS

Info-Tech Insight

Watch out for misleading scores that result from poorly designed criteria weightings.

Related Info-Tech Research

Build an Application Rationalization Framework

Manage your application portfolio to minimize risk and maximize value.

Embrace Business-Managed Applications

Empower the business to implement their own applications with a trusted business-IT relationship.

Satisfy Digital End Users With Low- and No-Code

Extend IT, automation, and digital capabilities to the business with the right tools, good governance, and trusted organizational relationships.

Maximize the Benefits from Enterprise Applications with a Center of Excellence

Optimize your organization’s enterprise application capabilities with a refined and scalable methodology.

Drive Successful Sourcing Outcomes With a Robust RFP Process

Leverage your vendor sourcing process to get better results.

Research Authors

Darin Stahl, Principal Research Advisor, Info-Tech Research Group

Darin Stahl, Principal Research Advisor,
Info-Tech Research Group

Darin is a Principal Research Advisor within the Infrastructure practice, leveraging 38+ years of experience. His areas of focus include IT operations management, service desk, infrastructure outsourcing, managed services, cloud infrastructure, DRP/BCP, printer management, managed print services, application performance monitoring, managed FTP, and non-commodity servers (zSeries, mainframe, IBM i, AIX, Power PC).

Troy Cheeseman, Practice Lead, Info-Tech Research Group

Troy Cheeseman, Practice Lead,
Info-Tech Research Group

Troy has over 24 years of experience and has championed large enterprise-wide technology transformation programs, remote/home office collaboration and remote work strategies, BCP, IT DRP, IT operations and expense management programs, international right placement initiatives, and large technology transformation initiatives (M&A). Additionally, he has deep experience working with IT solution providers and technology (cloud) startups.

Research Contributors

Rob Salerno, Founder & CTO, Rivit Technology Partners

Rob Salerno, Founder & CTO, Rivit Technology Partners

Rob is the Founder and Chief Technology Strategist for Rivit Technology Partners. Rivit is a system integrator that delivers unique IT solutions. Rivit is known for its REVIVE migration strategy which helps companies leave legacy platforms (such as Domino) or move between versions of software. Rivit is the developer of the DCOM Application Archiving solution.

Bibliography

Cheshire, Nigel. “Domino v12 Launch Keeps HCL Product Strategy On Track.” Team Studio, 19 July 2021. Web.

“Is LowCode/NoCode the best platform for you?” Rivit Technology Partners, 15 July 2021. Web.

McCracken, Harry. “Lotus: Farewell to a Once-Great Tech Brand.” TIME, 20 Nov. 2012. Web.

Sharwood, Simon. “Lotus Notes refuses to die, again, as HCL debuts Domino 12.” The Register, 8 June 2021. Web.

Woodie, Alex. “Domino 12 Comes to IBM i.” IT Jungle, 16 Aug. 2021. Web.

About Info-Tech

Info-Tech Research Group is the world’s fastest-growing information technology research and advisory company, proudly serving over 30,000 IT professionals.

We produce unbiased and highly relevant research to help CIOs and IT leaders make strategic, timely, and well-informed decisions. We partner closely with IT teams to provide everything they need, from actionable tools to analyst guidance, ensuring they deliver measurable results for their organizations.

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Authors

Darin Stahl

Troy Cheeseman

Contributors

  • Rob Selarno, Founder & CTO, Rivit Technology Partners

Search Code: 99512
Last Revised: September 19, 2022

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