Q: When can I get rid of my Domino server?
Well, how many Notes apps do you have?  And how complex are they?  Until you know those answers, unplugging the Domino server is probably not in the cards.  We recommend running the Discovery part of EscapeNotes -- a quick way to get a practical and unbiased handle on your Notes infrastructure.

In 22 years looking at Notes applications, the majority will fall into one of three categories:

  • "sunset" (low usage, old data, copies of existing data)
  • "archive data" (read-only access required)
  • low to medium-low on our Complexity Score scale -- but not a shoe-in as most databases are based on modified Lotus Notes templates

EscapeNotes will take care of a good chunk of those in a hurry.

The next big chunk of the Notes applications will fall in the "medium" to "medium-high" complexity range on the Complexity Score scale.  Those require some rework of the design in Force.com.   With EscapeNotes you have an unfair advantage:

  • Notespedia™, a design encyclopedia of your entire Notes infrastructure.  Perfect for non-Notes engineers.
  • Access to certified Force.com engineers trained to migrate Notes designs using EscapeNotes
  • Unique speed and flexibility of EscapeNotes for rapid application development (aka "trial and error")

That leaves the "high" and "very-high" Complexity Score applications, the toughies (hundreds of views, gazillions of documents, hardwired external interfaces), the apps where the Notes developers leveraged little of the Notes object model, native programming languages or documented best practices.  And of course a few business-critical, perfectly written and documented chefs-d'oeuvres. Here again EscapeNotes can help:

  • Search through Notespedia for coding oddities
  • Identify similarities in the design elements between applications
  • Estimate manual Force.com work based on the Complexity Score -- without spending days studying the Notes source code
  • And most important really know the proportion of those apps in the overall total -- and their actual usage!

At the end, getting rid of your Domino server shouldn't be a religious exercise.  If you are left with only 5 to 10% of "irreducible" Notes applications, you are way ahead.  You can run them on a much smaller Domino server, paying a lot less in licensing fees.  And turn off the other servers.

And as technically exciting as it may be, the big gains are not in studying ad-nauseum the complex Notes applications.  It is in rapidly dispatching the bulk of your Notes application pool.

Q: Who needs automation?
You can analyze your Notes database manually and then migrate the design and data by hand.  Given plenty of time and resources and perfect concentration, your result will exceed what EscapeNotes can do. We would like to illustrate our point with the two guys above from the "Shadoks", an old comic strip.  They engaged in useless and endless pumping. They believed in:

  • doing things the hard way;
  • saw their world in two dimensions only;
  • thought that if there is no solution that's because there is no problem;
  • beat up the same people to reduce the number of unhappy people;

Sound familiar?  

In an independent study Cap Gemini found that design and data migration went faster by a factor 10x to 20x.   And that afterwards, building enhancements in Salesforce went 2 to 3 times faster. Assessment by "competitors" capture a fraction of the data collected by EscapeNotes and take weeks where it only takes us days.

Q: Can you help me escape my office?
Kind of.  By escaping Notes you'll put an end to years of struggle. Face it, Notes stopped being hip and a career choice a few years after your company adopted it. The writing was on the wall when Ray Ozzie started Groove, frankly, although many of us didn't get that memo.

Salesforce and the cloud makes sense; its Force platform architecture is a close cousin to Notes.  It is easy on "citizen developers" (similar skills required) and overall a good career move for Lotus Notes engineers (check the rates and demand on freelancing sites...).

Go ahead, ask your boss if you can attend Dreamforce.  Talk to your local Salesforce rep to have a frank discussion about Lotus Notes, EscapeNotes and Force.

As for escaping your office, sure: every Notes app we migrate to Force is mobile.  So good bye Lotus Notes client on a cubicle desktop, hello iPad on your couch.

How long will it take to escape?
Amazingly, EscapeNotes™ analyzes everything about a Notes database in a New York minute.  So fast a large IBM Domino® server is done while we have lunch.  Many of our client have used other "assessment" tools out there that took weeks, lots of manual handling and still didn't get through half of the data EscapeNotes retrieves.  It pays to be specialized and keep at it for 15 years...

Migrating the data is very fast, basically limited by your bandwidth.  Unlike alternatives, it is a direct link between the Notes design (not just the data) and the target Salesforce cloud.  No intermediary formats, no middleware, no code.  OK, so how fast?  We've moved Notes documents at a rate of 40,000 Notes document an hour.   You need that to turn off an app on Friday and open for business in Salesforce on Monday.

That leaves the design.  EscapeNotes will create all the time consuming Force.com stuff for you, like custom objects, fields, tabs, even some of the views.  We've seen Notes forms with over 2000 fields.  That takes us about 1 minute.

The rest?  A few hours for each Notes app, more if the business processes have to be reverse engineered.

Generally speaking, the longest part is to decide what to keep.

Will any data be left behind?
No data is left behind unless you want it to be.

We make it easy to filter data:

  • Select a subset of fields within each document
  • Select a subset of documents based on filters (such as name of the product, date published, etc.)
  • Select a subset of file attachments (such as Microsoft Office, modified last month, less than 5MB, etc.)

We show you a preview of the data and a forecast of the number of documents and their total size.

Since Notes is often used as a poor man's document management, we allow you to send attachments as:provide you a way to filter attachments:

  • Store and link in Salesforce Content
  • Google Docs
  • Amazon S3
  • SharePoint
  • FTP
  • WebDav

In addition to attachments, we support

  • Rich text (including tables)
  • Responses to documents
  • Links
  • Embedded images
  • Tables in forms
  • Profiles
  • DocLinks

Of course you can send Notes data to one or more Salesforce object, breaking up a Notes app into multiple entities.  Or not, and just pack off everything in Notes including the kitchen sink!

Karen Thurman