Super.move Acceleration Packs Streamline Migration to Domino

Lotus Development Corp. (Cambridge, Mass.) has released a series of acceleration packs in an effort to hasten migrations to Domino. The packs are the latest addition to Lotus' Super.move migration program, which extends to 14 clients, and can reach up to 20 more through partner tools and services.

Although migrating to Notes/Domino seems logical for an AS/400 outfit in terms of functionality and compatibility, actually executing the process can pose difficulties.
Super.move represents an aggressive initiative by Lotus to provide customers with the products, support, and training necessary for seamless migration to Domino from both a technical and end-user perspective.

This is of particular interest to the AS/400 community, as IBM's termination of support for OfficeVision/400 (According to IBM sales, V4R5 will not include OfficeVision/400 services.), has forced many shops to confront migration. And as the demand for collaborative applications continues to rise, the rapidity in which AS/400 users are adopting Notes/Domino is building. By addressing both the end-user with instruction and training, and the administrator with tools and support, Super.move is intended to enable a quick and easy transition for those organizations migrating to Notes/Domino.

While Notes/Domino is most commonly used as a messaging and calendaring solution, Larry Zaykowski, group manager of business collaboration marketing for Lotus, believes the e-business needs of the midrange space make robust collaborative features a necessity. He says Notes/Domino's real-time functionality for messaging, e-meetings, information sharing, and searching give it a competitive advantage over products like OfficeVision/400 and Microsoft Exchange.

E-business applications analyst for Forrester (Cambridge, Mass.), Navi Radjou agrees with Zaykowski, saying, "as far as real-time collaboration technologies are concerned, Lotus definitely has the lead." While Radjou believes the impending release of Exchange 2000 will align Microsoft more closely with Lotus in terms of collaboration, he says that for e-businesses' interfirm coordination needs, Notes/Domino will remain the more capable solution.

Furthermore, Notes/Domino has a reputation for being an excellent fit for the AS/400 platform, as evidenced by the scalability and performance benchmarks the new 840 server recently set for Domino (75,000 concurrent Notes users; 276 millisecond avg. response time). And given AS/400's repute for reliability, a shop confronted by the migration issues that accompany an acquisition or merger would likely be well served in selecting a Notes/Domino-AS/400 setting. Says Zaykowski, on choosing AS/400 in such a situation, "when you start evaluating and talking about how important availability is and how important mail is -- there's just no question where you're going to go."

Although migrating to Notes/Domino seems logical for an AS/400 outfit in terms of functionality and compatibility, actually executing the process can pose difficulties. Richard Stafford, who recently headed a migration of approximately 1,700 users from OfficeVision/400 to Notes/Domino for Independent Insurance (a large European insurance company), found the effort to be extremely problematic.

He explains that during the migration, he was confronted by a number of issues, the most troubling of which was a crash prone calendar-connect feature. Stafford says the calendar connect failed every time one of his employees attempted to use it. "Things that you just expected to work, didn't work."

Stafford also cites resistance from key personnel to accept the new system as a problem. He says that because the employees had grown accustomed to working on a green screen, the jump to a GUI interface was greeted with skepticism.

Independent's original project timeline for the migration was August 1, 1999 to November 1, 1999, says Stafford. But, due to the numerous setbacks, the project was frozen in the middle of November for Y2K. The migration resumed February 1, 2000 and was ultimately completed by the beginning of April 2000.

Bob Teeter, development manager of migration tools for IBM, describes the majority of problems Stafford experienced as a product of conflicts with Independent's system settings. And he contends, the 2.2 release of migration tools are more user-friendly.

Stafford admits the 2.2 tools were not available during Independent's migration, and says he would tend to believe many of the troubles he experienced have been addressed by the newer version.

Despite all the struggles Stafford had in migrating Independent from OfficeVision/400 to Notes/Domino, he calls the support Lotus and IBM provided "excellent." This seems to substantiate the existence of an aggressive support initiative like Super.move.

However, when asked if he believes Super.move would have helped streamline Independent's transition from OfficeVision/400 to Notes/Domino, Stafford says "I'm not 100-percent convinced of that." His reasoning is that migrations are already under tight project management in large organizations.

IBM's Teeter explains that "planning is key in doing one of these migrations." And he says that if an organization has gone through a thorough planning process prior to starting the migration, "then he [Stafford] may be right." But, Teeter argues, "on the other hand, even with some of the large organizations, the planning isn't always there."

The acceleration packs are offered at three tiers, and priced according to services required. Acceleration Pack I is intended for a migration of less than 1,000 users, and is priced from $2,495. Acceleration Pack II is for mid-sized migration of 500-3,000 users, and is priced from $5,495. Acceleration Pack III, which is intended for large migrations of more than 1,000 users and includes engagement from Lotus Professional Services to ensure proper implementation, is priced from $24,995.

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