I'm working in company (several thousands client computers) using tools like MS Outlook + Exchange + Sharepoint + Communication server. Now our mother company shared the idea that everything should be moved to IBM Lotus Notes + Domino.

The reason for this is that Outlook based solution is too expensive (it is the official statement even they don't want to replace MS Office yet). Other reason probably is that they received a lot of licences for Lotus when they bought IBM servers to new data center.

My question is: Is this reasonable change or is it just some management game and IBM's marketing? Will it really save money? Other question: Is Lotus better then MS solution? This is serious question, it is not mentioned to open any kind of flame war. I just don't believe the decission and I have never used Lotus tools.

closed as not constructive by Rob Moir, Sven, jscott, John Gardeniers, Sam Cogan Feb 2 '11 at 10:24

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    This is very subjective, so yes voting to close. My opinion for what its worth (not much, been a while since I 'did' notes & I'm an Exchange person all the way), but IIRC its Exchange is a more narrowly defined product than notes, which can be customised a lot further. This is both a blessing and a curse for notes - Exchange is a better messaging platform out of the box, Notes is better if you need to extend into other areas. All IMHO as I say. – Rob Moir Feb 1 '11 at 22:03
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    Here go the flame wars! :) – Matt Feb 1 '11 at 23:20
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    Agree with @Robert (+1) - will also add that the cost / benefit equation is at least part dependent on the people involved. MS experts doing Lotus are asking for trouble & vice versa. – LRE Feb 1 '11 at 23:37
  • Maybe we could leave this question open for a while just to entertain ourselves with the flaming (not that I see any yet)? – LRE Feb 1 '11 at 23:40
  • Any question along the lines of "is X better than W" is very likely to get closed. However, if you have an actual answerable question please feel free to post it. – John Gardeniers Feb 2 '11 at 4:07

It's very difficult to determine whether one solution will save money over another. There are many hidden costs beyond licensing costs. Lotus Notes is not very similar to Outlook/Exchange other than they both can be used for email. You could drive yourself mad trying to come up with a fair assessment. If the decision is above your heads, I'd just get ready to deal with it. If you have some say in the matter, consider the following.

First, there are many tools that allow you to have both Exchange and Lotus Notes in coexistence. You might consider a phased approach to moving between platforms. I've had success in a small company running Lotus Notes side-by-side with Exchange for years.

Second, there is an undeniable cost to moving between platforms. Email is the simplest to transition and still could be very expensive given the down time, time to retrain staff, loss of email or fidelity of email during transition, etc. But beyond that, moving applications/data from SharePoint to Lotus Notes is an enormous and expensive undertaking.

Third, I don't have numbers to back this up, and I'm going from gut instinct here, but there doesn't seem to be a plethora of Lotus Notes / Domino professionals out there. On the other hand, Microsoft Exchange professionals are much more common

Lastly, consider the worst case scenario. What if Lotus Notes loses market share in the next five years. Some might say it has already lost the email battle, but current reports as of 2010 are stating they're a close second to Exchange. Consider which company you feel safer with in the long run.

Just to throw some love Lotus' way, and to make you feel a bit more at ease if you're truly stuck moving, I have to say I really like Lotus Notes/Domino for what it is. Its strength has never been email alone, but as a collaboration platform and rapid application development platform, it's great.


The question about which is better is completely subjective and I wouldn't even recommend bringing it up. In fact I assume one of the forum moderators will either edit down or close the question in about 4 milliseconds because of this.

The "which is better" discussion is HIGHLY specific to your needs, your politics, development and operations skills, preferences, biases and many many more options.

It can't be determined by an outsider whether the change makes sense or is a management game -it could be a combination of all or none. This question should be asked to people in your company.

Costs are also nearly impossible to compare without significant analysis. Microsoft and Lotus generally sell each corporate deal at a different price, not to mention possible resellers and their discounts, and features you want, number of servers, etc.

It's impossible to answer any of this so I recommend directing the questions inward towards your organization.

  • +1 Talk to folks who have used both if you can. – Dave M Feb 1 '11 at 21:58
  • +1 so by your answer I think that there is no obvious cost reduction. I don't beleive that we have any real analysis - just experience from former "ideas". – Ladislav Mrnka Feb 1 '11 at 22:03
  • There may be a significant cost reduction. Or not. If the analysis isn't there, you really need to do it in order to know. – Matt Feb 1 '11 at 22:04
  • I can't speak for MS->Lotus migrations but I've seen plenty going the other way that turned out to be enormously expensive. The thing is they both take very different approaches to things so translating from one to the other is not easy. – LRE Feb 1 '11 at 23:35

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