Standard disclaimer – the ‘migratenotes’ posts come from a Notes Migration blog that I wrote from 2007-2010. More Info
For those keeping track, our formal strategy on what to do with Notes vs. SharePoint was on hold pending some hard data on the level of effort to develop and maintain applications.
So we did what any group of people without data would do — we made some ourselves. We selected an app that was basic enough to be realistic, but with enough quirky features to throw a wrench at us, and went ahead and made a prototype.
Results were as follows:
- 1 week to get the development environment all worked out, mostly by finding the right patches for Office and SharePoint.
- 4 days of learning the various controls and techniques available to us.
- 1/2 day of actual development once we got it all put together.
- Approximately 80% of functionality with an exact match, 15% with a reasonable change of function to met the same business needs, and 5% not achievable with a realistic amount of effort.
And we concluded the following:
- For strategic purposes, we should ignore the 9 days of “learning curve”. That is a one-time effort for each developer, probably decreasing as the team’s skills grow.
- The actual development effort between SharePoint and Notes is fairly comparable, IF you stick with certain restrictions (listed below). Details of specific apps may make one side quicker than the other, but the delta is small enough that it shouldn’t impact our strategy.
- Security is weak in SharePoint. Before SharePoint folks jump on this, let me give a caveat to that statement – You can make SharePoint security match every Notes security function short of field-level encryption, BUT that then changes the level of effort significantly. To keep development levels on pace with each other, apps that require complex, strict security need to remain within Notes.
- You must use InfoPath. We, as developers had decided that InfoPath was nice, but not really needed. But the time savings in development has changed our minds. Without InfoPath, stick with Notes.
The bottom line is this — from a purely technical point of view, migrating to SharePoint is a “neutral” activity. It neither offers great benefit, nor does it offer great harm. The decision is going to be made on a non-technical basis. The cost of running SharePoint is likely higher today, but it will likely come in line over the next couple years as skill sets improve and Microsoft improves the product.
Technical folks will be able to punch holes in SharePoint to their heart’s content… there are enough gaps and issues to do so. However, SharePoint will meet a significant majority of requirements, and the amount of technical effort required to fill in the gaps will be an acceptable risk/cost to most organizations with valid strategic reasons to be moving to SharePoint. In particular, if a small/medium sized Notes environment is kept around for the ~10% of functions that SharePoint cannot handled.
Our overall recommendation in our organization is to do new development in SharePoint, web-enable as much Notes as we can, remove the Notes client from the organizations, and let the Notes system decrease over time through natural attrition, as the SharePoint environment matures.
(Note that this is a change. When I started this blog, the strategy was “Get rid of Notes. Now.”)
This path also leaves us with options – if the platforms undergo major change for better or worse, we can always turn our strategy around.