So you’re planning or know someone who is planning an email and/or application migration? Do you have questions? Is someone asking questions that you don’t have answers to? Do you want to know what’s really in your environment? Is it time to budget? If any of these questions sound familiar to you, then sit back and let me tell you a little story of my own experience.
Off on the Wrong Foot
Several years ago, I was working as an IT Manager for a mid-size manufacturer that was a long-standing Lotus Notes shop. One day our new CIO - a staunch supporter of the Microsoft platform - called me into his office and asked me a simple question:
“John, how many Notes Applications and Messaging users do we have today and how complex is the environment?
I was completely baffled. No one had ever asked me that question before and I was at a complete loss for an answer. So, in my perplexity and search to find an answer, I grabbed the Lotus Notes Administrator. He smiled at me and said:
“It’s pretty complex, John, and a great deal of the applications are customized. Also, the users own their own applications, so we don’t typically manage them unless we’re asked to. As for the mail, I would say we have a few hundred users, but I’m not really sure how many actual mailboxes we have. Let me run some numbers and get back to you...”.
Three weeks and eight spreadsheets later, the Lotus Notes Administrator finally presented me with what I thought were the answers to the CIO’s questions. After all, we meticulously and manually combed through EVERY server gathering as many details as we could from the administrative console. We even went as far as opening up a few of the applications to find their size and owner.
Triumphantly and with spreadsheets in hand, I walked into the CIO’s office and exclaim, “I finally have the answers you’re looking for!” With a very serious look on his face he said:
“John …why did it take us SO long to get answers to such simple questions? Shouldn’t this information be quick and easy to retrieve? This is the IT Department …it’s critical for us to know how many Notes Applications and Messaging users we have, and have a full understanding the complexity of our environment. In order for us to be successful, we need to have this information updated consistently and readily available. This has me VERY concerned …”.
He was right. Having accurate, trustworthy, and consistent data on the state of our environment was critical to maintain and grow the environment. But, once again, I was unable to answer his questions, and the last thing I wanted to do was show him the spreadsheets because we weren’t 100% confident that they were accurate and complete.
Shortly after my humbling interaction with the CIO, he called the IT Team into his office and made the following announcement:
“We are migrating off of Lotus Notes. I need you to figure out what it will take to migrate our applications to SharePoint or .NET, and I need you to find a way to migrate Lotus Notes to Exchange. I’ll need a project plan and budget by the end of next week. This is crucial to the company’s overall IT strategy and I’m counting on you to execute.”