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What the Lotus Notes Sale Means for the Future of Enterprise Collaboration

Laptop in Darkness

The enterprise collaboration industry has been undergoing a monumental shift over the past three decades. Back in the 1990s when Windows 95 was the king of operating systems, the internet was new, and everyone was wearing flannel, Lotus Development Corporation and its Lotus Notes, Lotus 1-2-3, Lotus Organizer, and Lotus SmartSuite software were major players in the technology industry. In fact, they were so big that they attracted the attention of IBM, who decided that they wanted to add their programs to the IBM software portfolio. So, IBM paid $3.5 billion to acquire Lotus and its software. Since then, the rebranded IBM Notes and IBM Domino have remained a part of the collaboration software environment.

However, a lot has changed since 1995. For one thing, enterprise collaboration systems are no longer called enterprise collaboration systems. Though flannel is still cool, the advent of social media, smartphones, instantaneous video conferencing, and real-time communication with team members around the globe has completely changed what users expect from their work collaboration tools. Now, people assume that their work software will be as user-friendly and collaborative as their social networking sites. If it’s not, there’s going to be problems.

Bringing platforms that were created before the cloud or Netflix, for that matter, ever existed into the modern era is no easy task. At their core, they’ll never be able to compare to cloud-native platforms that so many teams have become accustomed to using.

Last Friday, IBM announced that they were moving on from their big 1995 acquisition. They’ll be selling what is left of Lotus, which includes Lotus Notes, Domino, and Portal, to Indian-based HCL Technologies for $1.8 billion. Given IBM’s move towards AI, cloud technologies, and cybersecurity, supported by its recent $34 billion acquisition of RedHat, it has become clear that IBM’s attention has long been elsewhere.

While HCL Technologies will likely pay more attention to Notes than IBM, it still won’t solve the many issues that plague the platform. So, if you’re a Lotus Notes customer, watching IBM abandon the software gives you a good opportunity to ask yourself what your options are.

So, what are your options? First off, this news should be music to your ears. See it as an opportunity to finally migrate all of your applications to a cloud-native solution. Why? For one, Lotus has surely been costing you an arm and a leg in licenses, administration, and implementation. Even after you’ve amortized its initial licensing costs, Lotus is bringing your organization a lot of hidden costs due to its poor user experience and high maintenance fees. Not to mention the other solutions companies usually need to add on to Lotus Notes to improve its collaboration environment. Moreover, as part of a generation of enterprise tools that were designed before the cloud existed, Lotus brings sizeable maintenance risk and increasing technical debt, relying on limited number of developers specialized in Lotus’ proprietary development.

We’ve been advising our clients for years that Google Cloud, integrated with the right enterprise content services platform, is the way to go. Today, more and more businesses are moving to Google G Suite because they want to radically improve collaboration, efficiency, and user experience. Moreover, Google is also providing the answer to their security and compliance concerns. Companies in industries that had never considered the cloud a valid option, are now finding it not only viable, but desirable, due to advances in cloud software infrastructure. A modern collaboration and business process stack should include strong content collaboration (we recommend G Suite) and a next generation business process and compliance platform (we recommend AODocs), that engage end users through a strong engagement platform (we recommend Workplace by Facebook). This powerful combination addresses the enterprise’s core needs while providing end users with the best possible user experience, thereby allowing user engagement to soar while keeping the company compliant and efficient.

Migrating to G Suite and AODocs is easier than you think and will allow you to move to a more user-friendly, cost-effective, and 100% cloud-native environment, while also preserving your document history, metadata, and sharing permissions. You no longer need to choose between satisfying corporate IT or your end users. AODocs lets you easily implement your business-critical processes, control your documents, and meet compliance requirements without burdening users. With our low code platform, you can build your business apps in weeks rather than months, fully integrated with your enterprise systems, paying as your usage grows. In fact, it’s easier to migrate to AODocs than it would be to upgrade to a new version of Lotus Notes. Many of our customers including Air Liquide, BMI, Aveve, Bonduelle, Euralis, Valeo, and Seagate have made the move from Lotus to G Suite and AODocs. Still not convinced? Request a meeting and we’ll show you.

Sale or no sale, you should have been questioning Lotus Notes’ capacity to bring your organization real collaboration and digital transformation for some time. This sale should be the incentive you need to shut down Lotus Notes and move to a cloud-native option.

Lotus Notes Sale Enterprise Collaboration