Asia's Source for Enterprise Network Knowledge

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

Application development

How to migrate from Lotus Notes to low-code transformation

Since migrating from IBM Lotus Notes with the OutSystems low-code platform, Logitech – a global provider of computer, gaming and mobile accessories—has replaced more than 80 aging Lotus Notes apps with four developers in just 18 months. This is half the time it took previously.

Logitech is among a growing base of companies successfully using the OutSystems low-code development environment to accelerate digital transformation, fuel growth, and probe new markets. One of the company’s apps, the Product Launch Application Center, plays an integral role in getting new products to market. It now builds apps in as little as two weeks and deploys updates almost instantly. This speed is a major boost, given the thousands of Lotus Notes-based apps it developed over the years and that now need replacing. 

“The Notes apps were outdated and difficult to deploy,” recalled Steven Schmidt, a solutions architect and OutSystems expert, who was Logitech’s Enterprise Collaboration Manager. “Plus, younger members of our staff expected the same quality of apps at work that they used in their personal lives.”

Low code, high productivity

Building on its ability to integrate numerous sources of data and to launch products faster, the company has also developed a mobile app to track sales and marketing documentation. “We never used to be mobile developers,” said Schmidt. “But now, thanks to OutSystems, we’re able to do so much more than we thought our small development team ever could.”

Clearly, for organizations embarking on digital transformation like Logitech, it makes sense to migrate from Lotus Notes to other technology that supports the rapid creation of collaborative applications, databases, social business and communities.

In migrating from Lotus Notes to cloud-ready, user-friendly applications, OutSystems recommends five steps that could ensure success. 

1. Document your application portfolio Your approach to cataloging your inventory of Lotus notes applications (by hand in a spreadsheet, buy a tool, or build your own) will depend on the complexity of your installation. With the inventory of Lotus Notes applications, the next step is to classify them according to basic criteria such as app user profile and volume, type of application, and frequency of access and rate of change for the application. This information helps to define priorities for migrating apps to a new platform.

2. Pick the right platform Migrating your Lotus Notes portfolio is a significant investment. Strategic and tactical factors to consider for your platform options include:

  • How fast you can develop application
  • How easy it is to build usable applications
  • How readily it can move applications between on-premises servers and the cloud
  • How much it allows you to capitalize on in-house skills, such as Lotus Notes developers’ knowledge of the business, without limiting migration
  • How easy it is to create mobile front-ends for Lotus Notes apps that are extended to the field
  • How quick and simple application lifecycle management is

3. Decide what to do with each app You can either retire the app, replace the app with packaged software; or migrate the app to the new platform. When determining which to migrate, follow these guidelines:

  • Pick core business applications: Your focus should be on migrating the high-value applications that are unique to your business processes.
  • Select your users: For the first app migration, target a small number of users who welcome the migration and who can contribute to the success of overall efforts.
  • Go for heavy usage: To maximize the ROI of the new platform and migration process, select the applications that are used often.
  • Start with a known app: Choose applications that were developed by the migration team to minimize risk.
  • Go for change: Select applications that are subject to change and that need to evolve with your business to highlight the benefits of the new platform

4. Migrate your first app Your pilot project not only gives you a lot of know-how on your new platform, but is also the perfect way to get buy-in from users. Analyze the application you’re migrating so you don’t just copy the functionality but also improve the process as a whole. This will facilitate subsequent migrations.

5. Embrace change With the new platform, users will expect applications to adapt to the speed of business. To embrace change, take a collaborative approach with users and allowing them to easily submit feedback. These apps are the most effective response to shadow IT and rogue departmental projects.

The platform is key

Selecting a platform like OutSystems for migrating Lotus Notes to address change quickly is essential. “Low-code development is really amazing when it comes to speeding up our development efforts, but it’s not just that,” said Schmidt. “I could go into any one of the apps and deploy a hotfix in no time at all.” 

So, if you’re deciding on Lotus Notes migration to a platform that allows you to quickly build and change enterprise applications without being locked-in, schedule a demo at www.outsystems.com/schedule-demo to see how OutSystems can help your efforts. 

This is a QuestexAsia feature commissioned by OutSystems.