IBM Notes Application Migration Roadblocks

In Domino, Migration, Revive by rsalerno4 Comments

Although most organizations that use IBM Domino have started a migration from the platform, few have found a way to complete it.  While moving Lotus Notes email proved a fairly easy task, the migration of IBM Notes based applications has been quite the opposite.  Companies have spent years attempting to migrate their applications, only to now face issues that appear insurmountable. With misleading promises of simplicity, organizations are now realizing increased licensing costs, unmanageable proprietary solutions, unsupportable legacy code, and long-term support contracts.

The IBM Notes Dilemma

It’s been more than ten years since we began to see the decline in interest in IBM’s Lotus Notes & Domino platform.  It was evident IBM was struggling with the positioning of the platform.  IBMs software catalog had numerous products that directly competed with IBM Domino and so instead it was positioned as a collaborative or email product.   It was not seen as an enterprise rapid application development environment as it had been used for years prior.  If you were looking for an application development platform IBM steered you toward DB2, Rational, or WebSphere. The long-term viability of Lotus Domino was also impacted by the fact that the product itself had been around since the 90’s, and significant portions of its code have never been touched or updated and meant the cost to update the platform wasn’t going to be insignificant.   So, IBM let it flounder, the industry took notice, and Notes Domino became a legacy platform.

Sharepoint isn't HCL Domino!

Microsoft did an exceptional job presenting competitive solutions to Lotus Notes Domino, and Office 365 soon became the de facto platform for migrated Notes email.  Microsoft also maintained that SharePoint was going to be an ideal destination for Domino applications, but that hasn’t proven to be the case.  While some organizations achieved limited success moving simple document repositories to SharePoint, most have found it far too limiting in reproducing Domino business applications.  Not only was it impossible to deliver the same level of functionality and usability as the original Domino application, the migration/development process ended up taking on a significantly higher cost than the original cost of developing the Domino application.   With increased application complexity in the native Domino application, migrating to SharePoint has largely been a failure.

Can a 3rd party solution replace a Domino Application?

Proprietary 3rd party solutions can appear to be promising, but they typically only address a very small subset of applications.  Also, they are often based on non-enterprise technologies that require architectural exceptions that can be difficult and costly to maintain. In the end, most organizations have been forced to leave their applications on Domino, without a migration plan.  But the “do nothing” strategy means you now have outdated applications, aging or nonexistent Domino expertise, and unfulfilled end user requirements.  It’s a big problem that is only getting bigger.

Revive your IBM Notes Applications!

Nine years ago, when we rebranded our former Notes Domino company as Rivit, we did so with the sole intention of helping companies transition away from Domino.  We’ve successfully worked with many companies to assist in their application migrations and along the way, have seen all the reasons why companies have failed.  But more importantly, we have found what meets the needs of organizations in your position.   A destination framework based on open and widely accepted enterprise standards that encompasses the core features your users have come to depend on.  A solution that includes migration utilities and features to provide a faster transition than you’ve experienced.    And most importantly,  you need technologies you currently have experience with, with a vast and growing low-cost resource pool.   Revive is that solution, and we’re here to help you get packing.


  1. So migrate HCL Domino applications away from a mature platform that is being heavily invested in by HCL, to a proprietary system that nobody knows about or has any skills in. How is that an advantage?
    What about modernising existing Domino apps which again will be a fraction of the cost. With HCL Nomad, HCL Nomad Web (due R12) and other huge recent improvements I really don’t see the myopic viewpoint to get off Domino no matter what. Maybe you can help?

    1. Author

      Thanks for the response Steven. Coming from a Domino background as an IBM business Partner, and delegate/vendor at 18 Lotusphere’s, I too was once a proponent of the platform. But regardless of the work HCL has done to try and revitalize Domino, it doesn’t change the reality that most companies decided to move away from Domino 10 years ago and are looking to follow through on the strategic decision.

      Our migration solution, Revive, is not a closed proprietary solution, but one built on open technologies companies have, or are moving to. And if you look at the skills and education of any recent computer science/developer graduate, and you’ll see that the skills required to leverage Revive are plentiful. On the other hand, we all know that Domino developers are an aging community. We continue to leverage good Domino developers in our practice, so we know well that it’s now very difficult to find good resources.

      Revive is a modern web framework that that was architected specifically for business critical Notes Domino Applications. Applications can be recreated quickly, and at far less cost than any of the alternatives, while providing a modern, open, and accepted technology stack.

  2. At least accept that when you tell blatant lies in a “blog” i.e. “Notes Domino became a legacy platform” when it’s clearly not, you should have the “b+++s” to accept a counter argument.
    Oh, and by the way, IBM haven’t owned Notes/Domino since June 2019 so you could have at least got that tiny detail right.

    1. Author

      Hi Steven, I can appreciate your passion for the platform, but according to all of the leading IT analysts including Gartner, Domino is considered a legacy platform. I also think anyone would be hard pressed to find a single company moving to the platform. And yes, IBM hasn’t owned the product for some time, but much of the industry still refers to Notes/Domino as both Lotus and IBM.

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