Google Apps vs Lotus Notes

Let me start off by saying that I really don't have a lot of experience with Lotus Notes. I was able to suffer through using the client for about a week before I finally begged the Notes admin to forward my mail to my Gmail account. As an email client, I personally found the Notes client application to be pretty much unusable.

But, my experience working with a company that uses Notes is that everything seems to be "in Notes." For example, ask the Human Resource department for information regarding hiring policies, and the answer comes back, "That's in Notes." If you need a copy of some recent financial data, guess where it is? That's right, it's "in Notes."

With the recent addition of Google Sites to the Google Apps suite, I think Lotus Notes can be effectively phased out of many organizations.

When I first wrote that, it seemed pretty obvious. The more I think about it, the more I realize that it's really a bold move. It's a major paradigm shift for most organizations. There is still a belief among many technology departments that data must be local to be useful. This is likely born from a fear that moving data somewhere else, in other words, outsourcing applications like messaging and document sharing, will mean a decreased importance for the group supporting the in-house versions of those applications. (Trust me — I make a living off this kind of thinking, really.)

Realistically, with Google offering a fully functional Intranet application, what's stopping you? If you have some thoughts on the subject, don't be shy. Leave a comment below and let's see what develops.

Update:

It seems that after 28 months, this post has started to garner a bit of attention again thanks to JT at the Montreal Notes Shop. The conversation is definitely welcome!

The company in question here migrated from Lotus 6.5 to Google Apps in October 2009. The company was small enough at the time (only 65 users compared to the thousand or so that worked there pre-2004), that the migration was fairly simplistic. The applications built on Domino have either been migrated to Google or other internal applications depending on the application's needs.

As JT, pointed out Chris does an excellent job summarizing the various considerations that must be made when a move from Lotus to Google Apps is suggested. As he rightly points out, the messaging / calendaring aspects of Lotus Notes were by far the easiest part of the migration. Users were also glad to move away from the very old version of the Lotus Notes client they were using.

Thanks again and keep the conversation rolling!