Less than a week before the start of rival IBM's annual conference for Lotus Notes users, Microsoft has introduced new resources that it hopes will persuade Notes customers to migrate to its collaboration platform.
Microsoft Tuesday unveiled several new tools designed to help businesses move from a messaging platform made up of IBM Lotus Notes client software and Lotus Domino Server to Microsoft Exchange Server and related collaboration software. The company also updated existing tools that it offers customers for the same purpose. IBM's Lotusphere 2006 conference kicks off Sunday in Orlando, Florida.
Microsoft's current initiative to encourage Lotus customers to migrate to Exchange was launched in August 2005. The new tools and updates are part of this strategy, and Microsoft expects to continue adding resources in this area, said Roger Murff, the company's group product manager for exchange server marketing.
Newly introduced resources include two free software tools--Microsoft Application Analyzer 2006 for Lotus Domino and Microsoft Data Migrator 2006 for Lotus Domino--Murff said. Later this year, both tools will be available for download on the Web.
Microsoft Application Analyzer is an analysis and reporting tool that describes existing Lotus applications and provides usage information for them, Murff said. The tool also identifies the Microsoft collaboration environment that the applications can most easily migrate to. Application Analyzer will be available some time in the first quarter of this year. Microsoft Data Migrator takes key information from Lotus Notes templates and moves them to a Windows Sharepoint Services Web site for use with a Microsoft-based collaboration application, Murff said. This tool will be available in the second quarter of 2006.
In addition, Microsoft is introducing three Windows Sharepoint Services application templates--Discussion Database, Team Room, and Document Library--that have a similar look and feel to Notes templates so customers can use the new software more easily, he said. These offerings will be available as part of a library that already includes 30 other templates that resemble those in Notes.
Migration Tools Updated
To complement these new resources, Microsoft has updated existing tools for helping customers migrate from Lotus to Exchange: Exchange Connector for Lotus Notes Domino, Exchange Calendar connector for Lotus Notes Domino, and Migration Wizard for Lotus Notes Domino, according to Megan Kidd, senior product manager for exchange marketing. All are available in the Microsoft Download Center.
Kidd said that the new tools and updates are in response to a recent upsurge in customer migration from Notes/Domino to Microsoft Exchange and other products in Microsoft's collaboration platform, such as Windows Sharepoint Services and Sharepoint Portal Server. "We're trying to make that transition easier," she said.
Between them, Microsoft and IBM own the bulk of the market for business messaging and collaboration software, according to analysts from IDC and Gartner. Both companies acknowledge that they routinely help customers migrate from their rival's collaboration software to their own.
"IBM and Microsoft both have active and competitive migration efforts," said Ken Bisconti, vice president of product management for Lotus Software at IBM. "We've had well over a thousand customers who have purchased competitive migration packages to move off of Microsoft and other competitive software onto IBM's Lotus platform."