Microsoft SharePoint has quickly become the dominant player in the collaboration software market. Microsoft's deep integration with the Office product line make it a natural collaboration choice for companies that run the Exchange/Office platform. But what about companies that don't use Office, for example those companies that run Lotus Notes. Should they migrate to the Microsoft products to take advantage of SharePoint's rich collaboration offerings?

According to a recent study by Ferris Research,  “One in eight Lotus Notes customers are considering migrating to Outlook and Exchange, but most customers do not follow-through because of the high cost and complexity of the project.” And according to Rob Koplowitz, principal analyst at Forrester Research:  “If you are a Notes user with a significant investment in Notes applications, be careful not to underestimate the cost of recoding those applications for SharePoint — or the disruptive impact on knowledge workers. The cost and risks associated with moving applications to a new platform may outweigh the benefits." He also suggests that the best solution for some companies is to let Notes and SharePoint live side by side.

One company that agrees with the coexistence approach is Mainsoft. In a recent briefing with the company, I learned about a product that lets you stay with Lotus, yet take advantage of the SharePoint platform. SharePoint Integrator for Lotus Notes 1.5 is a client-side plug-in for Notes that lets business users access, modify, and publish emails and attachments on SharePoint directly from the Notes environment. "Given the widespread use of Microsoft Office on the desktop, it's not surprising to see SharePoint emerging in most organizations, including those that use Lotus Notes, Sametime, and Domino," said Yaacov Cohen, President and CEO of Mainsoft. "Notes users are surrounded by SharePoint sites, and they get stuck with limited integration between messaging and collaboration platforms. Teamwork suffers, and managing team records is all but impossible. Mainsoft SharePoint Integrator promotes team collaboration, without enterprise IT having to migrate their messaging platform."

SharePoint Integrator for Lotus Notes combines the collaboration and document sharing capabilities of SharePoint with the email and IM capabilities of Lotus Notes and Sametime. This enables organizations to leverage the promise of both products and achieve the benefits of an integrated collaboration environment, without the hassles, cost, or risks of a migration. You can find out more or download the software here.

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SharePoint or Lotus Notes