Migrating to SharePoint … the wrong comparisons

Over the past few weeks there has been much speculating in the blogs on comparison of and migration from Domino to SharePoint.  Karen provided a very good summary in response to a question on cio.com:

“To reiterate what previous commentators have pointed out, it’s very hard to make a blanket statement as to which is better. Part of the problem is that Domino and SharePoint are two different animals with many similar spots. It’s hard to do a point by point comparison of the two.”

Ed responded to another information aimed at Microsoft business partners.  Michael responded to Ed with a very thorough post:

“My analysis is that there is a constellation of drivers that may–depending on the organizational context–accumulate into an overall decision to shift from Notes/Domino to SharePoint. Some of them are trends that are starting to play out, some of them are frustrations that have not had a suitable place for airing for a long time, and some of them are linked to strategic decisions at a high-level in the organization.”

I’d typically like to take an alternative glance through the viewing glass.  I would lean towards Graham’s comments on the old Exchange versus Domino debate (link):

“My advice to them and to anyone else who asks: There is no compelling business reason to switch for email functions.

It’s actually the wrong question for most customers. The right question for most customers is this “I am wanting to move beyond email being the only way my people collaborate how can I facilitate that”. That question would result in a completely different answer and may result in a change of email infrastructure.”

So the debate is really about collaboration benefits of a whole raft of areas:

  • email
  • instant messaging and presence
  • team workspaces
  • portal technologies
  • web content management
  • document management
  • electronic meetings
  • audio integration
  • video integration
  • RSS
  • …..the list goes on

None of this is answered by one product, there will be several products, several vendors and integration to complete.

So my simplistic graphical take on the migration or implementation for any collaboration platform would be:

And some follow on questions:

  • What will the user experience be?
  • Will the experience be intuitive, rich, simple to use?
  • How will the integration points work both technically and for the user?

Now many readers of this blog will remember that up until about 12 months ago Lotus Collaborative products were my sole focus professionally.  About 12 months ago my role changed and I now focus across the IBM / Microsoft divide in the collaboration arena.  This has given me a good perspective to talk to both Microsoft and IBM customers about what their needs are in addition to digging into both product areas.  By nature of my role and the complexity of the products it means I no longer have a deep engineering knowledge of the products but I do have a better knowledge than most on comparison between the 2 product sets.  What I have been surprised by is the Domino versus SharePoint discussions … they are completely different beasts.  Lets talk more QuickR or Websphere Portal versus SharePoint and have the real debate … but is the debate needed?  Surely the debate is what are my collaboration needs?


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