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Top 5 Challenges to Notes/Exchange Coexistence

If the needs of your organisation dictate that coexistence between Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange is necessary, many problems can arise. Appropriate planning and implementation is required; if not, the users will fail to have consistent access to directory information and some mail or calendar items will translate incorrectly. Overall, their workflow and productivity will be decreased. Whether it’s Notes to Exchange migration or vice versa, in this article we’ll take a look at the top five challenges associated with Notes and Exchange coexistence.

Focusing on the user experience

When planning for coexistence between Notes and Exchange, the experience of the user should be the IT department’s key concern. Users will need to collaborate, on occasion, with users on a different platform, and lack of interoperability can cause damage to the efficiency and productivity of the project.

It’s also true that differing organisations will require different levels of coexistence. Some companies, for example, may only require coexistence during a period of quick migration in order to minimise downtime. Others still — particularly larger organisations — may divest portions of their business between platforms, meaning the management of coexistence will turn into an ongoing issue.

The top 5 challenges to coexistence

  1. Synchronising the directory.In a collaborative environment, it’s crucial that the directory contains views of individuals from both mail environments. For Exchange users, the Global Address List (GAL) needs to be have users and resources from both Exchange and Notes. And for Notes users, the Noted Address Book (NAB) needs to hold documents for every Exchange user.
  2. Mail and calendar interoperabilityIn an environment with communication between both Notes and Exchange users, some messages will fail to translate correctly in the foreign environment. Attachments in calendar invitations could disappear, for example, or recurring meeting updates might prove erroneous from system to system. Without this interoperability, users on varying platforms will not be able to communicate.
  3. Active contentNotes messages may contain various pieces of active functionality that require a Notes client to work correctly. This might include collapsible sections, embedded buttons, tabbed tables and Notes-specific encryption. When these messages are sent to an Outlook user, the active content will not work properly because, quite simply, it needs Notes to run.
  4. Broken linksOften, a Notes database or email message will have document links that relate directly to other Notes databases. During the migration from NSF to PST, these links can be broken or simply fail to locate the correct application, which leads to inconsistent behaviour between file systems.
  5. Mixing Notes with SharePointSometimes, it may be prudent for a user to keep their Notes client for mail and/or applications, while taking on SharePoint for certain functions of business. When this is the situation, coexistence can again become an issue. Users need to be able to transfer messages and content, while Notes developers need to be able to extend their applications to coexist with SharePoint.

If you are interested in finding out more about converting NSF to PST, contact Kim Beros Consulting.

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