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Q&A: Microsoft Courts Lotus Switchers with New Migration Tools


Companies are making the switch to Microsoft’s unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) platform to help increase employee productivity, reduce IT costs and improve business processes. Microsoft and its industry partners are working to make the transition even easier. The release of an updated version of Microsoft Transporter Suite for IBM Lotus Domino along with powerful tools from Microsoft partners are easing the transition process for customers moving to Microsoft Office, Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server from IBM Lotus Notes and Domino.

PressPass caught up with Chris Capossela, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Business Division, to go behind the scenes and understand first hand what’s driving the transition and what is fueling this trend.

PressPass: How is customer migration impacting your business?

Capossela: We’re seeing growth across the Microsoft UC&C platform. Office SharePoint Server is one of the fastest-growing products in Microsoft history. The is a business that generated revenue of more than US$800 million in fiscal year 2007, which represents a growth rate of more than 35 percent over the previous fiscal year. We expect this growth to continue unabated.

We’re also seeing a lot of interest and excitement in our unified communications solutions including Exchange Server 2007 and Office Communications Server 2007. Since our launch last quarter, sales of Office Communications Server have shown triple digit growth versus the same quarter a year ago. Exchange Server is one of our most successful servers, and it continues to grow across all segments. Today, more than 80 percent of the Fortune 100 companies deploy Exchange Server as their primary e-mail and calendaring solution.
Chris Capossela, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Business Division

Much of the new growth is coming from customers switching from Notes and Domino. In the last six months of 2007, in the enterprise customer segment alone, more than 300 firms representing 2.8 million people began the move to Exchange Server, Office SharePoint Server and the Office suite. That’s a 164 percent increase over the same period in 2006 and includes companies like Colliers, Garudafoods, Kordsa Global, Siemens and Westinghouse. We’re already on track to exceed these numbers in 2008.

PressPass: Why are customers switching?

Capossela: Organizations face growing demands to facilitate communication and collaboration with employees, customers and partners around the world. They want a flexible set of tools designed to work together and with the technologies they already have, rather than multiple systems that are expensive to stitch together and even more expensive to maintain.

We’ve introduced key enhancements in Office SharePoint Server 2007 to give organizations the power to take advantage of the latest Web technologies, such as tools to build mashups and composite applications, blogs, wikis and RSS feeds. Social computing capabilities powered by SharePoint Server allow people to find and connect with experts and build knowledge-sharing networks across organizations. Integrated Search in Office SharePoint Server makes it easy to find and share content with fast results that span enterprise documents, people and expertise or line-of-business data.

And, with Exchange Server 2007, we’re delivering anywhere access to mobile e-mail as well as a complete voice mail solution with Exchange Unified Messaging. These innovations are also attracting new customers.

Another key consideration for customers is integration with the applications office workers use every day. Having these capabilities accessible directly from the applications people know and use most - Outlook, Word, Excel and the other Office applications – increases productivity and reduces cost.

Customers also know this is an area of focus for Microsoft. With the R&D we’re doing in UC&C technologies, we’re investing upwards of a billion dollars to deliver the next wave of information work productivity solutions.

PressPass: What are you announcing today?

Capossela: We’re releasing an updated version of our Microsoft Transporter Suite for Lotus Domino, a set of tools for customers moving to Exchange Server, Office SharePoint Server and the Office suite from IBM Lotus Notes and Domino. Since we first released the Transporter Suite last year, we’ve consistently upgraded it to meet the changing needs of our customers. The suite’s newest capabilities will make it easier for customers to enjoy a smooth transition to Microsoft’s UC&C platform while maintaining business continuity. With this latest update, we beefed up the scalability of the suite to handle organizations with hundreds of thousands of users, mailboxes and groups.

PressPass: How are industry partners helping customers with this transition?

Capossela: This has become a hot growth area in the partner community. Since we launched our Notes Transition Partner Program just five months ago, more than 70 industry partners, including Binary Tree, CASAHL Technologies, Excipio Consulting, Quest Software and Unify, have joined and are offering products and services that help organizations move off Lotus Notes and Domino and onto Microsoft’s UC&C platform. Many of these partners have a deep history of developing solutions for Lotus Notes and Domino customers.

Additionally, in the last year, several Microsoft partners introduced new tools and enhanced existing tools to help simplify the planning and transition process for customers. These include analysis tools, ROI estimators and transition utilities. Today, Binary Tree is joining those ranks by launching CMT Inspector Express, a complete application analysis tool for Lotus Notes environments that allows customers to understand and unlock their assets from Notes databases and jump-start their move to Microsoft collaboration solutions. Also, CASAHL Technology today announced CASAHL ecKnowledge 9.5, a major upgrade to its flagship product to support integration and transition to Microsoft collaboration solutions.

Partners like Quest Software, with their acquisition this year of Proposion Software, are providing exciting new tools to automate the transition of Lotus Notes applications to Office SharePoint Server. Another exciting partner in this space is Unify and their Composer for Lotus Notes offering, which recomposes complex Notes applications onto the Microsoft platform, including translation of Lotuscript code to .NET.

PressPass: How will these new tools help customers?

Capossela: Customers continue to have the assurance that making the switch to Microsoft’s UC&C platform can be done smoothly and without disruption to their existing operations. Today’s new solutions offer customers more updated tools to plan, prepare and transition their communications and collaboration platform to Exchange Server, Office SharePoint Server and the Office suite. These updated tools handle the heavy lifting, so customers can make informed decisions while continuing business as usual.


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