With more than 10 million custom enterprise applications built on Lotus Notes and Domino since the early 1990s, there are around 50,000 organisations around the world that may need to modernise for a web-and-cloud-enabled IT landscape. Andreas Richter, Director Marketing Europe at GBS, explains how.

Lotus Notes and Domino are mainly used in banking, telecoms, aerospace, electronics, insurance, consumer products, pharmaceuticals and government. Many of these Notes-based business applications have become mission critical to the organisations running them.

Recent surveys among Lotus Notes users and companies showed a desire to be less dependent on the Notes Client, saving costs for licensing and desktop support, especially for users who only needed periodic access to a business application.

Others were looking to web-enable their applications, meeting the ever-increasing end-user demands for access to their business applications via smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices, web-enabling such applications was seen as a stepping stone to the future.

In addition the ability to leverage software-as-a-service style hosting, deployment and management of business applications was seen as a key approach to providing anywhere, anytime access to regionally, nationally and globally dispersed user groups. Based on these results, modernisation is essential for future business, but companies do not know where to start and how to get there within their current budgets.

Applications can be updated and transformed manually but this is time-consuming and expensive. On average, transforming business critical applications manually is estimated at £20,000 per app, while standard applications (representing 50-60 per cent of all customer applications) is estimated at £3,000 per app.

Based on these estimates, migrating a full platform of an enterprise with 10,000 applications would cost tens of millions of pounds and would take over a decade to complete. Furthermore, companies want to have as little disruption to their users as possible while migrating their applications.

This not only includes minimising the burden on users to assess or re-produce application business logic to support application re-engineering, but to also ensure that the modernised and web-enabled applications closely match the original applications on a like-for-like basis. This is so as not to overwhelm users with having to work on a new interface and eliminate the need for additional and cost-intensive training.

Facing all these challenges, the desire to leave the Notes Domino Client altogether and move to other platforms became more and more attractive.

A way forward

However, thanks to the web application framework XPages and solutions built for the platform, modernising and web-enabling your applications is only a few steps away. This approach allows automatic transformation of applications into a web 2.0 style application.

The principle behind this involves transforming the original application into X-pages, SSJS & Java, converting the UI and therefore delivering a modern user experience as well as transforming existing business logic. The resulting application template contains both, the original Notes design elements and the new XPages design elements, but working only on the application template, leaving your data and security intact and untouched.

By automatically converting 75 - 90 per cent of an existing application’s design to an XPages design, transforming an application now only takes a few days. XPages allows you to leverage new technology and features that will drastically reduce IT costs and improve the way that users work.

You have the choice to run transformed applications with the rich client, a browser or both, making it easier to deploy those applications and even adopt self-service and private cloud delivery models. But the best part is that using one of the new solutions to automatically convert your apps saves you up to 90 per cent of the cost of rewriting the applications manually.

You will continue to leverage your prior investments in Lotus if you upgrade your portfolio to the newest release of Domino and have the benefit of modernised applications, that are scalable to users’ demands without having to invest in costly redevelopment.