Monday, June 1, 2009

Understanding Domino.doc end-of-life options


By Scott Tomlinson

On May 12, 2009, IBM finally did the inevitable and officially discontinued Lotus Document Manager, better known to most as Domino.doc. The announcement came as little surprise to anyone since Document Manager's last major release occurred in 2005, coupled with IBM's acquisition of FileNet (enterprise document and content management vendor) in 2006.

If you're currently a Domino.doc customer, you have a decision to make: when to migrate. Plus, you'll start to hear about "The Deal" (more on this later), if you haven't already.

While product support is extended to September 2012, Domino.doc is in pure "as-is" mode, currently providing no support for Domino R8. Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 support is apparently coming soon.

Therefore, any Domino server with both mail and Domino.doc has R8 upgrade considerations: You either (a) have to maintain two separate servers; R8 for mail, R7 for Domino.doc, or (b) delay the R8 upgrade until you fully retire Domino.doc.

If you're just getting started with Domino-based document management, IBM's announcement means you won't have access to a classic document management product for Domino. You'll have to carefully consider the new IBM options or look to a document management offering from an independent supplier.

I work for an IBM Lotus Business Partner and my company makes such a product. I'm not going to bore with with my product's details here, but we've definitely spent a lot of time thinking through the problem statement, and I can share with you the results of both experience and my analysis.

Regardless of whether you're currently a Domino.doc customer or just getting started looking at Domino-based document management, Lotus customers should understand how the document management category differs from what are generally called "document collaboration and sharing" products.

Document collaboration and sharing vs. document management

Document collaboration and sharing solutions are Web-based products providing basic content services like simple versioning, security, search and check-out features around the creation and collaboration of proposals, spreadsheets, presentations, etc for a mass user audience.

The strengths of these products are:

  • Ease of use for end-users: If it's not easy to use, it won't be used. It's the difference between the solution working and failing.
  • Start simply, small: The ability to get going fast with little to no training is key.
  • Web-based, remote access: To facilitate the collaboration with remote workers, customers and suppliers.