Unlocking Google's Lotus Notes opportunity

A French startup is helping enterprises migrate from Lotus Notes to the cloud by adding process integration to Google Apps.

There are 150 million Lotus Notes users worldwide, and many of them are prime candidates for cloud-based alternatives — a prospecting opportunity the sales teams at both Google Enterprise and Microsoft Online Services are well aware of.

But although Google Apps can replace the email and document sharing capabilities of Notes, it lacks a workflow component — an essential ingredient of many existing Notes applications that enterprises have developed over the years. That missing component has provided a useful opportunity for RunMyProcess, a startup based in Paris, France, which offers an integration and process design platform for cloud applications, and has just closed its first round of venture finance.

A large number of its customers — distributed across Europe, South America and Asia — are migrating to Google Apps from Lotus Notes. RunMyProcess provides the glue that binds on-premise application data into a Google spreadsheet or progresses a document through an approval process. Because of its focus on orchestrating processes where human beings interact with data flows, RunMyProcess has carved out a distinctive niche for itself in comparison to other cloud integration vendors, which have tended to focus on automating the exchange of data. It may prove to be a fertile pitch. As founder and CEO Matthieu Hug told me: "Very few things are end-to-end automated within an enterprise context."

Other use cases include adding integration capabilities to help link Oracle CRM OnDemand to Google Calendar or to on-premise applications. RunMyProcess currently has connectors to about 100 applications or resources in its shared library. Because the platform is cloud-based and multi-tenant, any new connectors are available to all customers as soon as they are added to the library.

Lotus Notes migration offers the largest opportunity because of the sheer size of the installed base and the importance of workflow in the highly collaborative applications enterprises have built on the platform. The lack of native process design capabilities puts Google Apps at a competitive disadvantage compared to Microsoft BPOS with these customers, but the addition of RunMyProcess turns the tables by adding a cloud-native alternative that's much easier to implement and use than Microsoft SharePoint. The startup is forming partnerships with Google Apps resellers to help it unlock the opportunity.

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