Collaboration: Lotus Notes/Domino 7 vs SharePoint Portal Server 2003

Collaboration: Lotus Notes/Domino 7 vs SharePoint Portal Server 2003

Summary: In this review, we look at two of the most popular commercial collaborative platforms in Australia.

Introduction | Notes/Domino | SharePoint | Verdict

The market for collaborative applications has grown significantly with the introduction of Web-based solutions for gathering and sharing information within organisations. With that change, the collaborative software landscape has shifted as well, with veteran players like Lotus Notes pitted against relative newcomers such as Groove Networks (which has since been acquired by Microsoft).

There are also a number of open source collaborative platforms available, including popular Wiki software and open source groupware solutions (like Open Exchange, Open Groupware and Kolab).

In this review, we look at two of the most popular commercial collaborative platforms -- Lotus Notes/Domino 7.0 and Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server 2003 (Enterprise edition).

Although SharePoint isn't new, when it comes to collaboration software, it has to be considered in the buying cycle.

How we tested
We downloaded trial editions of both products and respective components, installed and configured them on separate servers. The software was then used to create a number of collaborative applications and workspaces, mimicking real-world usage.

We tested how easy it was to create a new collaborative application and what tools and templates were available to help speed development. We also looked at the development tools and skills required to create and maintain these applications, as well as how quickly the required skills could be obtained.

From the feature set, we specifically looked at features that aided collaboration among multiple users and how well they aided gathering and disseminating information. We also looked at the collaborative features included in each platform, including but not limited to features to help users communicate, collaborate and manage information.

Introduction | Notes/Domino | SharePoint | Verdict


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Topics: Collaboration, Government, IBM, Servers

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  • Wrong Comparison

    You should be comparing IBM Team Workplace (Quickplace) to Sharepoint.
  • Notes vs. Sharepoint

    Being a user of both products and going through a migration from Notes to SharePoint, I argue that neither product is simple enough to be maintained without a special skillset. Sharepoint does come with numerous templates that help get you started, but if you want to do anything beyond what MS thought you needed, you better have a background in creating webservices to get it done, and have an IT department that will let you do so. Notes' LotusScript and @Commands are equally difficult, but are integrated right in the form creation piece rather than a seperate module.

    As for security - Sharepoint really drops the ball in this department. Its either all or nothing for most forms, and unless you fork out $$ for the full version, good luck searching for anything.

    As with most MS products, early versions really lack, but once they hit version 6+, they're tough to beat.
  • Where are you coming from?

    This story covers about 10% of what a collaboration platform needs to be.

    You mention BizTalk is required for workflow but you forgot to mention you will need Exchange/Outlook for email. You will need MS tools to do custom development if supplied web parts don't completely fulfill your needs and that's just the obvious ones.

    What about security or don't people need that either? With SharePoint you can add members but try to secure a document (oh wait, you'll need MS rights management).

    MS has better intergration???? With what? Itself? The MS desktop?

    If you want to compare apples to apples you will need to add Exchange/Outlook, SQL Server, BizTalk, InfoPath... onto the MS stack of products you need to purchase, install and integrate to equal what comes with one price tag and install with Lotus.

    You can read by now that I'm a Lotus bigot but it doesn't prevent me from being right. You really need to know more about what you review before you publish something like this.
  • Notes/Domino VS SharePoint

    No discussion of security for either product? Allowing users to build apps does have advanages but users rarely give security any consideration.
  • Interoperability? Email?

    One thing the article glosses over is the fact that Notes can run on Windows/Linux/iSeries/UNIX etc. Sharepoint runs on WINDOWS. Also, in order to get advanced capabilities (like good search) you need SQL thus adding to the licensing. Notes has excellent full-text search built in.

    Notes has a native Mac Notes client, and with Hannover (version 8 next year) you'll be able to run the Notes client on Linux as well.

    So I ask, HOW does Notes get lower scores for interoperability than Sharepoint?

    Also, Notes has email built-in, so you can do email workflow and such like that. Sharepoint also requires Exchange so you have to pay for that too.

    So you can have Notes, or a combination of Sharepoint, SQL and Exchange.

    You can have Notes in a completely MS-free environment, a total MS environment, or a combination.

    Sharepoint, all MS, all the time.

    I won't even get into replication and the ability to have applications offline... it can be done in one and not the other :-)
  • Installation of SharePoint Portal Server

    Easy to install and configure? You obviously did not install it yourself. I tried and had to un-install. I have not heard of any clean installs.

    Tell the truth.
  • Sharepoint Futureproof??

    Let's talk about future proof. What happens when Sharepoint gets it's inevitable "upgrade"? If it's anything like Exchange, or other MS apps, it's a migration not an upgrade which likely means it won't be easy, and you'll spend considerable time "fixing" your sharepoint apps to work properly. And of course it will probably only be supported on 64 bit Windows (see Exchange 12/13/2010). And you'll need to upgrade MSSQL, Exchange, and every other bit of MS sludge you've got hooked into it. And what about Domino? It will be a true upgrade. Install the software on the same server if you don't need/want to upgrade the hardware. The next upgrade will support your old Notes apps without a problem. Why - because it's designed that way. Downwards compatible for 2 releases - by design. So let's reconsider both the Futureproof and ROI scores.
  • Not nice to use either

    We've also had fun with it, and it certainly doesn't mix well when you have different versions of Dot-Net on a server.

    The collaboration feature is a joke to use. The discussion groups are terrible. Why couldn't people just stick with something that's been around for a couple of decades, but is an open standard and does more than these tools do - NNTP? Try navigating around a discussion thread in Sharepoint that has more than (say) 2 or 3 posts in it.

    Windows software is not easy to install or use. It needs an administrator who knows about Windows. Maybe you assume every enterprise has one, but I've seen a number of people put into this situation gettting into all sorts of trouble.
  • Facile Analysis and the wrong products evaluated to boot

    Article is total FUD.

    The proper comparision should have been between Lotus QuickPlace and Sharepoint - not Notes/Domino vs SharePoint. Your comparision is like comparing the Queen Mary to a half-deflated zodiac....

    Read about QuickPlace here -

    An honest eval between QuickPlace and Sharepoint would see SharePoint exposed for the dog it is - nothing more than a crippled IIS install and a retard-dimbulb search engine pointed at a 'Doze file server - gag!

    Hang your heads in shame!
  • Notes/Domino is VERY Futureproof

    I agree with the parent post but want to point out that the compatibility of Notes apps between releases is really quite extraordinary, and I've never seen it equalled in any other application.

    I have R4 apps running in R7 right now, with no development work needed to make them fully usable in the new release. That's 3 versions ahead of initial realease and they're still working exactly as intended.
    I've heard stories of R3 apps which are still in use today as well.

    IBM has publicly committed to keeping all of the current Notes/Domino applications working in Hannover and beyond, and I think their track record proves they will do it.
  • Take a free 45-day spin with QuickPlace!

    IBM offers a free try out of hosted QuickPlace for 45 days -

    Ever install QuickPlace? It takes 10 minutes tops! This is one of the most amazing products Big Blue has ever offered. Too bad IBM wants so much money for it.
  • IBM Lotus Workplace

    The comparison should be between the IBM Lotus Workplace Portal products and MS Sharepoint, not Notes/Domino and Sharepoint. Did you consult with IBM Marketing or anyone from IBM before deciding which products you cared to compare to Microsoft's?
  • Terrible article

    This article is very poorly researched, and as already commented on, this is the worng comparison anyway
  • Document Management

    I have managed a migration from Notes to Sharepoint in the last 9 months, and out of the box, you need to buy Domino.Doc if you produce documentation on the Lotus side. On the Microsoft side, there is no off-the-shelf document control solution. Sharepoint fails to deliver the necessary functionality for appropriate access control, audit trail, workflow/approval, lifecycle management, and is only marginally capable of version control. For robust document and record management, Sharepoint is simply inadequate
  • Yes it was the wrong comparison

    It's like comparing a spreadsheet (Sharepoint) to a Oject relational database (Lotus Notes/Domino). If you want to do a true comparison add Microsoft biz server, Sharepoint and whatever else is need to match Notes/Domino capabilities otherwise do a apples to apples comparison with QuickPlace and Sharepoint.
  • Useless review

    Good thing this review was not out in paper- print, because it wouldn't be a worthy replacement for toilet paper.
  • Products for comparison

    ZDNet Australia is written for the Australian market and here the two dominant products in the collaboration market are Lotus Notes and SharePoint, which is why they were selected for the review. Over time, the market may shift to see more implementations of IBM Team Workplace (Quickplace) and we haven't ruled out reviewing it in the future, but for this review it was Notes vs. SharePoint.
  • Users love SharePoint and it delivers immediate value

    One response from the user side of fence. SharePoint is easy to use and has been enthusiastically adopted by us users. Value is derived from this adoption, and SharePoint delivers immediate value through ease of use and integration with MS Office which we all use. The change management investments are lowered which lowers risk in introducing a collaborative platform that doesn't get used. We the user voted with our wallets to adopt PC's and associated productivity applications becuase we could get stuff done ourselves without needing to request all solutions from an IT department. SharePoint gives us this type of capability in our collaborative platform. Yes, Quickplace is similar but not nearly as functional, user friendly and not integrated with the Office apps we use in conjunction with the environment. Looking forward to the version out later this year, we already see the capabilities around Server side Excel, Workflow, Forms, Search, Enterprise Content Management, Collaboration, and Business Intelligence are going to add a great deal of further value to the investment. I'd say an investment in SharePoint is a very safe one.
  • Absolutely correct

    .Net makes SharePoint a good investment irrespective of the value-add in SharePoint 2007.
  • Lotus defense front

    So I wonder which of the various rabid Lotus zealot blogs posted a link to this story for all of the lotus developers and admins to come and defend their precious?

    If I develop what should have been a RDBMS driven application in notes, I'm pretty much locked into Lotus from that day forward (and surely I would join the zealous lotus defender army to ensure my job security for having locked my company into such a decision indefinately). If I develop it with a SQL Server backend, I can always fairly easily migrate it to Oracle or DB2.

    Companies who deploy lotus are pretty much married to lotus from that day forward, not because they want to stay on lotus but because they don't have a choice. Users hate any of the fat-client applications (and for the love of all that is holy, lotus notes is a horrifically bad email client).

    Running an R4 application on R7? Bet the users love you.