Glen Iris, Australia (PressExposure) August 28, 2009 -- A few worrying articles have appeared in various forums lately that highlight some potential 'time bombs' when converting Lotus Notes to Outlook. Making sure you're aware of these possible threats may keep you out of hot water.
There are many methods available to convert Lotus Notes to Outlook or Exchange. There is no single best option but you need to make sure whatever option you choose is reliable and doesn't leave behind any 'land mines'. I want to discuss a couple of these Lotus Notes to Outlook migration nasties that could easily be missed.
These potential 'land mines' I mention are problems that may not be obvious immediately, problems that do not appear until it's too late to fix them. These are the type of problems that come back to haunt you and may appear one or more months down the track and cause various levels of disruption to your business.
In evaluating solutions many issues will be obvious for example if a program continually crashes or fails to convert data it's an obvious bad choice. However what you really need to worry about are the things you don't immediately see, so don't choose a solution just because it looks nice.
Although there are many potential 'land mines' you need to avoid, in this article, I will only focus on the two most impactful ones. Before I start I would like to state that I will not discuss any specific tools. There are many Lotus Notes to Outlook or Exchange migration solutions available including one developed by my own company Kim Beros Consulting Pty Ltd. Because my company is in the migration tools business we follow as many articles and forums as we can on the topic of migrating Lotus Notes to Outlook/Exchange so we know what problems cause the most pain. You should choose a solution that provides enough flexibility, is reliable and most importantly doesn't leave behind any 'land mines'.
The two biggest hidden problems I see are: corrupted attachments and exporting of encrypted items. If something goes wrong and you don't notice - it is only a matter of time before it becomes apparent! There are many other potential issues but these are probably the most critical. I will save other issues for a later article.
The first major issue is corrupted attachments. This is a serious issue because problems with corrupted attachments can be very hard to discover. I have read comments in forums saying that all 3rd party software corrupts attachments. This is not true but certainly you need to be very careful in choosing 3rd party software. All software has it glitches but corrupted attachments are a sign of a poor quality application. 3rd party software applications actually provide much needed flexibility that Microsoft server based tools do not. Microsoft server based migration tools have their share of problems too, and data is seldom pure from corruption which can cause the best tools to fail.
Getting back to the problems with attachments, a corrupted attachment may appear as normal in a mail messages. The name and icon may be visible but if you attempt to open or save it you can't. This problem is hard to test for automatically. This is why you need to be confident your migration solution is reliable. If you are not 100% certain you need to manually test. I suggest at least a 3-5 mailboxes should be manually scanned and a high percentage of attachments randomly opened and saved to make sure they are fully readable.
Attachments can also go missing. You can compare documents in Lotus Notes to Outlook to check for this. If you have any mailboxes from people that correspond with European associates test those first as the various European accent characters are not handled by some of the lower quality conversion programs and this can also cause issues. Also not all software preserves the original attachment names which besides being a nuisance can also cause issues with missing attachments.
The other major issue you need to watch out for is exporting of encrypted messages and attachments. Encrypted messages and attachments must be decrypted before converting to Outlook. Some migration applications do not handle this. You need to make sure you use a solution that does - at least if exporting encrypted messages is important to you. If you are not sure or fully confident your solution exports encrypted messages and attachments you should test it. Find a mailbox with encrypted items and export it and check the results. If you don't know which mailboxes have encrypted items then create an encrypted message in a user's mailbox and send it to the same user. Does the software export that message correctly? If not it should at least report an error.
Please note to decrypt items you need to export using the ID of the mailbox owner. Encryption is designed to stop anyone but the mailbox owner reading any particular message. A server or administrator ID will not be able to export it. Don't blame the software if you don't have the correct ID. Encryption is designed not to be broken. You need to export encrypted items with the mailbox owners ID.
I hope you have found this article useful. If you have any comments or questions please feel free to contact me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Best Regards, Kim Beros