If some of your users are on Lotus Notes, and you've got SharePoint, you might want to check out a SharePoint Integrator for Lotus Notes. It's the creation of Mainsoft Corp., an advanced IBM business partner.
Yaacov Cohen, CEO of Mainsoft, gave me a walk-through of SharePoint Integrator a few weeks ago, before the release of version 1.5 this week. Normally, I'm not that big on product tours, but given the popularity of SharePoint and the persistence of Lotus Notes, I thought I'd check it out.
I asked Yohen why anyone would buy this instead of just moving everything to Microsoft. Yes, he said, companies could just move everybody to Microsoft's Outlook, but that would cost the average mid-sized company of 30,000 employees roughly $6 million. For 10 percent of that cost, SharePoint Integrator will give you SharePoint functionality on Lotus Notes.
"A migration from one e-mail system to another e-mail system, from a business standpoint in the current economic downturn-it doesn't make sense," Cohen said. "What we are suggesting is an alternative. What we are suggesting is co-existence."
Technically, Lotus Notes users could access SharePoint server by downloading a file or saving an e-mail to the desktop and then the server.
SharePoint Integrator adds an integrated window in the Lotus Notes interface that allows lets you either click a button to save e-mails to SharePoint or drag and drop attachments onto the SharePoint server. You can also share the e-mail by url, which allows you to share information beyond the firewall (and control access), thanks to SharePoint's Web site functions.
Cohen goes so far as to say you can achieve tighter integration between SharePoint and Lotus Notes using his company's product than what you'll achieve using SharePoint and Outlook.
For instance, if you want to send several people a document on SharePoint, you just attach that document to e-mail-using the drag-and-drop feature-and then hit send. They'll receive what looks like an attachment, but in fact it's a url to the file on SharePoint. Voila! Version control, plus you've cut down on bandwidth and storage.
The software takes advantage of SOAP Web services for its integration. If you're curious about the other features or how it works, check out the press release.