Lotus Notes retires with baby boomers – Myth vs. Fact

Dispelling the myths of Lotus Notes retirement: the legacy is still relevant, but it’s time to move on

lotus notes myths and facts

Lotus Notes – now HCL Notes and Domino – the collaboration platform that once ruled the tech world, has seen its popularity decline as tech-savvy millennials and Gen Z entered the workforce. Once the backbone of communication and information sharing for the baby boomer generation, it has now been relegated to the sidelines as new, cloud-based tools take over.

But some misconceptions continue surrounding the retirement of Lotus Notes and the transition to more modern collaboration and low-code platforms. Let’s debunk some common myths and get to the facts about Lotus Notes retirement.

Myth: Lotus Notes is email, and it was retired a long time ago.

Fact: Even if an organization has retired its Lotus Notes email infrastructure, it is not necessarily the end of Lotus Notes in the organization. Too often, IT groups are unaware of the real number of legacy Lotus Notes databases they still possess across the board.

If you’ve inherited a Lotus Notes system, or its NSF files, or Notes/Domino backups, you might assume it’s solely an email system with data. While it’s true it does encompass business email and calendar, Lotus Notes extends beyond mere email functionality. It also includes document and workflow management features, and it’s estimated that over the years organizations have built hundreds of thousands of bespoke Notes applications serving all types of business needs.

Are you sure that your company doesn’t have historical data locked in legacy databases?

Myth: Lotus Notes retirement is just for IT modernization sake.

Fact: Moving to a new platform can give organizations greater flexibility and agility. It presents a great opportunity to review existing business processes, streamline workflows, improve collaboration, and make it easier to adapt to changing business needs more quickly. Yes, migrating to a new platform normally comes at a price, but in the long term the benefits outweigh the cost.

Myth: Lotus Notes data archiving can be handled as an afterthought in the IT modernization process.

Fact: Lotus Notes data archiving should be considered an integral part of IT modernization planning. Addressing data archiving early in the process can help organizations avoid potential disruptions and ensure a smooth transition to new systems. By carefully planning and executing data archiving strategies, organizations can minimize the impact on user productivity and maintain business continuity throughout the modernization journey. Postponing the data archiving to a future date invariably increases the complexity of the process, sometimes even to the point where it becomes unachievable owing to a lack of certified Notes professionals and an outdated or unsupported Notes environment.

Myth: NSF databases are the only suitable storage option for Lotus Notes data.

Fact: While NSF databases were the original storage format for Lotus Notes data, alternative methods exist for preserving and managing this data over the long term. Modern data migration tools can effectively migrate NSF data to open-source or cloud-based platforms, offering greater flexibility, scalability, and long-term data integrity.

Also: How to retire Lotus Notes and Domino applications

Myth: Retaining NSF databases is harmless and doesn’t pose any security or compliance risks.

Fact: Retaining NSF databases beyond their operational life span can pose significant risks to an organization’s data security and compliance posture. These databases may become outdated, and their presence may hinder future data migration efforts or compliance audits.

Additionally, further complications may arise owing to a lack of continued server maintenance, such as expired server certificates, incompatibility with the latest OS releases, and others. Thus, it pays to find out how many old tapes and disks with data locked in NSF files your company is still holding on to.

Also: Lotus Notes Decommissioning: Really, why bother with decommissioning while legacy Lotus Notes applications still work as data repositories?

Myth: Lotus Notes migration is just about replacing old applications with new ones.

Fact: Lotus Notes retirement is a chance to optimize the entire application portfolio, rather than simply replace Lotus Notes applications with their equivalents on the new platform. This includes evaluating the need for specific applications, streamlining processes, and integrating with other existing and future applications.

Myth: Archiving historical data can wait until the migration is completed.

Fact: Early archiving of historical data ensures that it is preserved and accessible in a stable and consistent format, even as the new platform evolves and changes. In fact, it can actually help streamline the Lotus Notes migration process and minimize disruptions to business operations at the same time.


Do you have a specific Lotus Notes / HCL Domino application decommissioning or data archiving project you would like to discuss with us? Please send us your thoughts, comments or questions.

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