PDF Converter vs. Seascape for Notes (Part 2)

This is the second part of our series in which we are discussing the differences between two SWING archiving solutions for IBM Lotus Notes/Domino: PDF Converter and Seascape for Notes.

As we mentioned in our previous post, both of these solutions are designed to meet the ever-growing need for exporting Notes data to open-standard formats, whether for compliance and audit purposes, for sharing Notes data with non-Notes users, or for archiving data as part of migration and modernization efforts.

In this article, we will focus on specific usage scenarios for the Seascape product.

The Last Piece of The Puzzle

Over time we have seen that PDF Converter has been able to provide a complete PDF archiving solution for the majority of our customers. Still, one particular piece of the puzzle was missing.

With PDF Converter, our customers typically save and organize data in a single predetermined structure of folders. Such an approach has faced limitations. What was still needed was the ability to search and navigate through exported Notes documents in a flexible way. In other words, these customers were missing IBM Lotus Notes views.

The need to retain the Lotus Notes views did not arise only from the fact that the users were used to working with the Notes views, and that it would be easier for them to find their way in the archives if the views were somehow left intact. More importantly, the Notes views typically carry with them an inherent piece of the business logic, and for this reason they must stay as an integral part of whatever archiving system the data is moved to.

As a matter of fact, many of our customers listed the view export as a non-negotiable requirement, since exporting documents without the view structure would be pretty much useless to them from the business’s perspective.

Notes Data and Data Context

To fill in the missing piece we built Seascape for Notes; a solution which provides the ability to export Notes application data to PDF/JSON files while automatically generating a HTML based front-end. A Seascape-generated archive can be opened in any web browser and it features document view categories, parent-child hierarchies, sortable columns, and search.

Our customers and business partners loved the Seascape UI at first glance and praised its seamless and modern look and feel.

More importantly though, with this new solution organizations are now able to preserve the context of each exported document within the wider scope of the application. Seascape creates a complete archive with full information context: views, the original layout and content, along with metadata, attachments, and document links.

So, with just a few clicks, you can export an entire Notes database, producing a complete read-only snapshot of the application to be accessed either locally or from the server.

Some of our customers who previously wanted to import all legacy data to SharePoint eventually changed their mind once they tried Seascape. It was found that Seascape provided them with the ability to archive their applications exactly as they wanted, while avoiding over-burdening SharePoint with tons of archival data.

More Real-Life Scenarios

Here are a few real-life examples of how our customers deployed and used Seascape for Notes:

  • Exported Notes applications to Seascape archives and saved the archives on a local web server. The users were then provided with the URLs to the individual libraries.
  • Converted 50 Notes applications to Seascape archives as part of the Notes migration project. Used out-of-the box settings for most applications and reduced the time and cost of the archiving project by up to 70%.
  • Deployed Seascape as an on-demand archiving solution for user groups in multiple locations worldwide as part of the Domino retirement project. Instead of archiving many thousand applications all at once (requiring a major and time-consuming effort), it was decided to keep a single instance of Domino running Seascape, and after the Domino cut-off date, to only convert the applications requested by any of the user groups.

What’s Next: Seascape 2.0

Currently, a host of new features is being worked on which are due to be released with version 2.0 of Seascape. As one of the main new features, the version 2.0 will provide the option to export your Notes application data either to a set of files (with an in-memory database) or to a server-based archive (with a full-blown document database).

The second option will come with a whole new set of capabilities including advanced search, permissions-based access to documents, export options, records management features and many more. As we continue to release new features and improvements, we expect to see our customers take advantage of these in more innovative ways.

In the last post in this series, we will discuss what else we have learned from our customers.

PDF Converter vs. Seascape for Notes: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

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