I get all sorts of funny looks when I mention Lotus Notes. Is that still around? Nobody uses Notes any more!  I haven’t heard about that in years!

Well, the reality is that Notes penetrated companies pretty darn well back in the 90’s (like a Nirvana song permeated the radio waves), and the departmental applications sprouted and filled all the holes that IT often couldn’t get to. Love it or hate it, Notes became a mainstay platform of the enterprise. In a recent survey we did of our Dreamforce 2012 attendees, we found that 73% did indeed still use Lotus Notes. And that 70.3% were considering replacing Lotus Notes, the majority within the year.

What makes Lotus Notes so replaceable? And what are companies looking for when they do? 

I recently spent some time talking to one of our customers, ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, Publishers) who replaced Lotus Notes and gained phenomenal return on investment in doing so. Hearing about their challenges with Notes, and why they decided to make the switch to the Salesforce Platform, we decided to share their experience in a detailed ROI Case Study .  We looked specifically at what business value was gained, along with the cost savings and systems efficiency.  They achieved some pretty impressive business benefits:

  • Revenue increase of 40% with net staff increase of only 2%
  • Real-time data enables licensing reps to improve sales productivity by 25%
  • Salesforce Chatter reduces email, streamlines communications, and saves 4 minutes per encounter
  • Adopted a Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) model, saving $292k in annual hardware and software
  • Improved invoicing productivity by 900%, reassigned 60% of redundant resources
  • Process 75% more licenses per month with 60% fewer people
  • Review and approve commissions 89% faster, freeing 60% of an FTE per year (150 work days)


What were the challenges with Lotus Notes?

So what drove the swapout? Server upgrades, rearchitecting or moving apps are notoriously painful if possible at all. What we heard in our customer survey aligned with ASCAP’s story. Top challenges with Lotus Notes that drove the urgency to switch included:

Manual reports and dashboards

Pic3From their SVP of Licensing, Vincent Candilora, "We had to capture lots of data, and Lotus Notes wasn't built for that type of use."  The outdated infrastructure required numerous, separate servers which created disparate data stores.  This meant that users had to export and consolidate data to create reports and analyze information. Not only was this an extremely slow, manual process (often on paper!) it was error prone.

Mobile ready

The ASCAP field team was particularly mobile, as are many sales teams, calling on potential licensees all over the country. They also weren’t tech savvy.  With Notes, entering information was slow with a clunky UI. If upgrades were made to the client software, this meant sending in the laptop to headquarters for a manual upgrade. And then days or weeks of lost productivity in the field.

Managing servers/infrastructure

Managing the client server infrastructure required time consuming upgrades, and dedicated Notes developer resources.  Both were prone to delays and long cycles of not getting the latest or changes into the apps, if at all.

A Cloud App Platform Solution

ASCAP chose to run its business to the Salesforce Platform. Moving to a modern cloud app platform provided them with a ton of benefits that helped them achieve such substantial business gains.

No more infrastructure to maintain

Pic4With the Salesforce Platform, the ASCAP team could focus on building apps to run their business, not maintaining servers and software. Plus any new feature that gets added to the platform, is available to their apps.  For example, when geo-location fields were recently added, the ASCAP apps have access to those.


The Salesforce Platform includes technology for creating mobile apps. Technology such as a mobile container, policy management, mobile API’s.

Built in reporting

All apps built on the Salesforce Platform have real-time reporting and dashboards available. This was one of the most game-changing capabilities for ASCAP. Dashboards give ASCAP executives the ability to monitor teams and individual deals at a glance, and drill down in real-time. 

This is but one customer’s story .  We have heard similar benefits and excitement from many of our customers who have made the move from Lotus Notes to the Salesforce Platform. – like the Financial Times, Perceptive Software. Given the benefits, if you are still dealing with Lotus Notes, you owe it to yourself to check out the Salesforce Platform. See what you are missing!

Read more :


Compare Lotus Notes and the Salesforce Platform 

Check out the infographic summary

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