ESG's Lockner says Compassion is on the right path, but she advises the charity to continue to bring users -- employees and churches and other approved groups using the system -- into the loop as it investigates cloud-based ERP systems. With a cloud architecture, the organization may need to train users on what to do when the Internet is down or provide a way to make data available offline. She says it is important to make sure users have the same level of functionality in the cloud as they do when the data is local.
Problem: Messaging platform is several versions old.
Solution: A series of in-place upgrades to the latest version.
At Flexcon, a Spencer, Mass.-based maker of pressure-coated films and adhesives for labels, a Lotus Notes messaging platform was becoming seriously outdated.
For Jeremiah Benjamin, the company's collaboration and tech support leader, the problem turned into a weekly support headache. For example, the system could not correctly render rich emails -- those that use complex graphics. The company also could not accommodate some add-ons for specific handheld devices because of the extra costs involved. Moreover, it took several days just to book a meeting room and match the room's size with the number of participants, says Benjamin.
"We had not done any upgrades in quite a while, and we patched [only] to fix specific problems. There were a lot of upgrades we had not done," Benjamin explains. "We needed to get things up to date."
Benjamin first started noticing problems a few years ago, when the company's version of IBM Lotus Notes failed to recognize some modern smartphones, including Android devices and Apple's http://www.computerworld.com/s/topic/75/Smartphones. He also had trouble integrating new versions of applications, such as those in http://www.computerworld.com/s/topic/75/Smartphones Office, with Notes.
Because it had missed several upgrades, Flexcon undertook the fixes in steps, first going from Notes 4.6 to Notes 6.5. Then, in 2009, the company upgraded Notes and its Domino server from Version 6.5 to Version 7. The goal was to finish the upgrade before vendor support for the 6.5 release ended in 2010. Finally, in early 2010, Flexcon upgraded its Domino 7 server environment to Notes 8.5. Notes client upgrades were completed last year, and the company is now up to date on all of its Notes releases.