Marriage made in heaven?! Domino and Outlook, last! ~ Ask The Admin

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Marriage made in heaven?! Domino and Outlook, last!

Let's face some simple facts. Outlook's interface > Lotus Notes' interface.

There I said it.

Sure you will miss a lot of functionality of Lotus Notes, i.e. workflow applications and the granular security and control from an admin's perspective, but we're looking at end here who 99% of the time only use Lotus Notes for email, unless your organization has a lot of custom built Notes applications.

Let's face some more simple facts, more people are familiar with Outlook. It is much more intuitive and simple to use for the average users, and in fact they have probably used Outlook Express at some point for their home email as well.

So here's what I did and why I did it.

As some of you may have read in the past, I am charged with acquiring an iPhone and seeing if it can work with our systems here for our execs in terms of email, contacts, calendaring and a few other cool ideas we have for it. In short, we're going for some serious WOW factor when glad handing people about our projects and properties.

Did some research, and the iPhone wont natively support connections to Notes, but does support connecting to Outlook for contacts and calendaring. Ok, how do I get notes contacts and calendars into Outlook????

Checked out MS' site to see if they had anything that would allow Outlook to connect to Notes and work in a fully functional manner. They did and you can find it here.

Installed that, followed the directions and connected to my domino server on my mail account and waited.........and waited......and waited..... After a day of grinding and timeouts...I gave up. What a piece of garbage that connector is.

So I figured IBM was filled with some smart chaps, and checked around. Seems that under my nose all along as a tool that is called DAMO.

What bugs me is that DAMO has been part of Domino for a VERY long time, but I never knew about it.

DAMO works pretty much the same way as the MS connector for Notes, but it actually WORKS! And does so flawlessly. Calendar entries come and go with no problems, filling my Outlook calendar, my Notes calendar, and my blackberry! To the blackberry everything is transparent because on the back end is still my Domino server which is tied into the BES server.

So it looks like I will be able to achieve to a certain extent all my objectives with the iPhone when I get it, as well as I achieved a couple other objectives in some hurdles we've had here. We've been looking at a possible Document Management System here, but none of them really integrate with the Notes client, so we put the kebash on it. Also, we HATE, I mean hate with a passion, our Lotus Notes based CRM product and are looking at SugarCRM, but again there wasn't until recently any real Notes integration. But they've supported Outlook all along. This changes the game on that front as well! Most of our CRM users really only use Notes for mail/calendar/contacts and all that can be done in Outlook with Sugar.

A very cool little tool for us Notes/Domino guys to expand our flexibility for new applications. If you're a Domino guy and want to give it a whirl, on your Domino server browse to the Data folder in the following path: \domino\html\DAO In there you will find a Setup.exe, execute that and giver er a go.