SSI inherited a wide portfolio of in excess of 100 legacy Lotus Notes / Domino applications which had been developed over a number of years, many from the British Steel days. A strategic decision was made to migrate away from the use of Lotus Notes and to introduce a new platform for sharing information through the business. SharePoint 2010 was chosen as the new platform for information sharing due to its ability to share information easily and efficiently, as well as allowing for collaboration and document management.
SSI needed to fulfill a number of requirements as part of this migration;
- Migration from Lotus Notes to SharePoint 2010 with the least disruption to the business
- Migration of documentation file shares in Lotus Notes to SharePoint 2010 & Shared Drives
- The Provision of an area within SharePoint for storing archives in an ISO 9001:2008 compliant manner
- Provision of a robust and resilient externally hosted SharePoint 2010 infrastructure.
Each department had to have a dedicated area within SharePoint providing the ability to store various types of information; most importantly, controlled documents. Access to those documents had to be secured to the members of that department only. The system also had to provide advanced parameterized search functionality.
It was important to also have an area where archives and final versions of documents were stored and viewable by department, function and project.
Strong governance with regard to the production and life cycle of documents was required and Polymorph used SharePoint’s native workflow functionality to ensure documents:
- Receive approval before they are distributed.
- Are reviewed, updated and re-approved on a periodic basis.
- Have the correct version available for use.
- Clearly identify their revision status.
- Are identified, controlled and monitored, if from an external source.
- Are not used if obsolete.
- Have their usability preserved.
Heather Allison – IT Operations Manager, explained, “We had a lot of databases and records to move off Lotus Notes in a very short space of time, primarily driven by the looming expiry of our IBM software maintenance agreement. Many of these databases were mission critical to the organisation. We literally would not be able to operate without the data within them as they included shift rosters, operating procedures and safe systems of work information.
Polymorph ran the Lotus Notes design reporting tool that we have written to automatically analyse each of SSI’s Lotus Notes databases. The output from the reporting tool was a collection of Word documents (one per Notes database) which provided specifications of all of the data components for each individual Notes database that required migration. We discussed each output report with SSI and, together, concluded which databases could be migrated “as is” and which ones required the manual addition of specific bits of functionality, such as workflow and / or parent / child relationships. Based on this information, we agreed the preferred approach, process and methodology requirements for each database and a timetable for doing so. We then documented this methodology and plan, so we all had an agreed structure and approach to work to.
Polymorph created the SharePoint Portal / Structure for SSI and migrated the notes data in various forms such as: PDF, MS Office, Native SharePoint - each based on requirements agreed for each specific database.
“We chose Polymorph to undertake this migration for us because of their unique position as both Lotus Notes and Microsoft SharePoint application development experts. The fact that they have a deep understanding and years’ worth of experience working with both technologies was of enormous benefit to us and we simply could not have completed the project without their help,” said Heather.
The project ran for four to five months, from start to finish, and during that time 1 million Lotus Notes records were migrated to SharePoint.
“Polymorph developed a wide range of SharePoint applications for us, with differing levels of complexity and then migrated large volumes of data from Lotus Notes into SharePoint. It was stressful at times, but we got there in the end, within budget and timescales I’m very pleased to say!” Heather concluded.
SSI UK Ltd is the owner and operator of an integrated steel manufacturing plant based in Redcar, Cleveland, United Kingdom. Bought in 2011 from Tata Steel, the site has a deep-water berth, raw materials handling facilities, raw material agglomeration, blast furnace and steel making facilities. The site also has its own power plant and coke making facilities, which generate coke oven gas and exports power to the National Grid network.