How Quickbase can help with Lotus Notes or IBM Notes replacement

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Lotus Notes and IBM Notes are outdated technologies that have not seen new updates for several years. Working with these programs can be frustrating and difficult to navigate because of how dated they are. They cannot catch up with the cloud, which is basically a requirement in the current times.

In an effort to eliminate these frustrations, many companies are beginning to move toward a transition to newer cloud-based technologies. The question is, which is the best one? Quickbase is an online database that is extremely effective in achieving a seamless integration between the old and new technologies.

Fresenius Medical Care, a large kidney care provider in North America and around the world, had tremendous success in their transition from Lotus Notes to Quickbase. The full transition was accomplished with the help of MCFTech and took about 9 months from start to finish. They have now successfully made the shift and have had great results thus far.

We talked with a representative from MCFTech to get a feel for just how the transition went and to also see how effective Quickbase is at helping replace the older technologies.

Who you were working for and what was the challenge they were facing?

The company is Fresenius Medical Care. They are a large kidney care provider among other things in North America and around the world.This project was done for their Corporate IT Department in Lexington, Massachusetts. We worked with a VP in the finance area of the IT Department. This was a project mandated by the CIO of Fresenius North America and was the last piece of replacing or deprecating Lotus Notes and Lotus Domino technology with newer technologies.

Mostly, the Lotus Domino technology, which is owned by IBM, was pretty outdated and had not been modernized in quite some time. The instance that they had within their environment had not been updated for many years. The process was the same as it was when it was implemented at least 10 years ago.

They needed to have a more flexible system that could accommodate changes in the process, which they did not have in Lotus Notes. So, the big challenge was being able to iterate and improve the system, which they could not do with Lotus Notes. It could be done, but the steps it would take and the hoops they would have to jump through to make updates in Lotus Notes, were just not feasible in that technology in any timely manner.


Why did they come to MCFTech for help?

We had about seven years or of previous experience working with a different department of Fresenius Medical Care—their Real Estate and Construction department. The Senior VP recommended that we talk to this team. When we came into the project, there was a large RFP (proposal), and several other technologies were on the table. We came in a bit late to the game, but they were interested in the technology in Quickbase and the flexibility in other things. So, we became a bidder in this proposal.


What made you confident you could help?

My company’s experience with the platform and capabilities of Quickbase, alongside our experience in business analytics and business process, really gave me the confidence that we could accomplish a replacement of the Lotus Notes and the functionality there, along with new functionality and flexibility in the other things that these more modern tools and technologies offer.


What was the solution?

We built a new application on the Quickbase platform, utilizing a lot of the features that are native to it, as well as some custom JavaScript and other scripted features that we added as an extension of the platform to create an application that is flexible—both in the manner that the administrators can configure workflows as well as other aspects of the application—without actually changing the schema or backend of the application. They can then work with their process and the application can be adjusted on the fly, to suit their process. It offered a lot of the HIPAA, tracking, security, and auditing requirements that their IT required for these processes.


How long did it take?

This type of project takes around nine months from start to finish. It can be accomplished in three phases; the first phase takes anywhere from

From start to finish it took about eight to nine months—a little longer than our usual process—but there was a three-phased approach. About four to five months in, we got the application rolled out for phase one, which was one out of eight workflows that we rolled out for them. Phase two was about six to eight weeks later; we got about two to three more of those eight workflows. Then the final rollout was the other remaining three or four workflows that were needed to be deployed. So, over our deployment period of about four or five months, we got all eight of those deployed. They have been using these applications since then.For six to eight months, everything has been going very well.


What does life look like for the client now versus how it looked before?

There are definitely a lot of features in the application now that weren’t available before; mainly, in relation to the flexibility in the reporting. They did not have the capabilities to synthesize the data into reporting that can be rolled up for key performance indicators and other executive type of reports that are needed. It was a lot of work to get that up to the executives, but now, that is available at a fingertip. You click a button or view a dashboard, and those reports are all right there for you. There is also quite a bit more collaboration. Again, back to the flexibility, if they need something changed in a particular workflow step, it’s at their fingertips. So, this change can adjust to their business as the business changes and grows.


Final thoughts?

This was the final step in deprecating this old platform in Lotus technology. They had tried in a previous technology and had spent quite a bit of money trying to do this replacement in that different technology about two or three years before we came on to the scene, and that failed. It was a point of frustration for this CIO. They wanted to get rid of this platform so that they were not using and paying for it anymore. We were able to get the project because of the cost, efficiency, and being able to do it from start to finish. And we were successful at that. After we got done, about six to eight weeks later, they were completely able to deprecate that platform and are no longer using it. So, this was a complete success from an executive standpoint.


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