Lotus Development announced its ASP Solution Pack, which will allow resellers to host a bundle of Lotus applications and resell them piecemeal to smaller customers or business units within a large corporation.
Lotus will maintain its pricing model geared for large corporate customers, with a minimum US$10,000-per-month commitment from companies hosting the software.
"Only the serious partners need apply," said Mark Levitt, an analyst at International Data Corporporation in the US.
Lotus CEO Al Zollar made the announcement Monday at company headquarters in Cambridge, Mass., where he extolled the importance of application service providers (ASPs) in the next few years. Lotus won't be in the business of hosting its applications, he said.
In catering to the ASPs, Lotus' ASP Solution Pack makes it easier to set up new accounts through a graphical interface, which spokesmen at different companies said could be done by a salesperson.
The advantage for service providers and small to medium-size companies is that the end-users can have access to Lotus products like Domino Web Mail and calendaring, QuickPlace, SameTime instant messaging, WebSphere applications from IBM and other Domino-based applications, without the expensive IT support in-house.
John Whiteside, president and CEO of netASPx, a Lotus partner and ASP, said Lotus applications are complicated to install and maintain and are expensive to IT departments.
"This package is supposed to make the Lotus technologies more scalable," Levitt said.
Lotus officials also indicated there would be an announcement on Notes outsourcing in the next couple of weeks.
For those who like Domino Web mail, Patricia Hume, Lotus vice president for business partners, said there is an a la carte-type add-on to the package that allows end users to work with their Domino mail and calendaring offline.