Lotus to beef up services organisation

With IBM's help, Lotus is adding muscle to its professional services corps. The IBM subsidiary is relaunching as a single entity its services organisation, which has consisted of separate groups for consulting, support, and education, according to Tim Dempsey, vice president in charge of Lotus' worldwide business partner program.

The Lotus Worldwide Services and Solutions Group is slated to be launched in January.

The enlarged Lotus services group will also increase its coordination with IBM Global Services, according to officials.

Although the extension of Lotus' internal services reach might seem to put the vendor in contention with some of its roughly 19,500 business partners, the expanded internal group will, in fact, push more business its way, according to Dempsey.

The company's partners currently handle about 30 per cent of Lotus' services business, and that figure is expected to jump to 40 per cent, he said.

Potential channel conflict "is a glowing ember, but it's more under control than it has been in the past", Dempsey said. "There may be occasions when that might heat up, but the overall demand for services is still unmet."

Separately, it has emerged that the pending Notes/Domino Release 5 upgrade could slip to as late as the end of January, although Lotus has targeted the mid-month Lotusphere conference for the launch, according to Ken Bisconti, senior director of communications products marketing at Lotus.

According to Lotus figures, the Notes/Domino installed base stood at about 29 million by the end of the third quarter, and is expected to surpass 32 million by year's end.