Lotus Reorganizes Professional Services Group

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Lotus Software cut jobs in its Professional Services Group and plans to roll out a new partner strategy at its annual Lotusphere conference this month.

The internal reorganization, enacted two weeks ago, did not affect many people, a Lotus spokeswoman said. The group employs about 1,200 people.

The services group is continually re-evaluating resources and the consulting mix, the spokeswoman said. The reorganization focused on developing strong business relationships with partners to meet customer needs, coupling that with Lotus Professional Services consulting skills, she added.

>> 'We compete against Lotus for every single sale. Lotus sales reps are selling their solution against ours.' -- Damien O'Neill, Neutral Solutions


Since IBM acquired Lotus in 1995, there have been questions about how Lotus' partner programs mesh with IBM Global Services, IBM's consulting arm.

Partners said Lotus has waffled between channel-friendliness and competition for years. "Lotus did a pretty good job with partners between 1996 and 1998," but then the company became less channel-friendly, said Damien O'Neill, CEO of Neural Solutions, a solution provider in Sydney, Australia. "We compete against Lotus for every single sale. Lotus sales reps are selling their solution against ours, and one of the key reasons is because the rep has a budget to meet and is incented accordingly."

At Lotusphere, scheduled for Jan. 27--31 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Lotus will talk up rNext, the long-delayed follow-on version to Domino/Notes Release 5; Sametime, which allows realtime communication; and QuickPlace, which enables team collaboration, said Ed Brill, senior manager for enterprise messaging at Lotus.

"Lotus has evolved from [being a one-product company to being a multifaceted organization," Brill said. "Notes and Domino are still obvious flagships but are just a few of a dozen offerings. We have customers on LearningSpace [Lotus' distance-learning product who have never bought anything else from us."

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