Lotus Trims Head Count In Professional Services Group

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Lotus Development cut some jobs in its professional services group, the company confirmed Tuesday.

But last week's "resource action" did not affect a significant number of people, said spokeswoman Mary Rose Greenough.

Lotus Professional Services, once known as Lotus Consulting Services, employs about 1,200 people, according to the spokeswoman .

"[Lotus Professional Services is continually re-evaluating resources and the consulting mix," said Greenough. "It is really focused on developing strong business relationships with partners to meet customer needs, coupling that with [Lotus Professional Services consulting skills."

Lotus is expected to unveil a new services strategy at its annual Lotusphere conference at the end of the month.

Since Lotus was acquired by IBM in 1995, there have been questions about if and how its own partner programs--and even its own consulting group--fits in with IBM Global Services, IBM's huge consulting arm.

Greenough said the job cuts have nothing to do with IBM Global Services and that Lotus Professional Services often partners with IBM Global Services in corporate accounts. Lotus Professional Services itself focuses on Lotus technologies, especially newer offerings such as Sametime, Quickplace and Knowledge Discovery Server, the company said.

Lotus' absorption into the IBM corporate mainstream has accelerated in the past year, with Lotus increasingly used as a brand term. Calls into the Lotus switchboard are now even answered by remote IBM corporate operators far from Lotus' Cambridge offices.

Virtually every large software vendor from Oracle to Microsoft is evaluating how to best mix in-house consulting services with partner-supplied offerings. Oracle has even opened up some of its largest corporate accounts to partner involvement, outlining new rules of engagement earlier this month.

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