Lotus forges alliances with industry leaders

A broader product mix and more sophisticated customers have led Lotus into alliances with a new breed of partners, says Lotus Partner Organisation VP, Ken Bisconti.

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By  Rob Corder Published  February 5, 2001

A broader product mix and more sophisticated customers have led Lotus into alliances with a new breed of partners while evolving relationships with existing channels.

New Web-based tools will be rolled-out to keep the company’s 8000-strong army of small- and medium-sized resellers abreast of corporate strategy and product information. At the same time, Lotus is forging stronger and deeper partnerships with global systems integrators, ISVs, hardware manufacturers and service providers.

“We are maintaining relationships with our 8000-plus resellers — we want to support them — but we will be concentrating on partners that deliver the greatest opportunities,” explained Ken Bisconti, vice-president for Lotus’ World-wide Partner Organisation.

The re-alignment of the Lotus partner strategy is in-step with the company’s overall mandate to widen the base of Lotus customers and deepen the use of the company’s solutions in existing accounts.

Lotus will be working with ISVs targeting high-growth markets like customer relationship management, sales force automation and supply chain management in an effort to help them develop software for Lotus platform products, said Bisconti.

At the same time Global Systems integrators like Cap Gemini and Accenture will be courted to develop deeper Lotus skills that they can take to their largest customers.

Brand new ways of getting Lotus technology into the hands of customers could come via alliances with service providers including ASPs, ISPs and mobile application service providers. Wireless will be a particular focus of attention as a connection mechanism into Lotus backend services. The company will build on existing relationships with industry giants like Nokia and Ericsson to drive this process forward.

Closer integration with IBM will create additional benefits for Lotus and IBM resellers, argues Bisconti. He dismisses theories that with the king of direct selling — IBM — exercising greater influence over Lotus, sales opportunities for channel partners will evaporate. “Partners need to understand that IBM recognises the need to build and develop a stronger indirect channel,” he said. “In fact, IBM looks at the Lotus Partner Organisation as a real best-of-breed indirect programme operator.”

Resellers selling IBM, Websphere, Tivoli and Lotus solutions will benefit most, argues Bisconti, because they will be presented with clearer messages on how the solutions interoperate. “Partners today are being visited separately by the different parts of Software Group. Now they will get unified contact which should improve service,” he concluded.

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