Lotus evolves partner model

The 8,000-strong army of Lotus solutions providers globally, will get new tools, corporate strategy and product information during the coming months.

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By  Michelle Sturman Published  February 25, 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 under IBM’s PartnerNet programme 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,” said Ken Bisconti, vice-president for Lotus’ World-wide Partner Organisation, on a recent visit to Dubai.

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, along with a tighter integration with IBM Software Group.

“We have to dock with the mother ship,” said Fritz Fleischmann, general manager and vice-president for Lotus EMEA.

“The message is clear. In the last five years, Lotus was focused on gaining market share and we now have double the number of seats of Microsoft in EMEA. IBM invested in that strategy. Now we have the base and we have to give back to IBM for that investment. We have to be more profitable than in the past. The only way to do that is to reduce overlaps and increase overall efficiency,” he added.

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.

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