Lotus resellers and consultancy partners have expressed alarm at the prospect of competing directly for business with the vendor when it begins a push into the services market this month.
In December, Lotus US announced a plan to expand its services offering by launching three services-led divisions - knowledge management (distance learning), business systems integration (ERP services) and core infrastructure (mail migration services). Lotus previously stated it wanted to boost services turnover from 37 per cent to 40 per cent. At last week's Lotusphere, Jeff Papows, chief executive of Lotus, made a commitment to training investment.
Simon Moores, managing director of the UK Lotus Notes User Group, said: 'There's a scarcity of properly trained and experienced Notes developers and the good ones are able to command extraordinary salaries.'
But Moores said only experience could breed knowledge for staff on large corporate accounts, which puts resellers at risk of poaching.
Grant Pearson, group managing director of Lotus consultancy Softech, said: 'The biggest concern is that Lotus is going to encroach on the business partner community - its strongest advantage over Microsoft. If it moves into this business it will shoot itself in the foot.'
Another source said he had clear evidence that Lotus Consulting was not only poaching, but also selling into smaller accounts. Traditionally, the vendor has declined to sell directly into accounts worth less than about #100,000, he added.
Peter Lundie, managing director of Bylex, said: 'Companies whose Lotus offering is based on services will suffer. We've diversified out of selling pure Notes services.'
David Thorpe, partner marketing manager at Lotus, said: 'I understand the concern, but there's no question of us poaching staff or taking business.'
See Lotusphere roundup, page 14.
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