IBM scores with restructured Euro ASP licenses

IBM's restructuring of its Lotus hosting partner program for ASPs (application service providers) has this week brought it its largest European customer to date, the BT Ignite division of U.K. telecommunication operator British Telecommunications PLC (BT).

"Telecom Italia (SpA) has been using us for a while, but BT Ignite is one of the first major telcos to sign up with us since we changed the way we sell licenses," said Jim Moffat IBM's market manager for Lotus software in the northern region of EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) in a telephone interview with IDG News Service.

IBM's Lotus hosting partner program was first introduced in September 2000, but rather than requiring its clients to sign up for thousands of user licenses up front as it previously did, IBM is now allowing them to purchase as many licenses as they need, then pass them on to their customers, Moffat said.

"The technology hasn't changed, just the way we market the pricing of the licences. This is a lower-risk strategy," Moffat said.

BT Ignite says that this lower risk strategy is what brought it to IBM. BT Ignite offers IP (Internet Protocol) services to customers throughout Europe including American Express Co., McDonald's Corp. and Visa International Inc., but has been looking to strengthen the applications in its ASP services, said BT Ignite spokeswoman Sara Hassett.

The structure of the Lotus hosting partner program will radically alter the commercial landscape for application provision by reducing its commercial risk and allowing its ASP service to be more flexible, BT Ignite said in a statement Monday.

BT Ignite on Monday began offering IBM Lotus Domino application hosting service to its customers in the U.K., with plans to extend the service across Europe during the course of this year, Hassett said. The hosted applications on offer including the latest versions of IBM's Lotus Notes, Domino, QuickPlace, Sametime, iNotes and IBM LearningSpace, BT Ignite said.

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