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IBM nets BT with restructured ASP approach

IBM's restructuring of its Lotus hosting partner program for ASPs has resulted in the company winning its largest European customer to date, the BT Ignite division of British Telecommunications (BT).

"Telecom Italia 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 licences," said Jim Moffat, IBM's market manager for Lotus software in the northern region of Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

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 licences up front as it previously did, IBM is now allowing them to purchase as many licences 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," he added.

BT Ignite says that this lower risk strategy is what brought it to IBM. BT Ignite offers IP services to customers throughout Europe including American Express, McDonald's and Visa International but has been looking to strengthen the applications in its ASP services, according to 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.

BT Ignite began offering IBM Lotus Domino application hosting service to its customers in the UK on Monday (28 January) and 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.

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