It was announced today that IBM will be offering a Notes/Domino hosting solution
targeted at the SMB market (1,000 – 10,000 seats). aimed at organizations with 1,000 – 10,000 seats. Bob Picciano, Lotus Software general manager, also stated that the solution would be available to smaller organizations clearly referring to SMB accounts. Personally, I find it unlikely that IBM will see many wins in the 10,000 seat range with this offering and believe that the sweet spot is the SMB market. My immediate reaction to this was wondering how this would affect those IBM Business Partners that specialize in managing Domino infrastructures on an outsourced basis. The affect on large enterprise outsourced agreements are unlikely to be affected, but many outsourcers these days are grappling with the same economy economic issues as everyone else. To counter this they have turned to outsource contracts in the SMB market, the very market I believe that IBM is targeting with this offering (and if they aren’t they should be!).
Obviously I do not expect that IBM will actively seek out existing customers that are under contract with one of these firms because that is not how they operate. To my knowledge they have never done this even though IBM Global Services exists in the outsourced enterprise space.
My concern with this is how these moves affect the Business Partner community and how those affects filter down to the community in general. While IBM/Lotus has generally been very gracious to side-step efforts that would affect the BP’s, I perceive IBM making slow moves that encroach on the BP’s more than they have previously. This hosting solution is a prime example. Another is the inclusion of functionality in Notes that mimics existing third-party solutions. The more IBM encroaches on the BP’s the less they will be willing invest in furthering their Notes/Domino solutions. The less third-party tools available the less useful and desirable the Domino platform will be to organizations.
I am not against this offering nor am I bashing IBM for making this offering available. I am simply concerned that if IBM continues to step on BP’s toes that these moves may hurt the community as a whole.
What do you think?