IBM and Net Integration Technologies Inc. have formed a partnership to bring a Linux-based Lotus Domino solution to small and mid-market customers in Canada.
According to Greg McClement, co-founder and vice-president of strategic alliances for Markham, Ont.-basedNet Integration, IBM is looking for a way to make Domino more acceptable for its Express line of customers and the channel.
“Domino is a good enterprise product, but it is too costly for SMB compared to Microsoft,” he said.
IBM is trying to position Domino, which is an enterprise-class collaboration program that can be deployed as a company’s core e-mail and enterprise-scheduling infrastructure on a server, as an alternative to Microsoft’s Small Business Server.
The problem, as McClement sees it, is that customers who have not adopted Linux are going to stick with Microsoft, while small business with less than 50 staffers will find Microsoft Small Business Server (SBS) more affordable and less complex.
The NetIntegration-Domino offering is bundled similar to SBS, McClement said.For US$599 a customer will receive five Nitix user licences, Domino Messaging Express for five users and the Nitix operating system with built-in back up capability.
Based on Linux, Nitix is Net Integrations’ autonomic server operation system.“We want to help Domino resellers to have a platform to compete more effectively in the SMB and present a more affordable solution,” McClement said.
Net Integration has approximately 2,300 partners worldwide. About 92 per cent of its business is in the U.S., which is why productes are priced in U.S. dollars, but McClement added that 80 partners are available in the greater Toronto area.
“We are well represented in Canada. There are just more people in the U.S.,” he said.
According to IDC, the market for SBS worldwide is worth more than US$1 billion. And, In-Stat MDR reported that small businesses are spending more to network its PCs because of the potential of the Internet. The In-Stat report went on to say that although small businesses have limited resources, as high-speed Internet and e-commerce proliferates small businesses are beginning to invest in servers to meet its increasing networking and data storage demands.
McClement also said that Domino is a development environment, which can enable software developers to customize on top of the platform. McClement said this feature could be ideal for those resellers providing solutions in the construction industry and those developing CRM applications.
Margins off this offering will hover around 20 per cent, McClement said. Partners will also receive unlimited toll-free technical support.
“The majority of the money will come from partner services,” McClement said. “What we wanted to provide here is no sticker shock and the ability to meet customers specific requirements and drive service revenue from that.”