Three of IBM SA’s Premier Business Partners — Safmarine Computer Services, T-Systems and Xybanetx (Pty) Ltd. — have joined forces and established the country’s first Lotus User Group, with recent sessions in Johannesburg and Cape Town provoking an interest from the user and development communities.
Kevin Simpson, of Safmarine Computer Services, says a committee has been formed with representation from IBM Corp., several business partners and the customer base, with separate chapters in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
“We felt that it was critical that IBM and the business partners shared the benefits and sound business rationale of investing in Lotus software, as well as demonstrating their collective commitment to the Lotus market,” he says.
IBM hosted the User Group with two key speakers. Bob Wong, director of Lotus Worldwide Channel and SME sales, and Steve Zehavi, IBM Europe and Middle East Area manager for Lotus SME and Industry Sales, revealed Lotus development plans through to 2015, providing a concrete view on how the products are developing and the ongoing innovation within Lotus.
The aim is to hold Lotus User Group meetings twice a year. These sessions will focus on technical issues for the development community and product optimization techniques for users.
T-Systems’ Kevin Reaper says the User Group is an excellent forum for raising awareness of the brand and taking the product forward.
“There was a high level of interest from developers and scripters, and it is important that IBM and the business partners understand the needs of these parties,” he says.
Delegates at the Lotus User Group were also introduced to the IBM Workplace family of products, new server-managed client software that offers the benefits of Web-based technology, and the desktop environment. The IBM Workplace family includes Lotus Workplace, Lotus Notes/Domino, WebSphere Portal and WebSphere Everyplace Access software.