Lotus is to foray into the emerging applications service provider market with an initiative to allow ISPs to host customised Domino systems for large customers.
Dubbed Intercommunity, the service will be offered in Europe by BT, France Telecom, Interliant and IBM Global Services, with more partners to be announced in September.
The initiative is expected to encourage organisations to set up their own online communities that will let them use Domino to collaborate electronically with suppliers, customers and members.
The ISPs will own the Domino applications and hosting infrastructure and charge for their services on a per user basis.
Paul Taylor, marketing manager at Lotus, said many large organisations want to share applications with suppliers and customers, but for security reasons are loath to allow them inside their corporate firewalls.
"We're seeing a trend towards trusted environments as an entry point for real e-commerce on the Web," said Taylor. "Under this model, the applications are securely stored at the ISP and can be accessed via a browser."
The initiative is also designed to help companies encourage small suppliers and customers to move online. "Small companies don't need to invest in infrastructure - they just need browser access to an environment which is specific to their business," Taylor said.
The service is available immediately. Pricing is based on the applications used.
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