Lotus nabs largest software acquisition under DMS

Lotus Development Corp. recently completed the largest software sale to date on the Defense Message System contract - a 15 000-seat purchase of the Notes DMS product by the Naval Supply Systems Command (Navsup).

The acquisition was made under an early-buy program introduced earlier this year by Lockheed Martin Corp. prime contractor on DMS. This program allows users to buy the commercial version of Notes and upgrade at a nominal fee to the DMS version when it is available next year.

Lockheed Martin also said it expects a surge of other DMS activity in the near future as Defense agencies begin to assess the technology.

"This should silence some of the cynics out there " said Joe Forgione vice president for Lotus business multimedia products. "In the past there were questions [surrounding] the rate at which the DMS program would proceed. This customer was willing and able to put down large sums of money. It confirms DMS is real."

Lotus would not release the value of the sale. However Mike Danny Lotus' development manager for Notes DMS said that because this is an "enterprisewide infrastructure commitment " it is a significant deal. "We've had several of these on the commercial side."

Danny added that in the past month a number of agencies have approached Lotus about participating in the DMS early-buy program and the company expects to make a related announcement before the end of the year.

Under this buy Navsup will upgrade the 15 000 cc:Mail users it has worldwide to Notes Mail. "We'll have a messaging platform [through] this purchase" that will support DMS said Harry Craney Navsup's director of base level computing. "It will allow us to migrate to the full Notes desktop [in the future]." Navsup already has 4 300 Notes users.

In the future Navsup plans to use Notes to track Navy correspondence as it is routed worldwide. It also will allow people in different locations to collaborate on the same piece of correspondence.

Additionally Navsup plans to capture post-award procurement information in a Notes database so that it is available to contracting offers technical staff or anyone else who needs access. The agency also will integrate imaging as a way to share and disseminate scanned-in documents among workgroups and will use Notes for calendaring and scheduling.

Buzz Warren director of Navsup's technical integration management division said there is very little difference between the commercial and DMS versions of Notes so an upgrade should be simple. Essentially Notes DMS adds X.500 directory services and Fortezza support to the commercial version.

The first surge of ordering off DMS should come in the first quarter of next year said P.J. Purnell director of business development for DMS at Lockheed Martin. Much of the initial work under the contract will come in the form of site surveys and technical assistance with product installations he predicted.

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