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John Soat
John Soat
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IT Confidential: Lotusphere Won't Be The Same Without Al

Two weeks before Lotusphere, the biggest Lotus user event of the year, IBM has replaced Al Zollar, who's been general manager of the messaging vendor since 2000, with Ambuj Goyal, a longtime IBMer who most recently was general manager of IBM's solutions and strategy division. Zollar is now general manager of IBM's iSeries server group. IBM won't comment, but speculation about the future direction of the Lotus Domino technology is sure to dominate the Orlando conference.

Unisys said last week it was awarded a seven-year contract by the city of Minneapolis, worth approximately $56 million, to manage the city's IT infrastructure: data center, desktops, and mobile devices. Unisys will take over the city's servers and PCs--including its Unisys ES7000 servers--and support city agencies such as the mayor's office, city council, fire and police departments, and the Office of Public Works from its Eagan, Minn., data center. Unisys says Minneapolis expects to save about $20 million.

StorageNetworks has been trying to transition from a network-storage provider to a storage-software vendor, without much success. Last week, founder Peter Bell stepped down as president and CEO. Bell will stay on as chairman; CFO Peter Flanagan will assume his role and take over day-to-day operations. The company also will cut 110 employees, about half its workforce.

The two congressional committees that oversee federal IT issues, House Government Reform and Senate Governmental Affairs, have new leaders, both Republicans. The Senate panel will be headed by Maine's Susan Collins, who replaces Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn. Tom Davis of Virginia will chair the House Government Reform Committee. In the last Congress, Davis headed the committee's IT and Procurement Policy subcommittee. Among the causes Davis will champion is development of the federal enterprise architecture. "We need to tear down the stovepipe structures that have characterized government technology systems, to improve cross-agency communication and lower costs," Davis says in a statement.

Speaking of government communication, Mitra Azizirad, general manager of Microsoft's federal systems group, says IT vendors aren't as involved as they would like to be in guiding the government in creating the federal enterprise architecture, which is a key goal of the Bush administration. Azizirad gripes that government IT officials say, "'It's wonderful to see you; let's get together for a meeting.' But we never get a meeting," he says. "When you follow up, you get no response. That's a difficult position to be in."

I wouldn't know. I never get turned down for appointments, I do lunch five days a week, and all my phone calls are returned, especially by politicians and celebrities. Sure, and you're going to send me an industry tip, right? To or phone 516-562-5326. If you want to talk about outsourcing, layoffs, or stovepipe structures, meet me at the Listening Post:

To discuss this column with other readers, please visit John Soat's forum on the Listening Post.

To find out more about John Soat, please visit his page on the Listening Post.

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