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BSO/Origin, the software and services division of Utrecht, Netherlands-based BSO/Beheer BV, has become one of only two European premier partners for Lotus Development Corp’s Notes. A premier partner – the other one in Europe is Andersen Consulting – commits to providing a certain number of staff that are fully conversant with the product and are able to help customers implement and customise Notes. The company has already set up competence centres in the UK and Belgium to train its staff to meet this obligation. Since signing the deal in May, Origin has won UK contracts with two London insurance companies and is negotiating a Europe-wide contract with a large Brussels-based manufacturer. Asked whether the just-completed Lotus sale to IBM Corp would affect the partnership, Origin UK marketing director Andy Sinden said the marketing might of IBM would only speed the product’s entry to market. Another recent win for the company was the facilities management contract for British Coal. In a joint venture with major shareholder – 41% – Philips Electronics NV, for whom it has provided facilities management since 1990 and whose hardware it uses, Origin won a two-part deal with British Coal’s mines privatisation project. The company created separate versions of the Coal Board’s central computer system ready for the sale of the mines to private companies, and a two-year facilities management contract. The company now provides services to 10 separate mine-owning companies and has employed more than 200 British Coal staff. Origin, which still quotes Computergram’s comment that it’s one of the best-kept secrets in the world (CI No 2,243), has, despite its continuing low profile, opened 20 offices in the past two years, making a total of 100 worldwide, in 24 countries, and achieved a turnover of ú305m. It has continued to operate its ‘cell’ approach (CI No 2,243), where each office or ‘cell’ is a limited company with around 70 staff and is encouraged to operate autonomously, but with direct reporting to a global account management team. When an individual cell gets to a pre-set size, 70 to 100 staff and around ú2m turnover, some of the staff split off and form a new cell. In this way the company provides localised service and support, while co-ordinating its major global customers from a central team. Origin has only 30 major corporate clients worldwide and focuses very strongly on servicing these principal global accounts. Much of its growth is organic, in response to increased requirements from existing customers. Its target market for new business is companies with more than $1,000m annual turnover and employing 5,000 staff, of which it reckons there are 5,000 worldwide, and the cells are encouraged to go after these large corporates, although this does not preclude them from also working locally for smaller companies.

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