An Allied Domecq PLC unit is singing the praises of a relatively small IT services provider it hired last year to manage its messaging and groupware servers. An Allied Domecq PLC unit is singing the praises of a relatively small IT services provider it hired last year to manage its messaging and groupware servers.Allied Domecq Quick Service Restaurants (ADQSR) offloaded the daily management of 14 IBM Lotus Domino servers in June 2002 to InterNoded, a 10-year-old boutique services provider in Cambridge, Mass., with fewer than 30 employees. An InterNoded specialty is Domino and the Notes client software.Tasks InterNoded performs for ADQSR include building and maintaining Domino applications; collaborating with ADQSR's help desk for Domino-related trouble tickets; and monitoring and maintaining servers by handling patches, upgrades and installations of software, databases, underlying operating systems and network components, according to InterNoded.By hiring InterNoded, ADQSR freed its internal IT staff to work on creating new systems and applications that the company needs to respond to business needs and remain competitive."Specifically as it relates to our Lotus Notes infrastructure, we wanted to position ourselves so we could focus in and align ourselves from the IT perspective with the business, by repositioning our resources focused on the day-to-day administration (of Notes and Domino) into more strategic roles,"\u00a0ADQSR CIO\u00a0Michael Furlow said.ADQSR, in Randolph, Mass., is in charge of Allied Domecq's over 11,000 Dunkin' Donuts, Baskin-Robbins and Togo's franchises worldwide, which operate, respectively, in the very competitive coffee\/pastry, ice cream and sandwich restaurant segments.The transition has been transparent to ADQSR's about 1,200 Notes\/Domino corporate users, located primarily in Randolph, Mass., and Glendale, Calif., Furlow said. Franchises don't have access to the Notes\/Domino system.Furlow cites several factors as key to the success of the relationship. First, ADQSR outsourced the tasks but retained responsibility for the service, meaning it monitors carefully the work InterNoded provides.For example, if a user has a Notes problem, the service request goes first to the internal ADQSR help desk, which then involves InterNoded."It's a model that allows us to maintain responsibility for servicing our (users). We certainly haven't changed that through the relationship with InterNoded. We view InterNoded as an extension to our IT department," Furlow said. "You have to maintain responsibility internally for how that system affects your business and (users). That's the biggest key to success."The other key factor has been InterNoded's high level of responsiveness, diligence and technical know-how and, very importantly, of interest in understanding ADQSR's business."InterNoded has been very flexible and available to understanding more about what we're doing and how they can better support that," Furlow said.With two more years to go in its InterNoded contract, ADQSR is considering expanding the scope of the engagement, he said.ADQSR outsources other IT tasks to other service providers, making the decision after carefully weighing the benefits of doing the work in house versus handing it over to an outside firm, he said."We're using a selective sourcing model. We look at applications, projects and systems, and on a case-by-case basis we make decisions" about whether to outsource, he said.