Telstra is to begin offering a bundle of Microsoft’s business applications, under the name of Microsoft Online Services, on its software service platform, T-Suite.
The move,flagged in April designed to help the Telstra take T-Suite into the enterprise, will also allow it to bundle carriage with the applications, which include Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office Communications Online, and Office Live Meeting.
The announcement is the third in a series of services offerings between the two companies which has so far seen the launch of a mobile email solution and the integration of Microsoft’s Office Communicator Server platform with Telstra’s IP telephony platform.
“This is the culmination of the announcement between Steve Ballmer and Sol Trujillio last November at the Telstra investor day,” Kevin Brough, communications sector director at Microsoft said. “The Microsoft Online Services is the cornerstone of the three... and just the start [of what we’re doing with T-Suite].”
According to Marcus Bartram, T-Suite director at Telstra Business, the new offering will allow the two companies to drive awareness of the hosted model as an alternative proposition to on-site application deployments.
“Having Microsoft Online Services means we can address the SME customer base, which is where T-Suite was originally conceived to play, but we can also now address the enterprise space,” he said. “I think the opportunity is a lot broader now than where we started in April.”
In April Telstra flagged that it was in talks with up to 50 local and international software vendors.
However, the relatively slow addition of new applications and partners to T-Suite in the five months since launching was not due to user wariness about cloud or SaaS applications, Bartram said.
“Our focus since April has been on making sure we get the service correct, so we haven’t been driving, or expecting, significant uptake of T-Suite,” he said. “What we have been doing is making sure that the business processes are in place and are working effectively. We have done quite a lot of work on the support side of the T-Suite equation so we can address the needs of carrier plus mobile plus application questions.”
Bartram said Telstra had also been working on education and recruitment programs in its sales channels.
“So, it’s not technical challenges; more making sure that the business processes and the business is ready for when we do drive to the broader market. It’s also building our whole eco system,” he said. “From [today] I do expect significant uptake.”
Brough would not comment on the nature of future collaborations between Telstra and Microsoft other than to say these would likely be in the consumer space.