HSC closes on ‘cloud’ deal with Microsoft


HSC is expected to partner with Microsoft to resell online cloud services from January
HSC told dealers at its annual conference last week it believes cloud services will be a key revenue driver for independent dealers in 2011.

Microsoft is the key player in the burgeoning market.

Microsoft launched its cloud based service, Office 365, in April last year, which allows users to securely store and access work information in the cloud, accessible from any online computer or smartphone.

Services include Microsoft Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office Live Meeting and Office Communications Online. Microsoft claims security levels are the highest available.

Microsoft business development manager for cloud services Ted Shultz (pictured) told HSC dealers 70 per cent of Microsoft deveopers are currently developing applications for cloud-based services and expects the number to rise to 90 per cent in 2011. He said also the Exchange service can be set up within a day, instead of a month, typical previously.

A free 30-day trial is also available for business with up to 20 employees. Prices start from £1.34 per user per month for the basic Exchange Deskless Worker package, or £6.71 per month for the full suite.

The commercials have been earmarked as 18 per cent in the first 12 months and six per cent in year two, although this is not confirmed. HSC said it expects to launch officially in January.

Shultz said: “This is a massive push for Microsoft. Not only can you sell what you traditionally sell, but you can sell on top of that so you will make more money. Because you are adding more value, your customer is less likely to leave.

“You can go to a customer who may have been put off by such services before based on cost and now get enterprise-class software for a price that was impossible in the past.

“One of the biggest annoyances for companies with Exchange is upgrading to the newest version. Well, we do it for the customer so there are no painful upgrades. In the past, if a business wanted to deploy Exchange services it would take them a month or more to get started. With online services, it takes less than a day to deploy. It’s very simple to manage. For £3.36 your customer can have a 25GB mailbox and an enterprise-class software, which is peanuts and extremely compelling especially in the current climate.”

HSC business manager Bob Sweetlove added: “If you can put Microsoft next to your logo, hopefully it will add power to your business in your local markets. After a couple of years of doom and gloom I honestly believe there is a bright future for those who want to stretch themselves and their businesses a little bit and it mainly centres around the internet. We are in an advanced process and  I’d be very surprised if we hadn’t signed an agreement by early New Year.”