Virtualization Technology News and Information
SMBs Accelerate Move to Cloud-Based Microsoft Hosted Exchange & Unified Communications Subscriptions

Automation and virtualization leader, Parallels, today announced that its hosting provider partners are seeing an uptick and increased demand for its Parallels Automation offering, which delivers applications like Microsoft Hosted Exchange in a software as a service (SaaS) model. Hosters, telecommunication providers, and MSPs are leading the industry trend and providing hosted e-mail services to SMBs in a cloud model, with capabilities that were historically only available to large Enterprises.  Microsoft Hosted Exchange offers SMBs a cost-effective alternative to managing an in-house e-mail server.  Parallels Automation is used by the leading cloud services providers around the world including Apptix in the US, Cobweb in Europe, and GMO HOSTING & SECURITY, INC. (GMO-HS) in Asia, as well as leading Telcos such as Portugal Telecom and Sunrise. 

Using a third party – such as a hoster or Telco provider – to manage corporate e-mail and unified communications can be a beneficial and cost-effective solution for companies lacking space or resources to administer what SMBs consider their most important business application.  In the Hosted Exchange model, the service provider manages all the technology and support for the SMB. 

"E-mail continues to be the most popular form of business communication today," said Philbert Shih, research analyst at Tier1 Research. "But in order to save on IT spending, SMBs and enterprises are increasingly making the move from on-premise e-mail deployments to a hosted model in order to cut back on hardware, maintenance and consulting costs. We continue to see a steadily growing understanding of the advantages of hosted application delivery in the marketplace."

“We have seen tremendous interest from our channel partners for the expanded suite of hosted communication services that Apptix offers,” said Chris Damvakaris, Vice President of Sales and Business Development for Apptix. “Parallels Automation was an important addition to our technical architecture—improving our partners’ ability to bundle services they choose to offer customers, through a standardized control panel while automating many management functions.”

The economy is accelerating the adoption of Microsoft Hosted Exchange by SMBs as businesses look to lower their IT costs and overhead and improve their competitiveness.  In fact, according to a Gartner report in 2008, Microsoft Hosted Exchange will grow to 35 million users by 2012, representing an 88-percent compound annual growth rate.

“Microsoft is very pleased with the growth of our partners offering Microsoft hosted Exchange,” said John Zanni, general manager of the Worldwide Software Plus Services Industry for the Communications Sector at Microsoft Corp. “SMBs continue to get the benefits of advanced messaging and collaboration features that large businesses have been using for years in a pay-as-you-go, software-plus-services model. Parallels is a strategic partner for us and helps enhance Microsoft offerings to enable cloud services providers and Microsoft partners to get to market quickly with solutions that scale.”

“With the phenomenal growth and popularity of Microsoft Hosted Exchange, we see Parallels Automation as the gateway to being able to grow our reseller program and ensure we have the scalability to meet increasing customer demand,” said Dan Germain, CTO at Cobweb.

Parallels Automation provides a complete end-to-end automation platform – complete ordering, billing, and service delivery. Parallels Automation enables delivery of SaaS applications including Microsoft Exchange, Windows SharePoint, Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS), etc. in a hosted environment.  In the SaaS model, end user customers subscribe to the application instead of purchasing them, typically on a monthly basis. In this pay-as-you go approach, SMBs are afforded an easy-to-use low-cost service.

“Our SMB customers need to avoid upfront costs associated with purchasing the hardware and software to run their day-to-day business, but need to remain competitive and have access to the latest and most powerful applications and services, such as business-class e-mail,” stated Claudio Granella, Product Manager at Sunrise. “The demand for hosted e-mail and unified communications remains strong. Parallels Automation enables us to offer Microsoft Hosted Exchange as an initial position for other SaaS offerings for our SMB customers. Not only does the customer benefit from our SaaS portfolio, but Sunrise, as provider, can use it for up-selling and increasing our ARPU."

“We’re excited about the success of Microsoft Hosted Exchange and Windows SharePoint and the momentum only validates our business model to deliver services via the cloud,” said Mitsuru Aoyama, President & CEO, at GMO-HS. “Leveraging Parallels Automation, we get reduced capital and operating expenses, improved IT delivery and a scalable business model to meet changing customer needs.”

"Our initial entry to SaaS through Microsoft Hosted Exchange has been a fantastic success and a key driver for increasing subscriber numbers and reducing churn,” said Nuno Vas, Consultant of Business Development for Technical Engineering, at Portugal Telecom. “This is why SaaS is core to our growth plans around voice and data services as it provides a great deal of value for our business customers. With the support of Parallels, our overall cost of operation has been cut by 40-percent and we can deploy new services 80-percent faster. These improvements will continue to play a significant role in increasing ARPU and profitability by enabling us to quickly expand our SaaS portfolio to offer customers even more choice at lower costs."

Published Friday, August 07, 2009 5:37 AM by David Marshall
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