Microsoft Corp. and BT today announced they have signed an information technology (IT) services agreement for a series of strategic projects that will enable BT to accelerate the launch of new Internet-based services to its customers. By implementing the MicrosoftÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â® solution, BT will be able to roll out affordable and easy-to-use e-mail, shared calendar and contacts, as well as other software applications, to smaller businesses.
The first new service BT plans to launch is an enhanced e-mail service for smaller businesses based on Microsoft Hosted Exchange. The contract between the two companies is valued at approximately $7 million (U.S.).
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œUsing the Microsoft .NET-based framework as the core of this infrastructure, we will be able to deliver a ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“plug and playÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ facility for launching Internet-hosted software services, initially to smaller businesses in the U.K. Our aim is to offer these businesses a way to reduce or eliminate the initial capital outlays and ongoing maintenance costs that are associated with managing IT in-house,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â said Duncan Ingram, managing director of BT Openworld. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œBT, together with Microsoft, aims to make IT applications and services simple to use, affordable and of good value. By offering an ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“a la carteÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ menu of services that can be tailored to the diverse needs of a smaller business, we can deliver a level of customer service and support that we believe will help us both to drive new revenue streams.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
The solution being deployed by BT comprises a suite of Microsoft .NET-based software and service packages that are designed to provide enhanced connectivity and streamline operational and billing processes. For example, Microsoft BizTalkÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â® Server 2004 provides BT with a unified view of and easy access to its customer data and service information, helping ensure that BT can provision and bill customers for the new services quickly and efficiently.
The project follows extensive trials by BT and Microsoft Consulting Services at the Microsoft Technology Centre in Reading, England, and the Microsoft Partner Solutions Center in Redmond, Wash., to ensure the carrier-grade scalability and reliability needed to deploy these new hosted IT services on a wide scale. The projects are being coordinated by Microsoft Consulting Services, which is working with global systems integration provider Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. to implement the integrated solution. HP also will provide services to deliver the security-enhanced and scalable Microsoft Hosted Exchange infrastructure within BT.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œIn the telecoms market, fixed-line and mobile operators have recognized that incremental revenues will be driven by their ability to deliver a range of value-added services Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â particularly to smaller businesses,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â said Daren Mancini, U.K. director of the Communications Sector at Microsoft. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œMicrosoft is working closely with Tata Consultancy Services and HP to help BT deliver these innovative and profitable services to its customers and ensure they are efficiently integrated into BTÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s existing infrastructure.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œTata Consultancy Services is pleased to be working with Microsoft to develop this strategic solution for BT, not only because BT is a valued customer for both of our companies, but also because this project is a key milestone in an important business relationship for Tata Consultancy Services and Microsoft,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â said A.S. Lakshminarayanan, vice president and country manager for the UK and Ireland at Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThis solution will form a principal foundation for BT as they deliver new services to realize their vision around the Digital Networked Economy and Tata Consultancy Services is delighted to work with Microsoft to help BT achieve this.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â