Redmond, Washington – (The Hosting News) – November 29, 2005 – Software giant Microsoft Corp. has announced Microsoft Solution for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration version 3.5. The product offers a hosted solution that enables web hosting providers to equip small and midsize businesses (SMBs) with enterprise-class e-mail services, mobile device data access, team web sites and online presence information.
In version 3.5, Microsoft incorporates new mobile synchronization capabilities, a variety of security enhancements, and new tools that lessen management time and extend customer acquisition opportunities for hosting partners. Further, with the latest release of the solution, Microsoft underscores its commitment to building strategic relationships with telecommunications and hosting service providers to deliver a range of services to businesses.
According to Pascal Martin, General Manager of Worldwide Hosting at Microsoft, ”More and more small and midsize businesses require advanced enterprise- class features once reserved only for corporations with extensive IT budgets. The latest release of Hosted Messaging and Collaboration addresses that issue with unprecedented new features for these organizations. Hosting providers are clamoring for ways to meet the demands of their customers while keeping a tight rein on costs. By providing a consistent platform, we give our hosting partners the tools to upgrade to the latest software and thereby differentiate their offerings with minimal effort and cost.”
Targeted at companies with between 10 and 250 users and delivered through hosting providers, version 3.5 provides business-class communication tools on a variety of computing mediums, such as a desktop computer in the office or a mobile device on the road. This update offers small and midsize businesses a cutting-edge messaging and collaboration solution with minimal upfront costs, and helps reduce the need for internal IT resources.
End users can now benefit from Microsoft messaging solutions through Windows Mobile-based phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs) running Windows Mobile 5.0. With direct push technology, users will now have up-to-the minute access to e-mail, calendar appointments and task notifications. New mobile security features include the ability to wipe data from devices that have been lost or stolen and set up automated rules to help prevent access by unauthorized users.
Graeme Lloyd-Roberts, Technical Director at Bellwether Enterprises Ltd. explained, ”For a company our size, running and maintaining our own e-mail and document-sharing server is a proposition we would prefer to avoid. Yet communicating with both customers and our employees is such a critical component of business, it’s not an area of operations we can neglect. Through our hosting provider, we have a robust, stable e-mail system, document-sharing capabilities, and access to the latest and greatest software. We have enterprise-class technology at small-business prices.”
Marcel Nienhuis, Senior Market Analyst at the Radicati Group Inc. added, ”Small and midsize companies see a benefit in choosing enterprise-class hosted e-mail services in response to the growing complexities of in-house messaging systems, brought on by the challenges of managing spam, virus prevention, storage, archiving and compliance requirements. Microsoft Solution for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration is an attractive option for service providers because it allows them to meet this demand, along with helping provide additional revenue opportunities. With service providers hosting the solution, small and midsize businesses can focus on their business without worrying about technology concerns or recurring costs.”
With Microsoft Hosted Messaging and Collaboration version 3.5, service providers can help simplify application deployment, accelerate customer acquisition and improve customer satisfaction through a complete, end-to-end messaging and collaboration suite. The pre-engineered solution includes deployment automation tools and scripts, code samples, and documented procedures and best practices that help allow for rapid time to market. Management and monitoring tools ease administration of the solution and help provide superior service levels to end users.
Additional new features in version 3.5 include these:
— Automated password synchronization between hoster directories and end-customer accounts
— New customer migration tools and updates to key technology components
According to Ravi Agarwal, CEO of groupSPARK Inc., ”Microsoft Solution for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration has enabled us to cut our solution deployment time two-thirds by using the pre-tested provisioning system as the foundation for our turnkey private-label Hosted Exchange platform. Our resellers see mobility as a key driver for their small and medium- sized business customers, and the version 3.5 upgrade allows us to quickly meet their demand without making a large investment in our platform.”
”Microsoft provides a consistent platform that enables us to fully upgrade to the latest solutions available without having to perform a forklift upgrade every two or three years,” said Mark Adams, Managing Director of Cobweb Solutions Ltd. ”The resellers we engage with see mobility as a key driver for their small and medium-sized business customers. Microsoft Solution for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration 3.5 will allow us to meet that demand, while also cutting deployment time of the entire solution by 67 percent over the best alternative of building the capabilities from scratch.”
Microsoft Solution for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration version 3.5 is now available worldwide.
To learn more about Microsoft’s hosting solutions, please visit: www.microsoft.com/serviceproviders/hostedmessaging.