South African mobile network operator Vodacom today announced its exclusive syndication partnership with Microsoft South Africa to offer Office 365 to South African businesses. As part of this agreement, it will begin selling Microsoft Office 365, as an addition to its broad range of existing connectivity products, in order to provide the most suitable solutions for the unique needs of SMEs.
Office 365 brings together Microsoft Office, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Exchange Online and Microsoft Lync Online in an always-up-to-date service, at a predictable monthly cost. The service, which launched on a trial basis last year, saw more than 10,000 organizations globally, many of which were SMEs, sign up and begin testing Office 365, creating one of Microsoft’s largest global beta programmes for businesses.
This strategic relationship between Vodacom and Microsoft South Africa will give businesses access to enterprise-class productivity and telecoms services on a more affordable, rental basis. When used together, they will enable employees to work from virtually anywhere and on almost any device.
What’s more, Office 365 differs from the standard reseller model in that users will pay their Office 365 invoices directly to Microsoft either by account or credit card when buying from a reseller. Essentially they will be Microsoft customers for Office 365.
These services will enable SMEs with dispersed workforces to operate as slickly as their larger rivals by creating access to the kind of tools and services that have traditionally only been available to bigger companies.
Chris Lazarus, Managing Executive, Vodacom Business Services: “SMEs are the future of our economy. It is imperative that we provide them with the tools to compete with big business in a challenging marketplace where customers expect fast responses 24/7. The combination of our offerings with Office 365 helps deliver the benefits of agility, productivity and flexibility. Furthermore through Vodacom, customers will receive localised support from a provider they already know and trust.”
The “cloud” model means that key staff are no longer required to divert valuable time and energy to IT maintenance, freeing them to focus on their work. The simple, pricing structure also provides greater predictability over cost as well as enabling firms to scale services up or down depending on their requirements.
Vodacom will be offering exclusive bundled deals at discounted pricing and customers will enjoy Office 365 free until 30 November, 2012.
Anthony Doherty, Operator Channels Lead at Microsoft South Africa: “Office 365 is our next generation cloud productivity service, combining the best productivity solutions in the market. Vodacom is an experienced partner in offering integrated communications and IT services to businesses, helping firms to do more with less. By extending their portfolio to include Office 365, Vodacom is set to give businesses a further boost in today’s challenging economic climate.”