Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite -- which features Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Microsoft Office Live Meeting -- will push into 18 new countries on April 1, according to CNet. The move comes as many of North America's managed services giants -- from Ingram Micro Seismic to The Planet -- formulate their global hosting and software as a service (SaaS) strategies. Here's what to expect.
The Planet, ranked No. 7 in our latest MSPmentor 100 report, on April 1 plans to open its first international data center in London, according to a March 2 statement from the company. More than a hosting company, The Planet offers a range of managed services and SaaS options.
Meanwhile, Ingram Micro Seismic VP Justin Crotty on February 27 told MSPmentor that he's formulating an international strategy that initially includes Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Crotty offered the revelation during a podcast with MSPmentor.
More than 1,000 VARs and MSPs already leverage Ingram Micro Seismic in North America for remote monitoring tools, professional services automation (PSA) and other capabilities. Crotty says the international Seismic is coming, though Ingram is still evaluating timing based on economic variables.
Here Comes MicrosoftMeanwhile, Microsoft is gearing up its own Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS). Quite a few readers have expressed concern about Microsoft trying to jugging SaaS and channel relationships.
I tend to give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt but I think it will take Microsoft two years or so to really polish and optimize its SaaS partner programs.
Short term, I suspect the BPOS effort will make its share of mistakes in the months ahead. And I think BPOS will suffer from branding confusion with some of Microsoft's other SaaS and cloud initiatives such as Windows Azure.
Ultimately, Microsoft must somehow compete against the new Google Apps Reseller program, Salesforce.com and a range of cloud services -- without alienating partners.
That's no small challenge. And by April, it will be a global challenge when BPOS pushes into 18 more markets.
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