Written by: Danny Burlage
The Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) this year (at least for us!) will be a special event. Wortell, the company I founded 13 years ago, won the Online Services Partner of the Year Award – which will be presented during the event which kicks off today.
By providing cloud services managed by Microsoft but supported by partners, Microsoft has opened up a whole new playing field for Wortell. We are now able to provide services to customers we weren’t able to before Microsoft started offering Online Services. It also presents a new choice for customers - they can choose to host within their own organization, host with us as a partner or let Microsoft do all the hard work.
Microsoft Online Services is part of our company DNA. Our sales force, technical architects and IT Pros don’t differentiate between offering cloud services or on premise solutions. They examine the actual needs a customer has at this moment and in the future in order to decide on an on premise, cloud or hybrid implementation. This has proved to be a very successful approach. With dozens of smaller and larger customers currently using Microsoft Online Services, we have generated lots of business which otherwise we couldn’t have done. Let’s look at some examples:
- Based on Microsoft Online Services, Wortell implemented a project allowing police agencies from all over the world to interact with each other in a SharePoint portal, through Office Communications Online and via Live Meetings. Apart from creating the online environment, Wortell provided services for training and adoption. Before exploring Microsoft Online Services the police agencies looked at other online services such as Google Apps and Skype but chose Microsoft’s offering because it’s the only offering ensuring safety and clear about the location of stored data.
- SkyTeam, the International Airline Alliance between Delta Airlines, KLM/Air France and many others, needed a worldwide online collaboration portal. They also needed services enabling e-mail and Instant Messaging communications. Wortell helped SkyTeam migrate their previous Documentum eRoom environment to SharePoint Online and supported the implementation of all the other Microsoft Online Services.
- Based on Office Communications Online, Live Meeting and a portal created on top of Windows Azure, Wortell developed a new mechanism for providing school classes. Teachers record all their classes in Live Meeting via a Microsoft Roundtable and then post the results to the Windows Azure portal. Students can search classes based on subject, teacher and other interesting arguments. This project created a new offering Wortell now delivers to a broad spectrum of schools.
- By combining Windows Live@EDU and Microsoft Online Services, Wortell enables multiple universities comprehensive Unified Communications and productivity solutions for a fraction of the cost. Combining this with Microsoft Online Services helped to cut a large amount of IT spending for the schools. Implementing these services enabled new infrastructure services like Forefront Identity Manager (FIM) to automatically provision the accounts.
- Wortell helped the Dutch Postal system move some business units into the cloud, offering two main advantages. The business units that were moved all had an e-mail system which was not compliant to their corporate email-system (Exchange). The migration to BPOS created a heterogeneous situation. The other advantage was that the business units now were able to offer e-mail services to people previously not having access to these services. The Exchange Online Deskless Worker edition now makes it affordable.
Cloud services offer a huge opportunity to focus on solving customer pains. Because customers save money with the initial investment in hardware, software and implementation, a larger budget is available to spend on our services. We see the customer winning with an environment that better supports their needs because more time can be spent in connecting their business needs to IT. However, we also win as a Microsoft Partner because we get more services revenue out of the project.
These are just some examples. Another one I personally like the most is our Microsoft Cloud Services master class. Wortell created this service to bring together multiple customers for a two day master class to help with the onboarding of the organization. Following the two day master class, we have knowledgeable customers and 5 to 10 new projects.
Although cloud services at this moment may seem like hype – it’s here to stay!
If you’re coming to WPC I would love to share more of our story and also hear yours. Let’s celebrate over a drink!