Telstra has announced that its software as a service (SaaS) platform T-Suite has gone live.
The platform, launched in beta in November last year, allows organisations to lease software from the telco for a recurring monthly fee.
The live version launches with 9 applications including HR software Workforce Guardian, security software from MessageLabs and McAfee, Microsoft SharePoint, Exchange e-mail, Skoot, Dynamics CRM, and business process automation application WORKetc.
Over time Telstra plans to add small business accounting system Xero and Microsoft Online Services in the coming months, and is in talks with up to 50 local and international software vendors.
T-Suite is targeted squarely at Australia’s 1.9 million small businesses, Telstra business group managing director, Deena Shiff, said.
“In the current economic climate, those small businesses are looking for ways to improve cash flow and better manage risks and compliance obligations and we believe the T Suite service provides a cost effective answer at the right time,” Shiff said in a statement.
According to Jari Heinonen, Vice President APAC at security vendor F-Secure, the telecommunications industry had to date has been slow to offer SaaS to its end-users.
“Telcos have been busy deploying broadband, wireless networks, 3G, and mobile broadband, but they are realising that value-added services are becoming more important… especially as an alternate way to boost average revenue per user (ARPU), he said.
Heinonen said that the provision of SaaS services, particularly around security, should be the responsibility of telecommunication providers
“They provide the connectivity, plus there are a lot of malicious attacks - spam and viruses - on their own networks, so they should be taking more responsibility for the provision of security,” he said.