Office 365 Open to finally arrive in Australia

Australia is unique in many ways, such as:
– we are both a country as well as a continent
– we have some of the most dangerous creatures on the planet
– we love Vegemite

We are also unique in a very special way when it comes to Office 365 in that we can only purchase it via Telstra – the exclusive syndication partner.
(Unless purchased under Enterprise Agreement or by an education institution – in which case the subscription can be obtained directly from Microsoft.)

For those not familiar with the lingo a syndication partner resells Office 365 under their own brand, often bundled with their own services. Generally this role is fulfilled by a telecommunications carrier. In Australia this is Telstra as they are the largest telco – mainly because they were the first.

Many Microsoft partners have lamented this fact, some quite loudly. My company Paradyne took the approach of “if you can’t beat them – join them”, and as such has enjoyed a great deal of success at the expense of other partners.

While Paradyne has a great relationship with Telstra we do sometimes find that syndication can get in the way – as the back-end commerce platform is not the same as when purchasing directly from Microsoft. This means that customers cannot have their Office 365 from Telstra and their Windows Intune or Dynamics CRM Online utilising the same tenant namespace as the latter two are not available from Telstra.

Yesterday Microsoft announced an upcoming change to the way Office 365 is licensed in Australia – namely the fact that in early 2014 Microsoft customers will be able to purchase Office 365 subscriptions under the Open program. This allows a multitude of benefits:
– partners can bill customers directly for Office 365 and wrap other services around it
– customers can get Windows Intune and Dynamics CRM Online in the same tenant as their Office 365 service
– partners can own the customer
– customers and partners don’t have to deal with Telstra if they don’t want to

Ultimately the availability of Office 365 Open in Australia gives both partners and customers more choice, and this is a very good thing.

What does this mean for Telstra? The expectation is that Telstra will still remain a syndication partner which means that customers can still purchase their Office 365 subscriptions on their Telstra account. The company has put a great deal of effort into building a channel model around ICT and enabling its sales force to have cloud conversations. I expect many customers and partners will still see the value of working with Telstra and licensing their service this way. For other customers a better option will be to license Office 365 via the Open License program.

At Paradyne we embrace the new license choices and will continue to work with Telstra customers as well as bring Office 365 customers to Telstra, however welcome the additional flexibility now available in the marketplace.

Also published on Medium.


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