Claro, Microsoft partner to deliver Office 365 to small, mid-sized businesses
Looking to provide easier and better accessibility to email, documents and applications anytime, anywhere Claro Puerto Rico and Microsoft Corp. have partnered to launch Office 365, a cloud-based suite of productivity tools designed for small and mid-sized businesses.
Through the partnership, Claro will market the services as part of its portfolio of complimentary products such as broadband and computer bundles, said Claro’s Marketing Director Wanda Arroyo.
“This is a product that already exists, but through this partnership, we’ll be offering additional services to clients who sign up,” Arroyo said. “First, Claro customers who sign up will be able to get the service billed through their monthly phone statement, they will have access to customer service in case they get stuck.”
“Also, clients will be able to benefit from other services we already offer, such as buying their computer from us and paying it off in monthly installments, and signing up for broadband,” she said.
Office 365 is a cloud-based service that Microsoft launched commercially in June 2011. The paid online service includes online access to a Microsoft Office suite of desktop applications — Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, and Outlook — and hosted versions of Microsoft’s Server products, including Exchange Server, SharePoint Server, and Lync Server.
While the service is offered by Microsoft, users can access it through any type of computer — PC or Mac — and using any browser. Furthermore, Claro customers who own either Windows or Android mobile phones can also access their accounts via mobile applications.
Office 365 is available in seven tiers of service including different options ranging in price from $4 to $20 a month. However, Claro will actively promote the middle-of-the-road bundles, which Arroyo said include the features that are ideal for local small and mid-sized businesses.
“Claro customers will benefit from this new service, as it will enable them to access productivity tools used by larger companies, which until now were not viable because they required high investments in infrastructure,” she said, adding that once a customer signs up, they will have access to the service within 24 hours.
Similar partnerships across the region
The partnership announced Wednesday is the latest between Microsoft and a telecommunications carrier. Last year, the software company struck a similar agreement with TelMex, owner of América Móvil, which in turn is Claro’s parent company.
“This partnership has worked out well in Mexico, and now we’re looking to launch the cloud-based service in other countries such as Argentina, Chile and Brazil, where we’ve identified a need from the small and mid-sized business sector,” said Armando Peña, manager of desktop and productivity products for Microsoft Puerto Rico. “The partnership in Mexico is probably the most successful agreement we’ve had with an operartor so far.”
Aside from benefitting from the suite of products and services available through Office 365, Peña said small businesses will find extra benefits from signing up through a carrier.
“This service through Claro gives small companies access to this type of product that they may have not been able to use before, with the convenience of an affordable pricing structure and billing,” said Peña.
Claro will launch its marketing push for the Office 365 service today and will be actively present in trade events, such as this weekend’s Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association convention in Fajardo, Arroyo said.