VARs have welcomed a BT and Microsoft initiative allowing them to sell hosted services to SMEs.
BT Connected and Complete costs £50 per month per user, based on five users. Businesses will get a broadband connection, firewall and anti-virus software updated daily, a domain name and tools to set up a site. The service will be trialled between June and September in Scotland.
BT and Microsoft said the channel is the ideal route to SMEs. Local resellers are considered to be the best way for customers to make the most of the product.
"Many SMEs aren't up to speed with technology and couldn't normally afford these enterprise-style services," said Rakesh Mahajan, general manager of strategy and business development at BT Indirect Channels.
"They like to work with local firms but get peace of mind because they have back-up from Microsoft and BT."
The service includes Microsoft Solution for Hosted Exchange 2003 and Microsoft Office Small Business Edition 2003. Resellers will carry out a 'health check' on customers every six months. About 25 licensed Microsoft resellers will be recruited for the national roll-out.
Raymond O'Hare, Microsoft's Scotland business manager, said: "Scotland is the perfect size for the first trial, which will allow us to fine-tune the service before a further roll-out."
Michael Frisby, channel director at hosting provider Cobweb Solutions, said: "The big benefit for our resellers is a potential customer base with a heightened awareness of such solutions."
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