Whole Solution for Small Businesses

InfoWorld writes about how small businesses in the U.K. are being offered a one-stop shop for software and broadband through a new joint offering from Britiesh Telecom and Microsoft.

BT Connected and Complete has been put together to give small companies broadband access, e-mail, Office software and support and maintenance on a per-user basis, the companies said. For about 50 ($89) a month per user, depending on the size of the company, a local BT channel partner will install and set up the broadband connection, with firewall and antivirus software, and provide Microsoft’s Solution for Hosted Exchange 2003, Version 2.0, for e-mail, contacts and calendar access, plus Microsoft Office Small Business Edition 2003.

Companies will also be offered a domain name and simple Web design software to help them create their first Web site, Microsoft’s Scottish Regional Manager Raymond O’Hare said.

BT’s channel partners will provide support and will visit each customer every six months to perform an “IT health check up” on the company to assess its infrastructure and future needs.

This is exactly what is needed in India, but at a much lower price point.

From a News.com report:

The growing optimism in the small-business market will see more money being spent on hardware, security software and information management software, Forrester predicted. New security investments are likely for 75 percent of small and midsize companies. About 74 percent are planning to purchase new servers, while 65 percent plan to buy new storage gear. Nearly 70 percent are looking to buy additional Internet connectivity and bandwidth, with 85 percent of these also likely to shop for networking hardware.

Forrester said that 61 percent of small businesses have upgraded at least one PC to Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system, and 95 percent are planning to replace an average of one in four of their PCs.

The companies surveyed said they plan to buy directly from vendors, bypassing the middleman. Among the suppliers preferred by companies in the survey are Dell–which was the choice of 79 percent of the respondents–Microsoft, Cisco Systems and Symantec.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.