Microsoft Windows Intune was switched on globally overnight to the delight of local channel partners who were geared up to launch new services.
Hosted in Microsoft data centres in Singapore, US and Ireland, Windows Intune allowed partners to manage their customers’ PCs and security requirements remotely.
Microsoft has targeted the product to small and medium business and to entice them has offered customers upgrade rights to Windows 7 Enterprise.
Twelve Microsoft Australia Cloud Essential Partners took part in the beta including Loryan Strant, principal consultant at Paradyne.
Strant said he asked the software giant last year to extend the beta to Australia. He was set to launch a service based on the platform.
“It’s a whole IT management-in-the-cloud offering. We can monitor administrative services and we’re also offering a hosted help desk ticketing system.
We’ll add other value adding components as well,” he said.
Strant said he had “fully deployed Windows Intune” in his organisation and had 10 customers or approximately 400 licenses locally waiting to deploy it.
Customers weren't concerned that Intune was hosted overseas because the “data isn’t stored overseas, only a report is," he added.
And customers needn’t fear privacy concerns that someone has access to their systems because they have to request a connection before the partner can remotely access their system, he said.
Microsoft partner HubOne’s Nick Beaugeard said Intune was "really exciting”.
“We think about it as “MSP” in the cloud. Although not as full featured, it’s a great start and coming with a Windows license is also good for the customer," Beaugeard said.
“Windows InTune is a great addition to our service offerings and is one customers get excited about."
How to get involved
InTune can be sold as an additional service or it can be used to kickstart a managed service offering for partners that don't have one yet.
Partners, however, would need to be geared to bill customers themselves. This payment structure differs from the way other Microsoft hosted products are sold in Australia.
Microsoft’s Business Productivity Suite (BPOS) is implemented by partners but sold through Telstra T-Suite who bills the customer.
To be eligible to offer InTune services, partners need to be involved with Microsoft's Cloud Essentials Program.
To join the Essentials program they need to be in the Microsoft Partner Network as a community level member. Partners also need to pass a cloud essential exam.
“Then we put them on our customer portal,” said Moragh Blyth, Windows Commercial lead at Microsoft Australia..
Microsoft said it had "hundreds" of Cloud Essentials partners in Australia and wanted others to join.
“Partners will be able to support more customers with the cloud-based system than a traditional on-site business model, without increasing staff headcount,” she said
“There are 700,000 small and medium business in Australia across all industries. We think it’s a great opportunity for our partners to really use that scale."
Windows InTune was available today at $15.00 a PC a month.
Volume discounts would also be available for organisations that purchased 250 licenses or more.
Windows InTune was generally available today in 35 countries.