Microsoft and GoDaddy have teamed up to give small business email users a professional edge, courtesy of Office 365.
GoDaddy now offers Office 365 packages, as part of a strategic partnership with Microsoft that goes beyond typical reselling agreements. The companies worked closely to provide subscribers with a seamless experience that links their domains to professional email services and cloud storage, according to Steven Aldrich, GoDaddy's senior vice president of Business Applications.
"This product offering is truly aimed at global small business," Aldrich told Small Business Computing during an interview. Rather than repackaging Microsoft's wares, he said that the "Office 365 product has been customized for small businesses."
Customizations include a domain-based email service that's automatically linked to a customer's domain name (think email@example.com); no configuration necessary. Called Email Essentials, the product also provides secure, cloud-enhanced access to users' inboxes.
No slightly improved versions of consumer-grade online email, here. The product is powered by Exchange Online and SkyDrive Pro, the same services used by larger enterprises, said John Case, corporate vice president of Microsoft Office. For GoDaddy's small business customers, the partnership represents a "chance for them to get access to these world-leading services," he said.
Email Essentials is "aimed at that small business that wants a professional image with customers and prospects," said Aldrich.
GoDaddy: More Than Domain Names
Best known for selling Internet domain name services, GoDaddy also runs a healthy small business services division. Aldrich said his company has 4 million small business customers, 1 million of which use the company's domain-based email product.
Describing the small business segment as "one really important channel," Case said it was GoDaddy's grasp on the market that made Microsoft eager to partner with the company. "GoDaddy did very well and we wanted to work with them," he said.
Another important reason: customer care. Of GoDaddy's 4,500 employees, 2,500 provide customer service, said Aldrich. As part of the move to Office 365, the company's customer service reps have extensive training on the product, allowing the company to offer 24/7 support.
"We’re excited that GoDaddy has chosen to exclusively offer Office 365 to its small-business customers, giving them easy and supported access to productivity tools being used by some of the most successful businesses in the world, said Case in a statement. Calling Office 365 "the fastest-growing Microsoft product in history," Case said that the online productivity suite will help give small firms a boost in their startup or IT modernization efforts, he added.
GoDaddy also has packages for businesses that want more from Office 365 than just email. New business and productivity subscriptions provide access to a range of Office software, including Work, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook, along with advanced collaboration, syncing and sharing capabilities.
As for Workspace, GoDaddy's in-house business software suite, the company will continue to support it but is working with Microsoft to migrate customers to Office 365. Going forward, new and future customers will be offered Office 365.
Office 365 from GoDaddy is available now in the U.S. and Canada. Plans call for a global rollout to be completed within the next three months.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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