Microsoft Office 365 is far too limited in its cloud integration capabilities for telcos looking to offer cloud-based services, according to Optus' small and medium business group MD Rohan Ganeson.
Both Optus and Telstra are offering cloud services to businesses as part of a package including unified communications and office suites. Telstra recently picked Microsoft Office 365 for its T-suite offering, while Optus went with Google Apps as part of its OfficeApps package for small and medium businesses.
While Ganeson said convincing businesses to move away from the familiar traditional Microsoft Office products to the cloud presented a challenge, he told ZDNet Australia today that the Google Apps offering gave telcos a better ability to integrate the software with other aspects of unified communications services.
"There's a familiarity issue with Microsoft, but Google effectively provides a broader set of capabilities. Microsoft Office 365 has taken its traditional office packages and put it into the cloud but they've stopped the integration, so it is a canned solution," he said.
"The Google Apps allows us to integrate a lot more of traditionally what you might be used to as a telco. So we could integrate voicemail capability, we could integrate unified comms capability, other applications such as payroll, HR, accounting and so on can be seamlessly integrated and you can share data between the apps which is what you can't do in the other space today."
Ganeson said that although the user interface would be unfamiliar for newcomers to Google, the capability and functionality would be very powerful. The recent launch of Google's social-networking service Google+ may also offer advantages to businesses, he said.
One of the features of Google+, called a "hangout", allows users to participate in a video web chat inside the Google+ network, Facebook also recently partnered with Skype to launch video chats as part of its service; however, Ganeson didn't yet see this move into video communications as a threat to the services offered by telcos.
"What you find typically is that most of the unified comms actually occurs across the platform instead of one area, but, that said, Google+ is still a very early technology."