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Telstra and Microsoft partner on enterprise voice services

A partnership between Telstra and Microsoft will see the two provide managed voice to enterprises through Office 365 cloud services.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Telstra and Microsoft have formed a partnership to deliver managed voice services to Office 365 enterprise customers, combining cloud collaboration with a voice-calling solution.

Under the partnership, Telstra's managed services -- voice and network assessments -- will be paired with Skype for Business through the Office 365 cloud product from Wednesday.

"Our partnership with Telstra will build on our objective to bring workplace communication into the modern era, by putting meetings and voice at the heart of Office 365," Giovanni Mezgec, general manager of Office 365 Partners at Microsoft, said at the Telstra Vantage 2016 conference in Melbourne on Wednesday afternoon.

"The option to integrate voice services will bring enhanced value to the millions of users enjoying Office 365 cloud services in Australia."

According to Gianpaolo Carraro, director of Telstra's Global Products and Global Applications, the partnership will tie in with Telstra's acquisitions of Readify and Kloud earlier this year.

"Telstra and Microsoft have joined forces to enable modern communications for Australian enterprises, designed for a connected world where employees work anywhere, anytime, and on any device," Carraro said, adding that it also signals Telstra's move from being a pure telecommunications provider to being a technology company.

"When you combine this partnership, our core network and mobility capabilities, and our recent acquisitions of Kloud and Readify, we can provide customers with truly unique employee productivity solutions, designed specifically for their requirements."

In July, Telstra acquired Readify, a developer of Microsoft software applications, saying it will bolster the telecommunications provider's cloud offerings.

"As we know, apps and software in general are playing an increasingly important role in businesses. Readify is recognised globally for its innovative software solutions and will further help us create software-led digital transformations with our customers," Telstra's executive director of Global Enterprise and Services Michelle Bendschneider said at the time.

"Readify will provide application development and data analytics services, nicely complementing Kloud's existing services. It will enable Telstra to add incremental value to customers in enterprise cloud applications, API-based customisation, and extensions, as well as business technology advisory services."

Telstra continued expanding its cloud and managed network application services by acquiring Australian company Kloud in January, which provides professional and managed services to more than 80 corporate and government customers across Australia and Asia-Pacific, as well as supplying solutions for productivity, identity, security, application development, and cloud infrastructure for enterprise cloud applications.

Telstra had also acquired unified communications solutions and contact centre provider North Shore Connections (NSC) Group in August 2013; network integration services provider O2 Networks for a reported AU$60 million in January 2014; and information security, networking, and data management provider Bridgepoint in October 2014.

In May, Telstra flagged the importance in securing multi-cloud services, calling this "critical" to its overarching strategy, by entering a partnership with hybrid cloud security startup vArmour.

The partnership will see Australia's incumbent telco add another layer of security solutions to its enterprise managed services portfolio, and was kicked off by Telstra investing between $5 million and $10 million in vArmour's $41 million series D funding round.

In April, Telstra also unveiled a business multi-cloud connecting solution to support the use of hybrid cloud services Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Office365, VMware vCloud, and IBM SoftLayer. The solution, called Cloud Gateway, allows customers to connect directly to multiple public cloud environments via Telstra's IP network.

Telstra in January also invested in Chinese cloud company Qiniu.

Disclosure: Corinne Reichert travelled to Telstra Vantage in Melbourne as a guest of Telstra

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