iiNet - Carlisle Events

12/15/2014  |  by Parallels
Categories:  Service Automation

iiNet - Carlisle Events

iiNet delivers competitively-priced Hosted Exchange services with Parallels Automation

iiNet is Australia’s second largest Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) Internet Service Provider (ISP) and the leading challenger in the country’s telecommunications market. With its own super-fast broadband network, it currently supports over 1.7 million broadband, telephony and Internet Protocol TV services nationwide, and the number is increasing rapidly as the company expands its customer base through acquisitions and business growth.

Business challenges

iiNet has been growing its hosted services portfolio and strengthening its position in the cloud space to address the IT needs of its small and medium business (SMB) customers. In March 2013, it introduced a Hosted Exchange service, bringing enterprise grade
email capabilities to businesses ranging from one-man operations to those with up to a hundred people in the company.

Previously, email offerings targeted at this market tended to be very basic communications solutions without options for collaboration, the sharing of calendars and contacts, or active synchronization with mobile phones. To address this gap, iiNet opted to go with Hosted Exchange because most SMBs were already users of Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer. Compared with other hosted email or communications solutions in the market, the transition to Exchange would be easier from a software integration and end user perspective.

With the hosted service, SMBs would be spared the need to purchase and manage their own software and hardware systems to support their email needs, allowing them to focus on their core business.

The opportunity for iiNet was huge, with an addressable market of about 1.2 million SMBs in Australia. However, with many service providers eyeing a piece of the action, the challenge for iiNet was to roll out its Hosted Exchange service quickly, and at a competitive price point.

Solution

This proved to be a cinch for iiNet, which already had a leading hosting and cloud delivery platform in Parallels Automation. With Parallels, the service provider was able to roll out the new service in about three months, offering customers seamless integration with Outlook, a rich web client, synchronization across their mobile devices and tools for improved team collaboration.

iiNet’s Hosted Exchange service is offered at two price points – A$2.95 per inbox per month, which comes with 3Gb storage and web support, and A$6.95 per month, which comes with 25GB storage and included features such as the synchronization of email, calendar and contacts, and push notification for mobile devices. The iiNet Hosted Exchange infrastructure is located in Melbourne, which means faster access, no data sovereignty issues and no scheduled outages in the middle of the day.

Benefits

“Parallels made it easy for us to launch the Hosted Exchange service and reduced
our operating costs through extensive systems automation. This enabled us to offer the service at a very competitive price point without compromising on the customer experience,” said Kevin Clark, Hosting Manager, iiNet. “It also brings iiNet closer to our goal of providing our SMB customers with ‘IT-in-a-box’, allowing them to harness the benefits of new technologies without having to worry about managing and maintaining their own IT systems.”

Reduced time to market
The modular nature of Parallels Automation enabled iiNet to add Hosted Exchange to the platform and roll it out in about three months. This included one and a half months for the actual deployment, and another one and a half months for internal testing, as well as testing with customers to ensure a smooth user experience, for example, in the sign-up and service registration process. If iiNet were to build its own cloud delivery platform, it would have taken six to eight months to roll out the service, said Clark.

Enhanced cost competitiveness
iiNet was able to offer Hosted Exchange at a very competitive price point because end-to-end automation with Parallels enabled it to minimize its operational overheads. By automating the entire customer engagement process, Parallels reduced the need for direct intervention by customer service personnel, bringing down iiNet’s support costs without impacting customer service quality.

Increased ARPU
By powering iiNet’s Hosted Exchange service, Parallels Automation also helped to open up new upselling opportunities for iiNet. For example, when a customer registered a domain name or subscribed to a web hosting service or virtual private server, iiNet was able to bundle and upsell an enterprise-grade email service.

Empowered customers with self-service capabilities
Parallels Automation also enabled iiNet to provide its customers with an easy-to-use control panel which allowed them to manage Hosted Exchange in their business. For example, they could set up accounts and create new email boxes for employees and enable features such as mailbox forwarding, without having to call on external customer support for these routine tasks.

Ensured a superior customer experience
With Parallels automating the entire customer experience from service sign-on to provisioning to billing, iiNet was able to focus on managing its customers to ensure a superior customer experience.

Enabled consolidated billing for multiple services
The integrated billing system from Parallels ensured that iiNet’s customers continued to receive a single bill while subscribing to multiple services. This helped reduce the administrative effort for customers and for iiNet itself.

Quick Facts:

Business Situation Summary
iiNet was looking to introduce enterprise- grade email capabilities to SMBs in Australia to grow its portfolio of hosted services and strengthen its position in the cloud services space. However, in view of the intense competition in this space, it had to be able to roll out the service quickly and offer it at a competitive price point.

Solution Summary
iiNet leveraged on the end-to-end automation capabilities of its Parallels platform to roll out a Hosted Exchange service, offering customers seamless integration with Outlook, a rich web client, synchronization across their mobile devices and tools for improved team collaboration.

Benefits Summary

  • Reduced time to market
  • Enhanced cost competitiveness
  • Increased ARPU
  • Empowered customers with self-service capabilities
  • Ensured a superior customer experience
  • Enabled consolidated billing for multiple services

Parallels Products Used

  • Parallels Automation

"Parallels made it easy for us to launch the Hosted Exchange service and reduced our operating costs through extensive systems automation. This enables us to offer the service at a very competitive price point without compromising on the customer experience. It also brings iiNet closer to our goal of providing our SMB customers with 'IT-in-a-box', allowing them to harness the benefits of new technologies without having to worry about managing and maintaining their own IT systems."

— Kevin Clark,
Hosting Manager, iiNet