Analyst: Telstra SaaS platform is a budding talent

Ovum analyst sees Telstra's announcement as good move to win over SMB customers

Telstra’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) retail platform, T-Suite, is a late bloomer but has the potential to succeed, according to Ovum public sector research director, Steve Hodgkinson.

The telco's platform, targeted at the 1.9 million companies in the small to medium business (SMB) market, went live nationwide yesterday.

It has a handful of applications on offer, including Workforce Guardian, a human resources service to assist company compliance with Australian employment laws. The telco has indicated that more software will be added to its repertoire in the coming months.

While the platform has potential, Hodgkinson highlighted two difficulties the service faced.

“SMB is a local-conscious market and a lot of their decisions are based on trust and habit,” Hodgkinson said. “One hurdle Telstra faces is getting SMBs to understand and buy into the whole SaaS concept and secondly, to trust the telco in the loop of their business.”

Hodgkinson saw Telstra’s tie in of the announcement with the new industrial relations laws, beginning July 1, as a good strategic move in convincing the SMB group to trust in its cloud delivery model.

“Local selling messages, such as linking the Workforce Guardian with the workplace reform, is a clever approach to the SMB market,” Hodgkinson said. “A lot of SaaS aggregation platforms suffer from the fact the customers can get the software directly from the independent software vendors [ISVs], so this helps the company cut through the noise.”

He said Telstra may be slow to jump on-board the aggregate delivery bandwagon.

“Probable cost savings and convenience of the offer will help convince businesses to take up the offer,” Hodgkinson said. “Customers will probably value the services from a one portal platform on one bill and if Telstra can work out ways to deliver benefits which will integrate into its telecom services then than can further strengthen it.”

T-Suite applications start from $4 per user, per month for desktop security to $16.95 for email.

Telstra is offering a 30-day trial period for all applications.

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