HP and Microsoft have announced a four-year strategic global initiative to deliver end-to-end unified communications and collaboration solutions.
As part of their Frontline Partnership, the two companies expect to invest up to an additional $180-million (about R1,5-billion) in product development, professional services, as well as joint sales and marketing, to help organisations lower costs and improve productivity.
The end-to-end solution, which is planned to span software, hardware, networking and services would, enable customers to improve business output and reduce travel, telecom and IT operating costs. This would be accomplished by streamlining communications across messaging, video and voice with connected applications and devices.
HP and Microsoft also plan to provide the flexibility and control customers need to manage their communications infrastructure efficiently.
"The demand for unified communications and collaboration is increasing," says Martin Meltz, HP TSG sales alliance manager. "Customers can lower costs and rapidly enhance employee productivity by utilising these solutions from HP and Microsoft. They are also accessible from anywhere on nearly any device."
Danie Gordon, unified communications product manager at Microsoft SA, adds: "HP and Microsoft share a vision for business productivity solutions built on open, software-based platforms that work with the applications and systems people know and use today. This means one click to communicate, one click to conference and one click to collaborate."
The two companies will form joint teams to collaborate on products and services development across Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft Office Communications Server, as well as HP ProCurve networking products.
HP will obtain Microsoft Unified Communications qualification for the HP dx9000 TouchSmart Business PC and select smartphones.
HP will obtain Microsoft Unified Communications qualification for new IP desk phones.
HP Business Technology Optimization (BTO) software will provide additional support for Microsoft Office Communications Server, including the ability to provide real-time quality of service metrics for the voice and video network over the IP infrastructure.
The two companies will provide end point interoperability with HP Halo Telepresence Solutions and Microsoft Office Communications Server-based unified conferencing, enabling remote participants at any Microsoft Office Communication Server-enabled PC to join telepresence conferences.
The two companies will offer a full set of business productivity services ranging from assessment, architecture planning and design to implementation, monitoring, management and support for software, hardware, network, server, storage and infrastructure components in the shared portfolio.
HP will dedicate a global team of service professionals to support the joint solutions, helping customers achieve improved levels of network availability and response times.
HP and Microsoft will also target communications service providers, offering them the same technologies and services to enable hosted unified communications and collaboration services for small to medium-sized businesses.
The will provide services for customers who seek to run their technology on-premise, fully outsource, or who opt for a combination of both. And, they will work together to address customers' realtime collaboration needs using HP Halo Managed Services and HP ProCurve products.