Altech Technology Concepts has introduced TC Hosted Exchange, a Microsoft Exchange Server solution, to its suite of SaaS (Software as a Service) offerings that bring enterprise grade solutions to smaller businesses.

"The launch of this product is the result of three distinctive trends in the South African and global market," says Wayne de Nobrega, CEO of Altech Technology Concepts. "Firstly, the growth and acceptance of SaaS globally and locally. Secondly, the impact of the recession and an IT skills shortage on the technology needs of both large and small corporates; and thirdly, that email has become a mission-critical business function."
Gartner predicts that enterprise spending on SaaS will more than double to $14,8-billion by 2012. This is a huge jump from $6,4-billion at the end of last year. Other analyst firms such as Forrester and IDC reflect the same belief that, in spite of a global cutback on spending, SaaS is in a massive growth phase.
Much of this growth is fueled by the recession, which is requiring that companies take a hard look at opex and capex IT expenditure as well as a global skills shortage which means that there are less people able to manage on-premise IT systems.
"The global trends are stimulating a change in the needs of local businesses, which is where Altech Technology Concepts really sees the opportunity for TC Hosted Exchange," says de Nobrega.
"As recently as last year, hosted solutions were only seen to be interesting to the smallest businesses with no other option, or very large companies doing complicated outsourcing, and the key focus was cost. 2009 has seen a shift in how companies understand the benefits of SaaS.
"The cost advantages of smaller predictable payments rather than large inconsistent amounts cannot be overlooked, but another benefit is coming to the fore ­ that of reliable, accessible computing that is always the latest available technology ­ and this is something that large and small businesses are looking for."
The most common obstacles to implementing a Hosted Exchange solution are concerns with the cost of bandwidth, worries about data security and trust in the performance of the service.
"Bandwidth concerns are one area where we believe public sentiment has not caught up with reality.  Innovative access solutions, such as DSL channel bonding, mean that affordable high-speed bandwidth is a reality today. However with the advent of Seacom and the additional cables bringing international bandwidth to South Africa, we can expect to see the lowering of bandwidth costs accelerate across the industry," says de Nobrega.
Altech Technology Concepts addresses the bandwidth issue by bundling Hosted Exchange with its ADSL channel bonding solution. TC Channel Bonding combines multiple ADSL connections to create a single, virtual high-speed connection.