Thursday, July 22, 2010

Talking Shop with LiveOffice

Cloud computing was the theme of the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference this week. I’m not sure if that was the official theme but the cloud seemed to be on everyone’s lips, however tangentially their company’s offering supported the concept.

LiveOffice, the largest hosted email archiving provider with 10,000+ clients, seems well positioned to take advantage of the business world’s move to the cloud. I got to sit down with Amy Dugdale, their Director of Marketing, and talk shop about LiveOffice and its offering to the market.

Here is a snapshot of our discussion:

Tell us a little about yourself

I got my start in marketing working for global public relations agencies like Hill and Knowlton and Weber Shandwick. The Internet boom of the late 1990’s was a great time to be learning about and developing a deep love for the technology world. I was hired seven years ago by the founders of LiveOffice. Now I’m part of the team charged with developing and executing marketing strategies to attract clients in a variety of verticals that are in need of an archiving solution.

What’s the deal with LiveOffice?

LiveOffice was founded in 1998, is currently located in southern California and has 150 employees. We are experts in archiving solutions for companies of all sizes. We can archive several data types including email, IM, Reuters, Sharepoint, mobile device communications and social networking website content. From the beginning, we have had a completely cloud-based offering (no hardware or software required and no lengthy implementation times). Our current offering includes LiveOffice Personal Archive, LiveOffice Discovery Archive, LiveOffice AdvisorMail, LiveOffice Email Continuity, LiveOffice SharePoint Archive and LiveOffice Social Archive. For all of our solutions we offer an unlimited storage package for a flat fee per user per month. Our clients range from 25 person professional services firms to 25,000 mailbox financial behemoths. The widespread adoption of LiveOffice archiving solutions is related to three strong market drivers: regulatory compliance, legal discovery and mailbox management.

How long has LiveOffice been a Microsoft Partner?

LiveOffice has been a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner since 2000. With the growing adoption of Microsoft BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite), we recently developed a connector that integrates LiveOffice archiving with Exchange Online (one component of BPOS). This As a result, in the last year we have developed a very close relationship with Microsoft’s Online Services team.

What are your goals for WPC 2010?

Our main goal is to raise awareness of LiveOffice’s capabilities for Exchange online archiving with Microsoft partners and integrators. This is our first year exhibiting at WPC and we’ve had an absolute blast! We have been meeting with our existing contacts at Microsoft and finding many more new ones. It’s a real eye opener to see the amazing Microsoft partner ecosystem and all the different companies developing exciting solutions in the cloud. We’ll definitely be back next year…

FYI- LiveOffice’s CEO Nick Mehta was featured in Redmond Channel Partner magazine this month. Here is a blurb from the article, “Get Comfortable with the Cloud”

As CEO of LiveOffice LLC, Nick Mehta is in the thick of cloud computing. He also has a lengthy IT resume including vice president stints in software at Veritas Software Corp. and Symantec Corp., time as a venture capitalist and experience as an executive at a storage software startup acquired by Microsoft (XDegrees). We asked Mehta where he sees some of the best opportunities for Microsoft partners to add value in the cloud:

  1. Single sign-on (SSO). “SSO is going to be better when BPOS upgrades with the current product wave. Even then, two-factor authentication is an area where I’ve seen a lot of partners add a lot of value.”
  2. Migration. “There’s commodity-level migration, then more-subtle projects, such as calendar and tasks. E-mail has gotten easier; Microsoft has good tools. Every partner will do it, but some will do it better than others.”
  3. Integration with internal systems. Prime candidates include other e-mail systems, custom systems, fax systems and unified messaging systems. “Some partners have done connectors,” he says.
  4. SharePoint. “It’s a platform rather than a product,” Mehta notes. Several partners we spoke with for this article anticipate vast functionality improvements in SharePoint Online shortly.
  5. Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS). “I don’t think people have scratched the surface on OCS, at all. Most partners, like us, are focused on e-mail,” Mehta says.
  6. Integrating the Microsoft cloud with other cloud apps. “Integrating between BPOS and Salesforce.com, is an example. I think that’s a great opportunity there. Most of these clouds have nice APIs so it’s actually doable.”
  7. Putting IT at ease. “This is a little more fuzzy. A lot of partners are talking to people who are running Exchange internally, or maybe Lotus or GroupWise. The partner can help the IT person define what their responsibilities will be now. A partner can come in and say, ‘Look, here’s what our customers have done, here’s how their jobs have changed.’ My experience in the cloud is that the job doesn’t go away. It changes, but it’s still very important. You still need this interface between the cloud and the users.

If you’re a partner, you can win some good-will with the customer by broaching that up front.”



This was originally posted on MicrosoftPartnerNews.com
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