Software as a Service (SaaS), is defined as the delivery of fully functional, outsourced and centrally hosted applications through the web. SaaS offers the availability of feature rich applications at lower cost allowing enterprises to leverage off a "pay-for-use-only" cost model. Internet Solutions (IS), a leading converged communications services provider, offers their clients the latest SaaS solutions, and has recently upgraded to Microsoft Hosted Messaging and Collaboration 3.5 – the first Microsoft Partner worldwide to do so.

“There is an increasing demand, growing acceptance and recognition within South Africa of the benefits of SaaS,” says Hayden Lamberti, manager, IS Applications Solutions. “More and more businesses today are in the market for hosted messaging solutions. IS Application Solution division has been providing HMC as a business tool to its client base for more than five years so we have a good track record and extensive skills in-house for our clients to utilise – from large enterprises to SMEs.”

Industry analyst firm IDC forecasts that by 2007 the number of hosted business e-mail mailboxes worldwide will surpass the number of in-house operated e-mail mailboxes for the first time.*

The Microsoft Solution for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration (HMC) enables SaaS service providers, such as IS, to roll out an enhanced hosted messaging offering that includes seamless and transparent delivery of:

- Hosted Exchange – an anywhere, anytime enterprise quality e-mail service including calendaring, tasks, global address lists and mobile device synchronization

- SharePoint Services - a solution that enables centralised document and knowledge collaboration, version tracking and intranet functionality

“Specifically, IS Hosted Exchange offers breakthrough advances in performance, stability, productivity and reduction in Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) along with providing the highest return on investment through its mobility offering. The solution offers a robust, hosted, outsourced and fully managed implementation of Microsoft Hosted Exchange. Located within the IS Data Centre, the service incorporates a range of security, content and management features in addition to a redundant network infrastructure system and the best engineering staff in the country,” says Lamberti.