Phase 2 Not Phased by Microsoft Online Services

In a deployment that crossed borders and languages, Honolulu-based Phase 2 announced Tuesday that it has implemented a value-added suite of SaaS applications for Syndeo, a Guadalajara, Mexico customer resource management (CRM) and business intelligence (BI) consulting firm.

Phase 2, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, is providing Syndeo with a suite of hosted Microsoft applications along with its ShareMeeting and ShareCAD Pro to the Mexican company. Syndeo will provide the hosted services to a variety of mid- to large-sized Mexican companies and government institutions.

Undaunted by Microsoft's announcement back in July that it would offer its own direct-to-customer SaaS offerings market, Phase 2 president and CEO Kevin Doherty stated in an e-mail that although "Microsoft does offer CRM Live as a hosted service, their offering is a bit more expensive than ours and it is not clear what kind of training, support or customization is included in the plan."  

"The amount of customization that we have done for this one client (Syndeo) is a key differentiator, as well as the additional services that we offer beyond CRM. We pride ourselves in offering a complete suite of software for SMBs with no contracts or hidden fees," wrote Doherty.

The Syndeo offering includes SharePoint, Exchange, Project Server, CRM, Office Communicator and Team Foundation Server on Phase 2 hosted servers. The applications were "localized and tailored" to meet the language and business specifications of Syndeo.

"This is not Phase 2's largest deployment, but was one of the first that we translated the software to another language," said Adam Smith, director of marketing in an e-mail response. "There were a variety of challenges working with a non-English customer to ensure the deployment was customized to meet their stringent requirements."  

Mario Jimenez, CEO of Syndeo noted in a company statement that the solutions it offers its customers in Mexico must "have a foundation of good, solid high-performance applications with consistent user interfaces, easy access" and deploy Spanish as the user language.

Syndeo clients access the applications through customized Web-based interfaces. Phase 2 owns and operates its own tier-1 data centers with 99.9 percent availability, according to recent reports.

Doherty said that while 75 percent of the company's new sales are in the United States, the Phase 2 global model will focus on an international presence primarily in English-speaking countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. There are also focused marketing efforts in European countries where English is widely spoken.

Doherty said that Phase 2 has an aggressive plan for its SaaS offerings.

"Our strategic plan is to open up-to six international offices within the next 18 months, as well as up to eight more offices throughout the United States," wrote Doherty. "Syndeo has very deep technical and product expertise combined with an extensive local client network. Partnering with firms like them will be essential to our plans for international expansion."

About the Author

Herb Torrens is an award-winning freelance writer based in Southern California. He managed the MCSP program for a leading computer telephony integrator for more than five years and has worked with numerous solution providers including HP/Compaq, Nortel, and Microsoft in all forms of media.