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Distributor Ingram Micro and software behemoth Microsoft believe they have
found a way to help solution providers and their customers fight the recession
blues—software as a service.

The companies have partnered to extend the vendor’s Service Provider License
Agreement to Ingram Micro’s solution providers, specifically those selling into
the SMB market.

here to read about Avnet Technology Solutions’ addition of hosted Microsoft
SharePoint to its portfolio of SAAS offerings.

Microsoft’s SPLA allows service providers and independent software
developers to offer a range of Microsoft products, such as Office, SharePoint
Server, SQL Server, Exchange and Windows Server, through a hosting arrangement.
Customers pay for the service through a monthly fee and, unlike in other
Microsoft licensing programs, customers do not have to acquire their own
licensed products.

For budget-conscious SMBs feeling the pressure of the ongoing economic
slump, the SAAS program, which Ingram Micro has dubbed Software + Services,
gives them the option of adopting technology without the usual upfront purchase
and installation costs.

For solution providers, who deliver the service through a dedicated or shared
hosting arrangement, Software + Services opens up an ongoing profit stream, to
which providers can tack on custom services for additional fees.

With the program, Ingram Micro also capitalizes on a trend that Jodi Honore,
the distributor’s vice president of vendor management, says will continue to
gain momentum as SMBs embrace the cost savings and flexibility inherent in
hosted software services.

Solution providers, meanwhile, need not incur infrastructure costs to offer the
service or borrow against their working capital, Honore says. SPLA terms also
call for the solution providers to pay for only the software they authorized
their customers to use the previous month.

"With Microsoft’s SPLA licensing program, we’ve simplified the sale and
are truly enabling our channel partners to grow their Microsoft business and
increase their profit potential,” Honore says in a statement.

Ben Malek, senior director of hosting for Microsoft Americas, says the SAAS
partnership with Ingram Micro is designed to not only increase the
profitability of channel partners but also to give them a competitive edge in
selling services.

“Together with Ingram Micro we are making it that much easier for channel
partners to successfully sell hosted Microsoft solutions that are targeted to
both the technical and business needs of SMBs,” he says.

The Microsoft SPLA program is available immediately to all Ingram Micro’s
Microsoft-certified partners in the United
States and Canada.
The program already has been running in Canada,
but it is making its U.S.
debut this week.