Star has today launched the WorkLife productivity suite, a modular range of integrated communication tools available as a managed service for a fixed, per user, per month price. The suite of business grade services comprises: e-mail, instant messaging, presence, collaboration, conferencing and telephony and is based on familiar Microsoft applications.

WorkLife integrates and optimises Microsoft and BroadSoft technologies, including Microsoft Exchange Server, SharePoint Server, Office Communications Server and telephony from Broadsoft. The modules are offered either individually, or as a whole, for £45 per user, per month and require no installation of extra hardware or software.

The WorkLife Productivity Suite gives businesses all the benefits traditionally associated with unified communications, such as reduced cost of internal calls and IT support, as well as cancelling out the need for third party telephony and conference services like Webex. Star claims the productivity gains can be considerable, even for modest sized organisations as they benefit from the ease with which workers can communicate and collaborate, using tools for Web conferencing, screen sharing and presence.

WorkLife Productivity Suite claims to help UK businesses to: reduce the cost of communications and travel, improve customer communication and interactions, speed up decision making and customer response, remove capital cost and hardware investment, and empower remote and mobile working.

The collaboration and conferencing tools help employees to communicate from any location, by making a call, sending a message or initiating a conference on the fly, all done direct from the desktop. ‘Presence’ availability status lets users identify when colleagues are available to share their screens, so they can work together as a team wherever they are and whenever they wish. Designed to operate on Star’s private managed network, WorkLife communication services can be deployed either individually or as one complete suite, and come with a full SLA guarantee of service.

According to industry analyst Forrester, the savings on using unified communications can be in the region of 40-50% lower than using individual, non-integrated technologies. However, unlike traditional on-premise solutions, WorkLife from Star requires no up-front capital expenditure and devolves full responsibility for the day-to-day management, upgrade and support of the technology to Star’s experts in their UK data centres.

What this should mean to customers is that it eliminates the problem of incompatibilities between different systems as each of the components that make up the suite have been fully pre-integrated. The significant benefit of this integration is that customers are empowered to scale up their usage in line with changing needs with no extra hardware investment, and this can be done in minutes via a web portal.

Hugo Harber, Director of Convergence and Network Strategy at Star, said: “Many companies have little clarity of their true communications costs, as new converged services, home working and departmental deployments have muddied the water and made them difficult to measure. The WorkLife suite of services now makes it possible for companies to enjoy the substantial productivity benefits of using a unified communications platform without any of the hassles normally associated with implementing and then managing it. This service is so easy to budget for because it has a single and predictable monthly cost, and this makes it affordable for most SMEs.”