Esolutions has around 65 staff and claims more than 1500 customers although the bulk is for small ticket items – web hosting and eFax and its biggest customer is probably Telecom itself.
The ‘virtual jv’ esolutions was launched at Eden Park in February 2000. From the get go it was mainly Telecom, which provided 80% of staff, with a handful from Microsoft and the remainder from EDS.
The media presentation was kicked off with a video featuring the then-chairmen of the three partners (Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Telecom’s Rod Deane and Dick Brown for EDS).
The aim was to bring e-commerce to the masses and in particular to lease applications via the internet, ie, the ASP (application service provider) model.
Apart from ASP offerings esolutions would also sell other bits and pieces that businesses would need to conduct e-commerce such as security, web hosting or online faxing.
In August it announced its first ASP offerings - Microsoft Office, Microsoft Exchange, and a payroll application by Datacom called NettPay. However Office was too large and unwieldy for ASP style delivery and at $155 per user per month, it was hardly a cheap option. NettPay was more successful but esolutions struggled to make any headway in the fledgling ASP market.
Although it started off selling direct through each of the partners, by October 2000 it had brought on IT resellers gen-i, Trilogy (now Infinity Solutions), and Tech Pacific to help sell its ASP and e-biz packages and solutions.
In March 2001 Microsoft’s Geoff Lawrie admitted that getting the venture off the ground had been harder than expected and it wasn’t making the money Microsoft had expected.
Esolutions offerings such as web hosting, security and eFax (a carry over of the basic Telecom offering) didn’t have much to differentiate them so by April it was building more sophisticated e-commerce services such as an online billing systems, and an XML document exchange hub.
Meanwhile the ASP market was going nowhere for esolutions. It quietly withdrew, stopped developing new ASP services and started pitching itself as an provider of e-commerce infrastructure.
It also renewed focus on resellers and had by this stage ramped up its distribution channel to include Telecom Advanced Solutions, EDS, Tech Pacific, Iprolink, Axon, Computerland, Datacom, gen-i and Inifinity.