Microsoft brings Office 365 to more African countries

Microsoft has announced the availability of Office 365 in six new territories across sub-Saharan Africa. This is in addition to the nine territories announced in June 2013, following Kenya and Nigeria in 2012; and South Africa in 2011. The entire suite of Office 365 packages is now also available in Botswana, Ethiopia, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, bringing the total number of sub-Saharan African countries with access to the suite to 18.

Office 365 delivers the full suite of Office applications including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook in the cloud. This means that documents can be easily shared and edited by simply sharing them over the internet, and users can subscribe for the applications that they really need and use.  Office 365 helps improve productivity whether at home, in the office or on the go - perfect for the needs of modern consumersbusinesses, public sector professionals and educational institutions. Being based in the cloud also means that Office 365 is available in a pay-as-you-go monthly subscription model, making it affordable for businesses and consumer alike.

Customers in the above listed countries are able to sign up for a 30 day trial to try various versions of Office 365 including Office 365 Enterprise suites, and the new Office 365 Business, Office 365 Business Essentials and Office 365 Business Premium, via the Office web site.

“Cloud based software is the perfect solution for smaller organisations that can’t always afford the level of sophistication they need in terms of software,” says Marc Israel, Office Division Group Lead for Microsoft West, East and Central Africa and Indian Ocean Islands. “It provides enterprises with an affordable and flexible way to access technology that can drive their business forward, enabling growth in emerging markets”.

In East and southern Africa, the Small and Medium Business sector continues to play a big role, contributing towards GDP growth and employment. In Tanzania, SMEs contribute 30% to the country’s GDP, according to the Tanzania Investment Centre, and are the second largest employer after agriculture. But despite their importance, many of the 3.5 million SMEs in the country are constrained by lack of resources, particularly financial, which impacts technology budgets.

For those SMEs that do use technology, according to a Boston Consulting Group study commissioned by Microsoft, they can increase revenues 15 percentage points faster and create jobs almost twice as fast. Designed for companies with between 1 and 10 employees, Office 365 Small Business Premium gives organisations access to the richness of Office applications of up to 20% of an SME’s software budget, without them having to compromise on the technology. Office 365 is more affordable and less complex – within 15 minutes a company can be up and running with a domain, website, email addresses and the other functionality they require to function.

“In this country cloud is a new technology so initially we had reservations, but it was clear that Office 365 offered considerable savings and operational benefits,” says Jane Dorey, Canon Botswana Finance and Admin Director.

Building on to Office 365 Business, Office 365 Enterprise suites offer larger companies additional functionality and scalability. For educational institutions, Office 365 Education equips educators with the best productivity tools they know to better engage students in learning, while students gain critical software skills needed for the job market. Features include a teacher assistance app, OneNote and SharePoint Online. Educators can set up individual notebooks for each student, a shareable classroom library of digital documents and group collaboration spaces for anytime, anywhere learning.


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