Microsoft Office 365 harnesses the cloud for a channel win

Cloud computing is no longer a pipe dream or geeky name for an unknown entity. Today, this terminology describes a wealth of services that offer the modern business a cost-effective and convenient way of handling essential processes, and Microsoft Office 365 is one such service.

“With Microsoft Office 365 users get a full copy of Office Professional that includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, One Note, Outlook, Access and Publisher,” says Andrew Firman, product manager at Tarsus Technologies. “Another benefit of Microsoft Office 365 is that the business can select the package that they need the most, and this can be upgraded at any time.”

Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium includes Premium SkyDrive which has an additional 20GB of cloud storage for the primary user and 60 Skype World Call minutes per month. Microsoft Office 365 Small Business Premium offers hosted Lync, SharePoint and Exchange Server. There are other variations on the Office 365 option, and these can be adapted by the channel to suit the markets.  

“Office on Demand allows users to access their Office applications on any PC connected to the internet, even if that machine doesn’t have the software installed on it,” adds Firman. “In addition to that extremely useful feature, upgrades are included in the cost of Office 365 so new features become available as soon as they are released.”

The channel benefits from an improved pipeline that sees Microsoft deliver superb customer service to resellers as well as offer strong incentives. Microsoft benefits from having an impressively large channel as well as the kind of access to the small and midsize business market that few other vendors can boast.

“Now is a good time to be a Microsoft reseller,” says Firman. “Microsoft has long since recognised that a strong channel means a happy customer base. Customers serviced by a robust channel are usually far happier and receive their product far more efficiently.”

“What you have with Microsoft Office 365 is a solution that delivers far more for the channel than the typical solution in a box you find on shelves instore,” concludes Firman. “While the standard Office software pack on sale on the shelf is superb, you don’t get the ubiquity that the cloud solution offers. Multiple installs on different devices, transferable licenses, strong channel support from Microsoft, adaptability – these are all factors that point to a strong margin for the channel with Office 365.”

Indeed, the software giant is seeing this beast of a cloud solution gain speed in the market as more high-end enterprises start to adopt it and the SMBs realise the cost-saving benefits, and ease of use, that it presents. 


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