Office 365 news for Australian SMBs

The IT industry is set for a shake-up. In just a couple of months, Microsoft plans to put Office 365 in the hands of the entire channel.

Office 365 choice
For some time now, Microsoft have been increasingly enthusiastic about moving clients to their public cloud offering; Office 365.  In Australia, the only way to access Office 365 to date has been via Microsoft’s arrangement with Telstra.

Steven Miller, business group lead, Microsoft Office Division:  “I’m pleased to announce that effective 2 April 2014, we will be launching three new channels for Office 365, giving our SMB customers the choice and flexibility they desire when purchasing.

Office 365: New purchasing options.

From 2 April, Freshmethod will be able to directly assist our clients with accessing Microsoft Office 365, either as an annual or a monthly subscription.  This is exciting news, as we know many businesses have been somewhat reluctant to consider Office 365 without more choice about where they can purchase it from.

For SMB organisations, Office 365 should be an attractive proposition.  It promises virtually anywhere access to familiar Microsoft tools such as:

  • Exchange (for email)
  • Lync (for video conferencing and communication)
  • SharePoint (for team sites, document management, collaboration and process improvement)
  • Microsoft Office and Office Web Apps (client and browser versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Access and Publisher)

Essentially, it has all the ingredients an SMB needs to enable them to move away from their old Small Business Servers and into the cloud.  While Office 365 is a beautifully simple concept, for SMBs with an on-premise server and lots of existing data, the reality can seem a little like this:

Step one: Investigate Office 365.  Step two: Start asking lots of questions.

  • What’s the right version of Office 365 for my business?
  • Who do I call for Office 365 support?
  • Will my internet be fast enough?
  • Is Office 365 really the right thing for my business?
  • How do I get all my existing data into the cloud?
  • What is an Active Directory?
  • What is SharePoint and how do I use it to store my documents?

Companies find that their transition to the cloud is far more successful when they leverage the knowledge of their trusted technology partner.

For starters, you really need to make sure you get the right Office 365 plan straight up, because it’s not easy to move between plans.  Secondly, performing a migration to Office 365 from an on-premise, Active Directory environment is not an easy process.  Engaging with an expert can ensure you avoid the “gotchas”.

Equally important is understanding how to get the most out of the platform.  Once you get Office 365 installed, then what? How do you maximise your investment and help your staff learn everything they need to know to be productive with their new toolset?

The pending changes to how Australian organisations can access Office 365 are a welcomed development in the cloud story.  Now more businesses can move to the cloud with the support and advice of their trusted advisor at every step of their transition, from purchase right through to implementation and training.

If you’ve been curious about Office 365 and need some help on your journey to the cloud, Freshmethod can get you on the right path.  Already have Office 365 and not sure how to get the most out of it?  Contact us today to discuss your needs further.

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