With Microsoft set to increase its prices in the UK by 2017, the Channel must sharpen its understanding and expertise of Office 365 to help their customers achieve the best results from the platform.
According to Managed Service Provider Annodata, ensuring that customers make full use of the software’s functionality will make it easier for businesses to absorb the cost and get the best return on their investment.
Microsoft recently announced that it will introduce a new pricing structure for its cloud and on-premises software in the UK to reflect changes to the value of sterling following the Brexit vote. Effective from 1 January 2017, Microsoft Office 365 and Azure licence fees will increase by 22 per cent, while price for Microsoft’s on-premises enterprise software will increase by 13 per cent.
Commenting on the changes to Microsoft’s pricing structure, Andrew Smith, Technical Director at Annodata, said: “Microsoft’s price rises weren’t entirely unexpected, but obviously that doesn’t make them any more palatable for end users or for the channel. No one likes it when things become more expensive, but the fact of the matter is that Office 365 is one of the best business tools on the market and should be embraced by organisations to help significantly improve efficiency in their electronic communications. The price increase will only apply to new contracts signed next year, so in the immediate short term it would make sense for end users planning to migrate to Office 365 in the New Year to fast-track their plans. But longer term, what matters is that businesses can extract as much value as possible from their software and the channel has an important role in helping them do that.
“Office 365 has real potential to help organisations transform the way that they do business, communicate and collaborate both internally and with their customers. Sadly, many businesses that we speak to are only scratching the surface of what’s possible. They’re often only using a fraction of what’s available and not to their best advantage,” Andrew continued.
“The real benefits of Office 365 come when businesses don’t simply port the way that they’ve always used Microsoft Office to the cloud, but instead use the tools to develop entirely new ways of working. In doing so, they can unlock significant additional competitive advantage. The challenge is that many lack the knowledge required to do this and this is where the channel is in a strong position to use its expertise to help their customers achieve the best return on investment by ensuring the tools work for their businesses and their customers. It won’t make the prices any lower, but it will put them in a strong position to improve their productivity and make their businesses far more competitive,” Andrew concluded.