Office365 a Channel Perspective

Let’s go Office365.com everyone!!

“The Cloud” seems to have firmly attached itself to any sentence relating to computers. Everyone is desperate to understand what it really is and how it can help their business. Cloud companies are telling you to put everything in the cloud (for obvious reasons) whilst traditional IT support companies may be telling you to stay well clear of the cloud as they may lose revenue. So who do you listen to?

Let’s jump straight in and look at a pitfall of “The Cloud”. How effective is your business today if your Internet goes down? Imagine how effective your business would be if everything was hosted in the cloud and could only be accessed via the Internet. So if you go cloud, step one will be to drastically increase the reliability and speed of your internet connection which obviously comes at a cost.

The big beast that is Microsoft has just launched Office365.com. At first look, getting a host of office products at around £4 per user per month sounds amazing. And to be honest for a very small business, this is a great way forward and carries a lot of value. Take a slightly longer look and you realise that support is only via support forum unless you go the more expensive enterprise route at around £15.75 per user per month. In addition, the support will only cover your actual cloud hosted service, not your physical IT infrastructure onsite. So as an example, 30 users will be paying £472.50 per month for their software plus additional support costs for their remaining systems and software and servers. Should you go cloud? Just look at all the figures over 3 years and then make a decision.

Microsoft has a massive partner program and yet is essentially now offering their products and IT support directly. How exactly does that help their partners who have heavily invested in training, certification and software programs? Perhaps they can resell it and make a few measly pounds a month? If the Microsoft partner who is charging a client around £200 a month to a client for IT support will now make about £20 a month, then this may well affect jobs and the IT industry in general in the UK?

On the upside, this will be a great boost for the economy in India where Microsoft have their support teams, but perhaps not so great for an already struggling British economy. Remember also that the UK is driven by a huge SME sector and with good reason. Level of service and care. Large organisations cannot match the level of attention that a small business can offer to a client. Depending on industry, a company is only as good as its suppliers. (As he wonders where the laptops he ordered are that were promised to the client on Friday).

In conclusion, I think there is a lot of value for a small business or one man bands to use office365 and similar type cloud offerings. For a larger business, the costs soon mount up and there are some hidden extras. Look at the costs over 3 years and how the whole Cloud strategy will affect your business. And remember to love Microsoft and marvel at their new cloud strategy and dedication to their hard working partners.

Colin Durrant
MD, Colins IT Ltd
www.colins-it.co.uk

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About Colins IT

I run an IT Support business called Colins IT ltd. We provide Managed IT services to customers as well as cloud based services including hosted exchange, sharepoint, CRM as well as remote backup / disaster recovery solutions. We have heavily invested in software that allows us to pro-activly manage and support all our clients computers from one location. We also get any system alerts so that we can resolve these before they cause serious downtime.
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