For the launch of Office 365, Microsoft is paying special attention to how the new service could potentially help small to medium-sized businesses. According to Microsoft Corporate Vice President within the Microsoft Office Division Product Management Group Kirk Koenigsbauer, “While we launched Office 365 for all customers, we wanted to focus today on the small and mid-sized opportunities.”
During the New York City unveiling event, CEO Steve Ballmer did some name dropping of large companies already using Microsoft cloud services. These names included the likes of DuPont, Hyatt, Starbucks and Volvo. However, Microsoft’s overall marketing emphasis was centered on making Office 365 as appealing as possible to small to medium-sized businesses, the likes of which spend nearly $800 billion every year on IT products.
This market is fragmented in terms of what Microsoft products are being used. Some businesses may be using older versions of Exchange or Microsoft Office, or they may just be using a collaboration of multiple products. What is worse is that a lot of organizations have small, if not non-existent, IT departments.
According to Koenigsbauer, “Cloud services are a great value proposition for SMBs. They have very small IT staffs. They don’t have the infrastructure. They don’t have the capital to buy new racks of servers.” Over 70% of Office 365 beta users were SMBs, according to Ballmer. Ballmer also listed other potential users, including real estate agents, accountants, lawyers, cleaning services and auto dealerships.
According to Ballmer, “Office 365 can be exciting particularly for companies that have little or no IT support and very little time and financial resources to dedicate to technology. Office 365 … is a big step forward. These businesses really will be able to let their employees share information in new ways.”
Source: Network World – Microsoft aims Office 365 at small businesses