Written by Steve Smith
With Microsoft Office 365 more popular than ever before, British businesses might be about to face a price increase to their subscriptions. But is this an opportunity to make Office 365 even more powerful than it already is?
Microsoft recently announced that its market leading software, Office 365, was going to be available in 10 new countries, including Cambodia, Bhutan and Mozambique. This brings the total coverage to 150 markets supporting 44 languages and, most amazingly, Office 365 is now deployed in a third of all worldwide organisations. With such a huge footprint, any changes are going to be felt by someone and it looks like the next tremor is coming to UK businesses….
With Britain’s decision to leave the EU on 23rd June 2016, there was always going to be a number of wobbles in the markets and Sterling took a pretty serious short term pounding. With all the tabloid headlines demanding lower priced Marmite, a low-key press release emanated from Redmond, WA, letting us all know that UK Office 365 pricing was going up by 22% from January 1st 2017.
“We periodically assess the impact of local pricing of our products and services to ensure there is reasonable alignment across the region and this change is an outcome of this assessment,” Microsoft said. “These changes are similar to the recent harmonisation adjustments to pricing in Norwegian krone and Swiss franc we made in April 2016.”
Taking into account that these “alignments” and “harmonisations” have taken place elsewhere, it doesn’t appear that the UK is being singled out for special behaviour and other businesses have more stealthily increased pricing recently. Apple, when launching their recent new mobile devices, increased the price for both iCloud storage and their base level products by around 15%. Amazon charges all its Amazon Web Services customers in $US, meaning significant price rises for UK residents as Sterling falls.
In addition to what appears to be an overall price increase across the market, the increased cost of Office 365 still offers stunning value for such a high end product. Nobody likes price increases and even though these weren’t unexpected, they will still be met with despair from many end users. The fact is, there are few tools out there that are so effective at increasing productivity, improving communications and increasing profitability.
There are certainly none that offer such things at so little investment. The fact of the matter is that so many of us now click the Outlook logo to get our day started that we’d be completely lost without it as email is now our main communication tool between us and our clients, prospects, staff and suppliers. An extra quid a month won’t change this in the slightest.
One of the major mistakes we see when a client moves to 365 from the traditional “boxed” Office is that all they want to do is use Outlook, Excel and Word to do the same tasks they did before. When the suite includes the likes of Sway to pull together superb presentations, Yammer to optimise staff & team communications and Delve learning your likes, dislikes and behaviours to show you what you probably want to see happening in your business, Office 365 is not just a monthly Office like before.
At Shackleton, we believe that our clients benefit greatly from our consulting in all aspects of their IT and comms. With this approach, we have so many good news stories about turnover increases, greater staff engagement and productivity improvements, all stemming from correct use of Office 365. It’s just a no-brainer for us to suggest clients migrate to it.
With this potential to help businesses grow and the already tremendous value for money, this is a price rise that your accountant can more than stomach. In fact, if the extra money goes in to the Office 365 Research & Development Department, bringing us even better versions of the tools we all rely on for our businesses day-to-day, where do we sign up to pay even more?
If you are looking for any help or advice around the specifics of Office 365, or a general IT, communications, business development chat, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Shackleton Technologies.