Glenn Osako is high on the Cloud.
“What’s so exciting about Office 365 — and the Cloud in general — is that it allows small and medium businesses to realize the latest productivity for a small and medium business price,” he says.
Glenn is Microsoft’s SMB Channel Manager for the Southwest region, covering Southern California, Las Vegas and Hawaii. We sat down with him earlier this week to talk about Office 365, and how it levels the IT playing field for entrepreneurs and owners of small and mid-sized businesses.
“In the past, in order to get the latest productivity solutions and email server and collaboration technology — in order to get the best of those capabilities, it would be reserved for Enterprise, companies that are larger, that had a larger IT staff or more resources to put that technology in place for their employees,” Glenn says.
Those technologies include all of the Microsoft desktop applications we love and know so well: Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and OneNote. But Office 365 offers so much more: actual email hosting for your small company and giving your users social enterprise collaboration technologies, like Yammer and SharePoint for your users. Plus, Office 365 subscribers can also access real-time communications with Lync Online.
“With Office 365, the kind of back-end server infrastructure that’s required for these capabilities is hosted by Microsoft, so that it essentially allows small and medium businesses to take advantage of those real-time communications/collaboration, for a monthly or a yearly price. So it’s very affordable, and it gives you the IT infrastructure that’s needed to get those capabilities. It allows the small and medium business customer not to have to invest a lot of capital expenditures to get those capabilities,” says Glenn.
There’s evidence that those capabilities boost both productivity and company revenues. Glenn cited findings from a recent Boston Consulting Group study of 4,000 small and mid-sized businesses showing a 15% increase in revenue among companies that implement collaborative technology systems.
So Office 365 increases end-user productivity – but Glenn says IT managers are the ones who benefit the most.
“If you’re an IT manager, what you’ll be surprised about is that it really takes what I would call the tactical nature of your job away, such as patching, making sure all the latest updates on the server are up to date, backing up. That burden is taken off your shoulders and Microsoft is now hosting and taking care of the patching and backups and the security and those kind of things,” Glenn says. “And especially for things like email, I think that takes up a lot of an IT manager’s time, and this allows them to free up that time to work on more strategic aspects of their businesses.
“And the other thing they’ll be surprised about is that even though Microsoft is taking this burden off them, there’s still a lot of control that the IT manager can log in as administrator, they can certainly add users, they can certainly do all those administrative tasks, they can keep control of their own environment.”
Microsoft continually adds and improves upon its Office 365 product, such as giving each user 1 terabyte of storage (which is new this year). Glenn is also excited about the addition of social enterprise service Yammer, which enables employees to collaborate across departments, locations and business apps.
“Office 365 has lots of momentum in the marketplace. And whether you’re a big company like Coca-Cola, Starbucks, which are running Office 365 for their businesses, all the way down to the start-up company with one or two users, that’s the adoption that we’re getting across the board – from the very smallest companies all the way to the very largest companies. And they are seeing tremendous value. Customers love it when they’re on this system because they’re getting their latest productivity, able to work any time, any place on any device. “