Office 365 adoption growing; 4 SMBs share experience
By Asia Cloud Forum editors 17-May-2012
is usually the top organizational priority that will drive business growth and we are seeing more small and medium businesses (SMBs) in the region invest in collaboration tools that support business goals
," said Andrew Pickup, Microsoft
's Asia-Pacific CMO and COO.
One such tool is Microsoft Office 365
, a software-as-a-service (SaaS)
solution. From US$6 per user per month, the SaaS solution offers the Office applications -- Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote and Outlook -- connected to communication and collaboration services, including Exchange, SharePoint and Lync
. The number of Office 365 subscribers grew 400% in the last three quarters, said Pickup.
, a Malaysian marketing support services company, needed a way to cut down on overhead and travel associated with project meetings and online event costs for their customers.
By using the document sharing and access and automatic data backup features in Office 365, the company now saves US$13,000 annually.
"We are an agency, so clients don't come to us - we travel to them," said Jaime Chong, director of Operations & Special Projects at Crystal Edge. "We can save 15 hours per week with Lync Online because our staff can attend meetings from anywhere. And we can edit documents together in real time during meetings."
Another Malaysian SMB, Zepto Consulting
, needed a way to protect and easily share files, along with better and faster remote access. By deploying Office 365, the company estimated it can move 25% of meetings to Lync Online, saving up to US$12,000 annually in travel expenses. Reducing travel also frees up a total of 50 hours of productive time, company-wide, for the company's engineers each month.
"Zepto is young and passionate, and we embrace new technologies," said Jabez Gan, project director at Zepto Consulting. "That's why we're using Office 365. We'd rather work smart than hard, and it helps us use our time more efficiently." Overall, Gan estimates Office 365 has improved the company's bottom line by about 10%.
Over in New Zealand, the SaaS solution has allowed Nick Beauchamp, director of ESL Industries
, to "gain at least four additional hours a week - precious time which I can use to grow my business instead of focusing on IT."
"Better collaboration is usually the top organizational priority that will drive business growth and we are seeing more SMBs in the region invest in collaboration tools that support business goals."
- Andrew Pickup, Microsoft
"We tried Google Docs
but found that it was a departure from the Microsoft software we'd already invested in," Beauchamp added. "Sometimes the free offering is not always the best offering." The company is a diversified manufacturer that makes products ranging from file and storage cabinets to museum exhibit cases, home safes and plastic products.
"A business owner has so many other things to worry about including staff, marketing, and getting orders out on time. With Office 365, I have employed the best IT staff to look after my information 365 days a year," he said.
"We spend far less time sending emails, and that's more time we can spend serving our clients and growing our business," said Daniel Soh, managing director of SD Group
, a Singapore-based technology solution and services provider that beta-tested Office 365.
In addition, Soh estimates that SD Group is saving US$1,000 to $2,499 per month with Office 365 by eliminating other solutions. Being able to access employees' calendars has also minimized time required to set up meetings. "We expected to be more productive, but we were astounded to learn that not having to coordinate schedules via multiple emails makes us 80% more productive," Soh said.
"This ultimately means SMBs can focus less on managing their infrastructure, and more on improving business productivity," said Pickup. "This scenario is especially game changing in the Asia Pacific region where SMBs account for over 90% of all enterprises and employ more than half the workforce."
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