Hodgkinson said Office 365 is currently doing well in Australia and that Microsoft is "likely quite happy with the pace of adoption" of the product. "It has enabled Microsoft to secure a positioning in the market, which gives it a viable SaaS alternative to Google Apps," he said. By establishing itself, Hodgkinson expects the suite to keep going forward from its position. "Though, Microsoft is kind of hedging its bets [with Office 365] around the future of on-premise software products," he said.
The big number two
Cloud was one of the industry buzzwords when Office 365 launches in 2011. Boniface attributes this attention to the Cloud levelling the playing field while opening up opportunities for people to access "sophisticated productivity solutions who may not have had access before," particularly small businesses.
"While large enterprises have been using Office, SharePoint, Exchange and Lync together with great success, SMBs didn't have the ability to have access to the same enterprise grade solutions," Boniface said.
She explained enabling business productivity is "at the very core of Microsoft's DNA". For that reason, the potential of melding the Cloud with Office was apparent for the company, as well as its customers. "When we first released Office 365, our customers told us cost savings, less hardware investments upfront and less cost maintaining and managing the equipment over its lifecycle were key drivers to give them the freedom to focus on strategic investments," Boniface said.
With Office 365 reaching its second anniversary, she said the needs of customers have evolved in that time. For one, businesses are looking to reduce IT complexity and free up their IT departments to focus on strategic projects. They also want to enable people to be efficient and productive wherever they are. This includes accommodating the increasingly flexible nature of the workforces.
"This is driving growth in Cloud-based productivity solutions, but we're still in the early stages of broad adoption," Boniface said.
Boniface highlights the bring your own device (BYOD) trend as another market driver that has sprung up in last two year. "The line between the tools we use for work and home has blurred as personal technology enters the workplace, which is having a profound impact on the modern workplace," she said.
Then there are the multiple generations of employees working side-by-side, which in turn require the businesses to accommodate varying preferences and levels of technical sophistication.
However, in spite of all this, Boniface said companies had to deal with the responsibility of maintaining compliance, security, and reliability. This happens concurrently with making the most of their technology investments.
"In response to these dynamics, organisations are adopting tools like Office 365 to make teams more productive and accelerate innovation to improve competitiveness," Boniface said.
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