Big changes are coming for Office 365 as Microsoft has released new licensing models that let IT people sell Office 365 without going via Telstra. These deals will come on line early April.
With this, new pricing has been released, which is in line with global pricing and taking effect this week. It is nice to see a level pricing field for Australians finally.
If you are already on Office 365 you will get the price drop, unless you are in the first 12 months of your contract, as Telstra has built a price lock into their contracts. With this drop, new accounts signed after the launch will benefit from the price drop immediately as will accounts set up more than 12 months prior.
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The change to licensing means many more of the Microsoft Partner Community (disclaimer: my company, Combo, is associated with the Microsoft Partner Community) will now get behind the product to take it to market. According to Telstra representatives, only 3% of the Australian market has shifted to Office 365 so far and this means there is still an opportunity to move the other 97%. They see the broadening of the market base as a good thing, as more buyers will mean more sales for them and for everyone else as well. Sales should become easier as the buyers gain an understanding of the value offered by the product set.
Features such as video conferencing via Microsoft Lync technologies and using SharePoint Hosted Intranets will drive new levels of technology adoption in the business community.
Telstra is also likely to offer some exclusive deals to ensure they have some ability to remain competitive. The addition of installation services by your preferred Telstra authorised vendor included on the phone bill can simplify the payment options too, ensuring you do not finish up with payments flying in all directions.
That said; the predictions for the growth of the Office 365 technology offering in 2014 are huge. If you are one of the 97% of businesses that has not yet adopted the cloud the good news is you now have options and improved pricing.
David Markus is the founder of Combo – the IT services company that is known for solving business problems with IT. How can we help?