As rollout of the new Office 2016 began yesterday, much was being made of the benefits to end users. But, with the apps just the latest addition to Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud-based subscription service, will Kiwi resellers reap any returns?
The answer, according to Maria Martinez Torres, Microsoft New Zealand director for the Office and Office 365 business group, is yes.
Torres says with the new Office, Microsoft is delivering new features that partners can get their customers excited about, creating more revenue opportunities for partners in upsell and cross sell, through offering more services, and also deployment opportunities, including across Windows Phone, Android or iOS.
“And for partners who have sold Office 365 previously, this is an opportunity to show continued benefit and enhance the partner’s retention proposition,” Torres says.
“Office 2016 is the latest addition to Office 365, making it easier than ever for people to do their best work, together,” she says. “With so many customers using Office everyday, this new release is an upgrade opportunity partners won’t want to miss.”
Microsoft is pushing the fact the new apps ‘simplify collaboration and remove barriers to team success’, with co-authoring, Skype in-app integration and Office 365 Groups integrated into the Outlook 2016 client app and available on mobile devices through the Outlook Groups app.
Satya Nadella, Microsoft chief executive, says the way people work has changed dramatically. “That’s why Microsoft is focused on reinventing productivity and business processes for the mobile-first, cloud-first world,” he says.
“These latest innovations take another big step forward in transforming Office from a familiar set of individual productivity apps to a connected set of apps and services designed for modern working, collaboration and teamwork,” Nadella adds.
Adds Torres: “The new Office is made for teamwork and is perfect for Windows 10. And it’s full of new features that partners can get their customers excited about.”
Among the new features are ‘Tell Me’ which helps users find the right Office feature or command quickly, while Smart Lookup brings insights from the web into documents. Outlook 2016 has also seen improvements.
Security has also been beefed up, with built-in data loss prevention across Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook and multifactor authentication. Later this year enterprise data protection will be available for Office Mobile apps for Windows 10, and for desktops early next year to enable secured content sharing within corporate boundaries.
Torres says the Office 365 internal-use rights benefit allows partners to use and learn Microsoft’s latest cloud technology internally, so they are able to sell the solutions more effectively.
“There is also a financial opportunity for resellers beyond just deployment in terms of the potential for migration, enhancement of services and even change management for existing Office 365 customers,” Torres adds.
Time to capitalise
When it comes to capitalising on the opportunities offered by Office 2016, Torres says for resellers ‘it’s all you’.
“You are the first point of contact for your customers’ needs, and the centre of the customer relationship,” she says. “Build stronger relationships with your customers by managing their end-to-end experience and walking them through the exciting features the new Office has to offer,” she urges.
Torres says the introduction of the Cloud Solution Provider programme enables partners to purchase Office 365 and the Business and Pro Plus suite of applications at flexible monthly pricing and provisioning that they can use to resell to end customers.
“There is an opportunity to upgrade customers to the latest version and drive upsell by selling integrated offers and services in a single sales motion,” Torres says.
“In addition to Microsoft cloud solutions, sell your own value-added services, including deployment, migration, software customisations or custom apps, support, ongoing maintenance or training,” she urges.