SYDNEY – November 1, 2017 – Today Microsoft is announcing the general availability of Microsoft 365 Business, purpose-built for small and medium business.
The launch signals a significant step in facilitating scale and growth for Australian businesses with up to 300 employees, many of whom currently operate without formal IT management.
With numerous Australian customers already signed-on for Microsoft 365 Business, Microsoft General Manager for Digital Workplace and Collaboration, Ian Heard, expects a strong uptake from the local SMB community in the coming months.
“Our research reveals a sweet spot for a comprehensive solution for SMBs, which can fuel their business growth, and tailor security capabilities to safeguard company and customer data.
“Small business owners are excellent operators, often dealing with tight margins and even tighter timelines. As such, Microsoft 365 Business is a practical answer to a growing demand for digital excellence in the workplace, without the need for an expert IT manager to support it.”
Available in Australia today, Microsoft 365 Business brings together Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security, giving customers a complete, intelligent solution to empower all employees.
To coincide with the launch, Microsoft commissioned research with 1,000 Australian SMB employees to understand how IT is managed within their organisations and what support is needed to improve their productivity.
“The most interesting finding was this notion of an ‘Involuntary IT Manager’, someone who supports a business when IT issues arise even though technology support isn’t their primary role. In fact, we found that 63 per cent of people admit to constantly solving IT problems as an addition to their day-to-day job,” explains Mr. Heard.
The survey found 9 in every 10 employees feel it’s important to be able to access and troubleshoot technology issues without a professional. Furthermore, those who self-recognise as in Involuntary IT Manager spend an average of four hours per week managing IT issues for the company.
“Because of the growth in digital applications, we’re seeing a shift away from traditional IT management to a more self-sufficient era for employees, with software providers needing to meet this new demand from business.
“Our results show a quarter of employees believe IT management or formal technology support is redundant today, a percentage we expect to grow exponentially in the coming years,” suggests Mr. Heard.
The research, conducted by YouGov, also found a strong interest in data security, with 87 per cent saying it is important to enhance data security and privacy for company emails, networks and hardware, and 76 per cent suggesting it is important to implement security on mobile devices.
“It’s reassuring to see security is not only a priority for owner-operators, but also on the minds of their employees. Microsoft 365 Business has been purpose-built so SMB owners can implement and manage security policies to ensure laptops and PCs are up to date and secure, to prevent security vulnerabilities that could be exploited without the correct software safeguarding,” explains Mr. Heard.
Included in the customer line up for Microsoft 365 Business is Basketball Australia, with Chief Executive Officer, Anthony Moore saying the product answers an increasing demand for his dispersed team, who are often in different cities and countries at the same time.
“When our teams are on the road, it’s important we’re able to access and update information in real time across different geographies and time zones.
“Microsoft 365 Business will allow us to standardise our processes so Windows 10 and Office 365 are accessible on all devices, providing a sophisticated communication platform for coaches, stakeholders and internal business managers to communicate both internally and externally.”
Mr. Heard said the need to connect distributed workforces was a big part of the strategy behind Microsoft 365 Business.
“Microsoft backs SMBs in their growth aspirations, which often includes expanding across geographies. It’s part of our vision to empower every person and organisation to achieve more – and we believe today’s announcement helps bridge the gap between expansion and the need for people power across borders,” explains Mr. Heard.
Microsoft 365 Business is available from today Head into flagship Microsoft Store Sydney to speak with one of our store associates for more details and support throughout the sign up process or head online to https://www.microsoft.com/en-au/microsoft-365/business for more information.
Microsoft is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.