Microsoft Reduces Office 365 Enterprise Plans by an Average of 20%
Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud productivity suite for business and academia represents an entirely new way of computing. Businesses traditionally preferred to have their software and server resources housed in their own offices, but expenses for hardware, staffing, licenses, and energy made cloud computing more attractive for businesses looking to save money. To add to the attraction of cloud computing was the care that Microsoft takes to back up the data and distribute the resources so that they can guarantee 99.9% uptime along with the safety of their data. When Office 365 was released in mid-2011, Microsoft and the business world were uncertain as to how well they would do. As it turns out, Microsoft was able to make substantial sales to business in 66 countries to date.
The original pricing structure for their Enterprise plans took into account the need to make a certain number of sales profitably support their cloud computing sales model. With sales exceeding expectations, Microsoft has made a great move which will benefit both themselves and businesses by reducing the costs of their enterprise subscriptions by an average of 20%.
Many businesses that have adopted Microsoft Office 365 to date have been medium and large businesses, government agencies, and universities, all of whom could afford their own servers on-site but chose the new cloud model. The market segment that really could benefit most from cloud computing and Office 365 in particular are very small businesses and professional practices. Businesses with under five employees would have no way to budget an in-house implementation of the same software. They would need to have a minimum of four physical servers housed in their business at a cost of $25,000, and they would have to buy about $50,000 in software licenses. They would then need at least one systems engineer available full-time for around $150,000 a year including salary and fringe benefits. After that, power costs upwards of $10,000 to run the servers as well as the climate control they need. Even with expenses of $235,000 for the first year, they would have limited reliability compared to the 99.9% offered by Office 365. Also their systems engineer would certainly not be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to help with problems. As an early adopter with most of our clients using Microsoft Office 365, we have had many occasions to use their telephone support at all hours and on holiday. We have dealt with many customer support lines for clients, and we have been very impressed with the service offered by Microsoft. Not only are they helpful at all times, but when they realized that we were a Microsoft Partner helping multiple businesses with Office 365, they gave us numbers and names to contact engineers we know and can count on at any time. This has helped us to offer the best service to our customers. None of them has experienced a significant outage so far, and Microsoft has always been there to help us solve any problem our clients have.