This is from a guest blog on Microsoft’s Small & Medium Business site.

As I review our customer base I am struck by the fact that any company of any size from any industry can adopt Office 365. As a founder and director of Compete366, a Microsoft Cloud specialist, I have reflected on what similarities and drivers customers have to adopt Office 365. What is the initial motivation, what convinces companies to make what is often the first foray into the Cloud and what value do they want us to deliver. As importantly what is their experience once they have migrated, are they happy customers and have we and the cloud met their expectations? Each customer is different but in a series of blogs I would like to make some observations from real life customer situations with accompanying short videos. I hope this will give you some insight into the why, what is possible and what the future might hold for your business.

Initially most customers are convinced by the economics – £7.80 per user per month for all the business productivity with an evergreen version of Office, no servers, no licenses, no back up to do, no operations. The features like Lync, SharePoint and OneDrive often seem like jam on top. We have met several customers that are using a legacy hosted exchange solution and paying up to £40 per user per month or are faced with large CapEx for traditional on premise IT. So anyone can see why this financial proposition works once the customer has been walked through the Microsoft Cloud proposition – security, scale and capability. It is dangerous to generalise but the reaction post migration is quite different. The cost savings are realised but our customers are latching on to their new-found capabilities and leveraging them to make their businesses more effective and agile. A great example of this is the Strand Communications video.

Strand Communications are an established and talented company that provides copy in every form of communication imaginable. Their excellence in this field has created an enviable customer list and they rely upon IT to enable collaboration, production and delivery. They leverage their people and their content for their customers’ competitive advantage. Office 365 is the beginning of an interesting journey for Strand. The cost reductions and operational simplification was welcomed but Strand have now latched on to the value of Cloud based IT and have all sorts of plans that their MD, Toby Chapman-Dawe outlines in the video. The collaboration and productivity has improved which has a direct impact in business performance but once Strand becomes truly Cloud based through Azure it creates all sorts of options for Toby to expand even further abroad. The cost of establishing Strand in a new geography or adding employees abroad has been dramatically reduced making expansion easier and less risky.  While each employee will be able to work as productively as anyone at their head office in Putney. This agility will enable seamless expansion and if necessary contraction. Office 365 and Azure through Toby’s eyes is game changing.

Published On: September 20th, 2016 / Categories: M365 /

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“It’s great to work with the Compete366 team, the team members are really knowledgeable, helpful and responsive. No question is too difficult for them. They have really helped us to manage our Azure costs and ensure we have the right environment. When we bring a new customer on-board we can scale up immediately via the Azure portal and quickly make environments available to our customers.”

“We also find that there’s never a heavy sales pitch from them – they are technically focused and recommend what’s right for us.”

Paul Coyne, Rusada

“We had great support from the Compete366 AVD expert, who was really helpful, and guided me through options to tackle issues that arose.”

“The great thing about our AVD set up is that we have a custom set up for each project which Compete366 showed me how to do. And with the scalability and flexibility of AVD – we can meet clients’ expectations and get project users up and running more quickly.”

Amir Dangol, Senior IT Manager, Integrity

“We were immediately impressed with the advice that the Compete366 specialists in Azure Architecture were able to provide. This was all new to us and we really needed some external expertise that we could use to get our questions answered. The beauty of working with Compete366 is that we transferred our Azure consumption to them, and at the same time received all of their advice and guidance free of charge.”

Tim Entwistle, Head of Software Development, Herrco

“Working with Compete366 has been like extending our own team – they are extremely and easy to work with. Right from the outset, it was clear what was on offer – everything was presented to us in a straightforward and uncomplicated way. They also provided just the right level of challenge to our developers and saved us time and money by suggesting better ways to implement our infrastructure.”

Oliver Mackereth, Project Director, Hanse

“Compete366 were able to help us leverage some useful contacts in Microsoft. We really value the expert advice and guidance that they have offered us in setting up a highly scalable infrastructure. We are also setting in place a regular monthly meeting which will allow us to further refine our architecture and ensure we keep on track as our requirements grow and change.”

Matt Brocklehurst, Technical Director - AWOL Adventure

“I have been delighted with the migration, where my team worked very hard, supported by expert advice from Compete366, and achieved everything in the timescale we had set out. Compete 366 made sure that we didn’t make any expensive mistakes, and guided us through the process”

Darrell Cann, Managing Director, APEX
Jon Milward
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