09 Mar 2013
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Microsoft reacts to the changing world of work

"The world of work is changing extremely fast" according to Microsoft, here's how it plans to catch up in New Zealand.

Speaking to Techday at Microsoft HQ yesterday, Asia Pacific Marketing and Operations head Todd Cione outlined the company's plans for Office 365, and what the release means for New Zealand businesses.

"Microsoft Office 365 is explicitly designed for this rapidly changing and evolving world of work," said Cione, mapping out the "mega-trends" currently dictating the market.

"We now have more alignment with the biggest trends than before, covering social, big data, mobile and cloud."

And with the way businesses based on these trends, Cione believes Microsoft are well placed to take advantage in the industry.

"We are providing users with the tools they need and the devices they want, without compromising security, management and privacy," he said.

Indulging in recent case studies to hammer home the message, Cione offered his own take on what makes Microsoft different from it's competitors, a differentiator spanning three key areas.

"Getting things done in business means understanding the tools you are using," said Cione, referring to the familiarity of Microsoft Office among users.

"We currently have over a billion Office users which means the new Office 365 is easy to use and less alien for our customers.

"Our rivals have produced new software in browser only formats and customers are not as familiar with it's processes."

In an unsubtle dig at Google, Cione raised the issue of privacy in both the workplace and at home, insisting Microsoft's view on it's customers differs from that of industry rivals.

"We don't sell information about our customers," he said. "With Google you are essentially the product, with Microsoft you are the customer."

Finishing on the topic of control and support within IT departments, Cione talked in-depth about Microsoft's commitment to backing up company data, with the key message being:

"Microsoft can guarantee back-up 99.9% of the time," he said. "But if we cannot back-up your data, we offer a financial commitment to businesses which significantly differs from our competitors."

Expecting Office 365 to become the fastest uptake in the company's history, Cione touched on the importance of voice communications, reiterating Microsoft's decision to integrate both Skype and Lync from June this year.

After demonstrating the integration between its Lync enterprise IM, audio and video conferencing server and its Skype consumer counterpart at the Lync Conference last month, Cione believes the move will help the development of SMBs.

"At present, 33% of all long-distance phone traffic is consumed on Skype," he said. "By unifying Skype and Lync, we are making online presence easier for our customers.

"We shall begin our voice integration process in June, followed by video by the end of the year.

"This will become a crucial part of everyday life for SMB's, who will now be able to connect with customers quickly and efficiently."

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