13 Sep 2013
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NZ TechEd LIVE: 27,000 Kiwi charities get free Office 365

Revealed at the Microsoft TechEd conference in Auckland this week, Microsoft NZ general manager Paul Muckleston says as many as 27,000 Kiwi charities are now eligible for free Office 365 software.

The charitable move, stemming from company founder Bill Gates' lifelong passion, hopes to offer a multi-million dollar cash injection into New Zealand nonprofit organisations across the country.

As the needs of communities expand exponentially around the world and technology advancements accelerate with increasing speed, Microsoft says as it is taking a new step forward to help nonprofits more easily harness the power of technology to do more good.

As a result, the Redmond giant has significantly widened the scope of its Technology for Good program, by donating Office 365 to nonprofits worldwide.

"This (donation) goes back to our founder Bill Gates who saw the potential for technology to make a difference," Muckleston told the media.

"We’re launching the offer in 41 countries and we’ll roll it out in up to 90 countries by July 2014.

"There’s no cap on the number of nonprofit employees who can get on board, whether the organisation has 10 employees or thousands."

Echoing the official line coming out of Redmond, Muckleston urged Kiwis who work at a nonprofit, to apply for a donation of Office 365 for Nonprofits.

Muckleston says many New Zealand charities, including Royal New Zealand Plunket Society and The Child Cancer Foundation, have experienced huge benefits after implementing Office 365 and hopefully many more charities will now benefit from this software.

“Technology has long been a catalyst for progress on key societal challenges," he adds.

"The advent of cloud computing, connected smart devices, and new ways to communicate, interact and access information creates vast new opportunities and enables organisations to spend fewer resources and time on IT so they can focus on their missions."

In a study by Microsoft’s software donation partner TechSoup Global, nonprofits reported that the top four advantages of cloud computing are easier IT administration (79%), cost-savings (62%), improved collaboration (61%), and data security (54%).

The results have been mirrored by the experiences of New Zealand charities already using Office 365.

Craig Le Quesne, General Manager of Information Communication Technology, Royal New Zealand Plunket Society believes his organisation benefited from increased collaboration and better time management after upgrading to Office 365.

“Office 365 has changed how we do so many day-to-day tasks. The best thing I can do is facilitate conversations between our staff, because this sparks new ideas," he says.

"Before Office 365 this was a costly exercise that usually required people travelling to meetings, but applications like Lync Online mean our staff can be in touch with each other all the time and get on with achieving."

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