Delegates at the Ingram Micro ONE event in Las Vegas heard that Microsoft is still not up to par when it comes to its pre-sales and post-sales process for Office 365.
Josh Condie, Microsoft partner technology strategist at Microsoft, told delegates that while the firm has enhanced the product significantly, with announcements coming in the next few weeks, it is still lagging in this specific area.
"We have that platform maturity now, that parity and perhaps even beyond. Being very honest, where I think we still lack is enabling the pre-sales process - the pre-sales and post-sales process - and giving flexibility to our partner community who usually sell this product or this solution."
Condie made the comments while giving delegates an update on what's new with Microsoft's Office 365, including an announcement coming on 1 October. He said there will be a new design for SMB-specific office 365 clients that simplifies the game in many ways.
"There's going to be a lot of choice and there is going to be a better getting started experience. I used to complain about my company in years past and specifically about one piece of Office 365, which was SharePoint online and what a horrible first experience end users had with it.
"All the potential in the world for both end customer and the partner resided right there with SharePoint online and they had this horrible first experience with this blank page - no guidance, no structure, no template."
He said this has now changed significantly. OneDrive is now the main place where users have one space to share and control their own content.
"We're adding in Yammer for collaborative environments that are pre-configured," he said. "There are a lot of new things you can do now. We're going to make extending that first experience to be a very positive one from the customer perspective of high importance with these new plans."
Another change involves standardising and enhancing the administrative controls across all the available plans with Office 365, Condie told delegates, so that whichever option customers go for, they will have a similar experience with the partners that administer the requirements.
Condie also told delegates that Microsoft was "on the cusp" of customising the Office 365 environment in vertical-specific ways.
"We're about to release an environment called MattersCentric, specifically for the legal community - setting up document storage and sharing from an attorney's perspective or a legal practice perspective. And that's just one example of a lot of things that are in development right now that are addressing very specific industry needs."
Delegates also heard that Office 365 will also be introducing PSTN imminently.
"It's right around the corner and this is probably the biggest game changer of all from a market-making perspective. So a lot has happened in the last seven or eight months and a lot of it is going to significantly affect the marketplace over the course of the next four to six months," he told delegates.
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