June's EU referendum result has brought a number of changes to the UK. We've witnesses the valuation of the pound sterling drop precipitously over the last few months and this has created a number of ripple effects.
One notable change is that the cost of doing business in the UK has increased for many international companies, not least those in the technology industry. Microsoft is no exception and is set to increase its prices of Office 365.
This could lead businesses to reconsider their migration, but they shouldn't. It's unwelcome when any commodity becomes more expensive, but the fact remains that Office 365 can afford businesses enormous benefits, ranging from productivity gains to improved collaboration.
But to achieve the best results from the platform you need to know how to use its full capabilities. As part of the software giant's new pricing structure for its cloud and on-premises software in the UK, Microsoft Office 365 and Azure licence fees will increase 22 per cent, while the price of Microsoft's on-premises enterprise software will increase by 13 per cent, effective from 1 January 2017.
Although Microsoft's price augmentations weren't entirely unexpected, as we witnessed initial price rises from other vendors, including HP and Dell, this has not made them any more palatable for both end users and the channel alike.
Despite the price rises, organisations would be wise to continue embracing Office 365 to help them to improve their productivity and efficiency in electronic communications.
In the immediate short term, it would make sense for end-users to fast-track their plans to move to this tool, as the price increase will only apply to new contracts signed next year.
But, in the longer term and in order to make it easier for businesses to absorb the cost and get the best return on their investment, the channel has a role to play in ensuring that its customers are making maximum use of the software's functionality.
Tools never feel like good value when you don't use them properly. We see many businesses just scratching the service of what's possible with Office 365; they are largely only using a fraction of what's available and not to their best advantage. Adding to this, many organisations lack the knowledge to harness the full power of Office 365.
To fully achieve these benefits, the channel must ensure that its understanding and expertise of Office 365 is more heightened than ever to guarantee the full use of the software's functionality is achieved across the board.
Not only this, the channel needs to have a more hands on approach and forge closer relationships with customers to help them find real solutions to their challenges. Resellers who do not focus on enabling customers to realise the potential of their investment might see their sales suffer as customers seek a more customer centric, business focused partner.
Businesses should always aim to get the best results from their assets so they can compete at the forefront of their industry. The channel can aid this venture by educating organisations, helping them to realise that the real benefits of Office 365 are derived when businesses use the tool to develop entirely new ways of working, as opposed to simply porting the way that they've always used the Microsoft Office suite.
By doing so, the channel can increase its sales while simultaneously helping its customers achieve the best return on investment. Although this won't make the price of Office 365 any lower, it will enable organisations to improve their productivity and make their business more competitive.
Andrew Smith is technical director at Annodata
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