Office 365 has boldly shifted Microsoft’s focus to the cloud. But about half its customers are not as bold, stubbornly staying on-premises or evaluating options.
Microsoft could have stayed right where it was with Office and been happy for a long time.
It created a productivity empire that has provided the only general-purpose content creation tools that a generation of workers in fluorescent-lit cubicles has ever known. “PowerPoint” has become as ubiquitous a term for presentation slides as “Coke” is for cola.
New ways of work (NWOW), exemplified by the interest in digital workplace strategies, pose a challenge to any provider of PC, file, and desktop-based software. Competitors (and some tradition-bound users) who hoped Microsoft would “rest on its laurels” and milk the Office revenue stream have been sorely disappointed. When Microsoft made its first foray with Office in the cloud, known as “Business Productivity Online Suite” (BPOS), it didn’t gain traction. Microsoft, the technology and the users weren’t quite ready for a digital workplace.
But Microsoft learned what it took to become a service provider, and after a rebranding as “Office 365” in 2011, things started to look up. Yammer — an online-only enterprise social networking service — was acquired in 2012, signaling Microsoft’s commitment in terms of investment and a new direction for cloud-only services. Following that was a long series of market strategies (such as migration tools, the TechNet website and building a partner ecosystem) and product innovations (including Teams, Delve, Planner and Sway) that leverage the power of the cloud and lure workers into new ways of working.
Inquiring Minds Want to Know:
- Will ‘New Ways of Working’ Work for Microsoft’s Big Bet on Office 365?
- What are its Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats?
- What should Microsoft do?
- What should Microsoft’s Partners do?
- What should Microsoft’s Competitors do?
Read “SWOT: Microsoft Office 365, Worldwide“ to get our take on it.