Lack of uptake of Cloud technology leads Canadian businesses to risk chance at growth

Seventy-three per cent of Canadian SMBs see the value, only thirty per cent are investing in cloud services, Microsoft Canada survey reveals

MISSISSAUGA, ON, June 28, 2011 /CNW/ - Canadian small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are hesitant to harness the power of the cloud, in large part because they find it difficult to keep pace with rapid technology advancements, according to a survey conducted by Leger Marketing and commissioned by Microsoft Canada.

The study found that although nearly 73 per cent of SMBs understand that cloud-based technology offers a cost-effective means of accessing the latest technology, just 30 per cent are currently investing in cloud services.

"We all know that with great technology, you are at a better business advantage. Yet with 83 per cent of SMBs finding it hard to keep pace and 79 per cent settling on old tech even though they know there are better options, it is clear that Canadian businesses require simple and cost-effective cloud-based services to drive productivity, efficiency and give them the competitive edge," says Eric Gales, President of Microsoft Canada. "Three-quarters of Canadian SMB are ready to invest in their own growth, but they want to invest smartly in technology that is going to work for them. This is why we're so excited to announce the launch of Office 365 to meet Canada's SMB technology needs."

Office 365 brings together Microsoft Office, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Exchange Online and Lync Online in an always-up-to-date service, with a predictable monthly cost that starts at just $7 per user, per month.

A game-changer for businesses of all sizes
Moving to the cloud with Office 365 doesn't require a team to change the way it works, because the service is based on familiar tools people know and trust, including Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook and more. Employees get new ways to work together with ease, on virtually any device or mobile phone, and businesses get the reliability, security and IT controls they need in the cloud, even without a dedicated IT staff.

"I'm a road warrior and my office is a coffee shop, a hotel room or my clients' board room" said James Won, founder of Servant4Stewards, a financial planning consultancy. "Office 365 gives me the power to work anywhere with full access to my documents on my computer and my mobile phone. The best thing about Office 365 is the fact that I can collaborate with clients and third-parties, revising, sharing and updating documents seamlessly in the cloud."

Office 365 partners
Microsoft is building a massive partner ecosystem around Office 365, which includes new ways of partnering with service providers such as telecommunications and hosting firms around the world. Bell, Canada's largest communications company, is the first Canadian syndication partner.  Bell will be offering Office 365 bundled with their communication services, creating a one-stop-shop for small and midsize businesses.

"Bell and Microsoft have worked closely for years to help Canadian businesses with their collaboration needs, and we're happy to partner with Microsoft to bring Office 365 to the Bell cloud portfolio," said Strahan McCarten, Director of Product Management, Hosting & Cloud Computing, Bell Business Markets, Bell Canada. "With Office 365, Bell customers can reduce their costs and maximize their IT productivity whether they're starting a new business venture or enhancing their existing technology operations."

About Office 365
With Office 365 for small businesses, customers can be up and running with Office Web Apps, Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Lync Online and an external website in minutes, for $7 per user, per month. These tools put email, voicemail, enterprise social networking, instant messaging, Web portals, extranets, video conferencing, web conferencing and more at everyone's fingertips.

Office 365 for enterprises has an array of choices, from simple email to comprehensive suites to meet the needs of midsize and large businesses, as well as government organizations. Customers can now get Microsoft Office Professional Plus on a pay-as-you-go basis with cloud-based versions of the industry's leading business communications and collaborations services. Each of these plans comes with the advanced I.T. controls, security, 24x7 IT support and reliability you expect from Microsoft.

Office 365 for small businesses and Office 365 for enterprises are available now. Businesses can try it for free for 30 days by signing up at www.office365.ca or from their local Microsoft partner. Follow Office 365 on Twitter (@Office365), Facebook (Office 365) and the Office 365 blog at http://community.office365.com for the latest information.

About Microsoft Canada

Established in 1985, Microsoft Canada Inc. is the Canadian subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq "MSFT"), the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. Microsoft Canada provides nationwide sales, marketing, consulting and local support services in both French and English. Microsoft Canada is headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario with MSN.CA offices located in Toronto and eight regional offices across the country. The company supports local communities across Canada by creating innovative technology and partnerships that help people realize their full potential. For more information on Microsoft Canada, please visit www.microsoft.ca.

SOURCE Microsoft Canada Co.

For further information:

For more information, press only:
Marshneill Abraham, High Road Communications on behalf of Microsoft Canada
(416) 644-2271
Marshneill.Abraham@highroad.com

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