Microsoft just announced availability of Office 365 and it’s cloud service Microsoft Azure to 18 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Office 365 delivers the full suite of Office applications including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook in the cloud. What this means is that you can now easily share and edit documents over the internet.
This is not very new, because Google is already doing it and it is working really fine but from my experience working in an enterprise setting, Microsoft has positioned themselves better than the other tech giants who are players at offering these productivity services and this is why.
I still don’t know what took Microsoft so long put their Office Suite online after watching Google and Dropbox disrupt this space. Microsoft has offered this suite for very many years and this puts them on an advantage because they are not only trusted players by the industry but also have the power of the windows OS to their advantage.
When a new box arrived at office the first thing we did was to install the genuine Windows OS which always came with the box and then Install the necessary software starting with the Office suite. With the shift to online things have changed and people are collaborating in real time while working on documents or spreadsheets, I predict Microsoft benefiting from its earlier success of the Office Suite in African enterprise businesses because it’s what they have been using.
Microsoft has established itself as the go to brand for most of the enterprise solutions software. When I was still at university some of my friends always had the non licensed Windows OS and it was fine, because believe me there is no Ugandan student who was ready to pay $200 extra for software easily accessed on a DVD, some of us preferred to use Linux to just do away with this hustle.
Back at the enterprise where I used to work, before anyone received any contract to deliver any computers, they had to deliver genuine Dell Computers with genuine Windows OS. This showed how strong this brand was in the minds of the enterprises and how serious they upheld these brands. Shifting to Office 365 will not be very had because once someone is locked into your brand, it’s always very hard for them to change.
African Enterprises are slow to change:
The sluggish behavior of most African companies might just favor Microsoft. We adapt very fast as individuals, but when it comes to our companies, change takes forever except if it’s a startup with very young minds. Very Many companies in Africa are still slow to embrace the change. I personally use Google Drive on a daily basis because it makes my life very easy but some companies will force you to attach that word document instead of sending a link. People are just slow to change but if that change is coming from Microsoft, a company they have worked with for over a decade, they will surely go with Microsoft and that will save us the hustle of having to do some things manually.
In the game of making money, it’s all about making your employees very productive. Tools like Office 365 can push productivity and reduce cost at the same time and that is why I think this product is most likely to thrive in Africa.