Small and home-based businesses can now rent Microsoft Office applications such as Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook by the month, thanks to an innovative partnership between Vox Telecom and Global Micro.
“A once-off licence fee for Microsoft Office can cost R 3,000 or more,” says Jonathan Young, Microsoft Product Manager for Vox Telecom. “That can be a significant cash flow hit for small businesses. Many end up either using illegal software, or they buy it bundled with their hardware, which often means using outdated software. And if your hardware is stolen, your software goes with it – you have to start all over again.”
“More and more customers have been telling us they want a rental option,” continues Young. “At the same time, they’re wary of trusting everything to the cloud – if their internet connectivity is slow or interrupted; they need to be able to continue working. They still want a local copy of the software on their machine.”
In response, Vox Telecom and Global Micro have developed Office on Demand. “It combines the best features of software as a service with the convenience of having the software locally installed,” says Young. “Office on Demand is a software wrapper into which companies can place the applications of their choice – not only Microsoft Office, but 3rd party products, such as Pastel, as well. For a total of R139 a month, for example, they get Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher and OneNote, as well as the wrapper.”
The wrapper creates a layer of password protection around the application, explains Young. “If you want the application, you pay your monthly fee and you get access. If you no longer want it, simply cancel the fee payment and your access gets turned off. The software is still on your machine, though, so it can be re-activated at any time. This makes it very easy for companies to scale up and down if they have fluctuating numbers of staff.”
This flexibility is just one of the major advantages of Office on Demand, says Young. “Another major benefit is financial: Instead of a large capital outlay every couple years, you pay an affordable monthly service fee. Shifting spending from CAPEX to OPEX can really benefit the balance sheet.”
Finally, Office on Demand includes a 1GB “virtual filing cabinet” so that important data can be easily stored in the cloud. “All your data is encrypted and secure, you and your associates can access it from anywhere in the world a truly secure solution.”