Inspire 2018: Acquire more SMB customers with Microsoft 365

Categories: Events & Conferences
Tags: Microsoft 365 Microsoft Inspire

Accelerate customer acquisition, and grow your profitability with Microsoft 365 Business

Vuzion MD, Michael Frisby, was delighted to have been invited to speak at the Inspire session on Tuesday 17 July, Acquire more SMB customers with Microsoft 365, led by Microsoft 365 SMB General Manager Bryan Goode.

The theme was that the "power of digital transformation is no more apparent than in small and midsize businesses.” Attendees were invited to hear about “the opportunity to accelerate customer acquisition, and grow your profitability with Microsoft 365 Business.”

Below, we summarise the points discussed.

Nowhere is the power of digital transformation more apparent than within small and midsize businesses (SMBs).

SMBs represent 95 percent of all businesses worldwide, and 63 percent of employees. Those businesses today are evolving, with the cloud powering much of the shift.

Microsoft 365 SMB MarketIn addition, two-thirds of medium sized customers say that they want to consolidate their IT spend and vendors in 2018, as they look for reduced costs and a more integrated solution.

With change comes opportunity for partners.

Microsoft 365 combines productivity, management, security and compliance in a single package – everything an SMB needs to run their business.

Microsoft compared the cost of the Microsoft 365 platform with what a customer would spend on the equivalent piecemeal applications and discovered they would require five times the investment – not accounting for the time and hassle of deploying each of the different technologies.

Microsoft 365 Investment


Goode revealed that Microsoft is adding Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based video with Microsoft Stream to the platform as well as new hybrid capabilities to Microsoft 365 Business.

Microsoft Stream provides a platform for organisations to manage, store and access content – such as video – securely within Teams. Its AI-based features include the ability to provide closed captioning to every video that’s uploaded, making the videos more accessible for every employee. Plus, each video is automatically transcribed in real-time, with a search function for specific terms. It also comes with facial detection features so the user can skip directly to the parts of the video they want.

Microsoft 365 Updates

A Microsoft-commissioned study conducted by Forrester found that Microsoft Business 365 represents a $36 in incremental revenue, per user, per month for partners, based on additional services and solutions you can offer around the platform.

Incremental Revenue


Goode also detailed the marketing investments Microsoft is making to drive customer education and awareness around Microsoft 365Business.

For example, in January 2020 support will end for Windows 7. In October 2020 support will end for Office 2010. At the same time, customers will need to be on the latest version of Office, or the cloud-powered Office, to connect to Office 365 services.

Windows & Office End of Support

Customers will need help through this transition, which Microsoft estimates will be a $100 billion opportunity for partners moving clients from their legacy IT to the new Modern Desktop. The Modern Desktop is powered by Microsoft 365, and so is always up-to-date with Office and Windows, is secure, productive and delivers at a low Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

As such, Microsoft has launched its Shift campaign to help customers understand the importance of moving to the Modern Desktop, including assets that partners can take advantage of.

Shift Campaign


Partners will also be able to take advantage of new programmes to help build a Microsoft 365 practice.

The first is a set of Practice Development Guides around Cloud, Security and Teamwork.

  • Cloud focuses on helping customers migrate from on-premise to cloud environments. 
  • Security addresses customers’ security requirements.
  • Teamwork looks at how customers can take advantage of this new way of working.

Development Guides

Complementing these guides, is Launchpad, which can help you design different offers for your customers.


Microsoft also announced a new Microsoft 365 Business Scholarship Programme. The first hundred partners that sell 300 new seats and launch a security practice around Microsoft 365 will be eligible for the experience, taking place in Greece.

Microsoft 365 Scholarship


Cobweb’s speaking slot began with Microsoft’s video encapsulating Cobweb customer iSalon’s move from Hosted Exchange to Microsoft 365.

Michael Frisby went on to outline four key trends that Cobweb is seeing among its SMB customers:

  • Economic uncertainty means firms are more focused on the business, rather than looking at IT as an investment
  • GDPR has made businesses think more about IT security
  • There is a changing dynamic in the workplace with up to five generations now employed, all with different working styles
  • A lack of IT skills in the marketplace

“When we go to market we focus on helping customers improve their productivity, secure their business and modernise their infrastructure. We find out what the customer needs are, and we lead with Microsoft 365, but show them the path of how to get there.

“From a security perspective we focus on an in-depth defence approach, wrapping additional layers around Microsoft 365, such as user education. We then focus on our managed, professional and support services to help move the customer to the cloud, because they don’t have those skills internally, and give them that confidence to move.

“The final piece is our focus on Teams, which we find really excites the SMB as to the possibilities of supporting those different ways that customers like to work today.”

Frisby provided his top two pieces of advice for partners regarding the Microsoft 365 opportunity:

  • Always start with what the customer wants and needs. If you start with that and worry about the technology second, you’ll get a happier customer.
  • Investing in your own teams’ skills – with all the new releases and features around Office 365 and Windows 10, plus all the security enhancements, you must keep investing in your people, so they can provide the best possible solution for your customers.

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