03 Mar

March 2014 – Microsoft releases multiple service packs, and a discussion on service contracts.

This month has seen Microsoft finally release the first major update for Microsoft Office 2013 – Service Pack 1.

This service pack contains all the bug, security and compatibility fixes that Microsoft has been releasing sporadically since the initial release of Office 2013. There are also some enhancements to SkyDrive (now known as OneDrive) as well as the constant updates to Internet Explorer 11 and Windows 8.1.

Users can manually download the service pack to install themselves via the Microsoft download centre, or simply wait until your Windows Update informs you of the availability of the upgrade and let windows do it automatically for you.

Also this month Microsoft announced the end of Telstra’s monopoly with the Office 365 product and have now opened the product up for all IT companies to be able to purchase and resell, regardless as to whether you’re a Telstra dealer (like EtherTech is) or not. This is an interesting move from Microsoft, and not one that we weren’t expecting as Telstra’s sales of office365 have been very poor), but it does bring up the subscription model discussion again.

As more and more organisations are realising the benefits of subscription based modelling as being beneficial to their organisations cash flow (as a monthly subscription can be part of the operating expense of the business and no longer require large capital expenditure to purchase), it means businesses actually save money as the maintenance and patching / upgrading of the products are covered by the monthly subscription.

For example : Microsoft are heavily in development of their first ‘touch based’ version of MS Office currently code-named ‘Gemini’. With the explosion of touch based devices, it’s the next logical step for them to capitalise on the market. If you are part of EtherTech’s Hosted Office subscription service, this, and ALL future versions of Office would be made available to you for FREE as part of your monthly subscription.

This tends to work really well for Software and Hardware based products like Hosted Exchange / CRM / Sharepoint etc, but when it comes to a physical ‘technician present’ type of servicing the playing field changes somewhat.

We regularly come across new clients who have a ‘maintenance contract’ with another IT vendor, where they pay a ‘fixed amount’ per month to perform updates and repair any issues they have. Imagine for a moment you are that incumbent IT provider charging a fixed amount per month for servicing. How do you maximise your profit? By getting lots of these contracts, then spending as little time as possible actually doing the work, and pocket the remaining fees as profit.

Here at EtherTech we’ve always been dubious about these contracts, and have never practised them, preferring the ‘pay as you go’ style of agreement, where you only pay us when we actually work for you. And of course, the more you use us the less it can cost! Saving you even more money!

If any of the things discussed in this newsletter are of interest to you, (or might be to someone else you know), please contact us to have chat on how we can help. Until next month…..