5 ways to turn Office 365 into a profitable service offering
by Abbie-Lee Hollister, on December 12, 2019
Many of our partners see the shrinking margins offered by Microsoft's Office 365 solution and feel threatened by the prospect of moving clients away from more profitable traditional management of on-premises Exchange servers.
However, in spite of potential difficulties in transition, Office 365 presents numerous business opportunities for partners willing to evolve their business practices.
1. Convert the Migration Business Opportunity
Even before they get started with Office 365, your clients will likely need help migrating legacy Microsoft Exchange data. However, not all organisations plan to switch to the cloud all at once - some may maintain on-premises for a hybrid approach, and others may want to synchronise content between Office 365 and on-premises solutions.
This presents to you not only a legitimate business opportunity for project income, but also an opening to build a more meaningful relationship with clients shifting to the cloud.
Partners who are willing and able to help clients make the transition are much more likely to solidify their roles as trusted IT advisers.
2. Leverage Office 365 Interest for New Client Acquisition
While the straight margins of reselling Office 365 may seem unfavourable for partners compared with the old way of doing business, the interest in this cloud-based platform is generating one thing that partners can always use - leads.
Smart partners are doubling down on Office 365 by utilising the leads they’re getting from Microsoft to go deeper with these clients once they’ve helped with initial migration and setup of Office 365. These partners see this initial win as a way of getting a foot in the door as a trusted adviser.
Partners with complementary offerings to Office 365 also have a great venue for approaching companies that would otherwise have been cold prospects. These contacts have now been warmed up through a bite-sized initial relationship and are more likely to trust your business.
3. Source Office 365 Wholesale & Bundle It With Unique Service Offerings
It may make better sense to buy Office 365 wholesale and package it with other unique service offerings, improving the overall profit margin and service stickiness.
Added offerings can include migration services, along with premium support, backup services or bundling with other SaaS software for a more complete package. Each additional service bundle provides another chance to build more profitable margins into these deals.
4. Provide Premium Support
Providing premium support for Office 365 is a natural, value-added service opportunity for the platform. Especially for the cheaper versions of Office 365, the direct technical support provided by Microsoft can be lacking for businesses.
Many of these clients find the 'a la carte' tech support not only expensive but also lacking in flexibility to meet their business needs and serve their users.
Selling a bundled package that includes your support gives you the chance to not only build in margin but also take advantage of branding opportunities to differentiate from other partners in the market.
5. Add Backup, Search and Restoration
In addition to the standard premium support services, you can also bolt on other services such as backup, search and restore for clients on a per-seat basis. Cloud services like Office 365 may make some things simpler, but they don’t eliminate every headache for businesses.
As data is spread into the cloud, it becomes more difficult for clients to keep track of corporate data, search through it to find information and ensure that it is backed up and easily restorable.
By working with a solution such as Axcient, you can easily set up mechanisms for clients that allow them to ensure that every email users have ever sent, received and even deleted is searchable, findable and retrievable down at the user level.
Axcient is an advanced cloud-to-cloud backup service designed for IT Providers. From its single interface, data is indexed and instantly searchable for discovery and point-in-time restores.