Microsoft has launched its Office 365 in Botswana, Ethiopia, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, bringing the total number of sub-Saharan African countries with access to the suite to 18.
In June 2013, the cloud service was made available to nine new countries in Africa following Kenya and Nigeria in 2012; and South Africa in 2011.
Office 365 delivers the full suite of Office applications including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook in the cloud to help improve productivity whether at home, in the office or on the go on a pay-as-you-go monthly subscription model.
“Cloud based software is the perfect solution for smaller organisations that can’t always afford the level of sophistication they need in terms of software,” says Marc Israel, Office Division Group Lead for Microsoft West, East and Central Africa and Indian Ocean Islands. “It provides enterprises with an affordable and flexible way to access technology that can drive their business forward, enabling growth in emerging markets”
In East and southern Africa, the Small and Medium Business sector continues to play a big role, contributing towards GDP growth and employment. In Tanzania, SMEs contribute 30% to the country’s GDP, according to the Tanzania Investment Centre, and are the second largest employer after agriculture. But despite their importance, many of the 3.5 million SMEs in the country are constrained by lack of resources, particularly financial, which impacts technology budgets.
For those SMEs that do use technology, according to a Boston Consulting Group study commissioned by Microsoft, they can increase revenues 15 percentage points faster and create jobs almost twice as fast.
“In this country cloud is a new technology so initially we had reservations, but it was clear that Office 365 offered considerable savings and operational benefits,” says Jane Dorey, Canon Botswana Finance and Admin Director.