Microsoft (News - Alert) already has been lauded as one of Nigeria’s top employers. Now the company is working to improve the office environment at other businesses operating within the country.
Just last week, Microsoft officially released Office 365 in Nigeria after an extended test period that has been ongoing since June. The cloud-based productivity suite already is available in more than 90 countries worldwide, but this is the first time it has been available in the Nigerian market.
The service costs $6 per user per month and merges Microsoft Office, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Exchange Online and Microsoft Lync Online into a single, unified online productivity suite that brings Office productivity apps and e-mail, voicemail, enterprise social networking, instant messaging, Web portals, extranets, video conferencing and Web conferencing to businesses of every size.
The scalable, turnkey nature of Office 365 is particularly important for Nigeria, where 80 percent of companies are small to mid-sized enterprises (SMEs), according to Nigeria’s BusinessDay Media. These SMEs contribute little to the economy, which analysts blame on the inability of most firms to adequately invest in IT infrastructure. But this changes with access to Office 365, where SMEs can gain access to the latest software and robust backend hardware on a monthly, per-user basis.
“Cloud computing is computing on scale,” noted Emmanuel Onyeje, country manager for Microsoft West Africa, during the Office 365 launch. “Through our large data centers, we are offering high quality enterprise collaborative products for everybody.”
Onyeje went on to say, “Our enterprise products like Exchange for messaging, SharePoint for collaboration, Lync for universal communications is now available to every SME, individual and large firm. It means that every business in Nigeria has access to top quality infrastructure that can enable it [to] compete globally.”
This could help fuel economic transformation throughout Nigeria, Onyeje predicted, going a long way to fixing the gap in productivity that has come from inadequate computing.
“We are evolving from the information age to the collaboration age where the ability to take action on information will set successful businesses apart from the rest,” he said. The launch of Office 365 in Nigeria could accelerate that evolution by delivering enterprise-grade collaboration for all businesses.
“Employees get new ways to work together with ease, on virtually any device or mobile phone, and businesses get the reliability, security and IT controls they need in the cloud, even without a dedicated IT staff”, added Dele Akinsade, director developer platforms for Microsoft West Africa.
In October, Microsoft also plans to release Windows 8 and Windows Phone (News - Alert) in Nigeria. This will be the first time that Windows Phone will be available in the country.
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Edited by Jamie Epstein