Earlier this week Microsoft announced plans to build two new data centers in Canada to deliver Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics Online to Canadian organizations. Microsoft made the announcement at an event in Toronto and expects to have the new facilities up and running in Toronto and Quebec City by 2016.
So what does this really mean for Canadian Microsoft customers?
For customers who haven’t leveraged Office 365, Azure or Dynamics Online yet…
This announcement provides a few assurances. Microsoft is investing in Canadian infrastructure which should compliment or improve Office 365 performance while also tackling some concerns people have over data residency.
Through our research and work with Canadian customers we have found there are 3 top reasons some have not yet moved to the Microsoft Cloud. What follows is how this announcement will impact those customers.
1. Data Residency
If your organization hasn’t begun leveraging the Microsoft Cloud due to concerns over data residency than this announcement is critical to ensuring your concerns can be addressed effectively in 2016.
2. Not Enough Expertise In Cloud
CIOs know that the Cloud can provide significant benefit to their businesses, but don’t have the in-house expertise necessary to realize the value the Cloud can provide. This is especially true for emerging Cloud technologies like those found in Azure and Office 365. This announcement means that more Canadian customers will invest in the Cloud and produce a larger more experienced talent pool.
In the interim many CIOs trust our world class experts to help them prioritize, plan and successfully implement Microsoft Cloud technologies like Office 365 and Azure while we work together to transform and develop their internal capabilities. Since we work very closely with Microsoft as a partner, and many of our staff know the product teams personally, it makes it much easier for us to not only help with the existing Cloud technology in the marketplace, but also to guide and prepare customers for what’s coming.
3. Concerns On Security & Data Privacy
We work with hundreds of organizations helping them evaluate and prepare for their move to the Microsoft Cloud. Time and time again the cloud provides better spam management, security reporting, less disruptions, more up to data antivirus, compliance, recovery and efficiency keeping up to date.
Microsoft has over 300 people focused on data privacy, including: software engineers, scientists, IT pros, marketing and lawyers. They are leaders in the enterprise Cloud marketplace when it comes to customer privacy.
If this has been holding you back please don’t hesitate to reach out to us – we can help you understand how to mitigate this concern and overcome it. Microsoft has a wealth of resources available on their trust center sites that can help (Office 365 Trust Center, Azure Trust Center, Dynamics CRM Trust Center).
For organizations already using Office 365, Dynamics Online and/or Azure…
Many of our customers have already started to take advantage of the benefits the Microsoft Cloud provides to their businesses. Our organization included. There are two significant questions that these organizations need to answer.
1. Where should our Office 365 region be?
For these customers once the new datacenters become available in Canada a question on whether they want to, or can migrate to the Canadian datacenters will be top of mind.Why is changing my country or region difficult? When you subscribe to Office 365 you identify a country or region for your Office 365 tenant. This is something that you can’t currently change. Support provides a solution that requires the cancellation of the Office 365 subscription and the purchase of a new one (from a licensing perspective).
While there are workarounds for this challenge (like Cloud tenant to tenant migration) it’s something we are committed to helping many of our customers with as the datacenter deployment progresses.
2. How can we maximize adoption and utilization?
This announcement should be a trigger for highlighting and assessing your own progress in adopting and using Microsoft Cloud technology. It’s a strategic advantage for many businesses and with more competitors in the coming year, leveraging Office 365, Azure or Dynamics Online, the further ahead you can get the better.
Unfortunately we have found that many Microsoft Cloud IT investments are underutilized and organizations don’t do an effective job of maximizing the return that Office 365 or Azure can provide. As a result we have developed industry leading approaches and practical campaigns, activities, and engagements that help organizations maximize their adoption, and maximize the value their Microsoft Cloud technology investments provide.
One popular challenge organizations experience is how to better guide their users on when to use what technology in Office 365. We recently created a 60+ page industry leading Whitepaper on this subject that can be downloaded here: http://www.WhenToUseWhat.com.
This is a significant announcement from the Microsoft Canada team and it will be a lot of work, but the rewards will be huge for Canadian customers.
Microsoft’s commitment to the Cloud has been incredible over the past few years and their now over 20 billion dollar investment is providing technology benefits to customers at a fraction of the cost.
For Canadian customers this should be a rallying call not just to begin planning for emerging Microsoft Cloud technologies in your own organization, but to better leverage and use existing ones; to maximize the impact they can have while they still provide an organizational advantage.