Canadian small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are hesitant to harness the power of the cloud, in large part because they find it difficult to keep pace with rapid technology advancements, according to a survey conducted by Leger Marketing and commissioned by Microsoft Canada .
The study found that although nearly 73 per cent of SMBs understand that cloud-based technology offers a cost-effective means of accessing the latest technology, just 30 per cent are currently investing in cloud services.
“We all know that with great technology, you are at a better business advantage. Yet with 83 per cent of SMBs finding it hard to keep pace and 79 per cent settling on old tech even though they know there are better options, it is clear that Canadian businesses require simple and cost-effective cloud-based services to drive productivity, efficiency and give them the competitive edge,” says Eric Gales, President of Microsoft Canada. “Three-quarters of Canadian SMB are ready to invest in their own growth, but they want to invest smartly in technology that is going to work for them. This is why we’re so excited to announce the launch of Office 365 to meet Canada’s SMB technology needs.” 
Office 365  brings together Microsoft Office, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Exchange Online and Lync Online in an always-up-to-date service, with a predictable monthly cost that starts at just $7 per user, per month.
Moving to the cloud with Office 365 doesn’t require a team to change the way it works, because the service is based on familiar tools people know and trust, including Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook and more. 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.
“I’m a road warrior and my office is a coffee shop, a hotel room or my clients’ board room” said James Won, founder of Servant4Stewards, a financial planning consultancy. “Office 365 gives me the power to work anywhere with full access to my documents on my computer and my mobile phone. The best thing about Office 365 is the fact that I can collaborate with clients and third-parties, revising, sharing and updating documents seamlessly in the cloud.”
Microsoft is building a massive partner ecosystem around Office 365, which includes new ways of partnering with service providers such as telecommunications and hosting firms around the world. Bell, Canada’s largest communications company, is the first Canadian syndication partner. Bell will be offering Office 365 bundled with their communication services, creating a one-stop-shop for small and midsize businesses.
“Bell and Microsoft have worked closely for years to help Canadian businesses with their collaboration needs, and we’re happy to partner with Microsoft to bring Office 365 to the Bell cloud portfolio,” said Strahan McCarten, Director of Product Management, Hosting & Cloud Computing, Bell Business Markets, Bell Canada . “With Office 365, Bell customers can reduce their costs and maximize their IT productivity whether they’re starting a new business venture or enhancing their existing technology operations.”