Satya, time to build Office 365 cloud in Australia

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Satya, time to build Office 365 cloud in Australia

[Blog post] Stop talking cloud, start building it.

Attention: Satya Nadella, Jeff Teper and your peers at Microsoft.

It's time to bring Office 365 to Australia.

Not a connection to a data centre in Singapore or the US. We have that already.

It’s time to build some racks on Australia’s Eastern Seaboard, specifically for serving Office 365.

Your company has gone to some effort to lobby the Australian Government to change its procurement process in order to make it easier for agencies to consume cloud services. I agree with you that the procurement process is flawed.

But your solution to that conundrum is painfully obvious. There are few regulatory hurdles in place once you bring services offshore. So what’s the hold up?

You’ve not heard of us at iTnews, I’m sure, but we have something you don’t have immediate access to. We have the ear (and trust) of your customers and your potential customers.

Most of them like the look of Office 365. They don’t want to manage Exchange boxes. They want Lync integration and some of the neat social features you introduced a few days ago.

But no amount of candy in your hand will bring them all clamouring onboard. Forcing the migration to cloud by ending support for Exchange 2003 doesn’t help either. That’s when your customers feel like they have been backed into a corner. That’s where Google can start a conversation, even though it also doesn't have an onshore cloud for Google Apps.

Let’s look at the pros:

  • There is sufficient demand. The number of Australian companies using Office 365 in offshore clouds could already fill an aisle worth of racks at home, and in doing so spur a far greater number of customers that demand it be served onshore.
  • It’s relatively low risk proposition. Others have blazed a trail for you. Amazon Web Services went from serving startups to capturing banks and government agencies within 12 months of building out in Australia.
  • Your partners might have resisted initially, but my peers at CRN tell me Microsoft partners have more or less come to accept the Office 365 model, especially now that you’ve ended your exclusivity pact with Telstra.
  • You have the capital and you are already building the relationships. You’ve announced you will bring the Azure cloud to a co-lo facility in Sydney. So why not Office 365? Why is Azure, generally used by app devs who couldn’t give a hoot about data sovereignty, being built ahead of Office 365, which tends to be purchased by folks that do?

It strikes me that the only plausible reason for not bringing Office 365 to Australia is internal to Microsoft. Something political, something about your regional structure.

Customers don’t give a fig for your internal politics and your structure. It’s time to listen to them.

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Brett Winterford

One of Australia’s most experienced technology journalists, former iTnews Group Editor Brett Winterford has written about the business of technology for 15 years.

Awarded Business Journalist and Technology Journalist of the year at the 2004 ITjourno awards and Editor of the Year at the 2009 Publishers Australia 'Bell' awards, Winterford has extensive experience in both the business and technology press, writing for such publications as the Australian Financial Review and The Sydney Morning Herald.

As editor of iTnews Brett has led a team of award-winning journalists; delivered speeches at industry events; authored, commissioned and edited research papers, curated technology conferences [The iTnews Executive Summit and Australian Data Centre Strategy Summit and also shares the judging of the annual Benchmark Awards.

Brett's areas of specialty include enterprise software, cloud computing and IT services.

Read more from this blog: System II

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