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Microsoft lowers barriers to tempt more SMBs to Office 365

Microsoft has unveiled a measure designed to attract more SMBs to Office 365. The new scheme sees Microsoft's FastTrack customer service operation expanding so that it is now available to organisations with as few as 50 users; the previous minimum was 150 seats.

Microsoft says that many SMBs who have opted to use Google's App instead reach a "breaking point" when they hit 50 users. The company aims to capitalise on this by offering enterprise-grade services to businesses that would otherwise not be able to take advantage of features such as centralised management capabilities.

One of the fears that hold businesses back from switching to Office 365 is on-going support. FastTrack provides a way for organisations to get help from dedicated engineers and partners, as well as gaining access to valuable resources.

The expansion of the program is not only of value to smaller businesses; it also means that Microsoft Partners are in line for additional financial benefits. Microsoft says: "Speaking of Microsoft Partners, this global network of IT experts plays a critical role in helping companies small and large get up and running with the right technology. In addition to extending FastTrack to more customers, we are expanding the FY16 Adoption Offer to include Office 365 small business plans and adding payouts for customer deployments of 50-149 seats.

"This means Microsoft Partners will be eligible for a payout of $25 per seat for 50-149 seats, in addition to the existing payouts for 150 seats and above."