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Microsoft Office 365One of the primary drivers of the shift to cloud computing has been Microsoft Office 365, which delivers the widely used Microsoft productivity and email applications as a cloud service. But, a survey of 1,168 IT professionals in the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom published this week by Spiceworks suggests that adoption of Microsoft Office 365 is still far from universal.

The Spiceworks survey shows 53 percent of organizations are using Office 365, and an additional 17 percent plan to adopt it in the next two years. At enterprises with more than 1,000 employees, nearly a quarter (24 percent) plan to adopt Office 365 within the next two years. By comparison, the survey finds that 17 percent of organizations are using G Suite by Google, and 16 percent are using the free online version of Google’s productivity tools, such as Gmail and Google Docs. Another 16 percent of companies also reported using open-source productivity suites like LibreOffice and OpenOffice, and 3 percent reported using Apple iWork for iCloud. Only 3 percent of businesses plan to adopt G Suite, and 2 percent plan to adopt Google’s free productivity apps. Lastly, 2 percent said they plan to adopt open source productivity suites.

Outdated versions of Office 365 linger

Of course, few organizations have made a wholesale transition to productivity applications in the cloud. The Spiceworks survey finds that 82 percent of organizations are still using the on-premises version of Microsoft Office. A full 83 percent of organizations running on-premises editions of Microsoft Office are running Office 2010, while 46 percent are running Office 2013, and 17 percent are running Office 2016. The study shows 68 percent of companies are still running at least one instance of Office 2007, despite the fact this edition of Microsoft Office reached its end of support date on October 10, 2017. Additionally, 46 percent of companies are still running at least one instance of Office 2003, 15 percent are running Office XP, 21 percent are running Office 2000, and 3 percent are running one or more instances of Office 97.

No doubt the fact that there are still so many older editions of Microsoft Office running on-premises is a source of consternation for Microsoft. Partners of Microsoft can expect a full court press in the year ahead to push those customers to upgrade.

Warning signs to watch for

But, managed service providers should proceed with care. An organization running older editions of Microsoft Office is probably also still running older editions of Windows. If that’s the case, there’s a high probability that the cost of supporting these customers will be much higher than supporting an organization that has already made the switch to at least Windows 7 or higher.

Despite the potential revenue opportunity afforded by these customers, every MSP knows there are still many that are more trouble than they’re worth even after they’ve made the transition to the cloud. Naturally, Microsoft will push to get every customer possible to subscribe to Microsoft Office 365. MSPs, on the other hand, will still need to be more selective in terms of which customers they engage.

Photo: Amy Johansson/

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Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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