Microsoft goes for Gold

Have an IT problem? Sure ring the helpdesk. An easy solution for those in the enterprise but unfortunately a helpdesk isn't a widespread luxury that exists in the SMB sector.

For SMBs it's all about struggling to meet big demands while short on resources. That's why Microsoft's latest foray into this part of the business world is such a welcome reprieve. The software giant has rolled out a new set of online resources and technical support for its small-business customers. The new offering, called Small Business Plus, is part of the company's ongoing effort to provide better access to software, support and services for SMB companies relying on technology to facilitate growth. The offering, which became available earlier this month, can be personalized and tailored to meet your individual needs. It was created following a worldwide survey of small businesses - by AMI Partners Incorporation - which identified the top 10 priorities for this sector. Not surprisingly, a lack of in-house tech expertise, training and support made it to the top of the list. Microsoft also recognized the need to keep it simple, and most importantly, practical. This means that instead of forking out $200 every time you need technical advice or phone support, SMB customers can now sign up for this offering and outlay less than $500 for the complete Gold package. So you get the support, product updates and other resources such as training courses for Office applications such as Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. There is also a library of business training courses developed by third-party experts to help small-business owners and employees improve skills such as marketing, technology and financial management. The goal is to access a one-stop-shop that provides training tips, software advice and business information. Membership can be accessed through the Microsoft Small Business Centre Web site which features product updates and Webcasts.

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