Microsoft Enhances Small Business Support
Microsoft this week debuted an enhanced suite of online resources and tech
support offerings designed for users of its Small Business line of products.
Dubbed Microsoft Small Business + (pronounced “plus”), the new
services are an extension of the company’s Small Business Center site,
according to a statement. The additions revolve around a common theme -- that
most companies with fewer than 50 employees cannot afford a full-time IT staff.
In order to help ameliorate that problem, Small Business + provides online
interactive software training courses to help increase customers’ productivity
when using Microsoft Office applications like Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.
Small Business + also features a training library developed by third-party experts
designed around improving role-based skills such as marketing, technology management
and financial management.
Among the enhanced support offerings, Small Business + provides Small Business
Help Desk for both self-service and assisted support, providing basically a
focal point for common support issues, and including a central point for obtaining
service packs or viewing support Webcasts.
Other services include Small Business Quick Advice, a chat-based support service,
and Small Business Expert Help, which provides more advanced technical issue
problem solving for topics such as networking or server problems. Expert Help
is available “through one of several steeply discounted support packages
offered exclusively as part of Small Business +,” according to Microsoft’s
statement. New subscribers receive a 45-day free trial of the unlimited live-chat
advanced support capability.
Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.