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Collaboration is the key for startups: Mahesh Murthy at the launch of Microsoft’s Office 2016

Team YS
posted on 23rd November 2015
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This article is sponsored by Microsoft

Collaboration is the key for startups and the Office 2016 (#TheNewOffice) aims to make this easy, efficient and contemporary. Microsoft has emphasised on teamwork with its Office 2016 to make sharing a lot easier across all devices. The new Office is not restricted to desktop PC or laptop and one can access and edit documents over phone, laptop, and tablets etc.

Office 2016 is the latest addition to Microsoft’s subscription-based service, Office 365. Unlike Office 2013, which allowed users to store their documents on Cloud, the new Office has embraced Cloud completely and allows real-time collaboration among multiple users.

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Speaking about the importance of collaboration for startups at the launch of Office 2016 in New Delhi, Mahesh Murthy, Partner at Seedfund, said, “Startups’ initial success is largely driven by the core team and through seamless collaboration. Broken communication in any aspect of the business can prove fatal for startups.”

Startups have come a long way in India over the past five years, and we see a slew of unicorns (ventures valued at a billion dollars) surfacing ever so frequently. However, Mahesh believes that unicorns are often insanely valued and bound to fail as they don’t care about profitability. “I urge entrepreneurs to build companies with strong business fundamentals and strike a good balance between the top line and the bottom line,” he added.

Identify a niche and dominate it

Asked about how to identify a relevant opportunity in a crowded startup space, Mahesh answered, “Identify a niche and the major pains attached to it. Then innovate around that niche to build dominance around it. Global startup posterboy Apple did the same thing. It focused on a few niches like the desktop followed by music devices (iPod), mobile, and now watches. It kept innovating and built dominance around these niches.”

There can be many reasons why not to start, but according to Mahesh, if you have identified a sizeable pain-point and thought up a strong business around the idea, then you should go after it. While experts stress on finding the right team, Mahesh had a different take: “Building a team is a sort of evolution. Once you start, you will meet people who seem closer to your belief and vision. So don’t worry much about it.”

Startups find it difficult to onboard people who are capable of owning different channels/aspects of a business and take decisions on their own. “I see people take decisions with adequate or sufficient information, but startups should look for people who are capable of taking decisions with insufficient information. The second set of people usually drive success of any startup,” he pointed out.

New ways to collaborate with Office

Marketing is another major challenge for a startup once it has been able to get a product up and running. “Word of mouth is the often the best marketing technique for startups. Push your product to early adopters and they will bring more people along with them,” Mahesh explained, adding, “Proliferation of social media enables us to get traction without a significant budget. For instance, the ‘ice bucket challenge’ attracted more than USD 100 million in donations to help the needy in no time and without spending a single penny on marketing.”

With a little imagination and some help from an app like Sway, in-built in Office 2016, it’s quite easy for founders to put together a little audio-visual presentation. Sway’s cards (not slides) can be populated not just with text but also photos, videos and music to add some jazz to an elevator pitch or just wow someone who can’t get what a startup does. The little masterpiece can be easily published to social media or embedded on a site.

Mahesh also highlighted how the new Office 2016 fosters collaboration. For instance, multiple users can edit a single document in real-time, even if they’re using a desktop version. The real-time co-authoring feature in Microsoft Word was earlier available only to those using the web version of the software. The new version allows desktop users to see what others are typing in real time when multiple people are editing a document stored on one of Microsoft’s Cloud services. “This is the stellar feature from Office 2016, which will help startups collaborate in a more democratic and agile manner,” Mahesh remarked.

Clearly, #TheNewOffice 2016 not only facilitates creative collaboration but also enhances productivity and efficiency, thereby allowing startups and entrepreneurs to focus their energies on improving the value proposition of their business. Now that’s what you call a real enabler.  

Pricing of the new Office 365

The Office Home & Business 2016 includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access and costs Rs 18,999.

Have you upgraded yet? Explore Office 2016 here.

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