More than 1,200 qualifying nonprofits and non-governmental organizations in Hong Kong now have free access to Office 365, said Microsoft recently.

According to the vendor the Office 365 Donation program has been launched in 41 countries. To be extended to up to 90 countries by July 2014, the program will represent up to an investment of HK$44 million per annum.

"Nonprofits operate in the same way as any other organization or business. However, many lack the resources to implement the latest technology," said Horace Chow, general manager of Microsoft Hong Kong. "Today we are donating to nonprofits and NGOs access to Microsoft's best-in-class and enterprise-grade cloud-based productivity and collaboration tools, enabling them to spend fewer resources and time on IT and focus on their missions addressing societal issues."

Boys' & Girls' Clubs Association reaps 15% of hardware cost savings

To date, more than 5,300 NGO users have already benefitted from Office 365 with the support of Microsoft's existing charity programs, said Microsoft. Two of the examples in Hong Kong are The Boys' & Girls' Clubs Association of Hong Kong and Senior Citizen Home Safety Association.

In response to the need for better collaboration among its headquarters and unit centers, the Boys' & Girls' Clubs Association of Hong Kong is looking for a cloud-based platform to further improve communication and efficiency, Microsoft said.

"With the current deployment of Exchange Online and SharePoint Online, staff from headquarters and unit centers can track the latest project status and have better communication as well as collaboration among colleagues.

The 'one-to-all' communication capability of Office 365 is especially important for our crisis management procedure as it makes the communication instant and much more effective. We have seen a positive return from using Office 365 as it saves 50% of manpower and 15% of costs in terms of manual hardware checkup and annual system maintenance respectively, allowing us to reallocate our limited resources to our core services," said Chan Kwok Wing, the supervisor (corporate development) of The Boys' and Girls' Clubs Association of Hong Kong.

Senior Citizen Home Safety Association slashes one-third of hardware costs

With Office 365, Senior Citizen Home Safety Association has enhanced its operations with improved reliability and productivity while saving one-third of the costs on hardware and maintenance over a five years period, Microsoft noted.

"Senior Citizen Home Safety Association adopts Exchange Online to simplify our email management and administration and to grant the employees access to work from anywhere to keep our services always available," said Daisy Kwan, general manager, Senior Citizen Home Safety Association.

In addition, the use SharePoint Online enables staff to instantly share updated information among colleagues at call centers and facilitate timely case follow-up, said Kwan, adding that the organization is looking to extend SharePoint Online to streamline our resource booking procedures and project management.