As of April 21, 2020, the official branding of Microsoft’s productivity suite has changed from Office 365 to just Microsoft 365. The new naming convention reflects Microsoft’s strategy of providing a single complete productivity platform for its customers.
Fortunately the change from Office 365 to Microsoft 365 is not going to have much of an immediate practical impact. In general, the subscription you had on April 20 is the same as the subscription you had on April 21, only with a different name.
Microsoft have been working on simplifying the number of Office 365 options and making it easier for businesses asking the question: Which Office 365 is right for me?
For small and medium sized businesses there are three main options; Business Essentials, Business and Business Premium.
There are also both Home and Enterprise Versions but for the purposes of this article we are going to stick to the ‘Business’ editions.
Office 365 is Microsofts subscription-based version of its ubiquitous office software suite. Access to all the familiar programs such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook, plus much more is available without the large, one off purchase price of days gone by.
Being cloud based Office 365 is accessible from anywhere. If you’ve got an internet connection and a device then you can access Office 365. The gives complete flexibility for businesses with remote employees, multiple locations or companies with employees that travel a lot.
The subscription model means that you are constantly up to date too. Microsoft are consistently adding to and upgrading the Microsoft Office suite. With a subscription the whole business will always be on the latest, best version. The updates install automatically with no need to roll them out; so no uninstalls and re-installs to do.
You can see a considerably more detailed explanation of Office 365 and how we can migrate you across and manage the system visit our Office 365 Page.
Going down the Office 365 route is generally a ‘no-brainer’ for businesses, but you’ll need to make some further choices as you decide which Office 365 is right for me?
Office 365 Business Essentials
This is the lowest cost business plan and allows you to take advantage of having Exchange Online. This gives you Enterprise class email through Outlook with a 50Gb mailbox plus powerful calendar facilities. You also get SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, Teams and Skype for Business. The downside of Essentials is that you only get Web and Mobile Version of the office apps such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint. These are stripped back versions which lack some functionality.
An Essentials licence is generally suitable for those looking for an enterprise email solution but no requirement for office software on the desktop. The licence will generally cost less than £5 per month so it does provide a good value proposition.
Office 365 Business
This version is quite similar to a personal Office 365 plan. It provides all of the desktop versions of the Office Apps, alongside cloud file storage and sharing. However, there is no Exchange Online email included. The Outlook client is included but you would have to use an alternative email provider. With the other subscriptions your email is protected against spam, malware, and known threats via Exchange Online Protection – so you are slightly compromising security. You’ll also miss out on some of the collaboration and team working tools such as Teams and Sharepoint, plus you can only install on a single device.
This version would generally be for a business that has a separate email solution but needs the full functionality of the office apps such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint. The price point will be in the £9-10 per month region.
Office 365 Business Premium
Premium gives you the best overall Office 365 experience for Business. Combining the Exchange Online email solution of Essentials with the full functionality desktop apps of Business.
In addition, you’ll get access to a number of other useful business apps such as Microsoft Bookings, Delve, Microsoft Flow, Microsoft StaffHub, Microsoft Invoicing, Outlook Customer Manager and MileIQ.
Each licence covers 5 devices, meaning you can install on your work PC, laptop, tablet, phone and home PC for one subscription.
This is the most expensive option but is the best choice for the majority of businesses, and it’ll still come in at under £12 per user per month.
So, Which Office 365 is right for me?
In the majority of cases Office 365 Premium will be the best choice for the SME. Encompassing enterprise class email alongside the full versions of all the apps on the desktop, Office 365 Business Premium provides everything that a small business will need from a productivity suite.
In some cases, businesses choose a combination of premium and essentials licences. This can be a good solution where you have individuals in the business for whom email and the ability to view documents are essentials, but they rarely produce or edit documents themselves.
How We Can Help
If you’d like some expert advice to answer the question which Office 365 is right for me the we can certainly help.
We’ve migrated numerous companies, large and small, to the Office 365 platform. These include AM Norris, one the leading suppliers of heating and plumbing service. You can read about that migration here. If you’d like a free consultation to discuss how Office 365 might benefit your business (or not!) then please call us on 0115 8220200 or fill in the contact us form.