Which new version of Office 365 should I choose?
Note: Checkout out the blog post on our sister site Storyals to know the difference between Office 365 and Office 2019 and which one is right for you here.
Last week, February 27th, 2013, Microsoft announced the worldwide availability of the new Office 365 for business. This updated version contains the newest version of Microsoft’s productivity tools – version 2013. In a previous blog article called “Which version of Office 365 should I choose?” I helped you through the process of selecting the right Office 365 offering. Since Microsoft has changed the packaging of Office 365 I wanted to give you an update on how to select the right version of this new release.
Is it for home use or for business?
About a month ago, on January 29th, 2013, Microsoft announced Office 365 Home Premium. This is a new offering from Microsoft for home users that enables you to get the latest version of Office, Microsoft Office 2013, as a subscription. You can read more about the offering in the blog article, “A new flexible way to get Microsoft Office 2013”. This means that you can get Microsoft’s productivity suite, Microsoft Office 2013, in addition to a number of online services, install it on up to five devices, and pay for it month by month (or year by year) for personal use at home.
Are you a small business with 1-10 employees?
If you are running a small business with 1-10 employees, there are two Office 365 offerings you can choose from; Office 365 Small Business which is priced at $6/user/month or Office 365 Small Business Premium at $15/ user/month. These plans support up to 25 users, but if you grow beyond 25 it’s a bit cumbersome since you can’t migrate to a higher level plan that supports more users. That is why the Small Business plans are recommended to businesses with 1-10 users.
The main difference between these plans is that the Office 365 Small Business Premium plan gives you the right to download and install the desktop version of Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013 (containing Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access, Publisher and Lync) on up to 5 devices per user. If you want to install Microsoft Office on a Mac you can download and install Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 which includes Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint. The Premium plan is great if you want to subscribe to all the services and the Office productivity suite altogether, however, if you have the full desktop version of Microsoft Office already (licensed in some other way), or if you believe you can get by using only the Office Web Apps, you can go for the less expensive Office 365 Small Business plan.
The services that are included in the Small Business plans include hosted email, calendar, contacts and tasks (using Exchange Online), Intranet and Internet websites (using SharePoint Online), offline document synchronization (using SkyDrive Pro), online instant messaging, and High-Definition video conferencing and screen sharing (using Lync Online). For a full list of all the features, you can refer to this spreadsheet comparison table with information gathered from TechNet.
Are you a mid-size business with up to 250 employees?
The next step up, if you are a larger business, or you believe that you will be more than 25 employees in the near future, is Office 365 Midsize Business which is supported for up to 300 users for $15/user/month. The Office 365 Midsize Business plan includes the subscription of the desktop version of Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013.
The Office 365 Midsize Business plan, which is priced the same as the Office 365 Small Business Premium plan, has more IT administration tools built in. Businesses of this size are assumed to have some IT staff that can handle more advanced IT tasks and that value the added flexibility that these administration tools provide.
There is no Office 365 Midsize Business plan without the Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013 subscription. If you don’t want to include the desktop Office suite you can select the Office 365 Enterprise E1 plan.
Are you an Enterprise with more than 300 employees?
If you are an enterprise and you want to have a plan that fits your business no matter how many employees you have, you should go for the Office 365 Enterprise E1 ($8/user/month), Office 365 Enterprise E3 ($20/user/month) or the Office 365 Enterprise E4 plan ($22/user/month). The E3 and E4 plans include the desktop Office suite Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013 subscription.
The Enterprise plans of Office 365 provide you with tools to manage a large number of employees. With the Enterprise plans, you can create up to 3000 site collections on SharePoint Online, you have more advanced email administrative functionality and more flexible deployment options.
The main difference between the E3 and E4 plans are in the Lync Online calling capabilities (such as PSTN calling, call hold, transfer, forward, team calling, emergency dialing and so on). Again, to see the full comparison of capabilities between the various E plans please refer to the comparison table.
The plan for workers with no PC’s
Microsoft still offers a plan for companies that have so-called “kiosk-workers”. These are users that don’t have their own PCs, instead, they share PCs that are located in joint areas – examples could be a factory floor or retail stores. For these users, Microsoft provides a plan called Office 365 for Business – Kiosk Plan K1 which gives users the most basic functions like email, portal access and Office Web Apps for $4/user/year.
In addition to the plans above that combine various products together, you can also subscribe to individual services, such as Lync Online ($2/user/month), SharePoint Online ($3/user/month), Exchange Online ($4/user/month) and the desktop Office suite Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013 subscription called Office 365 ProPlus ( $12/user/month).
There are still geographic differences in the Office 365 offering
Many businesses are seeing the cost savings that Office 365 provides, especially by using Lync for telephony and video conferencing. However, you need to be aware of geographic restrictions that might apply. Certain countries have laws that restrict the usage of voice over IP. Make sure that you read the list of licensing restrictions by country before you sign up. For those who are already subscribing to Microsoft’s Office 365 an update to the newest release is being rolled out within the next couple of weeks around the world. You can still use earlier versions of the Office desktop suite, but for the best experience, you should upgrade to Microsoft Office 2013.
(If you have difficulties reading this article, you can access the full article in pdf here)