Office 365 plans – The various plans that exist today and what we think about them
Firstly, we would recommend reading this article immediately. Why? … as most of the software companies – including Microsoft, often change their products and offerings. They do this so they won’t get bored 😊 and in order to get more money from their customers. Painful but true.
Secondly, this article focuses on products which are aimed at both small and enterprise companies.
The aim of this article is to review the main 365 office products and their abilities, and to give you our views and advice as SAM experts. So let’s meet them first.
There are 4 major Office plans for Enterprises:
- Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise – this is the basic Office subscription plan. It includes “only” Office + some basic tools such as application management, and identity management, as well as a storage plan. The software can be installed locally on a device, and it is a user-based license, meaning each license is attached to a named user who can install the products on up to 5 different devices (PCs, Macs, tablets, smartphones etc.). Despite the fact it is for businesses, it lacks important connectivity features, such as Client Access Licenses (CALs) for infrastructure servers, it doesn’t have an email plan (Exchange online), and is mostly intended for companies who need MS Office and wish to move to a cloud, user-based license. Many customers who start with this basic plan eventually move to a more advanced plan.
- Office 365 E1 – this plan is the cheapest subscription, and intended for a company employee profile which does not need an actual on-premise installation, for example;field workers with no computer, customer support staff which work with a dedicated CRM software and Office is not their main work tool, manufacturing platforms employees with Tablets etc. Unlike the basic Office subscription above, this plan includes basic email capabilities, and CAN access Office basic apps over a web interface. The employees have to stay connected to a network & internet in order to operate this plan.
- Office 365 E3 – this plan offers similar features and capabilities to Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise, but with additional features, such as a higher security tools, Yammer, SharePoint connectivity, extra tools for storage, an email plan, and more. This is a great solution for high intensity MS Office workers who need local installation, email and ways to better manage their daily work. This is for intensive MS Office users who use it as their main tool: i.e. their work doesn’t end with Outlook, however they write documents and maybe create some Excel reports etc. These employees are already using and are familiar with collaboration, analysis, team connectivity and more.
- Office 365 E5 – This is the highest and most comprehensive plan for Office. It provides all of the capabilities of Office E3, but adds more security management, threat protection and voice conferencing capabilities (Microsoft Teams with advanced phone/voice options). It also includes the more advanced analytic Power BI tool. This plan is best suited to advanced MS Office users, which are far beyond the basic Outlook/Word/Excel everyday work and need much more.
Ultimately, the package(s) you choose should be based on your own specific requirements… You should not purchase a tool which will only be partially used because it has many unnecessary features, or in contrast, does not have enough features leaving your staff wanting.
Following what was mentioned above, these are the BASIC cloud offerings from Microsoft to end clients (employees). The next tier in Microsoft’s catalogue gets us to the Microsoft 365 suites which are a combination of an Office plan, an operating system, and some of the most advanced tools for server connectivity and management. This overview and comparison will be presented in a separate article on our website. Coming soon…