The topic of cloud computing continues to dominate the IT landscape. Cloud computing allows you to get fast access to computing resources, without constantly having to invest in new infrastructure, train new personnel or license new software.

One of the key benefits of the Office 365® licensing is that as opposed to the traditional Enterprise Agreement, licensing is on a per “user” and not per “desktop” basis.

There are several advantages to this model:

  • Users have become far more mobile, making the tracking and counting of devices fairly difficult. Licensing the number of users irrespective of devices is a far simpler model.
  • Where users make use of more than one device, this model could be more costs effective as you would be able to reduce the number of Qualified desktops.

Microsoft’s Office 365® online service offering includes:

  • Office 2010® applications with cloud-based email, calendar, instant messaging, web conferencing and document sharing.
  • Centralized patch management, updates and upgrades.
  • Disaster recovery, redundancy and multi-engine anti-virus.
  •  24×7 to provide IT-level support.

Central to the offering is Microsoft’s® belief that customers need to be given a choice of public cloud computing, a traditional on premises environment or a hybrid of the two.

Both the technology and the licensing programmes allow you to migrate to Office 365® at your own pace. This means you are able to put some users on Office 365® and keep others using the on-premises solution without any disruption between users.

What is the Office 365® Offering?

Office 365® brings together cloud versions of Microsoft’s® communications and collaboration products:

  • Microsoft Exchange® Online provides access to email, calendar, contacts, and tasks across PCs, the web, and mobile devices.
  • Microsoft SharePoint® Online provides the ability to create sites to share documents and information with colleagues and customers.
  • Microsoft Lync® Online provides communications capabilities across presence (the ability to see a person’s level of availability), instant messaging, audio/video calling and audio, video and web conferencing.
  • Microsoft Office Professional Plus® provides users the latest version of the Microsoft® Office applications, allowing users to access their documents, email, and calendars from virtually any device. Office Professional Plus® includes the new Office Web Apps—online companions to Microsoft Word®, Microsoft Excel®, Microsoft PowerPoint®, and Microsoft OneNote®—which let users review and make minor edits to documents directly from a browser.

Understanding the “Plans”

Microsoft® refers to Plan 1 as base functionality and Plan 2 as advanced functionality. Plan 2 includes all features of Plan 1. In order to understand the Office 365® for Enterprise offerings, it is important to understand which features are available as Plan 1 or 2 as described in Table 1.

 Plan 1 (Base Features)Plan 2 (Extended Features)
Exchange® OnlineEmail, Calendar, Contacts, Discovery, Antivirus and Anti-SpamVoicemail and archiving
SharePoint® OnlineAdvanced portal for collaboration, AntivirusForms, data visualization, Access®/Excel®/Visio Services®
Lync® OnlineInstant Messaging and Presence, AntivirusVirtual meetings (web-based voice and video conferencing)

Microsoft Office®

Office Professional Plus®Client productivity applications and Web Apps
Office Web Apps (Plan 1)Web productivity applications and SharePoint Online Plan 1
Office Web Apps (Plan 2)Web productivity applications and SharePoint Online Plan 2

The Office 365® Plan E family addresses Enterprise Information Workers, and provides users with a full messaging and collaboration solution that includes:

  • A 25 Gigabyte mailbox
  • 250 Megabyte SharePoint® Storage
  • Full connectivity with clients whether desktop, laptop or mobile device
  • On-premises access rights (Can be used for online service or local access)

There are 4 options:

1.   Plan E1 allows information workers to make use of the features of the current versions of Exchange Online, SharePoint® Online and Lync® Online.

2.   Office 365® Plan E2 includes all the Plan E1 applications plus Office Web Apps are added to allow users to create and edit Office documents online.

3.   Office 365® Plan E3: brings together an advanced set of features and capabilities. These include:

  • Exchange voice mail and compliance
  • Advanced SharePoint® features such as forms, Access®, Excel® and Visio® Services (ability to publish onto SharePoint®)
  • Office Professional Plus®, which is the full rich client for local installation on up to 5 devices

A significant benefit for plans E3 and E4 is the right to install Office Professional Plus® on up to 5 devices. Should bandwidth be of concern, the media made available through the Enterprise Agreement can also be used. This approach is not only cost effective, it simplifies asset management significantly.

4.   Office 365® Plan E4: with additional enterprise voice capabilities (Voice over IP). Enterprise voice is implemented on-premises; it is not delivered as an online service currently. In this situation the customer would make use of all of the services hosted by Microsoft® whereas the enterprise voice component would be implemented locally.

All the Plan E SKUs include on-premises access rights. To give you an example: The customer wants to deploy and run SharePoint® Server on-premises for a particular line of business application, but use SharePoint® Online for their team sites. SharePoint® Online users have the right to access both, the team sites that are hosted in the cloud as well as the line of business applications that are running on SharePoint® Server on-premises.

Jul 2020