Easy Guide To Comparing Office 365 Licensing Plans

Hi, guys. Today I will tell you about something that bothers most of our clients that decided to switch to the cloud – Office 365 licensing options. I will try to keep it on a high level to give you a broad overview on that topic. So, let’s get into it.

All Office licenses are subscriptions. It work’s exactly as in the case of mobile phone licenses. You can use them as long as you pay.

Making long story short, you can buy Office 365 in a couple of licensing programs like:

  • Enterprise Agreement
  • Microsoft Products and Services Agreement
  • Open
  • Cloud Solution Provider
  • Microsoft Online Subscription Program (MOSP)

I won’t go in detail through the contracts. If you want to know more, just contact us. Remember that choosing the right agreement is not only about the proper license of payment terms. It is also about additional financing for your cloud deployment. There are funds like the Digital Partner of Record or Office 365 adoption funds.

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As you may know, there are three types of Office 365 licenses. Microsoft calls them suits:

  • Business – limited to 300 users
  • Enterprise – has no user or feature limitations
  • Kiosk – it’s technically part of Enterprise, but it’s easier to present it separately.

office 365 licensing

In each suite, there are numerous services and features. Let’s go through them briefly.

  •       Office PC, Mac Mobile – no explanation is needed here.
  •       Office Online is a web version of Office that allows viewing and editing office files.
  •      Exchange IS an e-mail service that provides inbox, calendar, address book, tasks and security features.
  •       Skype for Business is a communicator with Instant Messaging, Audio, and Video Conferencing and Online Meetings.
  •       OneDrive allows you to access, share and sync your personal files in the browser and on any devices.
  •       SharePoint allows to build intranets, search content and analyze data.
  •       Yammer is your Enterprise Social Network – a great tool for internal communication and offloading your inbox.
  •       Video Portal – is your internal YouTube with High-performance video streaming and mobile access.
  •       If you are looking for modern task management similar to Asana than Office Planner is for you.
  •       Groups – in my opinion the best enterprise collaboration workspace on the market. It integrates Exchange, SharePoint, Skype, and Planner. Your team can use conversations, files, notes, calendar, and tasks – all in one place.
  •       Delve allows you to search for files and people easily, powered by Artificial Intelligence and Office Graph.
  •      The basic data analytics gives you the ability to use free, limited version of Power BI and provides information about your Office 365 usage.
  •      Power BI Pro, Excel services, and Personal Productivity Analytics offer you Advanced  Data Analytics.
  •      Each plan has basic security features such as multi-factor authentication capabilities. The ones with Exchange has state of the art spam and malware filter.  Simple e-discovery, DLP and document encryption is also in the package.
  •       Advanced Security gives you more configuration options for DLP, Conditional access and advanced malware scanner called Advanced Threat Protection. A the end, feature called Customer Lockbox allows you to grant access to your data for the support team.
  •      Last, but not least, is Voiceover IP. It’s addition to Skype for Business. PSTN allows your users to call into Online Meetings using their mobile device. PBX gives the ability to integrate with traditional telephone service (available only in few countries).

office 365 licensing

OK, we went through the features, now let’s see what Office 365 Business Suites hide inside.

We have three plans here – Business, which contains Office client and OneDrive.

Business Essentials that offers collaboration and communication services. Only Office Online is included here. No Office for PC or Mac.

The last one, Business Premium is a combination of the two I have already mentioned.

NOTE: Remember that all of them are limited to 300 users.

There are four enterprise plans.

First, Office 365 Pro Plus – It’s Office client and OneDrive for personal file sharing.

Second, E1 – it gives you Office Online and a significant number of communication and collaboration services. Apart from what you got in Business Essentials, you have also Video Portal and Delve.

Third, E3 –  it extends E1 with data analytics, security features, and Office client.

When you want the best all-in-one productivity suite, just grab E5 which adds Power BI Pro, Personal Productivity Analytics, Advanced DLP and user activity monitoring. Skype is extended with voice capabilities.

office 365 licensing

For deskless workers, there are Kiosks available

Remember that Exchange Kiosk provides only small 2GB Mailbox that can be accessed by the browser or POP3 protocol, which means no real synchronization with Outlook. Enterprise Kiosk, on the other hand, adds Office Online,  and Yammer. No, Skype capabilities here.

office 365 licensingTo make your life way easier, I have done a simple excel that shows all the plans compared in greater detail. You can download it by using this link. There are a couple of questions that customers often ask.

office 365 licensing

What is the difference between Office 365 Business and Office 365 Pro Plus?

Well – In Office 365 Business there is no Publisher, Access and Skype apps. You are not eligible to use Excel Power Maps, Power Query, and Power Pivot addons.

Is Office client the only difference between E1 and E3?

Of course not. There are much more security options in E3 such as email and documents encryption and DLP. You have better control over you inboxes, mail flow, and data analytics. E3 gives you access to on-premise enterprise licenses where E1 offers only standard license

Which plan to choose?

Simple as that – you have to start with a business need or a problem. Then, try to solve it with the cloud.

If you start with cloud features and try to find a need for them, you will fail. It won’t be a spectacular fail, though – all in all, you probably won’t get a budget for the project.

What do I recommend for our clients most frequently? The usual mix of plans is E1 + E3 or E1 + E5.

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OK, to sum up – we have three types of suites. Business, Enterprise, and Kiosk. You can buy them in various agreements – they differ by features. The more expensive one gives you better collaboration, data analytics, and security.

When choosing which one – always start with business need and then choose the right plan

I believe it was a good high-level overview of Office 365 licensing. If you want to get some more details, download the excel I told you about a bit earlier.

That is all for today. BUT, if you want to learn even more detailed Office 365 features listed and described in one ultimate guide – please check this white paper! Thanks and see you next time.

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