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Office 365 Subscription Plans

How they work  

One of the most significant changes you will experience when you transition from the standard Office desktop applications to the full Office 365 suite of applications is the licensing model. Office 365 utilizes the typical cloud software licensing model. You pay per user, per month, for the scope of O365 claims that you want to use.  

There are some distinct advantages of this licensing model: 

  • You can scale your licenses up or down on a monthly basis. For example, if you reduce your staff size by 5% you can terminate the O365 licenses associated with those individuals, effective at the end of the billing cycle. 

  • You can change plans as needed. If you promote a staff member to a new role that requires him/her to have access to a broader scope of O365 applications, you can upgrade their subscription plan on the spot. Likewise, you can downgrade an individual subscription plan if appropriate. 

  • You will receive continuous enhancements to the O365 applications that your subscription entitles you to. Microsoft has dedicated teams focused on each application and making continuous improvements, including integration with other O365 apps. 

  • If your plan includes the Office mobile apps, you can install them on up to five mobile devices for the individual subscription holder 

  • If your plan includes the Office desktop apps, you can install them on up to five PC devices for the individual subscription holder. You can install any upgrades to Office on your timetable. 

Plan options 

There are numerous O365 subscription plan options to choose. These are the categories of plans available: 

  • Home 

  • Small Business 

  • Enterprise 

  • Education 

  • Government 

  • Non-profit 

We will focus our discussion on the small business and enterprise plans. However, if you are in school or a non-profit organization, you should investigate those plan options. They are configured to provide even better pricing options. 

The list of applications included is extensive. The most significant factor that impacts the monthly subscription fee is whether or not the desktop versions of the Office applications are included in your subscription. In the small business and enterprise groups, the monthly prices range from a low of $5  for the Office 365 Business Essentials plan to a high of $35 per month with the Enterprise E5 plan. 

The list of potential applications is quite extensive, and Microsoft is introducing new apps on a regular basis. 

  • Office desktop applications - Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access, and Publisher 

  • Cloud-based Exchange email account 

  • 1 TB of cloud storage with OneDrive 

  • SharePoint Online 

  • Skype for Business 

  • Microsoft Teams 

  • Yammer 

  • Power BI Pro 

  • StaffHub 

  • Planner 

  • Delve 

To learn more about each of these apps, stay tuned to this blog. We will be posting articles describing each app in detail in the coming months. 

If you would like to learn more, this link will take you to the Microsoft website where all of the plan features and pricing provided. Also, I have created an Excel spreadsheet that can help you plan your Office 365 subscription requirements. It provides an easy to follow, side-by-side comparison of all of the business plans, as a budgeting spreadsheet. Click here to access the workbook. 

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