As we’ve said in a previous article the correct Office 365 subscription for any business isn’t so much about size but more about organisational needs. To a large extent that has all changed as Microsoft have now introduced new ‘Business’ plans that have replaced the Small Business and Medium Business (or ‘M’) Plans. In our opinion this is a very positive step as it not only simplifies your options if you run a smaller businesses but also gives you features that currently exist in the Enterprise Plans such as Active Directory Synchronisation and Yammer. Customers currently on the Small or Medium Business Plans should be able to switch to one of the new Business Plans during the next 12 months.

The new Office 365 Business options should be simpler to understand as they are either Office (the traditional desktop apps you install on your PC or Mac) with OneDrive Cloud storage as a standalone product,  Online Services on their own (Exchange, SharePoint/OneDrive for Business and Lync Online standalone or these two options combined.

  • Office 365 Business – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, One Note and Publisher with 1TB/User OneDrive for Business storage as well as full Office licence for iPad/Tablet
  • Office 365 Business Essentials – Exchange Online with 50GB/user Mailbox, SharePoint Online with 1TB/User OneDrive for Business storage and Lync Online for web meetings, Instant Messaging and Video Conferencing
  • Office 365 Business Premium – Office Desktop Apps plus Cloud Services from plans above

Interestingly Access is no longer included in this Office bundle so customers who have staff who need Access may consider either taking out the Office 365 Business Essentials plan with a separate subscription to Office Pro Plus or providing E3 licences as you will be able to mix-and-match between Enterprise and Business Subscriptions.

In our opinion the Enterprise plans (E1, E3 etc) do still offer great flexibility but now there is a premium to pay for the privilege! With these new prices the Essentials Plan will only be 20p/user/month more expensive than the current Kiosk or K1 plan yet provides a 50GB Mailbox instead of 2GB as well as 1TB of OneDrive for Business user storage.