Office 365 Licensing for Dummies!

By Samudra Vijay In Blog

Microsoft Silver Partner

MS Office subscription model has made licenses easier to manage and maintain for us mortals, but choosing the right version of Office 365 can be still a daunting task. In this blog post, we try to help untangle this myriad and complex web of Office 365 licenses to choose for your organization and users.

First, you can mix and match any type of license that you think are a good fit for your needs.

Second, you can upgrade or downgrade or switch to another license as your needs change. Please note that this flexibility requires you to have a month-to-month plan and not an annual commitment. Most cloud service providers (CSP) and resellers would allow you to choose a month-to-month subscription model for a small incremental fee compared to annual commitment model. In our opinion, if you are running a growing but lean organization, you should choose this model to avail maximum flexibility.

I am assuming that if you are reading this, you probably run a small or medium size business with less than 300 users. If yes, read on, if not, please give us or your Microsoft rep a call to discuss your specific needs.

Each version of the MS Office 365 comes with a long list of functions and features, and comparing all of those could be time-consuming and a good mental exercise. A good substitute for that Sunday crossword puzzle that you take up to relax yourself on a weekend, with coffee! However, if you are in no mood to spend your Saturday morning carefully listing all the features and figuring out the-best-value-for-your-dollar-office365-plan, read on!

Scenario 1 – Email only

I just need to setup email for my employees and don’t care much about all the other features and functions.

And the best value for money award goes to: Office365 Exchange Online Plan 1

Typical Cost: $4 per month per mailbox (annual commitment)

Scenario 2 – Email with Online version of Word/Excel and Cloud Storage

I would like my employees to be able to not only have email capability, but also online versions and collaboration capability using online version of Microsoft Word/Excel/PowerPoint etc.

Your best bet is: Office365 Business Essentials

Typical Cost: $5 per month per user (annual commitment)

Scenario 3 – Office Suite for upto 5 devices (No E-mail or Exchange)

I would like my employees to be able to access online versions of Office applications but also be able to download the full suite of products (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, OneNote, Outlook, OneDrive for Business, etc) on up to 5 Mac’s or PC’s, 5 Tablets, and 5 Phones

Best bet: Office 365 Business

Typical Cost: $8 per month per user (annual commitment)

Scenario 4 – Email with SharePoint & Skype for Business Collaboration Tools

I would like my employees to be able to collaborate using various site tools provided by SharePoint and connect with other clients and employees using HD video conferencing via Skype for Business.

Best Bet: Office 365 Business Premium

Cost: $12.50 per month per user (annual commitment)

Scenario 5E-mail with Office, SharePoint, Skype and Enterprise Features

If you need the advance SharePoint features and enterprise level data leak protection, along with all the other cool stuff such as email, desktop and online versions of the Office, Skype etc. then this is the plan you go with.

Your Best Bet: Office 365 Enterprise E3

Cost: $20.00 per month per user (annual commitment)

The actual list of Office365 plans for a small business and/or enterprise can be mind-boggling. While this list is not comprehensive, we believe this is a good ready-to-eat menu options to choose from for any business. If you have any special requirements, feel free to discuss your Microsoft rep or call a qualified professional at SAM IT (a Silver competency partner of Microsoft for small and mid-market cloud services) and we will be happy to help you choose and provision the right MS Office 365 plan.