Thinking of moving to Office 365? Great idea, it’s a perfect solution for many businesses. You’ll always have the most up to date version of Office and you won’t have to shell out $500 a copy (well over time you will but we can ignore that for now) for every computer in your office.
In this article we’re going to be looking at answering the question: Which Office 365 Version Is Best For Your Business? We’ll dive into the various options designed for business (sorry no home versions will be covered here) so you’ll have a complete understanding of which one you need and why.
One of the first questions to ask is do you want email hosting as part of your Office package or do you just need the applications like Word, Excel, Outlook etc. This will narrow down your options significantly.
Second question is do you need to install the applications on a physical computer or would the online version of Office work for you? Yes there is a complete online version of Office that runs entirely in the cloud and doesn’t need anything installed. It’s a great option for companies don’t want to worry about installing on their computers and have no need for local integration with other programs.
Oh yeah did I mention the online apps are completely Free!
You don’t typically hear the word Free around Microsoft but this is their answer to the Free Google Apps / G Suite products.
Thirdly, is your business running in a terminal server or remote desktop services environment? This is a question your IT guys can answer. If so, this will also limit your options a bit.
Alright let’s jump right and take a look at some of the different flavours of Office 365…
For small business there are primarily three plans to choose from unless you have a remote desktop / terminal server environment then you have a few more. Here is a brief rundown of each plan
Office 365 Business
This version is for those that just want to use the Office applications. It doesn’t have much for any other services except for OneDrive for storing files online. You get 1 Terabyte of online storage which is massive.
This option gives you the latest version of all the programs listed (and Publisher by the way which for some reason is not shown) that you can download and install directly on your computer, just as if you had purchased a box copy at the store.
You also get access to the online web versions of the programs as well. Each user can install on up to 5 PC’s, 5 phones, 5 tablets or Macs.
Office 365 Business Premium
In this version you get access to the same downloadable and online programs but you get a lot more online services.
The big one here is Microsoft Exchange which is the standard messaging and collaboration system used by businesses today. It allows your organization to share email, contacts, calendars, tasks and more and also sync this data to mobile devices.
Skype for business is an internal messaging / chat system that allows you to communicate with your staff both locally and on their mobile devices working remotely.
Office 365 Business Essentials
This version is for those that don’t need the locally installed versions of Office applications and are fine with the online version only.
Includes the Hosted Exchange component for sharing email, contacts, calendars, tasks etc and includes 1 terabyte of online storage. It includes most of the online services that the premium has except for a few such as Microsoft Connections and Invoicing / Booking.
This is the least expensive of the options primary due to the lack of downloadable applications but still a great option if people are fine with the online versions.
So there you have it. We have refined the many flavours of Office 365 down to the three primary options for small business. I mentioned there are a few more versions if you are running a terminal services / remote desktop environment and those fall into the Enterprise plans.
The enterprise plans include options for large corporations than many smaller businesses wouldn’t typically use however I do recommend checking them out because although they cost a bit more, I can see some of the additional apps being useful for any size business. Click here to see the plans.
So the two that you’ll need for a remote desktop / terminal server environment are either the ProPlus plan or the E3 plan (or higher). Both of these will work just fine in this environment with again the major difference being ProPlus does not include the hosted exchange component.
A really great website to compare versions and get pricing directly from Microsoft is: http://dylanhodge.biz/buyanee1b4
Thanks for reading “Which Office 365 Version Is Best For Your Business?” I hope you’ve found this article helpful and we’ll see you in the next one.