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Office 365 License Comparison: Which License Is Right for You?

Making the choice to migrate to Office 365 is a big decision in itself, with many considerations such as what content will be part of that migration and where your content will now live. But before migrating to the cloud, you must choose the Office 365 license that is right for your business.

Office 365 has a variety of options that are suitable for small and medium-size businesses as well as enterprises. While the licenses fall into one of two areas — Office 365 Business or Office 365 Enterprise — there are multiple choices within each category to further focus on the specific needs of a business or enterprise user. Although the options provide exceptional flexibility, selecting the right one for your business can be extremely overwhelming.

While each type of license has its benefits, it’s important to get the one that is most beneficial for your organization.

Sizing Up the Plan That’s Right For You

Since cost is typically top of mind in the purchasing decision, it’s a good place to start comparisons. The base per-user price can vary from $5 to $35 per month, based on an annual commitment. The cost of a plan also includes maintenance and updates, which can eliminate overhead costs while at the same time making sure that you’re always up to date with the latest version.

Since the program is based in the cloud, Microsoft manages updates and maintains necessary patches.

The main difference between Office 365 Business plans and Office 365 Enterprise plans is that the Business plans are designed for companies with 300 employees or less, while the Enterprise plans provide more robust solutions needed by larger organizations.

Here’s a look at the cost of Office 365 Business Plans and what business environments they are best suited for:

Plan Name Cost* Best For Key Features
Business Essentials $5/mo Small companies who don’t require much online
storage or desktop applications
Web version of Office

Business email
Business $8.25/mo Small businesses whose needs are limited to Office applications,
cloud file storage and sharing
Web version of Office applications
Desktop version of Office applications
Cloud file storage and sharing
Does not include business email
Business Premium $12.50/mo Small companies who need the latest versions of Office applications,
email hosting and cloud services
Web version of Office applications
Desktop version of Office applications
Cloud file storage and sharing
Business email and other business services.
*Cost per user per month, based on an annual agreement. Cost is slightly higher for month-to-month plans.

Beyond Business Plans

For businesses with greater needs and more employees, Office 365 Enterprise Plans have more features and functionality. They’re intended for companies with 300-plus users. Enterprise plans, while more expensive, include several valuable components that include Enterprise app management, unlimited archive and mail storage, advanced threat protection, advanced information protection, delve analytics and more. Enterprise plans also include Skype for Business Cloud PBX and PSTN conferencing.

While Office 365 Business Plans can be purchased either on a month-to-month basis or as an annual commitment, Enterprise plans are available only with an annual agreement. Side by side, here’s how the costs breaks down for each Enterprise option.

Plan Name Cost Best For Key Features
Enterprise E1
$8/mo Users who want data governance and
eDiscovery and can use online versions
of Outlook and Office applications

All business services such as email,
Office Online, IM, meetings and more

Does not include desktop versions of
Outlook or Office applications

Enterprise E3 $20/mo Operations in need of advanced Business
Intelligence tools, as well as compliance,
email, security and voice applications

E1 and ProPlus features
Tools for security and compliance

Enterprise E5 $35/mo Heavy users who want all of the
features of E1 and E3, as well as
a consolidated phone system
E1, E3 and ProPlus features
Tools for security and compliance

Advanced security, voice capabilities
and analytics

ProPlus $12/mo Enterprises who need Office 365
for mobile devices and need compliance
and basic Business Intelligence tools.
All Office applications
Cloud file storage and sharing
Enhanced control and visibility of your
Office 365 environment

Does not include business email

Enterprise options take all the features offered by Office 365, but expand them to a level that makes them more robust and suitable for the needs of a larger business environment.

Each level of the Enterprise offerings builds on the package below it; E3 includes all of the features of E1, while E5 includes all of the features of E1 and E3 but adds more elements and options.

Customizing Options in the Cloud

One of the benefits of having so many different plans is that it’s easy for businesses to find an option that suits their needs. The pricing ranges also make it simpler to match the functions you need with the budget you have available and choose a plan that works best for your organization. Certain functionalities that are built into specific plans could, overall, save your organization money by eliminating the need for certain expenses, such as an IT staffer to manage network and server challenges, or the cost of upgrading software every few years.

In instances where a certain license doesn’t have all of the features you need, some options can be added individually. However, it’s important to consider the monthly cost of add-on features and compare them to the cost of upgrading to the plan that offers everything you’re looking for.

It’s also possible to do a combination of licenses, which allows you to provide a more robust set of solutions to users who need them and keep more limited licenses for users who don’t need as many offerings.

Taking Stock of What You Need

With so many options available, businesses must look carefully at all of them and assess their user needs. The size of the business, the type of collaborative tools required and how well the features of each plan fit those needs deserves careful consideration to ensure that you’re getting the plan that will best serve your needs and allow you to achieve greater efficiency and productivity.

From the basic, stripped-down Business Essentials plan to the feature-rich Enterprise E5, Microsoft Office 365 provides a variety of subscription packages to provide businesses of all sizes with the secure, up-to-date solutions needed for today’s business environment.

If you’re interested in learning more about the different features of Office 365, or if you need help in assessing which program is best for your individual needs, Aventis Systems can help. Let us help you identify which program is right for you, and, if you need help migrating your company to Office 365, Aventis Systems can do that, too.

Contact us online today or call us at 1-855-AVENTIS to learn more about Office 365.

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