Office 365 offers several options for small businesses. Essentials, Business and Business Premium. Find out which is right for you
Deciphering Office 365 for Small Businesses: The Ideal Plan for Your Needs
In the labyrinth of digital solutions, choosing the right fit for your small business can often resemble finding a needle in a haystack. One such solution that has garnered much attention is Microsoft’s Office 365, a cloud-based service designed to meet your organization’s needs for robust security, reliability, and user productivity.
Microsoft has been paying keen attention to their customer base, taking into account both their needs and feedback, and in turn, refining their offerings to make the decision-making process significantly simpler for small businesses. Gone are the days of head-scratching complexities that once muddled the waters of choosing an Office 365 plan. Microsoft has bid adieu to convoluted options and introduced a straightforward, user-friendly Office 365 plan structure.
The Trinity of Office 365 options for small business
For small businesses, Microsoft now offers three main options: “Business Essentials,” “Business,” and “Business Premium.” Each of these plans also has Enterprise equivalents, providing additional services that may be beneficial for small businesses. However, this article will primarily focus on the offerings tailored for small businesses, helping you navigate the sea of choices and pinpoint the ideal plan for your specific needs.
The Conundrum: Which Office 365 Plan to Go With?
If you find yourself at the crossroads, deliberating over which Office 365 plan to choose for your company, worry not. The first step towards making an informed decision is to articulate your business requirements clearly. Doing so will ensure that you select an Office 365 solution that aligns perfectly with your needs and checks all the right boxes.
But wait, there’s more! Microsoft has truly outdone themselves with their new Office 365 offerings, now allowing businesses to “mix and match.” What does this mean, you ask? Simply put, if 90% of your user base aligns perfectly with one of the new Office 365 offerings, the remaining 10% can be tailored to suit specific requirements provided by a different Office 365 plan. Alternatively, you can purchase single subscriptions for individual applications. This level of flexibility is unprecedented, providing businesses with a tailored solution that caters to all their needs.
Delving Deeper into the Plans
Let’s dive deeper into these plans to better understand what each one brings to the table. All the new business plans come with a whopping 1TB of OneDrive for Business storage per user. They also have a maximum user limit of 300. If your business requires more seats, the enterprise plans offer an unlimited number. Rest assured, all your data held in Office 365 is safe, secure, and perpetually accessible. Even a modest migration of a portion of your infrastructure to Office 365 could result in substantial cost savings for your business. Plus, it provides a robust solution without the need to rely on on-premise hardware or multiple third-party vendors.
The “Business Essentials” plan is the most economical of the business plans. It is specifically designed for businesses that already have existing and up-to-date Microsoft Office products but are looking to leverage the benefits of an ExchangeOnline (an enterprise-class email and calendar system with a 50GB mailbox size), SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, Skype for Business, and online Office applications. This plan is an excellent choice if you’re dipping your toes into the Office 365 pool for the first time. Once you’re comfortable and familiar with the platform, you can upgrade to one of the other plans to provide a comprehensive solution for your business.
The “Business” plan bears resemblance to the personal Office 365 plans available for purchase. However, it doesn’t offer any of the online services such as enterprise email, SharePoint, or Skype for Business. On the flip side, it does provide the full Microsoft Office application suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, and Publisher) for PCs, Macs, and tablets/phones. Additionally, you get 1TB of OneDrive for Business storage. This plan is the perfect match for businesses that don’t need the full online experience of Office 365 but want to stay up-to-date with the latest Microsoft Office products. Keep in mind that this is a subscription service, which means you’ll always have access to the latest versions of the Microsoft Office applications as they’re upgraded, eliminating the need to purchase new licenses for new versions. This plan not only helps streamline software budgets but also ensures that your staff are working with the most recent software, bolstering both productivity and security.
The “Business Premium” plan is the most expensive option in the small business plans category— but only by a small margin! For a slight increase in cost, you get a complete business solution that incorporates everything from the “Business Essentials” and “Business” plans into one comprehensive package. This means you get enterprise email, SharePoint Online, Skype for Business, OneDrive for Business, and online office applications. Plus, you get the full Microsoft Office Suite license to run on PCs, Macs, and tablets/phones. This all-inclusive package is ideal for the small business eager to transition to the cloud and manage software costs with one simple, easy payment.
The Flexibility of Choice
One of the key features of Microsoft’s Office 365 offerings is the flexibility to pick and choose components of these plans to suit your unique business needs. For instance, you may want to upgrade your email to an enterprise-grade mail system but already have licenses for Microsoft Office 2010 and don’t have the budget to upgrade this financial year. The following year, you can simply upgrade the subscription to “Business Premium,” incorporating the Microsoft Office license costs into the Office 365 subscription budget. This flexibility ensures that your software remains current without incurring any additional costs.
In conclusion, Microsoft’s Office 365 offerings for small businesses are designed to provide flexibility, scalability, and a robust set of features that can be tailored to your business’s unique needs. Understanding these offerings is the first step towards making an informed decision about which plan is best for your organization. Whether you’re a newcomer to Office 365 or looking to upgrade your existing plan, Microsoft’s Office 365 options for small business offer a range of options to suit your needs. As always, it’s essential to evaluate your business’s specific requirements before making a decision. Happy planning!