In April 2021, Microsoft rebranded its Office 365 plans for consumers and small businesses to Microsoft 365 to reflect the inclusion of a broader range of products and services beyond the scope of the world’s favorite productivity software.
For those still using Microsoft Office, the change may have gone unnoticed. This is because Microsoft Office remains available as a one-time purchase, which means you do not have to pay a subscription fee. However, this also means missing out on the many exclusive benefits of the various Microsoft 365 plans.
We’ll explore some of these below to help you get a better idea of what is included in Microsoft 365.
What does Office 365 include?
All Microsoft Office 365 plans include the core components you know and love from the Office 2021 software suite, such as Word and Excel. However, Microsoft also bundles in a range of additional apps and services to power today’s hybrid work environments. Some of the most important are Microsoft Teams for video conferencing and OneDrive for online storage. Extra apps and features are available at higher subscription tiers.
#1. Flexible subscriptions
Microsoft Office 365 Business subscription plans have been superseded by Microsoft 365, but the range of options remains broadly similar. The entry-level Microsoft 365 Business Basic is the cheapest option, costing $5 per user per month, while the Standard edition costs $12.50, and the Microsoft 365 Apps for Business edition costs $8.25. However, only the Microsoft 365 Business Standard version includes the desktop productivity applications like Word and Excel. All subscription plans are highly flexible, since you only have to commit to one month at a time.
#2. Scalable billing options
All Microsoft 365 plans for businesses are billed on a per-user basis, so you don’t have to pay for licenses that you’re not using. This is ideal for growing businesses, as well as those which have varying workforce capacities throughout the year. You can simply retire disused licenses and purchase new ones as and when you need to.
#3. Simplified administration
The ability to manage all software licenses from a centralized administration dashboard is a huge advantage to team leaders and tech departments who need to keep an eye on precisely how much they’re spending. Using the web-based admin dashboard, you can instantly view the number of licenses you have activated and track usage and billing.
#4. Automatic updates
The standalone one-time purchase of Microsoft Office comes with automatic security updates throughout its five-year support lifecycle. However, Microsoft 365 products are also receive feature updates. There are also many extra cloud-enabled products and services included like OneDrive and Microsoft Teams, all of which are proactively maintained and updated. This can significantly reduce the burden on management while also keeping your software current with the latest security and feature updates.
#5. Reduced hardware requirements
All Microsoft 365 plans include the web-based versions of the core office apps, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. While these are not quite as feature-rich as their desktop counterparts, they are fully interoperable with them and, because they run in a browser, you can use them on any device. Virtually any device with an internet connection is good enough for running the majority of cloud-based apps, thus reducing your dependence on costly hardware.
#6. Better disaster-recovery
With Microsoft 365, you can configure OneDrive to automatically synchronize your important files with the cloud, thus protecting them from threats like ransomware or system failures. This simplifies everyday disaster recovery while also making it possible to access your documents from any device in any location.
#7. Improved communications
Using Microsoft 365 means that all your files can be shared, networked, and made available anywhere. In the era of remote work, this means a greatly reduced burden on management, as there is no longer any need to manually exchange files via email or portable storage device. With fully integrated cloud storage and apps, and business-critical solutions like SharePoint and Teams, you can support your distributed workforce both inside and outside the office.
Charles IT provides comprehensive guidance and technology solutions that help your business innovate without adding risk. Talk to one of our experts today to find out more!