Office 365 Licensing

Blog Author: Aaron Smith | July 8th, 2011

Previously we’ve brought you news on the Office365 release from Microsoft.  If this is something you’re currently considering, it is really important you understand the licensing structure before making any decisions.

Office365 provides the ability to access Microsoft enterprise products like Exchange (emails) and SharePoint (collaboration) all for a pre-month, per user charge.  However, the move to Office365 can be confusing given the array of different licenses that are available.

At its core there are two major license types, one for small businesses and professionals (known as P licenses) and another for enterprises (known as E licenses). There is also a third type of license for “desk-less” workers (known as K licenses).

Conventional thinking would suggest that most small businesses should go with the P licenses, however what is not always clear are the limitations that these licenses enforce.  The first important thing to consider about P licenses, apart from the fact that they are cheap, is that they only come with ‘community support’.  This basically means that P license customers need to support themselves via information from the Internet.

Here’s the kicker – P licenses cannot be incorporated with other licenses such as K and E – so no flexibility!  These licenses also have major limitations around the functionality they provide; they offer no advanced email or collaboration options and no access to the download of Office Professional Plus.  P Licenses offer no upgrade path either, so overall they are really restrictive.

More flexible options, for all businesses, are available with the E and K plans.  These can be mixed and matched to suit an organisation.  This means you can purchase an E1 license as and entry level and scale up to E2 and E3 at a later stage and if you had 10 users you could have 3 x K licenses, 5 x E1 and 2 x E3 licenses, if that was the best solution for your requirements.  These licenses also allow the logging of support calls (so you’re not left battling with “community support”).  In addition, they offer access to all the advanced features of Office365.

If you are considering a move to Ofice365 it is important to get the right information before signing up, because in some cases it may be very difficult to change later down the track if required. So before you go to the Cloud, make sure that you contact us!

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