Small- to medium-sized business (SMB) Office 365 users be advised: Come October 1st, your subscriptions are going to change.
The good news? They’re changing for the better.
Earlier this month, Microsoft announced it will be offering three new subscriptions to Office 365 for SMBs with up to about 250 employees. So get ready to say goodbye to Office 365 Small Business, Office 365 Small Business Premium and Office 365 Midsized Business.
And say hello to:
- Office 365 Business Essentials: This subscription gives businesses access to email and calendar functions through Exchange; Office Online; online meetings, instant messaging and video conferencing through Lync; cloud storage; file sharing; and more. Users also will get access to Yammer, the enterprise social networking tool, as well as Active Directory support. This offering costs $5 per month per user.
- Office 365 Business: This package gives users access to the full suite of downloadable Office 365 applications including Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Publisher, as well as 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage. These apps can be accessed across multiple devices. At $8.25 per user per month, this version doesn’t include Exchange, Lync or Sharepoint.
- Office 365 Business Premium: The best of both worlds, this package combines the other two. It costs $12.50 per user per month. For current Midsize Business customers, this option results in a price reduction of $30 per user over the course of a year.
Microsoft says the new packages provide customers with more choice, more value and more flexibility.
How the Change Will Go Into Effect for Existing Office 365 Customers
Current customers will be gradually migrated to the new plans. For example, Office 365 Midsize Business customers will see their per-seat monthly costs reduced from $15 to $12.50 the next time they renew. Microsoft will gradually migrate its customers over to the new services, but no one will be forced to make changes until Oct. 1, 2015.
The company says there won’t be any downtime during these migrations. What’s more, pertinent new updates and additional functionality will still be added to existing programs, so businesses don’t have to feel pressured to deploy the new subscriptions as soon as Oct. 1 rolls around.
Cost savings and added functionality coupled with no pressure: What’s not to like?