Microsoft caught the media’s attention today with a big announcement about new Office 365 plans. Here’s one article from InfoWorld that discusses the announcements.
If you like lots of choices, today was a good day for you. Microsoft added new plans aimed at the SMB (Small and Mid-sized Business) market:
- Office 365 for Mid-Sized Business provides the Office 365 menu of services (including Office Professional Plus licenses) for businesses up to 250 users.
- Office 365 Small Business Premium also provides Office Professional Plus licenses for Microsoft’s original “mid-sized business” plan, commonly known as the “P1” plan.
These small business plans are intended for organizations of up to 25 users with no dedicated IT staff.
I continue to advise caution in signing up for these small business plans, as they previously did not permit growth beyond a specific user size. (I believe that’s still the case.) As a result, if you’re a company that envisions growth beyond the small business plans’ listed user limits, you could find yourself having to “export” your data and “import” it to another Office 365 plan–not very cloud-like.
All of the other component-level services (such as Exchange Online) and Enterprise plans (the “E” plans) continue to be available. It’s fair to say that Microsoft right now isn’t worried about offering a short list of plans; they seem focused on making sure that every conceivable market segment has a plan that will fit its needs.
The plans, and the announcement of Office Professional Plus delivered only as a service, make Microsoft’s direction clear to see: it’s all about the cloud, and it’s all about collaboration as an activity woven into the work you do every day.