What Is Office 365?

Office 365 is not just one thing.  Rather, it’s a “bundle” of services—selected from a menu of choices or configured by the customer—that provide some combination of the following.

·         Email, Tasks and Calendars, via Exchange Online.

·         Instant Messaging and PC-PC Voice/Video, via Lync Online.

·         Organization Intranet, via SharePoint Online.

·         Office Productivity Suite, via Office Web Apps or Office Professional Plus.

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This is true software-as-a-service:  Microsoft maintains the servers and provides a financially-backed Service Level Agreement.  Software upgrades and patches can become a thing of the past!

The subscription model is convenient and flexible.   You can start small, and add users as you go.  There’s no monthly minimum spend and no long-term contract commitment.  Microsoft makes it easy to “put your toe in the water” by setting up a (free) trial and by starting with one group of users.  As you get comfortable with the service you can add more services and more users.  And if you’re a qualifying non-profit organization, CGNET can work with Microsoft to obtain specially discounted subscription pricing.

Choose the Bundle that’s Right for You… Or Design Your Own

Microsoft offers Office 365 in a number of bundles; here are some of the most popular ones.

Office 365 Plans
PlanCapabilitiesCost
E1Instant Messaging and PresenceConferencing

Collaboration Portal

Email, Calendar, Personal Archive

$8 per user per month
E2E1 Capabilities, plus…Office Web Apps$14 per user per month
E3E2 Capabilities, plus…SharePoint Forms, Access, Excel and Visio services

Voice Mail and Advanced Archive

Office Professional Plus

$20 per user per month
E4E3 Capabilities, plus…Connection to Traditional Voice Services$24 per user per month

Each of the Office 365 components—Exchange, SharePoint, Lync and Office—can also be purchased separately, so you have total flexibility to create the service bundle that’s right for you.

Migration to Office 365

Office 365 supplies some tools for migrating your current email to Office 365.  These tools work well for those familiar with email administration.  For others, there are third-party tools that can be used.  And CGNET is always available to conduct the migration for you.  For organizations with existing SharePoint sites, CGNET can help with migrating content to SharePoint online.

You Could Buy from Microsoft… But Why?

You can purchase Office 365 directly from Microsoft… but to be honest, they’d rather you purchased it from a partner like CGNET.  Why? Because you’ll have a better experience with after-sale installation, migration and support.  And there’s no price difference between buying from CGNET vs. buying directly from Microsoft.

So if you’re thinking about a move to the cloud for your messaging and productivity needs, consider Office 365.  And if you’d like more information or have a question, get in touch; we’d love to hear from you!

Dan Callahan
About the Author
I'm the VP of Global Services at CGNET. I manage our Information Security and Cloud Services businesses. I wear a lot of hats. Professionally, I'm a builder of businesses. Outside of work, I'm a hobby farmer, chef, skier, dog walker, jokester, woodworker, structuralist, husband and father.

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