Office 365 refers to subscriptions that include access to Microsoft Office applications, such as Word, Excel, or Powerpoint, as well as other productivity services such as business email or online team workspaces. One of the biggest advantages of using Office 365 is that all of these applications and services are accessible through cloud services. There are three different business plans: Business Essentials, Business, and Business Premium. They each have varying features and prices and are designed to fit varying business sizes.
Office 365 Business Essentials
Priced at $6.10/month (CAD) if billed annually, this plan is the least expensive of the three plans. You can also choose to pay $7.30/month (CAD) if billed monthly. Business Essentials provides access to online versions of Office with several other online features that will increase the productivity of your business.
For instance, you will have access to Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and OneNote from your browser. You will also have a business class email with 50 GB of storage per user, and unlimited online meetings with HD video conferencing. Another feature offered by this plan is the corporate-based social network, called Yammer, which is excellent for cross-team communication and collaboration.
A huge benefit of Business Essentials is the excellent online communication solutions. Group chat and web conferencing allow for quick and efficient changes in a pinch, while Yammer and work management tools provide productivity solutions on cross-team projects. One large drawback to this plan is the lack of fully installed Office apps; you will be missing apps such as Outlook and Publisher. This also means that you will not have phone or tablet versions of these Office applications.
Office 365 Business
This plan is priced at $10.50/month (CAD) billed annually or $12.70/month (CAD) billed monthly. Office 365 Business offers fully installed Office applications. One typical concern with installed applications is worrying about and paying for upgrades. However, this plan eliminates that concern by providing free upgrades whenever Office rolls them out. Another great advantage of this plan is the phone and tablet versions of Office applications. This will give users access to their work and work communications anywhere.
The installed apps include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher, and OneNote on up to 5 PCs or Macs per user. With the added benefit of Publisher, your business will be able to support in-house graphic designs for web or print. While this plan doesn’t offer business email, you will get OneNote which is not only a desktop email app but also has a calendar, task manager, contact manager, note taking, journal and web browsing.
One of the greatest benefits of this plan is that it includes smartphone and tablet versions of Office apps, which provides productivity on the go. A big drawback to this plan, however, is that it doesn’t include many online solutions such as chat, video conferencing or business email.
Office 365 Business Premium
As the top tier plan, Business premier is priced at $15.20/month (CAD) if billed annually or $18.20/month (CAD) if billed monthly. It provides everything the Business and Business Essential plans do and more. This means business email with 50 GB of storage, HD video conferencing, corporate social network, plus fully installed versions of all Office apps on PCs, Macs, and mobile devices all in one integrated plan. Online scheduling tools are also included with the Premium plan. This provides solutions for business looking to schedule appointments or meetings with customers and colleagues.
The Premier plan provides the benefits of the other two plans and negates most of the drawbacks too. However, the Premium plan does not include an increase in user maximum, and all three plans have the same 300-user cap.
So Which Office 365 Plan is Right For You?
If your business is based online, has multiple remote employees, or has a smaller budget, then the Business Essential plan is a great fit. The Office 365 Business plan offers great solutions if your employees travel often. The phone and tablet Office apps are excellent for on-the-go productivity. If neither of these plans meets all of your business needs, the Premium plan offers the best of both worlds with some added features that will satisfy almost any business productivity needs.
All plans come with one terabyte of cloud storage and file sharing. Office 365 also includes a financially-backed service level agreement, access to professional support, data security, and active directory integration to easily manage user credentials and permissions.
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