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A Look at the Current Versions of Microsoft Office 365, Features, and Prices

Microsoft Office 365 Plans

Business owners agree that Microsoft 365 is an indispensable product that they could not live without. It includes popular programs that people the world over have been using for years. The go-to word processing program is MS Word. People love this software and swear by it. Even those older versions like MS Word 2007 are still popular with the masses.

When it comes to dealing with spreadsheets, there really isn’t a better program than Excel. The same goes for PowerPoint. Most of us even use this program for our home videos. If there is a magic ingredient as to the popularity of Microsoft products, it is probably how user-friendly they are. The company very wisely uses the same Ribbon at the top of each program.

If you know how to use Word, you can learn PowerPoint, Outlook, or Excel very quickly. The formatting tools are basically the same. In spite of how useful and user-friendly these products are, most business owners are not familiar with the various Microsoft Office 365 packages. The company wanted to develop specific office programs for industries like education, government, non-profits, etc. They also wanted to offer scaled up versions for larger businesses. Though these seem like great concepts, they’ve created somewhat of a “Monster” when it comes to figuring out which package your company should be using.

To remedy that, we are offering a simplistic overall view of each product. You can see the basic features offered and the approximate cost. If you’re still unsure, talk to other business owners or ask an IT specialist.

Office 365 ProPlus

This version includes the standard office applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote. You can also get limited usage of Publisher and Access. The cost is around $12 per month per user. Cloud file-storage and sharing with OneDrive is included but business email is not. The product is installed directly on the user’s computer and licensed by user, whereas Office ProPlus is licensed by a device.

Office 365 Enterprise E1

This product offers businesses the use of MS Office online for phones, tablets, and computers. At the price point of $8.00 per month per user, Office mobile apps can be installed on up to 5 phones and 5 tablets per user. The software is available for iOS®, Android™ and Windows phones and tablets with screen sizes up to 10.1”. Also included are some valuable services that businesses use every day including:

  • Exchange
  • OneDrive
  • SharePoint
  • Yammer
  • Skype for business
  • Microsoft teams

Office 365 Enterprise E3

For around $20 per month per user, businesses can get all the features offered with Office 365 ProPlus and Office 365 Enterprise E1. All of the applications and services listed above are included in that price. In addition, this software package contains compliance tools, which have practically become indispensable today due to the intricacies of HIPAA and other compliance programs. Security tools, along with data loss prevention round out this suite of programs and services.

Of course, there’s a lot more to it than that. Broadcast Skype for business allows you to engage with up to 10,000 people. Attendees can join from any device and they can interact with speakers. This tool alone could be worth its weight in gold if you have a big audience you want to get a message out to. You can perform instant polls or get immediate reactions to a new product or service.

Microsoft StaffHub allows users to manage their workday with information sharing and schedule management apps. These are just a few of the many great features included in this suite of programs.

Office 365 Enterprise E5

This product is the Cadillac of all MS Office products. It includes everything mentioned in the other packages, along with voice capabilities, analytics, and advanced security features. It comes at a cost of $35 per month per user, but it does include all the productivity tools and services a business could need.

It is built for large organizations with diverse needs. It’s available for just about any device and includes some exceptional business calling features. One of the most popular features, MS Teams connects your employees so they can discuss their latest project in real time.

Advanced Threat Protection can give you greater control over hidden threats embedded in emails, links, and attachments. This is a great feature that can prevent your employees from accidentally opening the door to cybercriminals. One cyber breach today will cost you around $1.3 million. Large organizations with the budget for it are utilizing every security tool available to protect their important data. Encrypted email is a must these days and it comes standard with this package.

Not included with any other packages, Power Bi is a useful business analytics service that gives you some powerful business intelligence capabilities, including interactive visualization. Users work with interactive dashboards to create reports and data warehouses. Power Bi allows users to work with data in many different ways, from cleaning and loading it to integrating the data where desired. Microsoft has plans to continue adding features to this program so that it contains the most sophisticated business intelligence tools available anywhere.

Conclusion

All the above Microsoft Office products require signing an annual contract, but most businesses realize that they simply can’t function anymore without the rich array of tools that Microsoft provides. These programs are available from any device or location. They include various levels of customer support. Each year when these products are updated, users get those updates for free. That means you’ll always have the latest version of your favorite Microsoft programs. MS Office 365 is optimized for any device.

Michael Johnson , June 6, 2018