One of the drawbacks for businesses was the limitation in growth of the Office 365 plans.
Scale your Office 365 plan with your business needs
There were basically three groups of plans: Small Business, Midsize Business and Enterprise. Each group has it benefits, but until recently, once you picked your chosen silo of service, you were stuck there without a lot of options for moving forward.
Microsoft has continually evolved their program by adding new features. In December 2013, with very little announcement, the option to switch plans was implemented. So, a company that was on the Small Business plan can easily move to Midsize Business or even to Enterprise plan. This is a great move for growing businesses who have struggled on what email plan to use.
Just a couple of examples: a client with just a few users running Office 365 Small Business can now make the move to Office Midsize Business to take advantage of Office 2013 Professional Plus and Active Directory integration.
As they grow further they can move to the Enterprise plan and split accounts. With the Enterprise plans, some users can have email only, while others get access to SharePoint and OneDrive. Others can get the licenses for Office Pro 2013.
These options make for a great business growth model as clients can easily start small and move up to new more efficient and more complete products.
However, there is always a gotcha. In this case, it’s a small one. You can only move up in the plans you have — not down. Once you move to a higher level plan, you can’t go back. However, most businesses don’t downsize as often or on such a large scale so this shouldn’t present much of an issue.
But wait! There’s more.
There are two other plans to look at for the home user or home office:
The first is Office 365 Home Premium but the name is changing soon to Office 365 Home.
This is a plan for up to five users in your home. For $100 a year it includes Office 2013 Professional and includes 60 minutes for Skype calls and 20 gigs of OneDrive storage. It does not include the business features of SharePoint or Lync.
And the other is the new kid on the block: Office 365 Personal. This is a $70 a year per-person plan that will also include Office, Skype and OneDrive storage. Since this was just announced last month at the SharePoint conference, not all of the details are there just yet.
More flexibility all around
For businesses, the new migration options are most welcome. For home users, the two plans available are pretty nice as well. The one thing to remember with all plans that include Office is you are not buying a copy you are just paying for use. Cancel the plan and the product pretty much becomes unusable as it goes into read-only mode.
The good news is, when the new version of Office is rolled out. You can get it, as you are already paying for it.
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