Once you've decided you would like to upgrade to Office 365 your next step is to choose which Package you are going to use. Your package needs to be the right one to fit in with your business. Microsoft has several Office 365 packages for businesses of ranging sizes. Other factors that would influence your choice of package are budget, industry and future growth.
Microsoft has three packages for small & medium sized businesses. Firstly the Hosted email (Exchange Online) Package. The Office 365 Hosted email package is for businesses who only want emails on the Cloud. This package is great for business start-ups as you will be getting the benefits of Microsoft's enterprise level servers hosting your emails for an affordable price. The hosted email package is available to an unlimited amount of users each including domain names and 25GB of Storage, high quality spam and malware protection as well as Microsoft's 99.9% uptime guarantee and support. This package is available for £2.60 per user per month.
The Office 365 Small Business Package includes all the features of the Hosted Email Package but has the added extra of The Productivity Suite this allows users to create and Edit Office files via their browser as well as hosting web conferences and creating public websites. However this package is only available for companies up to 25 users. The Small Business package is available for £3.30 per user per month.
The final Small Business Package is Small Business Premium which is designed to make the most out of the cloud with its ability to work anywhere. In addition to all the features mentioned above in the Hosted Email and Small Business packages the Premium package also includes desktop versions of Microsoft's Office Applications including Word, PowerPoint and Lync. User will be able to access this anywhere they are and then sync the work they have done onto to the cloud once they have internet access. This package is available for £8.40 per user per month and is limited up to 25 users.
Before you choose a Small Business package for your business you need to decide where your heading and which package is best for your employees. Are your employees mostly mobile? Will your workforce be expanding? Are your employees working from home? Or are you based in a one office with basic needs. Overall you need to assess your IT and your business to find out which package is best for you.
The same process goes for mid-size and larger businesses. Before choosing your package you need to assess your IT and Business to know what you need from your Office 365 Package. Like the Small Business Packages there are three options for mid-size and large businesses.
The first is the Office 365 Enterprise E1 Package this is designed for businesses who are looking for Enterprise level email, file sharing, conferencing and productivity in the cloud. The E1 Package includes Office Web Apps which allows users to edit and create office files via a web browser as well as conduct meetings with HD video conferencing, instant messaging, screen sharing, access to creating intranets and establish site mailboxes. The E1 Package is available to an unlimited amount of users and costs £5.20 per user per month.
The Office 365 Mid-Size Business package includes all the features from the E1 package as well as the Desktop version of Office including Excel, Outlook and Access. Users can also use Office Web Apps on their mobile devices and tablets, giving employees access from anywhere making your business more productive when employees are on the move, up to 300 users can take advantage of this. The Mid-Size Office 365 Package costs £9.80 per user per month.
The Premium package for Mid-Size to Large Business is the Enterprise E3 Package. Which offers all the features of the E1 and Mid-Size Packages as well as Microsoft's Premium services. Unlimited users can have hosted versions of Microsoft's solutions as well as advanced email and voicemail Support and advanced business intelligence features including the ability to create and manage interactive dashboards with multiple data sources.
Large business are always planning for the future as they are constantly developing, when choosing an Office 365 package large businesses need to think about their future plans as well as all their IT needs. Could the use of Office Web Apps on mobiles and tablets increase productivity for your employees? Will your employees work productively away from the Office?
You also need to consider the costs, you don't want to be paying for a service you are not using to its full advantage. For example there is not use in a two person start-up using a E3 package when they aren't taking full advantage of all the package offers. The Office 365 packages are upgradeable so, as your business grows you are able to upgrade to a higher package. This enables you to have all the features you need at the time with an easy upgrade when your business need to.
All Microsoft Office 365 Packages can either be paid monthly or annually.