Evolving Office 365 plans for SMB customers

Office 365 plans for SMB customers: look out for some new plans & some changes to existing ones. 3 new Office 365 plans launch on 1 Oct 2014 – O365 Business (Office apps & OneDrive), O365 Business Essentials (cloud services & OneDrive), and O365 Business Premium (everything above). Changes include increasing the 25 user limit to 300 from 1 Oct 2014 for O365 Small Business/Small Business Premium plan customers, & reducing the price of the Midsize plan for new customers from 1 Aug 2014.

The full Microsoft article is here http://bit.ly/1sPhexj with some useful diagrams & information on migration.

Changes for SMB Customers Buying Office 365

Again, that very useful Office 365 Microsoft webcast has provided most of the information for this post. View it at http://bit.ly/15elDBr where the SMB-related information starts at 31:28. However, don’t rush off – I’ve summarised the main points here so feel free just to read on.

In summary, there are three key things happening for SMB customers who buy or have bought Office 365. These will be implemented between July and September 2013 so let’s see what’s happening month by month.

July 2013: Easy switching of Office 365 plans
July gave customers who have purchased their Office 365 licences through MOSA the opportunity to switch EASILY between plans. Customers have been able to switch plans in the past but it involved purchasing a new subscription and then cancelling the old one. Now there’s the “Switch plans wizard” which makes a number of upgrades simple to implement. Essentially, the wizard allows customers to switch plans in two key scenarios. Firstly, they can switch between plans in the same service family; for example customers currently subscribed to Office 365 Small Business can move to Office 365 Small Business Premium. Then, secondly, they can move from a standalone plan to an Enterprise plan; for example, from Exchange Online Plan 1 to Office 365 Plan E1. Outside of these scenarios (perhaps moving to a different service family) customers will need to switch manually (without using the wizard), although word has it that more switches will be added to the wizard as 2013 moves on.

I thought these resources were also useful:
Switch plans wizard announcement on Office 365 Technology blog at: http://bit.ly/14LI7Uv
Can I switch to a different Office 365 plan or subscription? FAQ page at: http://bit.ly/13vfRLH

August 2013: Dynamic PINs
August is all about the new Dynamic PIN functionality, and Office 365 M SKUs with this new functionality appeared on the August price lists for the Open, Open Value and Open Value Subscription programs. This new functionality helps customers who order multiple seats (you’d think that would be most customers!), and the example used in the webcast is a good one focussing as it does on a customer who wants to buy 87 seats for the M plan. Previously, the M SKUs within the Volume Licensing programs were associated with a certain number of seats which customers had to combine to end up with the required number. So, our customer wanting his 87 seats would have had to have purchased 1 x 50 seat SKU, 1 x 25 seat SKU, 2 x 5 seat SKUs and 2 x 1 seat SKUs. Now I like all things mathematical but even I can see this is a bit tedious for normal people. So the new and improved way of doing things is to purchase a single subscription which has a single key; that key is linked to the amount of seats ordered and will activate that precise number of seats. Lovely!

September 2013: More enterprise offerings in Open
And what can we look forward to in September? Well, this is the month that some of the most popular Office 365 offerings get added to the Open, Open Value and Open Value Subscription price lists. It won’t just be the M plan anymore, all of the following will be available too:

  • Office 365 ProPlus
  • Office 365 Plan E1
  • Office 365 Plan E3
  • Exchange Online Plan 1
  • Exchange Online Protection