How to Choose an Office 365 Plan - dummies

How to Choose an Office 365 Plan

By Ken Withee, Jennifer Reed

The advantage to a product, such as Office 365, living in the cloud is that it is available for organizations of all sizes and shapes. The disadvantage, however, is that all those organizations have different needs. Microsoft decided to break the Office 365 product down into three primary plans to suit the needs of all organizations. These plans are:

  • Professionals or small business: Designed for organizations from 1 to 50 people

  • Large and mid-size customers: Designed for organizations with 50+ people all the way up to tens of thousands of people

  • Educational institutions: Designed specifically for educational organizations

The professionals or small business plan is very simple and is only $6 per month. The large and mid-size customer plan, however, is broken down into a number of options, with some options designed for kiosk workers or those who are not sitting at a desk regularly. The educational plan is paid on a per-case basis; contact Microsoft for details that relate to your particular institution.

The products and features associated with each plan are outlined here. Note that the plan for professionals and small business is denoted as P1 and the plan types for enterprise customers are denoted E1 through E4. The enterprise plan also includes a kiosk worker type, which is denoted as K1 through K3.

Office 365 Plans and Features
Feature P1 E1 E2 E3 E4 K1 K2
SharePoint Online (limited) X X X X X
SharePoint Online (advanced) X X
Exchange Online X X X X X X X
Advanced Exchange Archiving, unlimited e-mail storage, and
voicemail with Exchange.
Lync Online X X X X X
License Rights for On Premise SharePoint, Exchange, and
Office Web Apps (View Only) X X
Office Web Apps (Edit Capability) X X X X X
Office Professional Plus X X
Fully integrated voice capabilities with Lync On Premise X

Unfortunately, Microsoft does not provide a full matrix chart with a full list of clearly defined features in a matrix format across each Office 365 plan. The details of each feature are outlined in what Microsoft calls the Service Descriptions.

These documents are Word documents for each component of Office 365 and can be downloaded by searching the Microsoft download center for Office 365 Service Descriptions.

When choosing a plan, keep in mind that you cannot move a P plan to an E plan at a future date. After you choose either a P plan or an E plan, you are stuck in that plan structure.