Office 365 plans: how to make the sweetest pick

Selecting the best plan for Office 365: Kiosk and Information workers

Forget what Forest Gump said, life doesn’t have to be like a box of chocolates, you can know what you’re goign to get. We want to help you be aware of the choices that are available to you and your business when licensing Microsoft Office 365. It’s not about chocolates, it’s about the skinny on what plan is right for you and your enterprise.

Office 365 Plans: The Basics
Office 365 plans are divided into two families, K Plans and E Plans. (There’s also a “P” plan, which would appeal to small businesses, of about 25 employees or less, but we don’t discuss that here today.)

K Plans are designed for “kiosk” workers (i.e: those who spend approximately 5-10% of their work day on a PC and use communal email for light correspondence).

Examples: retail associates, mail couriers, and manufacturing workers. Most of these employees would never have previously had access to things like enterprise email or collaboration platforms — so it’s a good opportunity to really change and potentially improve your productivity and connectedness within those groups.

E Plans are designed for typical enterprise or “information” workers (i.e. information employees, who spend 70-80% of their work day on a PC and need a large email inbox due to their heavy correspondence rates).

The K Break down:

Office 365 Plans: Features Comparison Kiosk Workers

Comparing features and price of the Office 365 Kiosk Worker (K Plans)

Nuts and Bolts: The K1 ($4/month/user) and K2 ($10/month/user) plans both offer 500MB mailboxes, access to a company portal through Sharepoint and the capability to view online documents.

Major Differences: K2 offers Office Web Apps. The K2 plan should be licensed for users who need to do simple data input within various Office programs and need minor Office editing capabilities.

Examples of K2 plan users: retail store managers, on site repair workers, and manufacturing floor managers

The E Break down:

Office 365 Plans: Features Comparison

Comparing features and costs of the Information Worker (E Plans)

There are four Enterprise plans to choose from which makes this selection process a little more tricky.

Nuts and Bolts: The E1 to E4 plans come equipped with 25GB mailboxes, access to company collaboration portals, as well as conferencing and instant messaging capabilities. However, you should take into consideration that with the enterprise plans there are more significant changes to the license as the prices increase.

E1: Is the bare bones with a 25GB mailbox, Lync, Exchange and SharePoint classic plans. A package perfect for a light PC user, much like a kiosk worker, however an employee who necessitate the 25GB mailbox for correspondence. This plan could be interchangeable with the K2 plan, save that this kiosk worker would have access to a much larger mailbox (25GB rather than 500MB).

E2: Introduces Office Web Apps into the enterprise mix. This plan would be appropriate for a user who does not need to have major access to Office applications but who will need to do some light work and editing on the cloud based versions of the Office programs.

E3: Now here is where the big jump in applications happens. This package takes the bare bones of the E1 plan and adds in Form, Visio, Excel services, voicemail, advanced archive capabilities, and Office Pro Plus.

With the E3 plan an enterprise employee would be equipped with many of the tools they need to succeed. Having both Office Web Apps and Office Pro Plus will allow an employee total fluidity in using programs both at their desktop and sending them into the cloud. Office Pro Plus still lives on your stationary device, but you now have the capability of sending and saving work in the cloud apps to ensure more accessibility and mobility.

E4: The big kahuna of enterprise plans takes all of the services offered in the E3 plan and incorporates Lync Plus which gives this user access to Voice, a network and telephone system that lives and works through your 365 plan.

How is Office 365 like a box of chocolates?

The enterprise plans are like your favorite box of assorted sweets, they’ve got something for everyone it’s just about finding the right match for your users. (There’s always a chance that the cloud isn’t right for your business, too. In which case none of these plans would work.) Still, we know that finding the plan that’s perfect for your users isn’t really as easy as choosing a chocolate treat from Godiva, but we hope our breakdown can help.

To learn more about how to make this licensing choice a crystal clear decision, read about our Office 365 Assessment here.

Get Office 365 assessment information here

About Faisal Mumtaz

Faisal manages Softchoice's Microsoft Business Development team for US West. He has an in-depth understanding how best to leverage Microsoft’s licensing agreements and technologies.