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Which Office 365 Plan is Right for Me?

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Office 365 Plan Choices Updated for 2015

There are over 4 dozen Office 365 subscription plans, for virtually every need and price point from a-la-carte single service starting at $2 per user per month up to the currently highest priced bundle of $22 per user per month.

So which plan should you choose for your business? Microsoft has discontinued the Office 365 Help Me Choose Tool that asked a series of questions and made a recommendation. The problem was that you didn’t really get an understanding of any limitations or how the different plans compare.

Generally, you want to avoid Business Plans (300 user limit).  The reason why is because every user must be on the same plan. Often there are other hidden limitations or missing desired features. Also, if you outgrow the user limits, you must backup all of your data and start a new plan! All other plans allow a mix and match of plan to user needs, with the ability to freely change a user license without affecting any data.

The most popular Office 365 plans are Office 365 E1 ($8/user/month) and Office 365 E3 ($20/user/month). The reason why is because of the various features and cost-effective price point. Plus, as described above, there are no limitations on choice or future pain points for negligible cost difference versus other plans.

  • Office 365 E1: 50GB mailbox and unlimited archive, 1TB OneDrive per user, 10GB of organization file storage plus 500MB per user free, online meetings and screen sharing, enterprise social networking, and Office Web Apps.
  • Office 365 E3: Includes everything above, plus Office 365 Pro Plus installed on up to 5 devices per user.

Microsoft has demonstrated a commitment to add approximately 3 dozen updates to Office 365 annually, with the most notable of recent free e-mail encryption and document signing. If you stick to the two main choices above, you can augment with Kiosk or other finite plans. Notice, that you get much more for your $8 with E1 rather than Exchange Plan 2. Also, do the math as there is no cheaper way to buy Office alone on-going with 5 copies per user with E3.

Starting with an Office 365 E3 free trial for 30 days let’s you experience all features and then select the different plans you need per user (except obviously Business Plans as explained above).

For nonprofit customers, you should use the new Office 365 E3 nonprofit trial link for $4.50 per user per month.

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