This article is all about maximizing productivity with an Office 365 subscription. Those who are running older versions of Office or non-subscription versions may be running into operational challenges and application loading errors as of the 1st of November 2021. Let’s dive in for more details.

The Microsoft Office suite has long been a go-to productivity tool for schools, businesses, and organizations. No doubt, we can all attest to how useful it is, whether it be for drafting proposals, making presentations, calculating numbers, and other uses.

While Office on its own will benefit virtually all business activities, most commercial users find more value in Office 365 services. Get to know more about how Office 365 can be beneficial for your business when you schedule an initial free Discovery Call with me in the coming days.

What is Office 365 and how is it different from your 2010 Office Suite purchased and installed?

Office 365 is essentially a cloud-based version of the Microsoft Office Suite, but instead of paying a one-time upfront cost, you pay a monthly subscription fee for the service.

It allows you to use the same applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, Skype, OneDrive, and others, but the main benefit of Office 365 is your access to the latest versions and updates at all times – throughout the subscription. With the usual one-time license, you would need to replace your version continuously with a new one to get the latest features.

Office 365 is also hosted on Microsoft’s servers, so you do not need any hardware or software to use it. Likewise, the subscription comes with cloud storage space and email hosting, a huge perk for companies. These additional features allow you to host your files and access them from any time and anywhere, giving your team extra convenience.

Overall, the Microsoft Office core apps remain a staple for most organizations. Office 365 goes beyond the standard functionalities to equip your business with more intelligent tools.

Compatibility of Office Versions with Office 365

It is worth noting that not all versions of Microsoft Office will connect to Office 365. Specifically, the standalone versions of Office 2010, 2013, and 2016 will not be compatible with the cloud. Additionally, Microsoft has set November 1 as the deadline for commercial customers using the old Outlook version to upgrade into newer versions to continue gaining access to Office 365 services. It means that after November 1, the following versions will not be supported:

  • Office 2007 – All Versions
  • Office 2010 – All Versions
  • Office 2013 – Versions prior to 15.0.4971.1000 of Office 2013 (Service Pack 1 with the October 2017 Update)
  • Office 2016 MSI – Versions prior to 16.0.4600.1000 of Office 2016 (With the November 2017 Update, KB 4051890)
Changes to Microsoft Office Suite Software

Office 365 Enterprise Plans

As a summary, here are some of the productivity suites you can select for your business:

  • Office Home & Business 2021

This package costs a one-time fee of $249 and comes with the desktop version of the Office apps and a license for commercial use. However, the access will only be granted to 1 PC.

  • Office 365 E1

This subscription costs $8 per user per month and includes basic business services like file storage and sharing, the web and mobile version of Office apps, meetings and chat functions, and analytics. In addition, it comes with a 50GB mailbox size, 1 TB of OneDrive personal storage, and 10GB of additional storage per license.

  • Microsoft 365 Apps for Business

This Office 365 subscription costs $8.25 per user per month. With this, you get all the features from the Office & Business suite, and the web and mobile versions of the Office apps, file storage, and sharing, and support and deployment from Microsoft. You can also use Microsoft Forms to gather feedback from employees and customers.

  • Office 365 E3

The E3 subscription costs $20 per user per month. Aside from the features offered in Office 365 E1 and Microsoft 365 Apps, this also provides security and compliance benefits. Additionally, it comes with a 100GB mailbox size and unlimited OneDrive personal storage.

  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard

This subscription costs $12.50 per user per month. On top of all the features from the Microsoft 365 Apps for Business, this subscription also comes with Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Bookings, and teamwork and communication tools.

  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium

The Business Premium package is great for businesses looking for remote work solutions and cybersecurity assistance. It costs $20 per user per month, and aside from the Business Standard features, this option also comes with advanced threat protection and PC and mobile device management.

  • Office 365 E5

The E5 subscription costs $35 per user per month and has all the features of the E3 package, along with advanced analytics, security and threat protection, and voice capabilities.

With that said, Microsoft has announced it will be raising the prices for its business plans next year. The new prices, which will be effective March 2022, are as follows:

  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium – $22/user/month
  • Office 365 E1 – $10/user/month
  • Office 365 E3 – $23/user/month
  • Office 365 E5 – $38/user/month

Even with the updated prices, Office 365 remains the best offer for businesses since you can choose from several packages to fit your needs and budget.

As you can see, the standalone Office 2021 package rounds up to $249, which is a steep price considering the benefits you get. With the Office 365 packages, you have more flexibility since you can easily adjust your subscription based on your team size. No need to worry about buying a new license all the time since you will always have the latest features.

Still not sure what to do for your home office or business or where to start?
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