How to choose the right Microsoft 365 plan
Microsoft 365 is the office software platform of choice for businesses and organisations of all sizes all over the world. It’s not hard to see why.
With a seemingly endless range of tools, apps, options and innovations to choose from, it can be configured in many ways and tailored to meet your exact needs.
Whether you’re looking to enhance your organisation’s security and compliance, boost communication or collaboration or improve productivity, Microsoft 365 can help.
Which begs the question – particularly for newcomers or organisations with little in-house experience of deploying Microsoft 365 – how do I choose the Microsoft 365 plan that’s right for me and my organisation?
Read on to find out.
Review your current ICT set up
To establish which Microsoft 365 plan to opt for, it’s a good idea to look at your current set up. This will help you to identify what you currently have and identify the gaps you need to fill. Some of the questions your organisation should be asking itself include:
Which version of Windows are you running on your devices
How are you managing mobiles and tablets that have access to your data?
Which antivirus solution(s) are you paying for?
How are you managing OS and application updates?
Which version(s) of Microsoft Office are you running?
Which software in general is in your estate? Is any of it old, end of life, or just not very good?
How old are the devices – such as laptops and PCs – you are running?
What platform is your email hosted on?
How do you manage and store data?
Is there anything that Microsoft 365 would help you to do differently, or better?
Once you have a clear picture of your current ICT provision, you can…
Consider your requirements
Before you invest in a Microsoft 365 plan, think about what you would like it to do for your organisation.
Whatever your reasons, be clear about your objectives as this can have a significant bearing on the plan you select and the results it can achieve.
There are several key choices to be made at this stage that will narrow down your choice of plan, including:
Do you want to include operating system management, antivirus and mobile device management as part of your requirement?
Is there a compelling driver behind your desire to move to Microsoft 365? (for example, your organisation has outgrown its current email solution, or there are elements of your ICT estate that are costing you too much)
Do you want to host your email in Microsoft 365?
Do you want to have locally installed versions of the Microsoft Office products on your PCs and laptops?
These questions while drive your decision, by helping to define the minimum viable solution your organisation requires.
Allocate sufficient budget
There are two main costs associated with migrating to Microsoft 365, and you’ll need to allocate enough budget to cover both.
The first is for the cost of the actual migration – do you need to invest in any additional hardware, and do you need to bring in any external help to make the project a success?
The second is for the Microsoft 365 licensing fees for the number of users your organisation has.
An external ICT consultant, such as AMDH Services, will be able to advise you on all your different options, prepare a business case for investment and provide a realistic cost model.
Compare Microsoft 365 plans
With so many different plans and options to choose from, it can get confusing about which to choose. Again, an external ICT consultant will be able to provide advice and guidance to help you decide which plan will help you achieve your organisational objectives.
For SMEs and church, charity and not for profit organisations, the plans you can choose from include:
Microsoft 365 Business Basic
This is the cheapest Microsoft 365 plan. Formerly known as Office 365 Business Essentials, it offers access to web-based and mobile versions of some of Microsoft most popular apps and services. With this plan, you don’t get access to desktop versions of applications like Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint, so will need an internet or data connection to access them. This plan also includes email hosting, but excludes device management.
Microsoft 365 Apps for Business
This second-tier plan gives you access to both the web-based and desktop versions of apps like Word, Excel and PowerPoint, along with the free version of Microsoft Teams and 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage. It is a good option for organisations which need a basic ICT environment and access to the main Microsoft Office products. As such, it’s mainly targeted at organisations hosting their email and document management system elsewhere, but still want to use the Office suite on PCs and laptops.
Microsoft 365 Business Standard
This plan, which used to be called Office 365 Business Premium, offers access to a wide range of Microsoft Office desktop apps and web services, along with up to 50GB of hosted email and access to the full version of Microsoft Teams.
Microsoft 365 Business Premium
The most expensive Microsoft 365 Business plan provides web, desktop and mobile versions of all the core Microsoft apps, along with device management and enhanced security and compliance features. It actively defends your users, networks and data against malware and ransomware and malware attacks.
Microsoft 365 Enterprise
The above plans have been created for organisations with fewer than 300 users. Larger organisations can opt for a Microsoft 365 Enterprise plan, which have enhanced additional features including more robust levels of security and compliance, along with rights management, loss prevention, and encryption. You can view further information about the Microsoft 365 Enterprise Family here.
Microsoft 365 for non-profits
If you are an organisation with charitable status, Microsoft will give you Microsoft 365 either at no cost, or for significantly a reduced cost, depending on how many user licenses you need.
So, your choice of Microsoft 365 plan may be based less on the cost and more on what features your organisation might want to make use of in the future.
Our recommendation for those with charitable status to work with us on planning their application and subsequent deployment.
How do I get started?
There are plenty of Microsoft 365 plans to choose from, so knowing where to start and how to deploy them most effectively can be a challenge.
If you don’t possess the in-house expertise, there are many hidden features and benefits you might not be aware of.
AMDH Services has vast experience of setting up and configuring Microsoft 365 to help organisations get the most benefit.
We can work with your organisation to plan and implement the best Microsoft 365 solution to ensure it meets your needs. We offer a wide range of implementation and support options to help your organisation get the most from your investment.
We can help migrate your existing applications and data to the cloud, optimise your Microsoft 365 settings and establish best practice to ensure your organisation, your data and your users are fully protected and secure.
Interested in finding out how we can help your church, charity or not for profit organisation unleash its full potential with Microsoft 365?