The world of cloud-based services is expanding rapidly. New digital services are emerging all the time, offering users more convenient ways to manage their online lives. There are dozens of options available for businesses to choose from, but Microsoft stands above the competition as the single most comprehensive and holistic modern workplace offering on the market today.
However, when it comes to Office 365 and Microsoft 365, the two brands can be a little confusing. The names are generally used interchangeably, but both services offer very different products.
If you’re not sure which package is right for your organization, or if you’re not sure what the different subscriptions include, read on to find out everything you need to know.
What is Office 365?
Office 365 is a set of cloud-based productivity tools, such as Word and Excel, as well as online storage and collaboration tools that you can access via the web or various mobile apps. It refers to a subscription-based service that lets you use Microsoft’s cloud-based productivity tools from any device, whether you’re at the office or on the road. You can also use these tools to collaborate with team members.
However, Microsoft renamed Office 365 in April 2020, changing it to Microsoft 365. Microsoft stated this was to shift its focus to how its services deliver value to customers.
While the applications and features offered in the Office 365 productivity suite have remained the same, the name change has added extra confusion, and many still refer to the rebranded Microsoft 365 as Office 365.
The new, renamed Microsoft 365 plans are:
- Microsoft 365 Business Basic (formerly Office 365 Business Essentials)
- Microsoft 365 Business Standard (formerly Office 365 Business Premium)
- Microsoft 365 Business Premium (formerly Microsoft 365 Business)
- Microsoft 365 Apps for Business or Enterprise (formerly Office 365 Business and Office 365 ProPlus)
*Note: this article will continue to refer to the Microsoft 365 productivity suite as Office 365.
Included in Office 365:
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- Microsoft Exchange
These tools are delivered in the Office 365 suite as they are designed to work together. As a cloud-based suite, it can be accessed online and across different platforms – not just the Microsoft Windows operating system (OS), but Mac, Linux, Android devices, and others.
What is Microsoft 365?
Microsoft 365 is a bundle of business apps and services that also includes Office 365. It integrates them into one unified platform that businesses can access from any device. This allows for a more seamless experience across all devices, as well as the ability to coordinate efforts across teams and employees. With Microsoft 365, businesses can also take advantage of an array of other benefits such as cloud storage and security, analytics, customer support, and email management.
Included in Microsoft 365:
- Office 365 productivity suite
- Microsoft Windows OS
- Enterprise Mobility and Security (EMS)
- And much more
What’s the difference?
Office 365 is a subscription-based service that provides users with access to more than 100 Office applications, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Skype, and Yammer. The Office 365 subscription also provides cloud storage space (through the use of OneDrive), as well as access to Microsoft’s corporate website tools (such as SharePoint).
Office 365 can also be used independently of Microsoft 365. The suite can be installed on a Mac, or access the cloud apps and features on an Apple or Android device. If you prefer to stick with the familiar Office products, you can still enjoy all of the benefits of Microsoft’s cloud-based productivity suite without subscribing to the OS.
But if you do want to take advantage of the full suite of tools and services included in Microsoft 365, you can purchase a subscription for an annual fee. With this plan, you will get access to all of the tools and services offered under Microsoft 365 – including the operating system and security tools.
Get the right Microsoft subscription for your business
Microsoft is the productivity suite for the modern workplace. It features all of the tools and services that businesses need to be successful – from collaboration tools to improved security and customer experience. With Microsoft 365, your business can take advantage of a wide range of benefits and features, including flexible pricing scales (for different sized businesses), unified communications, and customer support.
The Microsoft specialists at Technology Solutions can advise you on the right Microsoft subscription for your business needs, help you implement it into your existing IT environment, and train your users on its best uses and practices.
While there are companies that only need Office 365, most will need Microsoft 365. Why? Because M365 can drastically increase productivity and efficiency once it’s in place and employees know how to use it properly.
Microsoft 365 is very good. I would have liked for them to break it up and offer more flexible plans (even more than what they offer now). There are businesses that would require certain tools found within 365 with other tools being completely irrelevant. A company should have the option of choosing exactly those programs they want to use and pay just for that.
Even though it still can be improved, M365 is probably the best option right now. It streamlines everything within a company and will make it unrecognizable (in a good way) from the company it was before. I’ve seen this time and time around and it’s always surprising to see.