Understanding Office 365 Plans

To my dismay, I’m constantly being asked which version of Office 365 is the best for Excel analysts. Like everyone else, I typically provide a semi-vague answer which was most certainly pulled from some website somewhere. Well, I recently stumbled on this nifty TechNet site that outlines the differences between the various versions of Office 365.

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Unlike the generic comparisons we typically see,

this interactive workbook shows all the detailed features of the Office and SharePoint realms – and which version contains them.

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I took a shot at summarizing the parts of the matrix that are most important to business technologists like us.

The following table shows each of the key features we typically care about, and the Office 365 plans that seem to be the most relevant to our line of work.

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A few things I noticed:

  1. If you’re a small business owner that needs Power Pivot/Power View functionality, the Office 365 Business plans don’t fulfill that need. If you purchase a Business plan, and you find that you need the “Power” tools (other than Power Map), you’ll need to purchase the Office Professional Plus stand-alone edition. The Office Professional Plus stand-alone edition is basically the traditional “buy a disk” model.
  2. If you’re a small business owner and you want to build Access Web applications and publish Power Pivot reports to the web, it looks like you’d be better off using the Office 365 Enterprise E3 plan. The Business plans seem pretty useless (in my opinion).
  3. If you’re a student or you work in the Education field, you’re golden. The Office 365 Education E2 plan gives you virtually all you need for only about $5 per month! All you need is an email address that ends in edu.
  4. If you work in a corporate environment, you will probably have access to at least the 365 ProPlus or Professional Plus stand-alone versions of Office. If not, you can get up to speed by purchasing an Office 365 ProPlus subscription, or springing for the Office Professional Plus stand-alone edition.
  5. As I understand it, you only get the Preview version of Power Map with the Office Professional Plus stand-alone edition.


Any other observations?

6 thoughts on “Understanding Office 365 Plans

  1. Paul

    Well now you know why Bill Gates is so rich. Should be a stand alone with the whole shebang but there isn’t.

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