Microsoft has introduced its newest Office 365 (O365) enterprise service plan – E5. It features Cloud PBX, PSTN conferencing, end-user and organization analytics, and advanced security. In conjunction with these new capabilities, Microsoft has added additional features to the existing E1 and E3 plans. As organizations evaluate these new capabilities, it’s important to understand how the introduction of O365 E5 will impact licensing options moving forward.
O365 E5’s availability
- O365 E5 is now available for commercial and government organizations. However, E5 is not yet available for Government Community Cloud (GCC) and Education customers; availability for these customer segments will be announced at a later date.
- E5 without PSTN conferencing will be sold separately through all programs where O365 Enterprise Plans are available.
- Due to limited availability, PSTN conferencing is being offered as a separate add-on SKU to E5 under an Enterprise Agreement (EA) or EA Subscription Agreement only.
- An E5 with PSTN conferencing single SKU will be offered at a later date.
- Updated O365 enterprise service plans consist of E1, E3, and E5. Below is a breakout of each plan’s features:
E5’s licensing options
O365 E5 includes a number of new features that can be licensed as part of the suite or as standalone offerings. How an organization licenses these new features will primarily depend on its current O365 service footprint. There are three purchase order options for licensing E5 or any of its new components.
- Step-up: A step-up license allows an organization with active Software Assurance (or service coverage if Online Service, or OLS) to migrate from a lower edition to higher edition of a given product. An example of this would be “stepping up” from O365 Plan E1 to O365 Plan E5.
- Add-on: An add-on license provides rights to additional services and features while maintaining an existing license investment. For example, an organization can add on PSTN conferencing to O365 E5 without PSTN.
- Full USL: A full user subscription license is applicable when an organization is purchasing online services without any underlying license investment. An example would be purchasing O365 E5 without PSTN full User Subscription License.
An organization’s purchase option carries pricing and licensing implications. With the introduction of E5 and its new services, the number of iterations available for organizations to choose from has increased, and it’s important to understand these various options before making a final decision.
The retirement date for O365 E4 is set
The release of O365 E5 means the impending retirement of E4, slated for June 30, 2016. Organizations currently licensed for E4 can use the current plan under their agreement until renewal. Organizations that fall into this bucket will have two options to move forward with their O365 services prior to or at their renewal date.
- Customers interested in moving to E5 prior to their renewal can purchase an O365 E5 step-up SKU for each E4 user licensed. This SKU accounts for the difference in cost between the E4 and E5 service plans.
- Customers not interested in E5 can renew into E3, and add the Skype for Business Plus CAL subscription.
The upgraded features in E1 and E3
New features added to O365 E1 include Skype Meeting Broadcast and Task Management. Skype Meeting Broadcast will allow E1 customers to host every kind of meeting, including one-to-one, one-to-many, and one-to-thousands. In addition, Work Management in E1 allows for project management capabilities for teams.
E3 customers will be granted the new features available in E1, and will receive expanded rights to Data Loss Prevention (DLP) and encryption.
Visit Microsoft’s O365 Roadmap for the company’s online services portfolio. As you evaluate your move to O365, or more specifically, the new features and capabilities of O365 E5, it is important to have a partner to help you navigate this path. Reach out to your SHI Account Representative to get started.