The following is an excerpt from Office 365 For IT Pros written by a group of experienced MVPs led by industry expert Tony Redmond. It is a comprehensive (+1,000 page) must have eBook for any Office 365 admin and the only guide constantly refreshed to remain current with Microsoft’s stream of updates. The eBook is available in EPUB, PDF, and Kindle versions.

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This is the fifth post in our Unpacking Office 365 series. Check out the others below!

Microsoft 365 is an integrated bundle of Windows 10, Office 365, and the Enterprise Mobility and Security suite (EMS), packaged in different forms to meet the needs of different customer sectors. Building on the experience of Office 365, Microsoft launched Microsoft 365 as a subscription service in July 2017 to make it more attractive for customers to buy a complete set of products. Although Office 365 is part of Microsoft 365, it is not replaced by Microsoft 365, and continues to be sold separately.

Variant Target market Components
Microsoft 365 Enterprise Companies with more than 300 users. Windows 10 Enterprise Office 365 (E3 or E5) EMS
Microsoft 365 Business Small to medium companies (up to 300 users). Windows 10 Business Office 365 Business Premium EMS
Microsoft 365 Frontline Customer service and support workers Windows 10 Enterprise Office 365 F1 EMS
Microsoft 365 Education Educational establishments Same offerings as for Enterprise, Business, and Frontline.
Microsoft 365 Non-Profit Non-profit organizations Same as Microsoft 365 Business.
Microsoft 365 Government U.S. government and state agencies Same as Microsoft 365 Enterprise (E3 and E5 bundles). 

No difference exists in the Office 365 functionality available in the Microsoft 365 plans over what you get in the regular Office 365 plans. When Microsoft 365 was launched, it was simply a matter of bundling several software packages together.

This isn’t a bad thing, because if Office 365 proves anything, it shows how more functional technology can be when multiple applications are available. Microsoft Teams, for instance, cannot work if Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office 365 Groups, and OneDrive for Business are unavailable.

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As time passed, evidence like the replacement of the Office 365 Administration Center with an upgraded console that includes different aspects of other Microsoft 365 components reflects how closer integration across the suite is happening. The same is true in the Security and Compliance Center.

Looking back, this progress is like what happened as Office 365 progressed from being a loose collection of barely cloudified on-premises applications to an integrated ecosystem. That progression took the best part of six years; it’s hoped that the integration of Microsoft 365 will happen sooner.

Over time, it is likely that an increasing percentage of the Office 365 base, particularly in medium to large enterprises (over one thousand seats) will decide that their best licensing arrangement is one built around Microsoft 365. Many of these customers already license Office 365 and the Enterprise and Mobility Suite because they want to use managed devices and advanced Azure Active Directory features alongside Office 365, so the progression to full-blown Microsoft 365 is not hard.

According to a statistic cited by Microsoft EVP Scott Guthrie during a keynote at the Worldwide Partner Conference in July 2016, some 40% of enterprise Office 365 tenants use EMS. By September 2018, the number for the EMS installed base cited by Microsoft had grown to 82 million. If we assume that most of these users also use Office 365, the evidence is that growing percentage of enterprise customers use both EMS and Office 365, which also shows the logic behind packaging them together in Microsoft 365.

Want to learn more? Check out Tony’s website where he covers the most important aspects of Office 365 for IT pros.


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