Office 365 small business plans changes – simplified!

Microsoft have recently announced changes to the Office 365 Small Business and Midsize plans that will result in new benefits for small business users and cost savings to those currently on the Midsize plan.

Office 365 has a variety of plans from those aimed at individuals, families, small businesses through to huge enterprise solutions. Microsoft's aim in changing the small business plans is to simplify these options and give access to more benefits at a lower price point.

These changes will be introduced from October 2014. If you are a small or midsize business with less than 300 users, are using Office 365 or thinking about doing so, then read on to understand the changes.

For brevity references to OneDrive below all refer to "OneDrive for Business" – not to be confused with "OneDrive" [consumer edition!]

Overview of existing plans

Plan

Max users

Cloud services

Software *

Office Online (web apps) included

Small Business

25

Exchange, Lync, SharePoint, OneDrive

OneDrive app only

Yes

Small Business Premium

25

Exchange, Lync, SharePoint, OneDrive

Windows, Mac, iPad, Smartphones

Yes

Midsize Business

300

Exchange, Lync, SharePoint, OneDrive

Windows, Mac, iPad, Smartphones

Yes

Overview of new plans

Plan

Max users

Cloud services

Software *

Office Online (web apps) included

Business

300

OneDrive only

Windows, Mac, iPad, Smartphones

Yes

Business Essentials

300

Exchange, Lync, SharePoint, OneDrive

OneDrive app only

Yes

Business Premium

300

Exchange, Lync, SharePoint, OneDrive

Windows, Mac, iPad, Smartphones

Yes

New plans – simplified!

Plan

All cloud services

Software *

Business

No

Yes

Business Essentials

Yes

No

Business Premium

Yes

Yes

* Available software can vary across different platforms

New flexibility

Once the new plans are introduced, it will then be possible to "mix and match" plans for different users. Previously, one had to choose a single plan family for the whole organisation, for example all Small Business, all Midsize or all Enterprise. As much as these changes largely do not affect Enterprise customers, there may be some cost savings for those customers by making use of this new flexibility.

I am planning to sign up for Office 365 – which plan should I chose?

There are a whole host of factors to consider when deciding on which Office 365 plan to choose and due to the nature of a cloud service, these factors can change regularly. For this reason, iBizify.net offers a cloud review service to discover your business needs and provide a recommendation. Visit https://ibizify.net/cloud to find out more.

The new changes do make these decisions easier. For most of our clients, Business Premium would be the natural choice but there may be cases where a mix of the new business plans may provide a better benefit / cost ratio.

I am an existing Office 365 customer – what do I need to do?

The great news is – you don't need to do anything right away. Microsoft recommend seeing your existing subscription term through (for most customers, this is an annual subscription). You will be able to choose your new path upon your subscription renewal (probably in 2015). A typical choice at that point would be as follows:

Existing Plan

New Plan

Result

Small Business

Business Essentials

New benefits

Small Business Premium

Business Premium

New benefits

Midsize Business

Business Premium

Cost savings

If you make use of Access databases within your subscription or hold Lync meetings there are other changes coming that you should be aware of.  Contact us for more information.

We strongly recommend reviewing your business needs at this point to discover the best benefits at the lowest price point. iBizify.net can help with a cloud review. Visit https://ibizify.net/cloud to find out more.

Find out more

Book a cloud review at https://ibizify.net/cloud

Learn more about Office 365 and download datasheets and other resources at https://ibizify.net/365

Are you a Binger, Regular Tippler or Abstainer?

When it comes to your business how often do you sit down and invest time in learning something new? We all work very differently but a bit like drinking, your attitude to learning can affect your business. So do you fit into any of these descriptions?

Binger – There are long gaps between learning but something triggers a huge time investment – maybe some new software, a client needing something different, the competition raising the game. You immerse yourself and learn quickly, leaping forward, getting the changeover completed as soon as possible. And once you have learnt all you need you relax back and reap the rewards…until the next time.

Abstainer – If it wasn't for the fact that you can't do what you need to do without learning something new, you really would not bother. You normally know what you need to know and it's always worked in the past so you don't waste time until it no longer works. You wait as long as possible before changing anything and you may feel overwhelmed at the thought of changing software or your processes.

Regular Tippler – You like to feel you are not missing out – just a little learning each week to build your knowledge and master new skills. You like learning but have to balance it with your other business goals. You realise that new software can open up new possibilities in ways of working, efficiencies and savings but take a steady approach to change, learning and planning but always moving forward and exploring.

With most people it varies over time and you may fit in to all three categories depending on what you are learning about.  Where do you fit?

P.S. I went to a very inspiring talk at The Late Breakfast Chalgrove by Penny Mallory who challenged us to work outside our comfort zone – and I decided that it was time I did my first blog post and invited people to follow and share our pages. I shall pass on the challenge and say learn something new today!

The new .uk internet domain has arrived

Nominet – the authority of all internet domain names ending in .uk have today launched the new shorter .uk name. Previously it has only been possible to take a name ending in .co.uk, .org.uk or .me.uk.

Should I register or reserve a .uk domain name?

There are many who advocate having as many domain names as possible to capture more traffic and visits. Whilst it helps to have effective keywords in a domain name, what is far more important is the content behind those addresses. If content is irrelevant, poor quality or simply lacking, no number of domain names will deliver success on search engines.

You might simply want to register the .uk domain so that no-one else does. The good news is that to prevent folks from hijacking the .uk name of existing .co.uk addresses, all those with any existing Nominet name such as a .co.uk or .org.uk will automatically have the .uk name reserved for free until June 2019 after which time it will be offered to everyone. If you already share your .uk name with another organisation you should use the Nominet rights lookup tool to find out more. For example, you may be company.co.uk sharing with a charity that is at company.org.uk.

Finally, you may wish to register your .uk domain simply to offer a cleaner, shorter and simpler address for your visitors to use. The address will particularly look better in print than its longer counterpart. However, since many now find by search rather than tapping in full web addresses, this is not as important as it once was.

We suggest that there is no urgency for anyone to rush out and register their .uk domain, but if you have new domains to register for new businesses or projects then you should certainly consider the new shorter .uk domain as a possibility.

Find out more

Nominet have created a dedicated site that is very clearly laid out and explains the new additions and answers many questions. You can visit that site at:

http://www.dotuklaunch.uk/

Need help?

iBizify.net offer a range of domain management, web design, hosting and cloud services. If you'd like to find out what can be achieved please do get in touch

What are ‘hits’? (web analytics and statistics)

In your web visitor statistics or analytics package you may see data referred to as 'Hits'. These are often quite excitingly high numbers but do not necessarily relate to the number of actual visitors to your site and for the most part – should be ignored.

Confused? Let's work out how a 'Hit' occurs….

Hits are a technical statistic typically used to calculate or report on web server load. They are not something that would typically be used in marketing or sales, even though many do as the numbers are big and it sounds good.

When a web page is loaded into the browser, first the 'page' is loaded (one hit) then its code (one or more hits) and style information (one or more hits), then images (one hit each) until the whole page is rendered. In short, one visit or page view can produce many hits.

For marketing and sales purposes, the only basic / core statistics typically of interest are Unique Visits and Pages (sometimes called page views or impressions).

Once I saw an episode of Dragon's Den in which the guy being grilled impressed the 'Dens by declaring his new site was getting 10,000 hits a day. Now, if I built a single page website with 10,000 images on it (perfectly possible) and then got one person to visit it – I could easily claim the same thing. The moral of the story? Ignore hits!

Here is a bit more info on Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hit_(internet)

Important Microsoft name changes to know

Microsoft are always looking at ways of making products and branding clearer and sometimes this results in some product name changes.

Office Web Apps will become Office Online

Those of you who use SkyDrive and / or Office 365 will be familiar with the Office Web Apps – the best free online productivity suite that also works seamlessly with the renowned Microsoft Office suit. For some there has been some confusion about what constitutes a 'web app' and also how this relates to the apps on ones devices. For these reasons and more, Microsoft will be renaming the Office Web Apps to be known as Office Online, representing the family of Office Web Apps, with Word Online, Excel Online, etc. representing the individual products.

These changes will start to roll out in the coming weeks.

SkyDrive will become OneDrive

Due to a court ruling that claimed that the name SkyDrive infringed BskyB's trademark, Microsoft's online storage and collaboration platform SkyDrive will soon be renamed to OneDrive.

Exciting new developments

Whilst these name changes will not affect the services that Office and SkyDrive currently delivers per se, there are many exciting new features and developments coming from Microsoft in Q2/Q3 for Office Online, Windows Phone, Windows, Xbox, and more.

iBizify.net will as always keep in tune with these developments so its clients can be sure they are making the best use of the latest innovations. If you would like to find out more about how the latest technology can benefit your business, why not sign up for a free cloud review?

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In the meantime, if you would like to find out how the latest cloud technology can benefit your business and save you money, contact us for a cloud review.

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