Get the best value from your Office 365 licensing

Microsoft offer a wide range Office 365 plans to meet the needs of every organisation regardless of size, type and location. Whether you’re already a user or are thinking about using Office 365, understanding the subscription model will help ensure you make the right plan choices to get the best value over time. 

Office 365 subscriptions link a user to an organisations Office 365 Tenant. If a user leaves the organisation there license can be reallocated to a new person. You can also add or remove additional add-on subscriptions and reallocated different subscription types between users e.g. change a user from an Office 365 E1 plan to E3 plan if you have a license available. 

Common Enterprise Plans 

Enterprise plans (E plans) are suitable for organisations with 1 or more users (no upper limit). Organisations can choose a mix of plans for example E5 Plans for Leadership and Finance teams, E3 for back office and mobile sales team and E1 for front of house team members within the same tenant. 

E1 Plan core features include Microsoft Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Office Web Applications, OneDrive for Business, Yammer, Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Flow and Microsoft PowerApps.  This plan is for online only users and is great for front line workers who don’t need full desktop applications. Users can access the mobile apps for iOS and Android devices e.g. Word for iPad. 

E3 Plans include everything in the E1 Plan plus Desktop versions of your favourite Microsoft Office applications Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote and Outlook. Users always have access to the latest versions of the Office desktop applications. This option is great for those users who need full desktop applications. 

If you have additional requirements around security look at the E5 Plans which includes both advanced security features and PowerBI Pro. 

Office 365 Enterprise plans 

Common Small Business Plans 

Office 365 Business Plans (B plans) are suitable for organisations up to 300 users. B Plans have a lower monthly subscription than the E Plans above but have less functionality. Small business plans don’t include Yammer and have a 50GB mailbox limit per user.  

Like the Enterprise Plans, you have a choice of online only or full desktop subscriptions.  

Office 365 Business Essentials is an online only version including Exchange Online and SharePoint Online and web-based office applications. 

Office 365 Business Premium includes all of the features of Office 365 Business Essentials with the addition of desktop versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, OneNote and Outlook. 

If you out grow the small business plans, you can upgrade to Enterprise.  

Office 365 small business plans 

Popular Add-ons 

Office 365 also includes a variety of subscriptions which can be assigned to a user either stand-alone (they use only that service) or as an add-on to existing subscriptions e.g. Office 365 E3 plus PowerBI. 

Here is an incomplete list of the options: 

  • Advanced Security 
  • Dynamics 365 Plans  
  • Exchange Online Plans (email only users) 
  • Flow Plans (additional per month allocations) 
  • PowerApps 
  • PowerBI (free) 
  • PowerBI Pro 
  • Project Online 
  • SharePoint Online Plans (SharePoint Only) 

Five ways to save money! 

There are substantial savings to be made if you mix and match your Office 365 subscriptions based on user needs rather than having a single standard. E1 plans are roughly a third of the subscription cost of E3 per month. 

Look closely at the features provided in B Plans vs E Plans. If you are a smaller business unlikely to reach 300 users, the B Plans will give you considerable savings over time.  

Do all your users need all features? If you have email only users consider Exchange Online only plans. Also look at the differences between PowerBI Pro and PowerBI free plans. 

You can also look at monthly vs annual subscriptions. Monthly subscriptions cost more but can be cancelled with 1 months’ notice. If you have a seasonal work force this is worth considering.  

Keep track of your subscriptions. Make sure when users leave your organisation the subscription is taken off their account. This makes it available for a new person joining, saving you from purchasing licenses you don’t need. 

Microsoft also has special pricing and plans for non-profit and education sectors.  

Next steps 

Make time to plan your Office 365 project including an analysis of the different types of users and their requirements. Evaluate the cost per user over time to get an understanding of your long-term budget commitment. 

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SharePoint Designer won’t connect to SharePoint Online

Quick post about a problem I had connecting SharePoint Designer 2013 to SharePoint Online with Modern Authentication.

The login screen would keep prompting for a login but not accept the username and password that worked when connecting via a browser.

The fix is to add the following registry key entries to enable modern authentication on Office 2013 applications.

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Common\Identity]

“Version”=dword:00000001
“EnableADAL”=dword:00000001

Full details here:

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Enable-Modern-Authentication-for-Office-2013-on-Windows-devices-7dc1c01a-090f-4971-9677-f1b192d6c910

 

Comparing Word Document Versions

The versioning capabilities in SharePoint document libraries are great for managing document approvals and if disaster strikes, rolling back to a known good version.

Microsoft Word’s Document Comparison feature takes this capability to the next level, allowing a visual comparison between two versions of the same document. This has many use cases. I’ve used this recently to compare versions of a contract document to identify changes may by another editor.

Here’s a short demo of document comparison and SharePoint versioning.

I’ve demonstrated this capability to a variety of people in legal, policies and management roles recently. It’s another good reason to work with documents in SharePoint.

You can also access the feature directly from Microsoft Word via the Compare button in the Review tab of the Ribbon.

How to compare documents

 

Word Templates in SharePoint Document Libraries

One of the features I love in SharePoint is the ability to link a Word document template to a Content Type. This is a real time saver if you’re creating documents from templates frequently. It also encourages people to save their documents in the right place.

Here’s a demo I created showing how to create a template that uses fields from the content type.

Steps:

  • Enable Content Types in the Document Library Settings, Advanced Settings
  • In Microsoft Word, create a Document Template and save it to the Document Library
  • Create a Content Type and add any custom fields
  • Right click the template document and Edit in Word (not Word Online)
  • Add the Metadata Fields by choosing Insert \ Quick Parts \ Document Properties
  • Save the template
  • Right click the template in the Document Library and download a copy
  • Edit the Content Type (in Document Library Settings) and in the Advanced settings, upload the template document downloaded in the previous step

The template should now appear in the ‘New’ options in the Document Library and Files tab of the SharePoint ribbon.

Document templates can also be created using other Microsoft Office applications e.g. Excel and PowerPoint.

There are all sorts of places this feature can be used. In my own work, we use it to ensure the correct document templates are used for things like contracts, proposals and technical documentation.

How to create a Template in Microsoft Word

Introduction to SharePoint Content Types

SharePoint Hub Sites at DWCNZ

The Digital Workplace Conference is New Zealand’s conference for SharePoint and Office 365. It covers a wide range of topics related to Office 365 including plenty of SharePoint, Teams and PowerApps content. Follow the #DWCNZ hashtag on Twitter.

My chosen topic was SharePoint Hub Sites, a few feature for connecting related modern Teams and Communication sites, rolling up content and sharing themes and navigation.

I agenda for my presentation was:

  • Modern SharePoint Sites
  • Hub Sites Overview
  • Things you need to know
  • Demo : Hub site walk through
  • Demo : Creating and Joining Hub sites
  • Creating a Hub Site
  • FAQ’s

Thanks to everyone who attended my session, asked questions and caught up with me throughout the conference.

download my presentation slides

 

 

Creating a SharePoint Hub Site

Hub Site functionality is rolling out to “Targeted Release” Office 365 customers now, so it I thought I’d give it a quick test.

Step 1: Check you are on “Targeted Release” in the Office 365 Admin Console > Settings > Organisation Profile.

Step 2: Go to SharePoint Home from the App Launcher and create a new Communication Site. Microsoft recommends using a Modern Communication site.

Step 3: Register the new Communication site as a Hub Site (via PowerShell)

Step 4: Create a new Modern Team or Communications site to test with

Step 5: In the new site, choose ‘Site Information’ from the settings cog (top right) and select the Hub Site created in step 2 and 3.

To test the functionality I created a news article in the site I created in step 4 and after a few minutes the news article appeared in the Hub Site.

Done!

 

 

 

 

 

 

SharePoint Hub Sites Coming soon

Microsoft has officially announced Hub Sites via the Office 365 Message Centre, the first real news since Ignite in 2017. Hub Sites are designed to dynamically connect closely release sites, bring together similar projects, manage related assets and present activities in a single place.

Hub Sites address one of the big pieces of the puzzle when it comes to building a modern SharePoint environment. Modern Communication and Team sites can be associated with a Hub Site, providing a way to present content from these sites in a single place.

  • Roll up news from Communication sites
  • Consolidated view of site activities from associated sites
  • Search scoped to the sites associated with the Hub Site
  • Display ‘site cards’ similar to the SharePoint home page (click SharePoint from the Office 365 App Launcher)

Sites that are associated with a Hub Site can inherit configuration including:

  • Navigation
  • Theme
  • Logo

Some additional details of Hub Sites is included in the FAQ’s and Hub Sites blog comments:

  • Hub Sites can’t be associated with other Hub Sites
  • Hub Sites are create by a SharePoint Admin
  • Site Owners can join a Modern Team or Communication site to a Hub Site
  • You can unjoin from one Hub Site and join another easily
  • Permissions do not flow down from Hub Sites
  • News cannot be filtered. All News rolls up at this stage
  • The SharePoint Mobile App will be updated to support Hub Sites

There isn’t much documentation on Hub Sites available yet, but Microsoft are set to release new resources over the next few weeks including general documentation for setup and configuration, along with intranet strategy and planning resources. This documentation is general released at the same time the feature starts rolling out.

The new capabilities Hub Sites bring to SharePoint Online will encourage more organisations to consider Modern SharePoint over Classic.

This Webinar by Mark Kashman, is a great overview of Hub Sites

Hub Sites are due to start rolling out at the end of March 2018 with all organisations having this feature by the end of May 2018.