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Microsoft 365 Business OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Microsoft 365 Business is #1 ranked solution in top Mobile Device Management (MDM) tools and #5 ranked solution in top Content Collaboration Platforms. IT Central Station users give Microsoft 365 Business an average rating of 8 out of 10. Microsoft 365 Business is most commonly compared to ManageEngine Desktop Central:Microsoft 365 Business vs ManageEngine Desktop Central. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a comms service provider, accounting for 36% of all views.
What is Microsoft 365 Business?

Microsoft 365 Business is an integrated solution, bringing together the best-in-class productivity of Office 365 with advanced security and device management capabilities to help safeguard your business.

Microsoft 365 Business was previously known as Microsoft 365 E3, Microsoft 365 E5, Microsoft 365 F1, MS 365 Business.

Microsoft 365 Business Buyer's Guide

Download the Microsoft 365 Business Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: November 2021

Microsoft 365 Business Customers

Urban Agriculture Co., The Detroit Wallpaper Co., TransBlue Facility Management, Garner Food Company

Microsoft 365 Business Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Microsoft 365 Business pricing:
  • "Pricing can vary a lot due to fluctuations in exchange rates and that is not favorable for planning."
  • "Microsoft 365 Business will be good to have if you have a large organization where you have more than 3000 employees. Other cheaper solutions, like Gmail, are easily available in the market."
  • "USD $1,250 annually for the standard package."
  • "Now you can select different licenses, for example, if somebody doesn't need all of the features, it would cost $8 USD per month and if they didn't need the email application then it would cost $6 USD per month."
  • "We do monthly billing, however, I'm not sure what the exact costs are. We may pay around $1,000/month. We started using the Microsoft Teams and we've started doing the conference call feature, so that's another $4 an account and we have a few accounts using that right now."
  • "The price of the Microsoft 365 Business is fair. It is a great suite of products, but then there are other great products on the market as well. The main concern is competition. With Microsoft generally, it comes down to what people have become familiar with, what people have grown up using when they were younger, and when they are older. It depends on the actual adoption of the environment that they work in. The price is not an issue, it is about what people are used to using, and what they are familiar with is what influences their purchase."

Microsoft 365 Business Reviews

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RicardoPedro
Northern Europe IT Business Intelligence Manager at Adecco
Real User
Top 5
Very stable, great for collaboration, and can scale easily

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution can scale up or down easily to meet the needs of any organization."
  • "It would help, if, in the beginning, there was an onboarding process to show how to set it up properly or how to set up the things properly, or how to have the support they need or the guidance on how they should deploy it. In some cases, there are things that are not so crystal clear."

What is our primary use case?

From an Office 365 perspective, I would say that Teams and SharePoint and Planner are the most used. What Office 365 offers as a package is what is being at this moment used in the organization for us to work. At this moment, we are not so physically in the office. The majority of us are working remotely and across countries, across regions. The way for us to collaborate together and work together was by using more and more of Office 365 components.

What is most valuable?

Previously, you had the inconvenience that if you sent an Excel file to someone, you could not work together on the same file, and now you can. With the components that we have available, several people can be working on the same document, at the same time, doing the changes, doing the updates that they need to do. It makes the collaboration and the work more efficient.

We can touch base with our clients and we can touch base internally with our solutions without impacting the work or suffering from a lower speed. The performance and the efficiency of our planning and roadmap are extremely good.

The solution can scale up or down easily to meet the needs of any organization.

The solution is stable.

The initial setup is pretty straightforward.

Technical support is quite helpful and responsive.

What needs improvement?

It would help, if, in the beginning, there was an onboarding process to show how to set it up properly or how to set up the things properly, or how to have the support they need or the guidance on how they should deploy it. In some cases, there are things that are not so crystal clear. The platform is evolving all the time. It's not that you have, let's say, a quarterly release or a yearly release. Every month there's always something new. That's the reason why it's sometimes difficult to follow up as, in different components, in different areas, the features are evolving also.

They need to give more guidance or some video training or try to understand more what the organization is trying to build or accomplish and assist them on their journey. That sometimes is difficult. The companies, for example, sometimes don't know where they want to go. Only after a few years do they have some certainty. IF a big package is being offered to a company, they should be able to sit the decision-makers down and say "Okay, this is what we have. This is what the tools can do, what the tools can offer you." It would give them really important insights. If they have those insights, then they can make a more, let's say, clear decision.

They should show more examples or POCs. They should be able to say "Okay. I can show you, for example, how this solution was beneficial for our Coca-Cola client." I know Microsoft has several clients with various solutions. It's just a question for them to show the portfolio of each solution, and how the solution was going to develop, and how the solution was deployed to those organizations. Then, potential clients can say "Oh, great. I can reuse this solution for my organization." They don't need to think about how they would use the features from scratch when they can have already something that was, let's say, POC developed.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using the solution for years at least at this point. It's been a while.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable. Even when multiple people are working on the same document, you don't get any sow downs. There are no bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze. It's reliable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is very scalable and the company is evolving to meet the demands. Microsoft is constantly providing packages and creating packages the allow for more efficient collaboration. They have options for small, medium, and large companies. It suits businesses of all sizes and makes everyone's life much easier. 

We do plan to continue to use the solution.

How are customer service and technical support?

We've dealt with technical support in the past, and they've always been very good. They are knowledgeable and responsive. We're satisfied with the level of support they provide.

How was the initial setup?

It's my understanding that the initial setup is straightforward. It's an IT process. Since it's a cloud solution, every machine has it. You just need an organization email account which allows you to create an account. All the products are automatically assigned to you. The product is based on a subscription model which allows companies to level up or level down depending on the profile of the user. You can offer the user a certain package, or you can offer him an enterprise-level option with basically everything. That way he can have more components and more functionalities that allow him to do his work.

We had found members of the technical team that handled deployment.

Deployments depend on the company. You may need some security, some administrative individuals, or some IT or ServiceNow team members to keep up with the requests or changes or updates that are required to be done in the tool. Depending on the package that we're talking about or depending on the options that you have, not all the users have admin privileges. Random users therefore may need to make a request from an admin user, and that has to go through a ServiceNow process. Everything depends on how the organization wants to set up that structure. 

You need someone with an Office 365 background or an administration background, to be able to install what is required or to know what is required. You need someone from a security perspective to make sure that there is no breaches. You might need someone for the network also. 

You may need some SharePoint administrator if it's, let's say, topics related to SharePoint. You may need a Teams administrator if it's related to Teams. You may need someone with, let's say, Power Automate or Power Flow expertise and knowledge to also answer those inquiries. It's a deck of people that may be required. If they are going to, let's say, govern the full Office 365 package,  you may need the different people with different expertise or different knowledge across the different components and of each product. 

What about the implementation team?

Our IT team handles the implementation and deployment. When they give the laptop to us to work, they already have installed all the components there. Of course, there are certain components that you can install separately. For example, Power BI. You need to install it separately. However, the Power platform, Power Flow, Power Automate, Microsoft Teams, are already incorporated into the Office 365 account. Since it's a cloud solution, it is installed by default based on the user profile that the user has.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I use this solution in a larger organization. They have an enterprise-level package.

The cost depends on the package. If you're working on an E3 license, it depends also on the contract that you have with Microsoft. There is the standard package if you don't have your own business and you are an independent user so that you pay the cost of markets. However, if you are a large enterprise, usually there's an agreement between vendor management and Microsoft to say, "Okay, we have this amount of people. We want this cost more or less to be applied." The cost usually is less than what is in the higher in the market. It differs from contract to contract.

At this moment, we have a great contract with them. The cost that we're paying for it is affordable. The only thing is, some companies may need some additional support, and for Microsoft to follow up with the evolution on the platforms that they have. Sometimes the companies lack some knowledge or some experience.

What other advice do I have?

At this moment, due to the COVID situation, the majority of the things that are being used in the organization are related to Office 365 products. There was a big expansion of Microsoft Teams, for example, and it's one of the most used components inside the organization. We use it not only for meetings but for other tasks such as importing Power BI reports inside of Microsoft Teams.

We have the solution deployed both on-premises and on the cloud. Right now it's more cloud-driven. In the past, there were some things that were on-premise components. At the moment, due to COVID, almost everything is cloud-based. That allows the collaboration to be more efficient. That means you can have several people working on the same document or the same space at the same time. 

We're using the latest version of the solution.

I would recommend this solution to other companies. 

I would rate it nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Danilo Jumá
Director Comercial at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 20
Onscreen help and an improved user interface make this suite an improved standard business solution

Pros and Cons

  • "The interface is now more user-friendly than the previous versions of Microsoft Office."
  • "Bandwidth usage is not always the same depending on the network connection."

What is our primary use case?

I am not a technical person, I am from the sales side and more on the commercial side of things. Our company is in Mozambique and we are the main Dell EMC repair center and service provider.  

My main use case for Office 365 is really to type documents with Word, to prepare presentations with the PowerPoint, and also to do spreadsheets with Excel. The product in the suite that I use the most is Word. PowerPoint and Excel to a somewhat lesser extent. But I do use all three frequently.  

We also resell the product so we do deployments for our customers as well.  

What is most valuable?

With Office, the interface is now more user-friendly than the previous versions of Microsoft Office. The functionality and ability to work offline are also great. There are more helpful tools in the interfacer now. For example, if you are working with Excel and you are typing a formula, Office 365 gives you tips as you work if you do something wrong. It will identify what is wrong and then you can apply the corrections. Things like that make the product more intuitive and helpful. The previous version did not have that kind of help to this extent. So, the most valuable features are the ability to work offline, the ability to have tips when writing formulas, and the improved more user-friendly interface.  

I believe one thing I enjoy more about the experience of using the product is that it now the basic features that I use most frequently are easier to find, access, and manage. This helps to make my work easier and speed up productivity.  

What needs improvement?

Microsoft could still work on the bandwidth used with Office 365. It does not seem to behave the same depending on the networks that I am working on. Sometimes I can tell the program uses more or less bandwidth and actually measure the difference. I believe that this can be enhanced to be independent of the network that I am working on. The bandwidth consumption should always be about the same.  

Some features of specific products could be more user-friendly. For instance, in Excel, some functionalities like the Pivot tables are not always so easy to use. Right now if you want to create a new formula, you need to have some knowledge about programming in Visual Basic. It does not seem to me that this should be a requirement. So you can type a command and then set up a new formula that is not listed on standard functions supplied with Excel. For users who do not understand the basics of programming and VBA, that really becomes an impossible mission. They may know that they can create a formula and what they might want it to do but they do not know how to do it. So if they do not find the formula in what is provided, then they really have to forget using Excel for that type of solution. If they knew how to do the programming they can do virtually anything through Excel, but they need to have the ability to do the programming and develop the formula. It does not really have to be that way. Microsoft could expand those capabilities.  

One final issue we have has to do with the backups. Microsoft does not assure the backups of the information that you store at their data centers. So besides deploying Office 365 as a solution, you also need a backup solution specifically for Office 365 on the cloud. We definitely recommend Office 365, but unfortunately in our country — specifically for the public companies — it is not easy to sell because we have some strict policies and regulations regarding data. Public companies cannot store information outside of the country. So, since Microsoft Office 365 is a Cloud product some public companies can not go for that option. They still have to work with previous versions of the product. Private sector companies do not have this type of restriction. We can only recommend the product when interested customers can do it within the proper guidelines.  

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Office 365 for about one year now.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Office 365 is a stable product. Besides the issues with the bandwidth use where sometimes the product uses more bandwidth depending on the network, it performs well and it is very stable and very reliable.  

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have done sales and installations for SMBs (Small and Medium-sized Businesses) as well as for enterprise companies. The issues with scalability would be budget and Internet bandwidth. If the money is there it is not an issue.  

How are customer service and technical support?

My technicians deal with Microsoft support if they have to. Mostly they will take care of issues themselves. They have a dedicated contact and a direct portal for support purposes. So that is great. If a technician needs to open a ticket for a customer, the technician can open himself and go straight to the support portal to log the tickets and carry on from there. In terms of response time, I am not exactly sure because I am not directly involved.  

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Previously, I was using Microsoft on a version from 2016. So it really is not a complete switch of products as it is still the Microsoft solution. It is just a newer version.  

How was the initial setup?

I do not think the installation was easy but that is because we have around a hundred users. I did not manage the installation, but I heard from the technical guys that it is generally easier than the previous versions. We signed an enterprise agreement with Microsoft. With that, we got the keys and we got the centralized management panel from where we deploy the Office on all the endpoints. So this made it easier. For the previous versions, the technical guy had to go to each user machine to make the installation through a compact disc. But with volume licensing installation is centralized and the IT manager deployed remotely to the endpoints.  

What about the implementation team?

We handle the setup and the deployment in house. We have a separate team with more-or-less 30 technicians. Some of them are specifically certified on Microsoft products through the partnership that we have with Microsoft. So, depending on the infrastructure that our customer has, we can send out as many as three technicians if it is to be deployed for say 200 users. When we need to do a mailbox migration, most of them have to be migrated at the same time. In that case, we allocate two to three technicians to do it as quickly as possible. If we are talking about enterprise companies with 1000 users — depending on what the customer requires in terms of delivery time — we might allocate as many as 20 guys. It is more likely we will allocate 10 guys. It basically depends on the customer's requirements.  

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing for the product is a bit of a tricky question. In terms of the total cost of ownership, I can say that it is expensive. It is a fair price, but in our country or another country with economies similar to  Mozambique, the pricing structure may be a little high and prohibitive. The first issue is the volatility of the exchange rate because our currency, the Metical, is very volatile related to the dollar. The problem here is the customer has an agreement and when he realized that he wants to add some other applications or services or something else, he has the expectation of price based on what he signed on the first agreement. But when he sees the new price, it could become a lot higher than expected because of the exchange rate. It would be nice if somehow Microsoft had some flexibility with the initial agreement so that pricing would not fluctuate dramatically because of the exchange rate.  

Another thing that factors into the pricing is that the Internet connection and Internet bandwidth is still very expensive here in Mozambique. So it is not always an easy decision to make the migration to Office 365 due to these two variables.  

What other advice do I have?

I recommend the Microsoft Office 365 product to clients. We are able to do proofs-of-concept with clients who are interested and carry forward from there.  

On a scale from one to ten where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate Microsoft Office 365 as eight-and-a-half.  

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
Learn what your peers think about Microsoft 365 Business. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2021.
554,586 professionals have used our research since 2012.
JM
Project Manager at a healthcare company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
Good product with many solutions but has a lot of bugs and needs some enhancements

Pros and Cons

  • "Microsoft 365 Business is a really good product. Microsoft provides many solutions like Microsoft Teams, which is useful for Team utilization across the globe, especially in this COVID 19 kind of scenario. If you enable the enhanced security in Microsoft Teams by using the given options, you can eliminate the third-party solutions like WhatsApp, Telegram. You can easily share your communication, which is much better. You can also collaborate. For example, instead of creating an Excel sheet on your local PC and sending it across to someone over email, you can just share it. SharePoint is one of the best tools to be implemented."
  • "There are a lot of bugs, which I don't know how many people have come across. In Microsoft Teams, when you share any screen, I can't see much because the Microsoft Teams Window takes the majority of the space. A task section comes up and then below the screen, a list with the names of the people you are collaborating with comes up. When you have to share the screen, you get a small window, which also depends on the screen resolution of the person seeing it and sharing it. You basically need to have an extendable monitor and display unit to see the bigger screen. There should be a full functionality for changing the desktop screen to full screen. That would really be fantastic. This is surely going to be a critical area. If you see Zoom and Cisco WebEx, you get the full wider screen. In Microsoft Teams, voice quality can be made much better. I think the codex part can be something on which they can work further. In Microsoft Outlook, the GUI is years old, which is boring and makes you want to switch to the postal way of sending emails. They must change the GUI. I am a bit skeptical about the promises that are made by Microsoft. Even though Microsoft makes promises that your data will reside on the servers within your country. I don't think it is so, and the corporate data, the governmental data, and the patient data are still in Europe. In terms of the land laws, even if I have an agreement with Microsoft that my data should not be shared with any other countries, at the end of the day, the data is residing on some other land. So, the land laws of that particular country have the right to have access to the data that is residing on the server of a particular continent. So, the government can intercept the data. That's why I'm a bit skeptical. However, so far, no cases have come up related to this, but one day, it may come up. I hope Microsoft will find out a permanent solution for that. People are becoming more aware of privacy."

What is our primary use case?

Currently, we are using Microsoft 365 Business purely as a mailing solution and just for storing the data on OneDrive.

What is most valuable?

Microsoft 365 Business is a really good product. Microsoft provides many solutions like Microsoft Teams, which is useful for Team utilization across the globe, especially in this COVID 19 kind of scenario. 

If you enable the enhanced security in Microsoft Teams by using the given options, you can eliminate the third-party solutions like WhatsApp, Telegram. You can easily share your communication, which is much better. You can also collaborate. For example, instead of creating an Excel sheet on your local PC and sending it across to someone over email, you can just share it. SharePoint is one of the best tools to be implemented.

What needs improvement?

There are a lot of bugs, which I don't know how many people have come across. 

In Microsoft Teams, when you share any screen, I can't see much because the Microsoft Teams Window takes the majority of the space. A task section comes up and then below the screen, a list with the names of the people you are collaborating with comes up. When you have to share the screen, you get a small window, which also depends on the screen resolution of the person seeing it and sharing it. You basically need to have an extendable monitor and display unit to see the bigger screen. There should be a full functionality for changing the desktop screen to full screen. That would really be fantastic. This is surely going to be a critical area. If you see Zoom and Cisco WebEx, you get the full wider screen. 

In Microsoft Teams, voice quality can be made much better. I think the codex part can be something on which they can work further.

In Microsoft Outlook, the GUI is years old, which is boring and makes you want to switch to the postal way of sending emails. They must change the GUI.

I am a bit skeptical about the promises that are made by Microsoft. Even though Microsoft makes promises that your data will reside on the servers within your country. I don't think it is so, and the corporate data, the governmental data, and the patient data are still in Europe. In terms of the land laws, even if I have an agreement with Microsoft that my data should not be shared with any other countries, at the end of the day, the data is residing on some other land. So, the land laws of that particular country have the right to have access to the data that is residing on the server of a particular continent. So, the government can intercept the data. That's why I'm a bit skeptical. However, so far, no cases have come up related to this, but one day, it may come up. I hope Microsoft will find out a permanent solution for that. People are becoming more aware of privacy.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using Microsoft 365 Business since 2009. 

In the initial stage of Microsoft Office 365, I was working with a major automobile company in India. We were given the opportunity to evaluate the solution completely in and out. It was a cloud-based solution, and our business or traveling users were eager to have this kind of solution. The expenditure as compared to the in-house solution was much lesser. There were many bugs at that time. Now, it's very good for one product.

Then I joined a multinational conglomerate, which was into a lot of businesses such as oil, shipping, large estates, and so on. Everything was there under one entity. We were successful in rolling out Microsoft 365 Business over there. 

In my current organization, I was given the opportunity to evaluate Microsoft 365 Business, and we started to use it.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I would say it is super. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is one of the best. Currently, we have around 8000 users. 

How are customer service and technical support?

My team had contacted them, and they said that it's very good. From the support aspect, basically, you have to get a paid one. If you don't have any good enterprise agreement, it takes nearly eight to nine hours for them to come across a problem and solution. It lags in support. That's all. You have to pay a lot of money.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

In my current organization, we were using an open-source free product Zimbra. Of course, an initial amount was paid for the licensing part. Because it was open-source, there were a lot of spams, and there was no protection for the email. Finally, a word was put across to my colleagues who were evaluating different products, and I said that Office 365 is the best one to go for. I was given the opportunity to evaluate, and it came into existence.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very straightforward. It's a plug-and-play kind of scenario. It's very easy, but not as easy as Apple products.

The migration part from Zimbra took a long time, around three to four months. The deployment took around two to three weeks. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Microsoft 365 Business will be good to have if you have a large organization where you have more than 3000 employees. Other cheaper solutions, like Gmail, are easily available in the market.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Microsoft Exchange is very good, and people are used to it. Gmail will be a big competitor for Microsoft later on when Gmail moves out of the comfort zone they are currently in. 

Gmail lags a lot as compared to Microsoft Office 365, which is very neat, clean, and easy to deploy. Any admin with one year or six months of experience can easily deploy Microsoft Office 365.

What other advice do I have?

Even though this is the year of the cloud, I will suggest that instead of the cloud deployment, go for the in-house deployment.

Microsoft 365 Business is the best when your business is growing up and you want to collaborate using these tools. In my current organization, we don't explore Microsoft 365 Business much. If you see the Microsoft product portfolio, our utilization is just 10% as of now, which probably is applicable to most of the organizations. It is being used just for mailing and the ATP. Our administrators haven't enabled anything else and aren't interested. The joint collaboration is not there, and people are not looking into that aspect. 

We are just using a product like Microsoft Teams just to make calls so that the telephone bills don't increase. We use chat for easier corporate communication and so that we don't have to type emails. However, there are many further uses of Microsoft Teams. There may be some companies, which are utilizing it a bit more. These are many products that you can integrate and make use of the investments. The monthly payment, which you are making, to buy and maintain this product can be over-utilized.

Microsoft can also start promoting what can you do more with this product. Currently, they're only telling that this product is available, but they are not specifying how you can collaborate and integrate with other products.

The software companies are taking advantage of bringing AI, which can work. I promote AI, but it should be used for convenience, not for replacing or eliminating mankind.

I would rate Microsoft 365 Business a seven out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
JR
Business Intelligence Specialist at a tech vendor with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
Great architecture, easy and intuitive with a competitive pricing structure

Pros and Cons

  • "Cost-saving, easy and intuitive"
  • "No assistance with initial setup."

What is our primary use case?

As a business intelligence specialist and business owner, I primarily use the standard apps in this solution. I enjoy the fact that there's a smorgasbord of additional apps that make for great productivity within the business - especially when you realize what all the apps can do for your business.

How has it helped my organization?

MS365 Business has offered me a robust infrastructure with the out of the box standard offering but also provided amazing apps and features to encourage growth in other areas of my business.

What is most valuable?

I like that the standard solution is easy and intuitive. It's worth taking the time to go and poke around all the other apps, though. 

There are rules of engagement that are important to know and it can be overwhelming at first if you're never been a Sysadmin. The Apps within the solution provide different business functions so you don't have to hire anyone - you can actually do most of it yourself. It's a huge cost saving for a small business and with the subscription, it's actually much cheaper than buying the products outright, as you would have had to do in the past. You can get everything you need for a reasonable price e.g. if you wanted, say, five features/ functionality you'd pay between $100 and $1000 for each, potentially spending close to $5000 once off but then next year arrives and you need to buy the next version and again you're spending precious funds. Instead, with subscription plans, you get between ~20 features/ functions. My plan, plus the add-on Apps costs my business $12.50x2 + $30 +$9.99  per month = $780 annually - the key is TODAY'S cash stays in my pocket.

You have to buy licenses for everything, but the pricing structure is very competitive. From a small business perspective, there's lots of advantages to going with 365, because not only are you getting the standard tool set to actually just run a standard business, but you're getting add-on Apps/features that open up opportunities that you might not have thought of and... the realization that you don't have to pay another entity because you can do it yourself e.g. sway and bookings

What needs improvement?

I think where Microsoft could help with the product is to perhaps have an agent/ comprehensive start up video, that can assist with the initial setup since you're now dealing with several admin panels. You can learn it yourself but there are certain tips and tricks that could much more easily be communicated in a conversation. For example, know that if you go into an admin portal, you're going to need five things; and you need those five things before you go into the portal and they each may need their own setup/initiation.

I submitted a good few support tickets early on because some of it was a bit overwhelming. When you're a small business and you suddenly realize that there are various admin portals which all do different things and you set something up in this portal and then you have to go set something up in another portal and connect the dots. If you don't know to do that and you haven't yet read ALL the documentation, it can be very overwhelming and you can feel a little lost. But once you get your head around it all, it's quite brilliant - the architecture and how they set everything up in the background.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the MS365 Business standard plan for two months. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of this solution is superb. No issues. Just know that when you make updates or edits in the admin panels, the change(s) may not take effect instantaneously, in some cases.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I haven't tested scalability as we are a new business, just starting out. There is only one other person working with me and I purchased two licenses even though the other person in the company doesn't yet use the product. You have to have one license per user even though each user gets to load it/ use the license on several other devices. It might be a waste but I wanted to do the right thing. It would be helpful if they provided an option for two licenses so you could legitimately have it on a second computer. 

I've bought additional licenses for other apps because my business is going to be delivering a very comprehensive business intelligence/ project management service offering. I expect to expand use and embark on several upgrade routes available to me, when the time is right.

How are customer service and technical support?

Very responsive, thorough and professional. Just be aware that they have teams with specialities and they don't cross lines e.g. I needed help with Power BI so you have to specify that in your ticket or deal with a generalist who will not be able to help you. I learned to state the product first then state your issue.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I've used Google in business as well, and I like the ability of being able to collaborate that they offer, but Microsoft 365 actually fixed that and you are now able to collaborate in the documents e.g. Word and Excel. So I really didn't see the need to stick with Google. The only thing that Microsoft wasn't able to deliver for me was photo and video organization/editing. Even if you're not a photographic business, you do still take photos and videos for your business. I do still use Google for all my photos and images.

How was the initial setup?

The intial setup was very straightforward and took me less than an hour but all the administrative elements can take longer, depending on what you choose to do. You need to configure it with all it's variables and that can take extra time. The basic setup to just start work, was super quick. If you have a powerful computer it's about the download time and then some setup time. It's the Sysadmin leg of work that was a steep learning curve for me.

What about the implementation team?

Handled it by myself with great support from a very responsive MS365 Tech team.

What was our ROI?

incredible. Very lower startup cost.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

For the standard plan, the cost is USD $12.50 per month, committed annually. There are often discounts offered versus month to month.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I wanted to stick with the best and only evaluated all the different price plan options. For my size and stage of business the standard option offered everything I needed, plus some.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution a 10 out of 10. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Imad Awwad
Group IT Manager at a manufacturing company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Good collaboration in office applications that are consolidated in a single interface

Pros and Cons

  • "You can have conference calls with different parties using video and voice."
  • "The security sites need to be simplified and the technical support needs improvement."

What is our primary use case?

This solution is used for everything, the task, and the teams. It is a collaboration of all of the applications that are found in Office 365, but with one interface in which you can communicate between people.

We have some that have been deployed on a hybrid cloud, others that are just cloud, and some that are hybrids with an Active Directory that is on-premises and connected through Windows Azure. It connects to the cloud to sync all of the users from our campus.

For email assistance, or SharePoint or for sharing drives, it is all the cloud.

How has it helped my organization?

One of the O365 applications that made a huge impact is the Microsoft Teams that enhanced our communication in sharing files with online modification and execution helped in focusing our conversations and divide them into channels to have an efficient and effective output. Also chatting has been evolved to be not only sharing text but also solving problems instantly due to the ease of communication (Chat, Voice, Video). Work-From-Home became much easier then you can even imagine with O365.

What is most valuable?

These are the main things that help the business collaborate.

  • At the same time, you can share files, you can send emails on the spot, and you can also assign meetings on the spot.
  • You can have conference calls with different parties using video and voice.

It saves a lot of time. When opening a new business, you need the main server, file sharing, and you need to secure them.

Not only to have them there on-site or on-premises, you need to have them backed up, and archived. So rather than going for a new place, with a new Internet, we go to Cloud and it will provide everything that we need.

You're not restricted to a certain place or certain country. You can work from any place on Earth, from any device, without having your laptop.

This is one of the main factors, and that it is secured. This is also a big advantage.

They have already made some improvements to the interface and dashboards that have made a positive impact.

What needs improvement?

The security sites need to be simplified and the technical support needs improvement.

In the next release, I would like to see the management of the security features become more user-friendly.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This solution is stable.

In our team, we don't have many users. We are in the early stages of migration.

Other companies that I work with have approximately three hundred or four hundred in different countries and the other sites I have one hundred and fifteen to one hundred and thirty users.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This solution is scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support needs time to understand your problem to help you, because of the language barrier. It takes time to solve certain things.

In the Gulf area, most people call in Arabic and want to translate to English. The problem is the Technical support does not understand English well, so it takes time to explain what the problem is when it could be a simple issue to resolve.

This doesn't represent all of the technical support, maybe 75% is good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We have Google. Google is good, but I was not familiar with the application and the tasks because most of the time I have worked with Microsoft. They have the same features, but I didn't find that Google was easy to work with applications.

They have evolved a lot but there are still some laps between them like an on-premises exchange and Lotus Notes.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward.

Within thirty minutes you will have your site up and running, including emails and shared folders.

Even if you need more options, like profiles and hierarchies, it is straightforward. You just go ahead and add them.

For a new business with twenty people, you will need approximately two or three days maximum to have all the sites up and running for all services.

What about the implementation team?

I did the implementation myself. I did not use any vendors or integrators.

What was our ROI?

The return on investment is very high for companies whose work is based on communications.

This is targeted for countries with unstable internet. As an example, in our region you don't know when the internet will go off, we have now been without the internet for over a week. This is a problem for people who have on-premises deployments and need to connect to the internet.

For new businesses, rather than having a lot of servers, they can go online. Most people have 4G on the mobiles so they can just search it on their mobile. The Internet is not an issue.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

After the last update that was made, you are not obliged to take the same license for all of your users. For example, if you go for E1 it is $12 USD per month for every person.

Now you can select different licenses, for example, if somebody doesn't need all of the features, it would cost $8 USD per month and if they didn't need the email application then it would cost $6 USD per month.

What other advice do I have?

This solution requires a lot of money. It's a huge expense and it's a concurrent expense. You don't just pay it once, it's going to be continuous and you pay annually.

Unless there is a huge impact on the business, then it would be worth going for it. If there is no impact on the business then you can use it on-premises and work with the old office.

I would recommend this solution for newly opening businesses that need collaboration and communication that requires the internet but doesn't need a fixed place to work. They should go with Office 365.

They are going to pay every year but they will be saving a lot of money for electricity and maintenance for the telephone, voice, VOIP, IP telephones, internet, and subscriptions.

The security is also important, it's not exposed to everybody. 

You won't need an IT department because one person can handle everything.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Marty Rizzo
President at Northcoast Research
Real User
Top 20
Seamless outsourcing of email servers, very scalable, and overall quite reliable

Pros and Cons

  • "The two biggest value adds of the solution are having the ability to outsource the email and not having to manage the email server. It's just seamless. Having the most current versions all around and having things updating frequently by themselves ensures that everybody's got access to the same software."
  • "The ability to manage the updates a little better would be helpful. Sometimes end-users will get a prompt in the middle of the day that they have to update. When there's a new update, then their system automatically starts to reboot, which can be ill-timed. Having a little more control over that would probably be welcome. Notices in regards to updates and being able to manage the timing around them or to be able to do it at off-times would be helpful."

What is our primary use case?

The main thing we use the solution for is being able to outsource everything in the cloud while having the Exchange hosted. Having the Exchange and not having to manage the server and being able to deploy it wherever we have to is useful. We did have a number of people that traveled frequently prior to COVID. We have a handful of people that work out of their homes in various parts of the country, so having solutions that were accessible via the cloud was sort of a direction we started to migrate to several years ago in the Office 365 environment. 

How has it helped my organization?

The solution ensured we would never have to be premise dependent so it didn't matter where we or our employees were, or if something happened to the office. If we didn't have access to the office, we still had that access to all of our tools. We're very much a small firm so we use a lot of software services versus building our own things. We like using things that are already made.

What is most valuable?

The two biggest value adds of the solution are having the ability to outsource the email and not having to manage the email server. It's just seamless. Having the most current versions all around and having things updating frequently by themselves ensures that everybody's got access to the same software. 

In the past, we had a lot of problems with who was updated and so forth. It eliminates that problem and allows us to put it on multiple devices. It's a pretty good offering from that respect.

What needs improvement?

The ability to manage the updates a little better would be helpful. Sometimes end-users will get a prompt in the middle of the day that they have to update. When there's a new update, then their system automatically starts to reboot, which can be ill-timed. Having a little more control over that would probably be welcome. Notices in regards to updates and being able to manage the timing around them or to be able to do it at off-times would be helpful.

As we get into SharePoint and so forth, they could do a better job of giving you some guidance on the very basics as to how to get started. They have a lot of stuff when you're using it, so getting some foundational knowledge as to what to consider when laying it out and how to approach it would be helpful.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using the solution for more than five years. I can't remember exactly when we originally implemented it.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is very good. It's been very stable and I haven't had any outages or things of that nature, so I'm pleased with it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We're a small company, however, I'm familiar with other users at larger companies and they've been very pleased with the scalability. Especially people that I've talked to noted that all of a sudden this became the main thing that they were using during this work from home social distancing trend. I've heard a lot of positives about that, which is one of the reasons that we're looking to implement Teams and we're just trying to get some information on the right way to do it.

Therefore, we're hoping to expand into Teams and SharePoint and use more of those tools. We started out with the basics and we use it enterprise-wide. We're hoping that we can continue to expand into it as much as possible.

How are customer service and technical support?

I've had very limited access to technical support. Mostly, our IT team handles any issues. Therefore, I can't really speak to the quality of there service, as I've never really dealt with them.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup wasn't complex. It was mostly straightforward. We had a few hiccups with getting emails. It wasn't as seamless as it should have been with the initial setup of the user's email so that took a lot of one on one work with our IT staff who were constantly working with the end-users to get the phone and computer and everything all connected. However, since the original deployment, setting up new employees has been better.

The problem for us was that the automatic setup didn't work the way it should have. Typically, you just put in the password and it automatically sets everything up. IT had to go in and tweak things on people's accounts. From my perspective, and again, this was five, six, seven years ago, I remember it was more of an issue with how Microsoft reacted as opposed to what we were doing.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We do monthly billing, however, I'm not sure what the exact costs are. We may pay around $1,000/month.

We started using the Microsoft Teams and we've started doing the conference call feature, so that's another $4 an account and we have a few accounts using that right now.

What other advice do I have?

We're Microsoft customers. We aren't resellers or consultants.

We have a fairly robust version of the solution, although I don't recall the exact version number offhand. 

In terms of what I would advise other organizations, I would say it's worthwhile and I would do it as quickly as you can because for what you get, it's a really good bang for the buck while being pretty easy to use. 

I'd rate the solution nine out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
MC
Managed IT Services Provider at a tech services company with 1-10 employees
Real User
Top 5
Professional support, plenty of features, but could be more intuitive

Pros and Cons

  • "Microsoft 365 Business has an abundance of features."
  • "Google Docs and Google Sheets are much more flexible than Microsoft 365 Business software. Additionally, I have found one of the biggest issues with any of the Microsoft management platforms is they are tremendously unintuitive. However, you get used to it, you accept it, and you work away on it."

What is our primary use case?

Microsoft 365 Business is used within businesses for all the Office applications within the package. The reality is most of my clients are using Google Docs or Google software but some clients need to have an offline solution. They will have Microsoft software that synchronizes to the cloud.  Microsoft 365 Business comes with all the Office software, such as OneDrive, Outlook, and Exchange.  It is good for collaboration and sharing. The largest benefit today is that it integrates with Teams which is quite useful and the overall integration is good.

What is most valuable?

Microsoft 365 Business has an abundance of features.

What needs improvement?

Google Docs and Google Sheets are much more flexible than Microsoft 365 Business software. Additionally, I have found one of the biggest issues with any of the Microsoft management platforms is they are tremendously unintuitive. However, you get used to it, you accept it, and you work away on it.

Google is much more versatile, and they provide a different experience. That is not to say that they are better or worse.

The solution could improve on the synchronization. The synchronization depends on the time of the day and what is happening in the USA. For example, when Americas wakes up, everything slows down at that point but it is to be expected. Sometimes it can take up to 24 hours to synchronize changes. The same is true for Google but they do it differently. There is a lot less frustration around Google Workspace than there is around Microsoft 365.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Microsoft 365 Business for approximately a couple of years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is stable. However, the problem with Microsoft, in general, is the management platform is incredibly slow. The synchronization and platform can be very slow because you have one platform with probably millions of dependencies, this can affect performance. You do not have these issues with Google, G Suite, or Google Workspace. When you make any kind of change to Microsoft 365 business, nine times out of ten, it is going to work. It is a very complex platform but it does not have to be.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Microsoft 365 Business is scalable enough.

I have approximately 50 customers using the solution. The majority of my customers are using Google Workspace.

How are customer service and support?

Microsoft technical support is good. A lot of the time I know more than tech support, but that is only because I have been using these solutions for a long time. You have to go through the process to get technical support similar to any big company. They are professional and good communicators. However, it is a bit of a lengthy process to actually get to where you need to go, this is something you have to accept. There are different levels of support and you have to follow the process which is understandable.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have used Google Workspace.

How was the initial setup?

The implementation of Microsoft 365 Business is easy. You have an installer, you deploy it, and it installs offline. You can also access the solution through the portal.

What about the implementation team?

I have been involved in the implementation of the solution. I work with other companies and their IT departments to oversee the operations. I help with configuration changes, some training, and anything else they might need.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The price of the Microsoft 365 Business is fair. It is a great suite of products, but then there are other great products on the market as well. The main concern is competition. With Microsoft generally, it comes down to what people have become familiar with, what people have grown up using when they were younger, and when they are older. It depends on the actual adoption of the environment that they work in. The price is not an issue, it is about what people are used to using, and what they are familiar with is what influences their purchase.

Customers can sign up for an annual commitment where they are paying monthly, but it is an annual commitment. I mostly sell annual commitment and it is paid monthly. Which allows them in certain situations to roll the license over. For example, If someone leaves the company, then the license can be allocated to somebody else without having to buy an additional license.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I have evaluated other solutions.

What other advice do I have?

I have been using Microsoft for over 20 years and when you use Microsoft for a certain period of time, you get used to the way they do things, whether or not you like it, it does not matter. Microsoft is not the most intuitive of platforms, with regards to their Azure cloud. From a UX point of view, I would rate it approximately a six or seven out of ten. However, from a functionality point of view, I would rate it approximately an eight out of ten.

If someone is looking for a fully integrated solution that is not Google, then the next best choice is Microsoft 365. From a cost point of view, Google Workspace and Microsoft costs are not complicated anymore. Microsoft does become more expensive when you start adding on features. Google does not have that issue. I mostly recommend Google Workspace over Microsoft. The only reason somebody would want Microsoft over Google is that they are used to the Microsoft desktop applications. Microsoft Azure is not the most user-friendly platform compared to AWS, for example.  Most of the time, I recommend Google Workspace.

I rate Microsoft 365 Business a seven out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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NK
Principal Architect at Microland Limited
Real User
Easy to use and scalable, with lots of new features added regularly

Pros and Cons

  • "It is easy to use."
  • "If Microsoft could do something about data loss prevention, that would be ideal."

What is our primary use case?

The solution is used heavily at our customer's end. Our businesses involve consulting in a lot of stuff related to accounting and other various business aspects. They are heavy users of Office 365 applications such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and, of course, Outlook. Outlook is the lifeline of this business. All business communication happens through it.

What is most valuable?

It is easy to use. 

It's mostly stable. There are no issues.

Support can be reached easily. 

They are constantly adding new features every week or every month or so. They really think about what the customers need and they work to build that into the product.

The scalability has been good. 

What needs improvement?

We had some hiccups where people would inadvertently send things out to external parties. When they realized, they just blame Outlook for being at fault, however, they do not think of themselves as a problem. They do not try to make changes to the behavior that they follow. That's why we are trying to figure out what other solutions are out there - to see which could probably aid end users. We need something to stop them before they send out an email to an external party. If they're prompted to check before sending, we can prevent data from getting leaked out to external parties. I'm not sure if that's a feature that could possibly be added to Outlook.

If Microsoft could do something about data loss prevention, that would be ideal. There needs to be more than just the capability of flagging an end-user.

Of late, the support has been very patchy at Microsoft's end. It's been like this for about one to two years now. From a support perspective, if you want to rank how good the support is, it's probably around seven at this point in time.

There used to be a lot of articles, however, they've dropped off or have gotten removed and therefore there's less available knowledge online. They need to work on building up their documentation again.

The solution could always be a bit more secure.

If there was a way to make the product more intuitive, that would be helpful for the end-users.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using the solution from the start - when Microsoft started with 365. At that time, it was Office 365. Prior to that, it was called Exchange Online. I've been there from the start. It would probably be six to seven years plus of experience that I have with 365.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is a stable platform. If any issues come up, Microsoft is able to fix them quite easily. Some issues take time. That depends on the complexity of the product. However, overall, from an enterprise standpoint, we are pretty satisfied with Microsoft.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is scalable. Microsoft is based on a cloud platform. Therefore, anytime we have new users or a new company that is onboarded into our organization, we are able to do it pretty easily. It doesn't take a lot of effort and Microsoft is there to help us out if there are deployment issues.

We have hundreds of thousands of users on the solution.

There are hundreds of people who are in our engineering department and some of them are outsourced. There are more than, I would say, 500 people who are involved in M365. The exact numbers I don't have.

How are customer service and technical support?

Support is okay, however, it could be better. Over the last few years, I have noticed it is not as consistent as it once was. That's an aspect they could improve.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is something I do not deal with. That said, it's a straightforward install for end-users and we have SCCM and Intune that helps in the installation process. Intune is not being used. It's mostly SCCM that is used to deploy applications. Implementation is something that a different group does. I cannot say how good or how bad the experience is. It's my understanding that it just depends.

A couple of years back, before I joined the company as a contractor, they made the switch to Exchange Online. They had a dedicated subscription. There's a public cloud and a private cloud. They have some sort of a private cloud where they have specific servers allocated to this firm. A couple of years back, around three or four years back, the company decided to move out from that into a completely public cloud. Now, the firm is on an entirely public cloud.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The product's cost is based on a monthly license per user. We pay a certain amount per month, per year and that's about it. That's all I know from licensing perspective. It is monthly that it is billed.

What other advice do I have?

I'm a consultant.

Basically, you sign up for the service, you get your email account, and then you get access to something like SharePoint, Teams, and other Microsoft services. It's a complete solution within the cloud.

The product is pretty perfect. I'd rate it at a ten out of ten.

I would say other enterprises should use the solution. A lot of enterprises are using Microsoft 365 because of its strengths and the way new features are released. A lot of customers like us are interested in trying out new products and new features as they come.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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