Microsoft 365 was first announced at Microsoft build 2018. Used as an umbrella term, it was a logical way to easily bundle and sell Microsoft cloud platform licenses and windows products to organizations. Office 365 bundles were very much a part of that concept, whether you needed business or enterprise packages.
Two years later, we now explicitly see Microsoft 365 as the replacement branding for Office 365. As I mentioned in my previous blog in this series, Microsoft has been making this change gradually since the beginning of the new decade. To me, it makes perfect sense to consolidate branding. As Office 365 has evolved, it’s become more than the name suggests, and with it, the applications associated have become synonymous:
- Office apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
- Exchange (Outlook)
- Power Platform
Addressing the name was required, and Microsoft clarify the reasoning:
“We changed the name to be more reflective of the range of features and benefits in the subscription. Microsoft 365 includes everything you know in Office 365, including best-in-class Office apps, intelligent cloud services, and advanced security.”
Microsoft 365 vs Office 365
Although a gradual approach is common when looking to change a well-known brand, in the case of Office 365, I think it was a little confusing at first to change the individual parts. The Office 365 Developer Community (OfficeDev) changed to Microsoft 365Dev, but Office 365 groups stayed.
Two months later, Microsoft communicated office apps having moved under Microsoft 365, but on the official website, it said that Office 365 was now Microsoft 365. For me, at least, it made it a little tricky to communicate and was unsure what I should be calling Microsoft 365 and what was still Office 365.
For the average business user, it probably doesn’t make much difference, though. You identify with the applications that concern your everyday communication and tasks, for example, the Office suite, Outlook, OneDrive to upload your files, and SharePoint to collaborate on documentation. You can now throw into the mix rapidly adopted Teams usage, too.
The same could not be said for the technical team: developers – tasked with building business solutions out of the platform – and administrators, who must maintain it and enforce governance. Let’s not forget the platform owner, who is most likely in control of the licensing budget.
Communication is key
Depending on which Microsoft website you find yourself on, you do get slightly different information. One thing that does stand out to me is how the Power Platform is communicated. We know that there has been continuous tweaking of licenses through all last year regarding Power Apps and Power Automate, this can have a varying effect on cost depending on the size of your organization.
However, at the time of writing, there is no explicit mention of it on the Microsoft 365 home page or when digging a little further under the business licenses. It’s only when you arrive at the enterprise section and click through the individual licenses there that you find any information.
For the enterprise licensing, Aaron Dinnage shared this helpful info-graphic explaining the recent changes.
The May 2020 update to my Microsoft 365 licensing diagrams is now on GitHub.https://t.co/QN88OxBziW
A lot changed in the last couple of months, so remember to check the Change Log for more information and let me know if you spot any errors or have a suggestion!#Microsoft365 pic.twitter.com/QbjthepLPh
— Aaron Dinnage (@AaronDinnage) May 17, 2020
For the Microsoft 365 business plans, which were formally named Office 365, there are the following three tiers:
Microsoft 365 Business Basic
- Web and mobile versions of Office apps – Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote
- Email and calendaring – Exchange
- File storage and sharing – One Drive, SharePoint
- Teamwork and communication – Teams
Microsoft 365 Business Standard
All the above plus:
- Desktop versions of Office apps for PC and Mac
- Tools to build and manage your business.
Microsoft 365 Business Premium
All the above plus:
- Advanced security
- Device management
Where does platform governance fit in
As user adoption takes off, Microsoft 365 environments grow rapidly. Organizations will start with one area and quickly transcend into others as users become accustomed to what the platform can do to meet business needs.
The problem platform owners and administrators face is uncontrolled growth and orphaned resources as developers, power users, and business users begin to get experienced in platform functionality. It will lead to unpredictable costs and a lack of security overview if not governed properly.
Scaling Microsoft 365 governance to meet organizational processes, and those who carry them out is challenging as organizations must discover activity in their Microsoft 365 tenants and find an optimal way to report on the latest governance situations to all stakeholders.
This information must also be quickly acted on, for example, control relevant permissions, eradicate unused sites, and other governance protocols relating to existing business processes.
I recommend taking a look at Rencore’s Governance tool to scale your governance efforts. Choose what you want to track, build relevant reports, and automate with your business processes in mind.