Office 365 Professional Plus Overview

During the past few months Microsoft has enabled customer’s to create an Office 365 preview trial tenant so they can get a sneak peek at upcoming changes to the Office 365 service.  For those who may not be familiar, Office 365 is a service that includes Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Lync Online and the Microsoft Office client applications.   The Office 365 preview is based upon the upcoming 2013 platform upgrade that all current and future Office 365 customers will receive.

In this article I want to highlight one of the changes in the next version of Office 365 that many of my customers have expressed interest: Office 365 Professional Plus.  Office 365 Professional Plus is the name of the Office 2013 suite subscription service.  Office 365 Professional Plus includes:

  • Word 2013
  • Excel 2013
  • PowerPoint 2013
  • OneNote 2013
  • Outlook 2013
  • Access 2013
  • Publisher 2013
  • Lync 2013

Office 365 Professional Plus can be purchased as part of an enterprise Office 365 subscription or as a standalone subscription.  Purchasing the Office client as a subscription may be new to many customers and it is important to understand some basic differences between the traditional volume license purchase and a subscription purchase.

With a volume license purchase:

  • You own the rights to use the version of the licensed Office suite in perpetuity.
  • The license is a device based license.  Each license must be assigned to a single device.

With an Office 365 Professional Plus subscription:

  • You own the rights to use the current version of the Office suite only for the duration of the subscription.
  • The subscription to Office 365 Professional Plus is a user based subscription.  This means that each user of Office 365 Professional Plus must have their own subscriber license assigned.
  • An Office 365 Professional Plus subscriber can activate the software on up to 5 PC or Mac devices for their own use or the use of another Office 365 Professional Plus subscriber.
  • The license allows an Office 365 Professional Plus subscriber to use Office Home and Student 2013 RT for commercial use for the duration of their subscription.

For complete official licensing details, please contact you Microsoft account representative or refer to the latest Microsoft Product Use Rights documentation

With more and more employees working from home or using their own personal devices, the Office 365 Professional Plus subscription can be a more cost effective solution.  It can also enable users to have Office 365 Professional Plus on a home office computer which may help the employee be more productive or reduce training costs.

Not only does Office 365 Professional Plus come with some changes to the licensing terms, it also changes the way the software is deployed.  Office 365 Professional Plus uses a technology called “Click to Run” that provides new benefits over the traditional MSI installer.

The first benefit is that Office 365 Professional Plus can be installed side by side with previous versions of Office.  This can be a huge time saver for IT departments that want to quickly get the latest version of Office out onto user’s desktops.  Instead of starting a project to research possible upgrade issues, the IT department can push out Office 365 Professional Plus and allow the users to slowly make the transition to the new Office suite.  If any compatibility issues are found with Office 365 Professional Plus, the user can still be productive by using the previous version of Office which is still installed on their computer.  Once the IT department is comfortable that the employees are using the new Office 365 Professional Plus they can remove the previous version of Office.

The second benefit is that remote users or home users can install Office 365 Professional Plus directly from their user subscription portal.  Each subscriber will have access to an Office 365 portal that provides them quick access to resources and software included in their subscription.  The new “click to run” technology enables a user to start an Office 365 Professional Plus installation from the portal with a click of a button.  Within about 3 – 5 minutes (depending on their Internet connection speed) the user will be able to start using the Microsoft Office products included in the Office 365 Professional Plus subscription.  This installation process is much faster and easier than previous versions of Office. 

Below is a short 10 minute video that discusses and demonstrates the new Office 365 Professional Plus subscription.

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