Interview: Questions About Office 365 Licensing

Understanding the rules about Office 365 licensing can be very complicated. In an effort to help you understand some of the new licensing quirks that exist, we sat down with our Director of Service Delivery Yancey Paslay to get some clarification on Office 365 Licensing. If you are looking for a list of interview questions for an Office 365 Administrator, check out our blog post from March 2016.Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 3.57.14 PM

Interview: Answers to Questions About Office 365 Licensing


How do Office 365 Prices Compare to Traditional Perpetual Licensing Models?

“One of the biggest differences between Office 365 and previous versions of Office is that it is a subscription-based service. One of the things this means is that you don’t see a price drop, like most of us who are familiar with traditional EA’s and Software Assurance are used to seeing when it is coming close to time to renew licenses. On the other hand, many of the costs that are associated with on-premise Office models can be offloaded to Microsoft’s cloud, such as the administration of Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync servers. Additionally, you no longer have to pay for costs associated with traditional software updates, as those are now handled automatically.” 

Questions_about_Office_365_LicensingWhy Would I Subscribe to Software Instead of Purchasing it?

“One of the biggest reasons I think this model pays off is that Microsoft allows you to install Office 365 on up to 5 devices. Just being able to access your work on your phone or tablet instead of only one device having the software to support it makes a huge difference. They have also provided online storage with OneDrive and free international calling minutes with Skype.”

Once I Migrate to Office 365, Will I be Able to go Back to on-Premise?

“Because the Office 365 migration involves switching from perpetual licenses with Software Assurance to a subscription-based licensing model, moving back is more complicated than just switching services. You would have to have the same number of licenses as you did when you switched off perpetual license model, and not had any lapses in SA coverage.”

Why Should I Set my Microsoft Partner of Record?

“Office 365 ties your subscription license to a Microsoft Partner. This has no affect on your license itself, and costs you absolutely nothing. If you select a good partner, you should get much more out of this than a ‘transactional’ partner would provide, and often times they can help you reduce your total cost of ownership through supporting your migration and ensuring you get the licensing options best for your needs. This additional support and insight is a great value add to an organization.”

What is a CAL Bridge?

“The CAL (or Client Access License) Bridge was designed by Microsoft to help organizations transition on-premise workloads to the cloud without compromising their enterprise licensing rights. Each CAL Bridge consists of workloads that are not included in the client’s corresponding Office 365 service plan. For example, Office 365 Plan E1 gives users licenses to SharePoint Server, Exchange Server, and Lync Server while Core CAL Bridge for Office 365 provides licenses to Windows Server OS, System Center Configuration Manager, and System Center Endpoint Protection.”

If I don’t need all of the Office 365 Services, Can I purchase individual cloud services separately?

“Yes, many of the Office 365 cloud services can be purchased separately. These include Microsoft Exchange Server hosting, Microsoft SharePoint hosting, Microsoft Lync hosting, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM hosting which is currently bundled with Office 365. However, if you can make use of them, it is much more cost effective to bundle these services.”

Can I License Office 365 for my iPad?

“Yes. Apple allows free downloads of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint from the iTunes store. These apps offer many of the same functions and processes as desktop versions. However, the free versions only allow you to view these files. Office 365 E3 or E4 subscriptions allow you to edit and create work.”

What Other Types of Mobile Devices Support Office 365?

“Office 365 comes ready to be used on a number of mobile devices. The services supported vary between difference devices and device families. Microsoft put together a list that allows you to compare Office 365’s abilities on different mobile devices, and that list should be able to provide the information you need around your specific phone or tablet.”

Can we Combine Office 365 Plans to Meet our Specific Needs?

“To a certain extent, yes. However, combining different plans is only permitted within each of the three plan groupings: small business, midsize business, and enterprise. In other words, a small business can purchase any combination of plans within the small business category. This same fact is true for midsize and enterprise plans as well. However, a business could not combine plans with, for example, the small business plan and plans from either the midsize or enterprise group.”

Microsoft Has Put an Offer on the Table for us to Move to Office – Should we take it?

“Transitioning to the cloud may be the right decision for your business, but you need to make sure that you do your homework before committing. I recommend bringing in a Microsoft partner or other software advisor who can provide you with un-biased information regarding your business migrating to Office 365. Sure, Microsoft can be very helpful in the process, but they wont be able to provide independent verification on your needs. Reach out to someone who can help you make an educated decision before you decide whether or not to move forward.”


Do you have any other questions about licensing we can help you with? Let us know!

By | 2017-03-24T13:47:43-04:00 November 12th, 2015|Technology Tips & Tricks|

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