Office Pro 2016 vs. Office 365 E3: Which Version Is Best for Your Business?

Let’s face it, we’ve fallen into a world where subscriptions are being pushed on us left and right. Two-year cellphone contracts have turned into month-to-month charges, and buying Photoshop for a flat rate has turned into paying $20 a month for single app use. Reason says a flat charge, up-front, is more cost-effective in the long run; but is that really the case?

Let’s take a look at the features of Office Professional 2016 and Office 365 E3 to discover which is more cost-effective and beneficial to your business needs.

Office Pro 2016

Let’s start with Office Professional 2016, a product that is familiar and beloved by individuals.

For a flat fee, users get all the basic tools of Office including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access. Office Pro also allows collaborative workspaces so individuals can view, edit, and work together in real-time. Some of the features most beneficial with Office Pro 2016 include:

  • Insights for Office, powered by Bing, enhances your reading experience with relevant web information as you read Office files.
  • Templates from the Start screen do most of the setup and design, so you can remain focused on developing ideas and data.
  • Pull PDF content straight into Word. Open PDFs then edit paragraphs, lists, and tables as you would in Word documents.
  • Share PowerPoint presentations across the web via link-sharing or the free Office Presentation Service, so audiences can join from anywhere.
  • Embed Excel spreadsheets, diagrams, audio clips, videos, and nearly any other file type in OneNote notebooks. Notes are saved, searchable, and synced to OneNote apps on your other devices, so you can use or share them from anywhere.
  • Inline replies (positioned in the body of the original message) enable quicker response time in Outlook by simply typing your response in the Reading Pane.
  • Inline photo printing options in Publisher help you save time.
  • Access quickens data listing and summarizing from a related table or query by clicking an item to open a detailed view.

Office Pro 2016 seems best suited for home businesses or very small businesses, because of the restrictions that come with a flat-rate license. The Microsoft retail purchase of Office Pro 2016 runs at $399.99, and that’s it. One flat purchase gives you all of these features, but what if you want an upgrade? What happens when an updated version of Word is released?

Office Pro 2016 users benefit from software they are familiar with sans automatic upgrades. With a flat-rate purchase, users commit to the program, as upgrades necessitate a full purchase of updated software. It may be more cost-effective to purchase Office Pro 2016 up-front, but prepare to commit to that purchase, for at least a few years, to justify the cost.

Office 365 E3

How does the shiny new Office 365 E3 compare to Office Pro 2016?

The immediate turn-off for individuals would be the subscription-based payment. For $20 per Microsoft user per month, the initial cost is unappealing unless you have a medium to large-scale business with multiple users. Beyond the pricing, E3 has incredible benefits - one of the top being that it is completely cloud-based.

All users need is a Microsoft account to access their workspace from any device at any time. The subscription also has automatic updates for apps, so if a new version comes out, users have immediate access to the latest and greatest.

Another downfall, at first sight, is the loss of familiarity. Users who make the switch to E3 may be overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of apps and functions. With a little research, however, E3 can provide amazing benefits for businesses including:

  • Advanced email: Use archiving and legal hold capabilities, plus unlimited storage, for compliance needs. Use data loss prevention (DLP) policies and policy tips that educate your users for additional compliance enforcement in email.
  • Document and email access control: Rights Management Services enables you to restrict access to documents and email to specific people, and to prevent anyone else from viewing or editing them - even if they are sent outside the organization.
  • Online Meetings: Host online meetings with audio, HD video, and web conferencing over the Internet. Join meetings with a single touch or click from the smartphone, tablet, or PC of your choice.
  • Meeting Broadcast: Broadcast Skype for Business meetings on the Internet to up to 10,000 people who can attend in a browser on nearly any device. Optionally include Bing Pulse for real-time polling and sentiment tracking, and Yammer, to enable dialogue during the broadcast.
  • Hub for teamwork: Connect your teams with Microsoft Teams in Office 365, where chat, content, people, and tools live together, so your teams have instant access to everything they need.
  • File storage and sharing: Get unlimited tooltips with information about OneDrive for Business unlimited storage plans for storage that can be accessed from anywhere, on any device. Easily share documents with others inside and outside your organization, and control who can see and edit each file.
  • Corporate social network: Yammer collaboration software and business applications allow your employees to connect with the right people, share information across teams, and organize around projects so they can go further, faster.
  • Work management: Planner makes it easy for your team to create new plans, organize and assign tasks, share files, chat about what you’re working on, and get updates on progress.
  • Enterprise management of apps: Simplify management of apps in your organization with Group Policy, Telemetry, and Shared Computer Activation.
  • Web and mobile app development: Quickly build and publish custom business apps for web and mobile with PowerApps. Choose from templates or start from scratch to extend your business data – no coding required.

This is really just scratching the surface with E3. Administrators have the ability to assign apps to individual users, so that their workspace has only the essentials and less clutter. Also, there are advanced IT controls to manage and automate tasks. While the cost seems like it would take a toll, the monthly or yearly subscription gives you a ton of features that could transform the way you do business.

Which Is Best?

In the end, it still comes down to preference. Users who want familiarity, consistency, and cost-effective planning can stay “married” to their software purchase with Office Pro 2016; and users looking for more features, more flexibility, and more progression can purchase Office 365 E3 for their business.

Trusted Tech Team is an accredited Microsoft CSP Direct Bill Partner, carrying multiple Solutions Partner designations and the now-legacy Microsoft Gold Partner competency. Based in Irvine, California, we report trends affecting IT pros everywhere.

If your organization uses Microsoft 365 or Azure, you may be eligible to receive a complimentary savings report from a Trusted Tech Team Licensing Engineer. Click here to schedule a consultation with our team now to learn how much you can save today.

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