In the last few days Microsoft has reduced the price on it’s already low hosted email and apps offering. What does that mean for you? It gives more options which is always nice and keeps your cost down (which doesn’t hurt either). So the next question is, “which plan should I pick?”. To that I answer, “it depends.” Whether you like it or not, that’s the way all consultants should answer that type of question!

First, let’s look at the costs:

  • E1: $8 per user per month (previously $10)
  • E2: $14 per user per month (previously $16)
  • E3: $20 per user per month (previously $24)
  • E4: $22 per user per month (previously $27)

Below are 5 basic questions to get you started:

1.  Do you need email archiving? (Law office is a good example)  If yes, than you need E3 or E4.

2. Do you want to rent a “full” version of Microsoft Office? This allows you to: 1.) always be on the latest version  2.) free  up a little cash flow.  If yes, than you need plan E3 or E4.

3. Do you need to collaborate with staff? Yes, than all plans have basic collaboration tools like Sharepoint and Lync.    The $4 plan does not because it’s basic hosted exchange.

If you just need basic hosted Exchange with calendar, contact and email sharing than you can get away with $4 mailbox.  However, that means no video conferencing, Sharepoint and other collaboration tools.  Not a big deal for most businesses as basic Exchange functionality is enough.  They usually supplement with more robust solutions such as Gotomeeting and Webex and just share out the basics.

4. How much support do you need from Microsoft? If you would like 24 x 7 support than P1 plan is the only one that DOES NOT support around the clock.

5.  Do you need advanced voice integration? Personally, I don’t think that the Microsoft voice stuff is fully baked; however, I feel that way about a lot of Voice over IP (VoIP) offerings.  Having worked with VoIP in it’s infancy (the 90’s) I have seen the technology mature; nevertheless, there are many variables in it’s correct implementation.  Just be aware, if you want excellent voice quality than you’ll need to add more money to the pot.

That will help sort out some of the basic pricing questions that need to be asked.   Once you’ve decided pricing makes sense than you can talk about migration from existing hosted provider or moving away from on-premise.  You may find that the nature of your business does not lend itself to an off-premise solution.  Whether your email is on or offsite it doesn’t take a rocket scientist and we can certainly help.  To see a full list of feature and pricing from Microsoft go here.     -BW

Categories: Cloud