How does subscription-based versions of Office differ from what you currently have? (Part 3 of 11)

Welcome to our Microsoft 365 Migration Series! Last week we explored the different Microsoft 365 business licenses that could be beneficial for your company. As you continue on your Microsoft 365 migration, we’re here to help answer some of the most important questions to consider as you make this step toward business success! Such as: How does subscription-based versions of Office differ from what you currently have?

Having seen the subscription-based versions of Office 365, you may be wondering: How does subscription-based versions of Office differ from what you currently have? One major way they differ from their packaged purchase counterparts is that they are constantly updated directly from Microsoft. This updating process happens on the first Tuesday of the month during Microsoft Windows updates. As the updates are rolled out, you automatically get the new features and benefits in Microsoft Office for that month. Automatic updating has both benefits and drawbacks.

On the positive side, automatic updates are great for your end users as they always have the latest software on their computers and can immediately use the new features. In addition to immediate productivity, your technical folks don’t need to run around the office and install patches manually – the software is automatically updated with new features, bug fixes, and security fixes.

On the negative side of things, since it’s always updated your end users may be subject to occasional bugs or new features that are not working correctly. If your office staff also uses Terminal Services or Remote Desktop Services (RDS), the copies of Office on terminal server devices will not automatically update each month. Your systems administration or IT team would need to update those. Another potential downside is if a company is in a disconnected environment or in a highly regulated environment where the machine configuration is supposed to be “fixed at one point in time” and software can’t be updated without having the computer re-validated for security or regulatory settings.

Furthermore, Microsoft also has programs where you can use the subscription-based software in the context of an enterprise agreement. For instance, if your enterprise agreement runs over a three- or five-year period, instead of installing the non-subscription versions of Microsoft Office on your computers, you can install the subscription versions on your computers. This gives you the benefits of automatic updates, security patches, and feature releases, while still paying Microsoft on your three – or five-year payment terms as negotiated in your agreements.

Still have questions about Office 365 or Microsoft 365 licensing? Contact our Microsoft licensing experts and we’ll answer your questions. In the next part of this series, we take a look at where your data is stored when it is migrated to Office 365.


by Tim Malzahn, Malzahn Strategic

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