Office 365 / Office 2016 Demystified

It’s fairly public knowledge that most businesses use some version of Microsoft Office, however recently Microsoft have been offering its product on a pay per month basis, as opposed
to buying it out right. As a business it can be daunting to wade through all of the different options on offer. In our experience we have found that most companies have bought into Office 365 and are not even aware of additional features that are available to them on top of the email and Office Suite applications.

Below is a list of some of the most common options available and the approximate costings. For this article we will be discussing Office 365 for Business. To keep it simple the Office 365 Office Apps and the MS Office suite is essentially the same products, the differences are the extras you get with Office 365.

In addition to the MS Office Apps, Office 365 can come with a host of extra features, including a 1TB cloud storage solution in OneDrive and the ability to share files in groups using
Sharepoint and Teams.

Here is a brief breakdown:

1. Office 2016: You can purchase a licence key (oem) for office 2016 for around £80 if you know where to look. You download the installer direct from Microsoft. This can only be registered to one PC, if the computer dies, you will need to buy another licence. Or there is the retail version for around £240. This will be transferable to a new computer should the need arise.

2. Office 365 Business essentials (around £4 per user per month): Only the online apps are available, you would still need to buy Office 2016, it is possible to use the online apps day-to-day but any broadband interruption would stop you working. Exchange onlineis also included giving you online access to your email account using either a web browser or email app (you would need to check comparability with Microsoft). OneDrive is also included and you can store and share documents from you desktop to the cloud.

3. Office 365 Business around £8 per user per month): Only the Office suite is included in this package, although the desktop apps can be downloaded, the only additional service is individual OneDrive accounts.

4. Office 365 Premium (around £10 per user per month): This is the best value package as it includes everything in the other 2 packages along with a whole host of extras.


If you invest in Office 365 you will pay a set monthly fee for your office apps/email, but you’ll never have to pay to upgrade Office again as software assurance is included in the Business and Premium packages. If you change computers you just login to download your apps and your back in business. You can go direct to Microsoft but it could be worth shopping around as the configuration can be a bit “techy” and Microsoft doesn’t include this.

If you buy Office 2016 it can work out much cheaper but consequently there will be limitations. Prices do vary a lot so shop around but beware of scams. Our advice is to try and buy from a Microsoft partner or authorised reseller.

*Note this is only meant to highlight the different versions of Microsoft office, there may be inaccuracies or product changes since publishing.

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