Plan for long-term flexibile working
Adopt tech & ditch office overheads
It isn’t surprising that Microsoft Teams has been widely adopted in recent months. The rapid take up has been required across education to business to be able to continue operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This has got businesses seriously rethinking the need for their currently unoccupied and in future underutilised office spaces, due to social distancing health and safety measures restricting the number of employees in one place at the same time. Employees have had to settle into the ‘new normal’ home office set-up with success, due to the speedy adoption of communication and collaboration platforms like Microsoft Teams.
We’ve been using Microsoft Teams since it was released in 2017 – going on to help many organisations use Teams to improve business productivity, telephony, file sharing and collaboration.
Another driving factor in the rapid adoption of Teams is down to the Teams exploratory licence – offering organisations to set up an extended trial of Teams enabling organisations to use, configure and start embedding into their organisation.
Alongside this, in March 2020 Microsoft were quick to release a “free trial” for the Microsoft E1 subscription, extending the productivity the cloud based platform offers through features including Teams, email, browser based Office applications, SharePoint and Exchange Online to name a few. Why? The idea here is you get familiar with using Teams and Microsoft 365.
What can I use Teams for?
You’re likely to know at least some of the things you can do with Microsoft Teams. And the list of features and integrations keeps growing. At the time of writing this, you have the ability to show up to nine participants in a single video call, however this will soon be 49! Then there’s popping out chat windows and sharing documents – this is just the tip of the iceberg.
But here’s some of the lesser known, but very useful capabilities that you can leverage with Microsoft Teams:
- Runs as a desktop or web application, in a browser or an app on a mobile device
- Has over 250 integrations with other popular applications, meaning that you can integrate CRM for example to have a single view
- You can invite guests to meetings who don’t have a Teams license
- You can use it to store and collaborate on your organisation documents – no need to search about in the file share back in the office or use a VPN to get to it
- You can leverage the security built into the Microsoft ecosystem – including using multi-factor authentication
- You can extend Teams to allow dial in voice conferencing and with the correct license type
- If you add calling capability to your license plan (minimum license level is Microsoft Business 365) you can replace your telephone platform. Specific Teams handsets and conference phones are also available for the office
- Teams is highly configurable, allowing you to limit what certain staff can do as one example, through to embedding functionality such as Forms or sharepoint intranet sites
When does the Teams free license end?
You can expect the Microsoft Teams exploratory licence to end in January 2021, though it’s worth noting most Microsoft 365 subscriptions include Teams anyway. The free E1 trial though will end after six months of using it – so if you started using it in March, it’ll expire in September. And then you’ll need to either stop using Teams, or purchase a suitable subscription to then assign licenses to your users.
What happens when the trial license ends?
Well, for a start Teams will no longer function for you. Also – any chat contents or data you have stored will be removed after 30 days.
What license do I need for Teams?
This depends on how much you currently use, or want to use in the Microsoft 365 cloud ecosystem. There is a vast suite of cloud based products that is continually evolving with new features each day.
Your IT and telephone requirements could be entirely provided by the Microsoft cloud ecosystem, more on that in another post. However, here’s some use cases that can help identify what license you may need:
Case 1 – You don’t currently have any Microsoft 365 subscriptions
If you fit into this category, you’ll need a subscription that gives you at least Teams that you can use and download to your device(s). I say at least, as even the base version of Microsoft 365 that does this has much more capability than this and a huge amount of value to add – including Email and Microsoft cloud storage called OneDrive.
If you are less than 300 users in your organisation (and aren’t a charity or a school) the Microsoft Business Essentials is the one to go for. It’s £3.80 per user per month, based on you signing up to the number of licenses you need for a 12-month period. Or if you want flexibility, you can pay month-by-month on this license, but expect to pay more for the privilege.
If you are over 300 users, then the Microsoft 365 E1 plan (E for enterprise) is the license you need. It’s £6.00 per user per month for an annual commitment with no monthly payment option available.
Case 2 – You have an existing Microsoft 365 subscription
Already using Microsoft 365 Business (formerly known as Office 365 Business Premium), or a Microsoft Enterprise plan? You already have the license you need! Seems crazy that I am writing this part, but, I know of many organisations who have a large Microsoft 365 subscription, but simply close Teams in the morning and don’t use it.
Teams has become the collaboration tool of choice for instant messaging, voice and video calls, meetings and the ability to securely store and share files both inside and if required, outside of your organisation. Teams is also helping businesses to cut expensive overheads in the form of office rent and maintenance costs by empowering employees to work more remotely.
If you already have a Microsoft 365 subscription, then you can enjoy the benefits of Teams without any change in your current subscription.
If you have been making use of the current free trial, this will soon come to an end which means you need to make a decision between keeping Teams and purchasing the correct subscription for your organisation requirements, or cease using Teams (don’t forget you’ll also lose your chat data after 30 days).
Still not quite sure which license option is the best value for you? Optimising IT’s consultative approach means we understand how you want to use it today, but also add value by helping you identify the benefits it can deliver tomorrow, future proofing your investment in the right platform for you. If you need help with choosing the right plan for you, get in touch today or call (0)1242 505 470.
Why buy through Optimising IT
As one of the largest Microsoft resellers in the UK, Optimising IT can offer unparalleled knowledge, capability and value with your Microsoft 365 licensing requirements:
- Helping you to identify the correct license mix to suit your organisation needs
- We don’t over-sell features
- Helping you to extract the best value from your license spend
- Provide annual committed pricing rates on a monthly term – potentially saving you £thousands in license overspend
- Free IT Consultancy to help maximise your Microsoft 365 value*
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As a Microsoft certified and value-added reseller, Optimising IT enhance the value to your Microsoft subscription spend with FREE IT Consultancy every month with one of our highly experienced IT Consultants. It doesn’t have to be about Microsoft 365 either – from networking, to security, Enterprise storage and those tricky problems that just won’t go away, you can ask us to help with anything.