According to ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft will begin selling its new Office 365 E5 plan to businesses on December 1st. This new high end tier of Microsoft’s Office 365 offerings will include new security, analytics, and communications features that will appeal mostly to large organizations that would utilize volume licensing.
Foley describes the E5 plan’s added features, saying:
The Office 365 E5 SKU will include Skype for Business (Lync) with support for features including Cloud PBX and Meeting Broadcast; new analytics features, like Power BI Pro and Delve Organizational Analytics; and new advanced security features, such as eDiscovery, Customer Lockbox, Data Loss Protection and Safe Attachments.
The new capability to use Skype for Business with support for Cloud PBX will make this new Office 365 plan an attractive option for large corporations looking to cut their landlines and move their traditional voice calls to a more flexible cloud based system. The new Power BI Pro and Delve Organizational Analytics has also been promoted by Microsoft as a new easy to use and revolutionary way to aggregate and analyze an organization’s information in an intuitive manner.
While the E5 Office 365 plan launch in less than a month, there is still no word what the official pricing will be. As Foley points out, the E5 plan will replace the current E4 plan, which sells at $22 per user per month, but most likely the E5 plan will be priced significantly higher. With large companies like GE deploying Office 365 across their global operations, and Office 365 overtaking Google Apps for Work, the latest E5 plan should increase Office 365’s attractiveness to companies that have previously relied on volume licensing of Microsoft’s Office products. For those wondering, DLP (data loss prevention) is available with Office 365 E3, as well as in E5.
Would these new features in Office 365's E5 plan help convince your company to switch to Microsoft's SaaS offering of its Office suite? Let us know in the comments section below.