Microsoft 365 Business is now generally available, enabling small and midsized businesses to acquire Windows and Office, along with user and device management, on a subscription basis. Prices start at $20 per user per month.
Microsoft first unveiled the package, formerly called Secure Productive Enterprise, in July during the company's Inspire conference in Washington D.C. Microsoft 365 Business includes Windows 10, Office 365 and Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS), a cloud-based device and application management offering from the software giant.
Windows and Office are well known to many SMBs and their employees. What they are often lacking is comprehensive IT management, due to a lack of technical assistance or the sheer cost and complexity of software tools that help organizations configure and control their device fleets—sometimes all the above.
Microsoft is addressing these shortcomings by integrating Windows, Office and device management into a single, user-friendly subscription.
"Microsoft 365 Business is designed to reduce the complexity and costs of managing technology for businesses and their IT partners. It offers simple setup and management, so business owners and their teams can put more of their time and energy toward building their businesses," wrote Microsoft posted in a product release blog. "From a single console, you can quickly set up new employees, configure device security policies, and manage user identity and access, as well as ensure all your people are on the most up-to-date versions of Windows 10 and Office," the blog stated.
The package includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, SharePoint, OneDrive and Microsoft Teams. Released in March, Teams is Microsoft's answer to Slack, a popular chat-based collaboration application
Microsoft has high hopes for Teams. In September, the company said that Teams would soon replace the Skype of Business client, inheriting many of the enterprise communications software's voice calling and virtual meeting capabilities.
SMB customers in the U.S., U.K. and Canada, can look forward to more than just the combined offering Office 365 offering.
Joining Microsoft 365 and Office 365 Business Premium is a new assortment of business applications that are tailored to the needs of entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses. Microsoft also officially released its Connections, Listings and Invoicing apps, along with the new Office 365 Business Center.
Microsoft Connections is an email marketing tool that allows users to craft and distribute professional-quality newsletters and promotional emails. Listings, as its name implies, can be used to list a company and its website, operating hours and more on Facebook, Google, Yelp, and of course Bing, using a single app. It can also be used to keep an eye on user reviews and how many views their listings have generated.
Similar to Connections, Microsoft Invoicing adds a professional edge to invoices and service cost estimates. It includes payment tracking, online payment support, sales tax calculations and discounts.
Meanwhile, the Office 365 Business Center adds a dash of business intelligence to the cloud package, serving as a dashboard that companies can use to track business metrics collected from Microsoft Connections, Listings, Invoicing and other apps.