Microsoft 365 Unleashes Collaboration in Small and Medium-Sized Companies -- Microsoft tunes their collaboration offering to meet the demands of small and medium-sized businesses and comes with Microsoft 365 Business.
Microsoft never tires of expanding collaboration opportunities for their customers. While organizations all over the world are still making their first steps in Office 365 collaboration, Microsoft is welcoming a new member to the family: Microsoft 365.

What Is Microsoft 365?

Microsoft 365 was first introduced in July at the annual Microsoft Inspire conference for its partner community. Microsoft 365 brings together Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security. It comes with two options: Microsoft 365 Business and Microsoft 365 Enterprise (E3 and E5). While the two Enterprise plans are targeted at large enterprises that are always in Microsoft's focus, the Business plan was built as an exclusive option for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Currently, Microsoft 365 Business is available in public beta so that potential customers can try it before the solution becomes generally available at the end of the year. So it's just the right time to learn what Microsoft's new offering can provide to its owners and users.

What's in it for Target Organizations?

1) A ready-to-go software kit. We have seen that freshly announced Microsoft solutions can be a bit "raw," leading to cold initial feedback from users. Fortunately, Microsoft 365 has a much higher chance to get positive buy-in. The solution comprises stable time-tested products, and users will get a well-packed software kit. Organizations will have to wait neither for mobile apps nor for security features to be released. Everything is already there.

2) A one-stop collaboration shop. Microsoft 365 Business is a great opportunity for small and medium-sized companies to get a centralized solution that can help them adopt a collaboration-oriented approach to their business. This is also an attractive option in payment terms, as organizations will get multiple services and products wrapped into a single bill. It has been already announced that Microsoft 365 Business will cost $20 per user per month.

How Are Collaboration Tools Distributed?

It's interesting to note how Microsoft will distribute their collaboration tools for the different Microsoft 365 plans. Currently, collaboration sets look like this:

Microsoft 365 Business goes with Outlook for inbox collaboration, Microsoft Teams, and Skype for Business for team collaboration, and, OneDrive as a file storage.

Microsoft 365 Enterprise goes with Outlook, Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, SharePoint Online, and Yammer.

All in all, we can see that the Business version will power employee-to-employee and team collaboration. As for the Enterprise version, it will support team and organization-wide collaboration. Enterprise subscribers will be able to create fully-functional corporate intranets and manage their collaboration with a variety of different tools.

More Updates To Come

The upcoming Microsoft Ignite conference for IT professionals and developers (in Orlando, Florida on September 25-29) will shed more light on Microsoft 365 and its capabilities.

Stay tuned to learn more about Microsoft's new product that can make small and medium-sized companies rethink their business processes and collaboration habits.

Author Sandra Lupanava is SharePoint Evangelist at ScienceSoft, an IT consulting company headquartered in McKinney, Texas. Sandra helps customers understand how to harness SharePoint's non-trivial capabilities to create business-centric, industry-specific innovation and knowledge management solutions.