Today at Inspire 2017, the Microsoft 365 Business suites were announced, with Microsoft 365 Business offering a combination of Windows 10 Pro management enhancements, a subset of Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) and Office 365 Business Premium subscriptions. Also introduced was Microsoft 365 Enterprise offerings, which are also known the Secure Productive Enterprise (SPE). These include the E3 and E5 versions of Office 365, EMS and Windows 10 Enterprise, think of this is a version for smaller, more price sensitive customers delivered via an integrated Admin Console. For this post I’ll focus on Microsoft 365 Business as it is the new kid on the block.

As the announcements above  are still fresh and it will take a while to address all of the details, I’ll be watching this carefully at Inspire this week and paying attention to the questions that are asked of the presenters, and catching up with some of the members of the Windows 10 team to get further details of what they have done. With what we know already the easiest, and best known component is Office 365 Business Premium. This is available today, and like the other Office 365 Business plans allows a maximum of 300 licenses to be assigned to users. It’s usually priced somewhere around half the price off Office 365 Enterprise E3, so it’s a great option for those who don’t need some of the more advanced options of the E3 SKU.

What are some of the major differences? Instead of focusing on all of the differences between Office 365 Business Premium and E3 SKUs, instead let’s focus on the differences that are important from the BCS versus SPE conversation. One of the big ones here is that the version of the desktop Office suite included in Business doesn’t provide all of the functionality that is included in Office 365 Pro Plus, which is part of the Office 365 E3 offering. Why is this important? With SPE E5, you get the traditional rights management capabilities of Office 365, alongside the advanced labelling and data classification capabilities of Azure Information Protection. Office 365 Pro Plus includes the RMS capabilities natively, whereas the version included with Office 365 Business and Business Premium doesn’t include those capabilities. This has been an issue I’ve had to raised in the past with some customers looking to leverage the full functionality of Office 365 Business Premium alongside an EMS subscription.

The enhanced Windows 10 Pro management experience will be delivered by a subset of Intune capabilities, and we’ve already seen how Intune functionality can be exposed and simplified in different ways like they have done with Intune for Education. This customised management experience provides simplified management, including a simplified approach to deploying the Office 365 desktop apps. Based on some of the features that have been discussed, it seems that like Intune for Education it also includes at least some of the capabilities of Azure Active Directory Premium P1, so for now I’ll assume the feature set is similar until I get clarification. Some of the Intune for Education AAD capabilities include MDM auto-enrol, password write-back, dynamic group membership, Enterprise State Roaming and more than ten SaaS apps per user, so I’m hoping the list is similar for Microsoft 365 Business. So while some elements of this I’m still unsure of, I think we have a good starting point.

Obviously there are plenty of missing details from this post, but I’ll tackle them as I get more answers over the week while in Washington D.C. at Inspire.


Below are some of the resources that have just gone live, I’ll be adjusting this post as I review all of the available material.:

Partner resources

Understand the value of Microsoft 365 Business to your customers and your practice.

Sales readiness

Get your team ready to sell Microsoft 365 Business.

Technical readiness

Ensure your IT and adoption experts have what they need to deploy Microsoft 365 Business and onboard customers.