Microsoft recently held its Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Orlando which serves the Microsoft community as a way to educate, network and build solutions with fellow partners. This year, Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella’s keynote made it clear – this is a “mobile-first, cloud-first world.” You can see the whole keynote speech below:
At the forefront of Microsoft’s cloud-first approach is their beloved service, Office 365, the fastest growing commercial product in Microsoft’s history. The cloud solution has also had a huge impact on the industry and helped move small to large businesses forward by not only making the Microsoft Office accessible but also affordable.
WPC was the setting for the latest change to this evolving product: The old E4 plan is being replaced by the E5 plan, a new, premium Office 365 Enterprise Suite.
John Case, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft Office, blogged from Orlando about how Office 365 will deliver significant new value.
I am also pleased to announce our plans to introduce a new premium Office 365 Enterprise Suite called E5 before the end of this calendar year. E5 will encompass the core value of the modern productivity and collaboration capabilities Office 365 provides today, as well as significant new capabilities including Skype for Business services for real-time communication such as Cloud PBX and PSTN Conferencing, new analytics features like Power BI Pro and Delve Organizational Analytics, and new advanced security features such as eDiscovery, Customer Lockbox, Data Loss Protection (DLP) and Advanced Threat Protection (ATP).
The E5 suite will provide a significant new opportunity for Partners to build service offerings to reach new customers and enhance value for existing ones.
Basically, partners and their customers will now have all the productivity features and functions of Office 365 under one bundle. Although the E5 Enterprise Plan pricing and release date have not been announced yet, it will once more promote the cloud and provide the incentive to move your company off an on-premises environment or at least into a hybrid scenario.
“I think a very sizable percentage of the Office 365 customer base will find E5 very attractive from a price perspective and an end-to-end functionality perspective,” Case said. “It won’t be 100 percent, but it will be a sizable percentage.”
There’s no doubt that a cloud-first and improved security approach to Microsoft solutions will resonate within the partner community. While the on-premises products will continue to be offered, it seems clear that the heavy investments are being made to the cloud products with enhanced features and functionality advances being announced at each conference.