Still Considering Office 365 E3? Think again.Alex Fields
I have a previous article on this topic, but the Microsoft 365 Business SKU seems to be getting new features left and right all the time. Recently we had the addition of password write-back (enabling self-service resets for hybrid users), which was a feature from Azure AD Premium that filtered down into the subscription. And now, we find that Shared Computer Activation–another major feature “deal-breaker” for some–is indeed coming to Microsoft 365 Business.
Update: the official blog post about this finally came from MS last week.
This is an important announcement since a lot of small businesses were stuck between saving cost and implementing odd-ball “workarounds” or going with the Microsoft / Office 365 E3 SKU (which did support SCA).
It is all a bit confusing, since Microsoft 365 Business includes Office 365 Business software–not ProPlus. Nevertheless, do not be confused: Microsoft 365 Business still features the Business edition of Office 365. Just because Shared Computer Activation is now available does not mean that we have switched to ProPlus.
The confusion is compounded somewhat by the fact that if you deploy the Office apps using Intune with this subscription, the ProPlus bits are installed by default. But, this is not a permanent state; eventually it will update to reflect your actual licensing (Business). Note: switching subscriptions from Office 365 E3 to Microsoft 365 Business should also work the same way.
Let’s take a look where things stand now.
The Office apps still lack some of the ProPlus goodies like database/spreadsheet compare, PowerQuery, PowerMaps, PowerView, etc., as well as group policy support–just as we’d expect. But the value proposition overall for this SKU just keeps on growing.
I still personally have my fingers crossed for Conditional access–I think not including this feature in Microsoft 365 Business is a major miss–but I am very happy about the addition of SCA. In fact, I have a handful of clients I need to update this week, who will be glad to hear it as well.