IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Microsoft Introduces New Bundled Online Productivity, Management, and Security Solution

Named Microsoft 365 and available soon, the new offering combines Microsoft’s Office 365, Enterprise Mobility + Security, and Windows 10 products in one integrated package priced at $20 per user per month for SMBs. By Rich Freeman

Microsoft has introduced a new software-as-a-service business solution that combines its Office 365 collaboration platform, Enterprise Mobility + Security suite, and Windows 10 operating system, as well as three new Office 365 services for SMBs designed to help with tasks like invoicing and marketing.

The Redmond, Wash.-based technology industry giant unveiled the new offerings this morning on the opening day of its 2017 Inspire partner conference, which is currently underway in Washington D.C.

Called Microsoft 365, the new business solution comes in two editions. The Microsoft 365 Business version, which is designed for use by SMBs with up to 300 users, includes the Business Premium edition of Office 365 plus security and management features from Enterprise Mobility + Security and Windows 10.

Available in public preview starting August 2nd, the new product will become generally available in the fall and will sell for $20 per user per month.

Microsoft 365 Enterprise combines Office 365 Enterprise with Enterprise Mobility + Security suite and Windows 10 Enterprise. It’s the successor to, and now replaces, Microsoft’s Secure Productive Enterprise license offer, which in turn replaced the Enterprise Cloud Suite that Microsoft introduced in 2014.

"Microsoft 365 represents a fundamental shift in how we will design, build and go to market to address our customers’ needs for a modern workplace," said Judson Althoff, executive vice president of Microsoft's Worldwide Commercial Business, in a blog post. "It’s a more cohesive approach and reflects the shift our partners and our mutual customers are making — from viewing productivity, security and device management as individual workloads to seeking a comprehensive approach to secure productivity."

Also debuting today were three new services for Office 365 Business Premium and Microsoft 365 Business subscribers. The first, called Microsoft Connections, is a simple email marketing system equipped with pre-designed templates, customer segmentation tools for targeting specific market segments, and reporting tools for open rate, clicks, new sign-ups, new customers, and more.

The second, named Microsoft Listings, is designed to help business owners list their companies on Facebook, Google, Bing, and Yelp quickly and efficiently. Changes to listing content made one time in Listings get propagated automatically to those external sites.

The last of the new solutions, called Microsoft Invoicing, lets users create professional-looking estimates and invoices. The system integrates with PayPal, for accepting payment via credit and debit cards, and syncs customer, catalog, and billing data with QuickBooks.

To make managing all three new solutions simpler, Microsoft also unveiled a new centralized web dashboard. Called Office 365 Business center, it displays consolidated metrics on topics like outstanding invoices, appointments scheduled, and impressions registered across social media sites.

The new tool includes an activity feed providing real-time information about the status of ongoing marketing campaigns, pending invoices, and more. It also suggests next steps and provides alerts when, for example, bills are overdue.

Connections, Listings, Invoicing, and Office 365 Business center will become available in preview over the next few weeks to Office 365 Business Premium subscribers in the U.S., U.K. and Canada.

In a further enhancement of Office 365 Business Premium, Microsoft has added an unlimited use, premium subscription to the MileIQ mileage tracking service to that SKU. Backed by a mobile app available for both iOS and Android, MileIQ tracks and logs miles traveled automatically. According to Microsoft, the service saves users an average of $6,900 a year in deductions or reimbursements and two hours a week of trip-logging time.

MileIQ is available immediately to Office 365 subscribers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada.

Also at Inspire today, Microsoft introduced a new unified partner organization, new embeddable cloud-based services for use by Azure software developers, and $250 million worth of investments in resources dedicated to co-selling Azure-based solutions with partners. Inspire concludes on Thursday.

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