Report by: Rob Helm
Posted: September 2014
This report summarizes the most important factors for deciding between Office 365 and on-premises systems to support e-mail, Web-based document sharing, unified communications, and other collaboration functions
Overview of the Office 365 Evaluation Guide
Office 365 hosted services and the corresponding on-premises server applications now have similar capabilities, so cost, compliance, scalability, and other factors will drive decisions between them
Exchange Online has been updated throughout 2013 to offer functionality of Exchange 2013 and improved hybrid configuration and migration tools
SharePoint Online capabilities are advancing quickly compared to SharePoint Server on-premises, but some gaps remain, and integration costs, migration costs, and stability will influence adoption
Organizations can combine SharePoint Online and SharePoint Server on-premises to get some of the benefits of Microsoft cloud hosting while keeping key sites in-house
Lync Online offers similar communications and conferencing features, as compared to Lync Server on-premises, but lacks some key functionality and external voice features
A number of Lync Online deployment options are available for organizations considering either an exclusive or hybrid configuration, each with trade-offs in functionality and control
Office 365 ProPlus, which licenses the Office Professional Plus suite via a per-user subscription rather than a per-device perpetual license, could reduce costs and simplify license compliance for some organizations
Office 365 offers several subscription plans for large businesses that combine Microsoft-hosted online services and client software licensed per-user
Links to other Directions on Microsoft reports and other resources for evaluating Office 365