Report by: Rob Helm

Posted: December 21, 2015

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Office 365 E5, to be launched Dec. 2015, delivers premium capabilities for e-mail filtering, business intelligence, telephony, organizational monitoring, and eDiscovery. These capabilities are also available separately from E5, but an E5 subscription license is less expensive than licensing all of its capabilities separately.

The accompanying illustration summarizes Office 365 software and services licensed by the E1, E3, and E5 plans for enterprises that appeared on Microsoft price lists Dec. 1, 2015. Not all of the services are available for production as of Dec. 2015: some have only been announced, some are only available to a limited group of preview customers, and some are available only in a limited set of countries.


Office Online (formerly Office Web Apps) provides Microsoft-hosted applications that enable users to create and edit Office documents from a browser, without the full Office applications being installed on the client.

Office 365 ProPlus delivers Office suites for local installation on Windows PCs or Macs.

Office mobile application rights permit users to create and edit Office documents on iOS and Android devices for commercial purposes, using the Office applications for those platforms.


Exchange Online offers e-mail, calendars, contacts, and tasks based on the Exchange Server software.

A premium tier of Exchange Online delivers enhanced tools for archiving, retention, and eDiscovery.

Exchange Online Archiving archives e-mail from Exchange Online or Exchange Server in Microsoft data centers. It can help enforce communication and records-retention policies, and it will be extended to archive other types of messages such as social network traffic.

Exchange Online Protection filters malware, spam, and other unwanted message content for Exchange Online. It can also be used with on-premises and partner-hosted Exchange Server installations to filter messages before they reach the installation's servers.

Exchange Advanced Threat Protection extends Exchange Online Protection to protect e-mail users against previously unknown malware as well as malicious URLs and other types of threats.

SharePoint, OneDrive for Business, and Power BI

SharePoint Online delivers file sharing (including OneDrive for Business per-user sharing sites), team collaboration, corporate portal hosting, enterprise search, content management, and other functions based on the SharePoint Server software.

A premium tier of SharePoint Online delivers enhancements in eDiscovery, Web content management, business intelligence (BI), and other areas.

Power BI Pro provides an Internet-based platform for sharing Excel workbooks and other types of interactive reports among users. Power BI Pro includes the ability to automatically refresh reports on demand or on a schedule from on-premises data sources. (A previous version of the service, Power BI for Office 365, will be retired on Dec. 31, 2015, and tenants must migrate reports and dashboards to Power BI Pro by that date.)

Skype for Business

Skype for Business Online (formerly Lync Online) provides unified communications with presence status, instant messaging, voice and video calls, application sharing, and Web conferencing. The base service includes Skype Meeting Broadcast Web conferences for up to 10,000 internal attendees.

The premium tier of Skype for Business Online delivered with Office 365 E5 will offer a Microsoft-hosted Cloud PBX service that provides advanced telephone calling and management. Add-ons to the premium tier in some countries offer Microsoft-hosted Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) calling plans with domestic and international calling minutes, and Microsoft-hosted PSTN dial-in conferencing so remote attendees can dial in to meetings rather than attending online.

Collaboration and Search

Yammer offers collaboration spaces with groups, conversations, and data sharing that are similar to public social networking services, such as Facebook and Twitter.

Groups offers collaboration spaces with a shared mailbox, calendar, file library, and other shared resources in the Exchange Online Web interface.

Delve is a set of Office 365 features to help users discover people and documents in Office 365. Notably, Delve feeds present targeted search results and views of content to users, based on user activity and other information collected by the Office Graph service. Delve Analytics, a planned premium tier, will offer reports that show work analytics of employees (for example, how much e-mail gets sent outside business hours) to help track "organizational health" and efficiency indicators. Delve Analytics is based on technology that Microsoft acquired with VoloMetrix in Sept. 2015, but it is in development as of Dec. 2015.

Video offers a portal for secure viewing, sharing, discussing, and discovery of an organization's video content.

Planner will provide Microsoft-hosted task and project management that is integrated with Groups and other Office 365 collaboration services. Planner could offer a simpler alternative to Project Online, the Microsoft-hosted counterpart of Project Server, and Planner will likely compete with services such as Asana, Smartsheet, and Trello. Planner was announced in Sept. 2015 and a preview began to roll out in Dec. 2015.

Archiving, Retention, and EDiscovery

Exchange Online and SharePoint Online each offer archiving, retention, and eDiscovery capabilities, but Office 365 is gaining compliance capabilities that cut across multiple Office 365 services.

Compliance Center offers a single Web-based console for archiving, mobile device management, eDiscovery, retention, and other compliance tasks. It works across content stored in Exchange Online and SharePoint Online (including OneDrive for Business).

Data loss prevention is a feature of Exchange, SharePoint, and OneDrive for Business that uses a set of governance and management controls to limit leakage of an organization's sensitive content, such as credit card numbers, by combining identification of such data with appropriate data-handling policies.

Office 365 E5 offers Advanced EDiscovery, filtering and organization using software acquired with Equivio. Equivio's text analytic technology helps locate and organize documents that are relevant to legal cases or ready for archiving, and organizations can use machine learning to train the system for specific cases or purposes.

Management and Security

Office 365 offers an administrative platform for managing and securing its services, including three important management and security services.

Azure Active Directory provides identity and access management for Office 365 and other online services.

Office 365 mobile device management protects Office 365 content on mobile devices and the devices themselves, enforcing device policies (such as password complexity) and enabling selective remote wipe of Office 365 documents and e-mail on a device.

Azure Rights Management allows organizations to encrypt and control access to sensitive content to comply with privacy and disclosure regulations. Rights management protection is part of and travels with the content, which allows controlled access even if the content moves to a computer that is outside an organization's control. It includes Office 365 Message Encryption (not shown), which enables encryption of messages in Exchange Online.

Premium tiers of these three services can each be purchased separately or together in the Enterprise Mobility Suite. An Enterprise Cloud Suite combines Office 365 E3, the Enterprise Mobility Suite, and Windows Per-User licenses.

Office 365 E5 includes a Customer Lockbox service, which enables customers to individually approve or deny requests for access to the organization's Office 365 data by Microsoft administrators.

Report by: Rob Helm

Posted: December 21, 2015

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