This year, Microsoft introduced O365 F1 – “a new offering that brings together Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security to deliver a complete, intelligent solution to empower all workers.” This offering is a replacement for the O365 K1/K2 SKUs.
The O365 K1/K2 SKU offering was created years ago, mostly as a new opportunity for Microsoft to expand its footprint and usage to workers that did not have a dedicated desktop/laptop (or possibly even access to a shared machine). This opened up usage scenarios for a whole host of workers and industries where Microsoft had previously struggled from a technology and licensing perspective.
Microsoft technology (and consequently licensing) has historically been envisioned around a user and their device. So, what if you had a user that didn’t have a traditional device? How did Microsoft handle this licensing-wise? Well, it depended on a few factors including the Microsoft sales rep or reseller, their creativity and interpretation of the product terms, and other factors. Most of the time, a customer ended up with varying answers and solutions that were not consistent across segments and markets.
Enter the K1/K2 SKU offering. This was short for ‘kiosk’ and was created around the thought of a ‘kiosk-type worker/user’ and had limited functionality for Exchange email, Skype and SharePoint. Basically, it allowed access for simple tasks for those users that spent their workday doing things that were predominantly not related to computing.
O365 F1 – Expanded Capabilities for ‘Firstline Workers’
O365 F1 expands on the Kiosk User idea and allows access to Windows Enterprise, O365 services and some Enterprise Mobility and Security components. In addition to the new SKU, Microsoft has recognized the changing needs of their target user base – now termed “Firstline Workers”:
“Firstline Workers comprise the majority of our global workforce. Numbering two billion people worldwide, they are the people behind the counter, on the phone, in the clinics, on the shop floor, and in the field. They are often the first to engage customers, the first to represent a company’s brand, and the first to see products and services in action. They form the backbone of many of the world’s largest industries, and without them, the ambitions of many organizations could not be brought to life.”
O365 F1 will be much more useful for users and organizations, although as usual, you’ll need to take a measured and careful approach to understand the SKU’s limitations and usage rights. If you have questions, let NPI know. Our Microsoft licensing experts specialize in helping clients understand their licensing options and guiding them through selection of the most cost-effective SKUs for their organizational needs and IT requirements.