The End of O365 E4 – What Are Your Options?

By Cindy Barron-Taylor

Director of Client Services, Microsoft, NPI

May 30, 2019

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Still in an agreement where you’re purchasing Office 365 Enterprise E4 (O365 E4)? You’re not alone. While this offering was retired in 2017 and Microsoft permitted customers to switch to a new plan at any time, Microsoft did not require that switch until renewal time. Now, many enterprises are facing that milestone – a renewal of their upcoming three-year Enterprise Enrollment.

So, what are your options? The good news is there are several available. Figuring out which one is best for you, however, requires a little IT introspection.

O365 E4 Alternatives to Consider

For most E4 customers, there are four options available. Each requires that you understand not only what you used from the O365 E4 product, but also your future needs:

  • Option 1 – Move to Office 365 Enterprise E5 (O365 E5). As a “premium” subscription (and a subset of what is called the complete and intelligent solution of the Microsoft 365 E5 SKU), Microsoft makes O365 E5 available to get all the services and functionality included from your current O365 E4 subscription, as well as the gateway to receiving new bells and whistles for users such as advanced tools for collaboration, analytics, security, interactive reports, dashboards and data visualization. This option promotes its ability to offer more control over data security and compliance with built-in privacy, transparency and refined user controls.
  • Option 2 – Office Enterprise E3 + Skype for Business Cloud PBX (renamed Phone System). This option provides call control features of traditional on-premise phone systems, including call forwarding, call parking and delegation. Phone System is sold as User subscriptions and does not include calling plans. However, both Domestic and International Calling Plans are add-on options.
  • Option 3 – Office 365 Enterprise E3 + Skype for Business Plus CAL. Microsoft promotes this option as the one that most closely maps to the functionality O365 E4 customers have currently without adding any additional functionality or features.
  • Option 4 – Switch to Office 365 Enterprise E3. With this option, O365 E4 customers will lose the subscriptions to Skype for Business clients for on-premise deployments.
  • It’s never too early to plan for the future. And, for many E4 O365 customers, the future (i.e. the renewal event) is almost here. If one of these options provides clear advantages to your organization based on your specific circumstances, consider this in your renewal discussions. If you’re not sure and would like expert advice on the best way to buy for your company, NPI’s Microsoft licensing and cost optimization consultants can help.