Over the past five years, you may have noticed that more and more software is moving away from being a “one-time purchase” and shifting to a subscription-based service model instead. While, at first glance, this may appear as a tactic to get more money out of you, in reality, it actually offers numerous long-term advantages.

In fact, Gartner reported that,

By 2020, more than 80% of software vendors will change their business model from traditional license and maintenance to subscription.”

Microsoft has caught on to this trend by moving its classic Office 365 software to a subscription-based model. Here's all you need to know about the shift!

Microsoft Subscription Model vs License

When Office 365 first launched in 2013, this subscription-based version of Office was available for the general public to use. Many people were confused—they saw Office software as something you bought one time. Then, only if they wanted or needed access to the latest functionality, they could pay to get the latest year version (such as Office 2019).

However, this all changed with the introduction of Office 365 Home/Personal and Office 365 Business Premium. This new subscription-based software model surpasses the old version of the Office business enterprise software in several ways. As a business, if you want to stay competitive, efficient, and keep your data secure, you should embrace this change.

So, this isn’t something you’re going to be able to avoid as a consumer of software—and frankly, you shouldn’t. Here is a little bit of information about why this change is so exciting!

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Microsoft Subscription Software Model Security

Turn on the news nearly any day of the week and you'll likely hear something about a data breach or cyber attack. Facebook’s infamous data breach or Advent Health Medical Group’s cyber attack that lasted for 16 months are just some of the biggest incidents over the last few years. As a business owner, you certainly don't want to be the next company who's name is splashed across the news for putting it's customers confidential data at risk or falling victim to a cyber attack. So, staying secure should always be a top priority.  One solution for preventing these kinds of disastrous cyber attacks?

Keeping all your devices’ software updated at all times, with no exceptions. After phishing, vulnerabilities in old software are one of the most common ways for criminals to breach your company’s security, and it’s making them serious money (as in BILLIONS of dollars a year from businesses just like yours).

Subscription models ensure you’re continuously running the most updated version of the software possible. With a subscription-based software such as Microsoft 365 for Business, the newest security measures are features are automatically updated as soon as they’re rolled out. This means you don't have to even be aware that a new version exists to get it! Plus, there's no need to take the time to download a new version and manually install it on your devices. 

Microsoft Subscription Software & Microsoft Cloud

One of the best examples of why this newer subscription-based software model is better than the old way of purchasing software is the massive difference between purchasing software one time, such as Office 2017, and having an Office 365 subscription. They share the name "Office," so it may sound like you are just paying for Office tools such as Word and PowerPoint over time instead of all at once. While you do have access to the whole Office Suite under a subscription-based model, you get so much more with it, too.

Because Office 365 is connected to the Microsoft cloud, you’re able to collaborate on files in real time with Microsoft Teams—Microsoft's all-in-one hub for teamwork and collaboration that empowers your employees to communicate more efficiently and effectively.

Do you use a file server or shared drive? Office 365, with its terabyte of storage per user, enables you to chuck that thing in the trash (it’s what we did and you should too). This can save you on storage costs and free up office space for something more valuable. Plus, it eliminates the need to spend time manually backing up your files!

Do you have software that tracks mileage, does your accounting, manages projects, provides group chat, share files, hosts video and voice meetings with screen sharing, manages customer communication, books appointments, etc.? Office 365 combines all of these functions in one convenient platform that you can access from anywhere in the world. This capability is especially beneficial for modern businesses that have lots of remote employees or team members that are constantly working on-the-go. 

The bottom line is that by leveraging the Microsoft Cloud to not only provide you with the best suite of productivity software ever made, but a solution you can securely run an entire business with, this subscription-based model becomes a game changer!

Microsoft Subscription Model's Automatic New Features

Subscription software rolls out features as they are ready, not just when a new version comes out. You used to have to wait between releases of software to get new features; for example, a new version of Word only came out once a year.

Not so with the Microsoft subscription model—when a feature is ready for prime time, you get it immediately without any further effort or investment. This means you're always getting the latest and greatest features without having to constantly keep paying for new updates or versions. 

Microsoft Subscription Model's Enhanced Scalability

With a subscription-based model, your business only needs to pay for the software it actually uses. As your employee count fluctuates during times of seasonal scale-back or booming growth, so too do your costs and software needs. With the ability to exactly pinpoint the software that you need, it becomes less expensive to onboard a new hire when you don't need to pay for their software all up front.

Additionally, when an employee leaves their position, you can simply cancel their account rather than letting it sit idle and drain resources. Or, if you have a business that make lots of seasonal hires around the holidays, you can scale your software up then back down once the busy season ends and your staff returns to its normal size. This prevents you from spending money on software you aren't actually using at any given time.

Microsoft's Subscription Software Model

As we mentioned earlier, Microsoft is now selling Office by way of a new subscription-based product called Microsoft 365 Business. Why make the switch? It comes down to device management—and this is what has traditional managed IT service providers very nervous. Microsoft 365 Business gives even small businesses truly enterprise-grade device management tools, making once difficult IT tasks easy or simply unnecessary.

These tools keep your devices safe and keep the data on your employees' devices from being compromised. If you lose a device or part ways with an employee, you can immediately revoke access or remove just your company's data from that device instantly while leaving everything else intact.

In addition to truly enterprise-grade device security, deploying new devices becomes a breeze. Say you spill an extra large cup of coffee on your device, or it falls into a volcano. No problem, grab another one, enter your username and password, and in no time you’ll be back up and running—with all of your applications and data exactly how you left them.

Companies that properly implement what Microsoft 365 Business has to offer see their IT demands and costs plummet. Instead of manually installing updates and tediously deploying new workstations, your IT staff can focus on the company’s mission and growth goals.

But What About the Home Use Program?

The switch from licensed software products to Microsoft's subscription model has generated some confusion around Microsoft's Home Use Program (HUP) discounts. This program allows employees at eligible companies to buy an annual subscription of Office 365 Home or Office 365 Personal at a discount for use on their personal devices.

Here's what you need to know about how the shift towards Microsoft's subscription-based software model has affected the program.

Who now qualifies for the Home Use Program? Employees who work at a company that satisfies the Home Use Program eligibility requirements.

How can you know if you're eligible for the Home Use Program? Visit the Microsoft Home Use Program page and enter your corporate email to see if you qualify. If you don’t have a corporate email, contact your internal IT department for questions about eligibility.

Can you take advantage of the Home Use Program offer if you already have Office 365 Home or Office 365 Personal?  Yes! If you already have Office 365 Home or Office 365 Personal, you can still take advantage of this discount. Once you make your purchase, additional time will be added to your existing subscription, and the discounted rate will begin at your existing subscription’s annual renewal date. Be sure to specify the Microsoft account that’s associated with your current Office 365 subscription during the purchase process.

What has changed with the Home Use Program? Microsoft is updating the Home Use Program to offer discounts on the latest and most up to date products such as Office 365, which is always up to date with premium versions of Office apps across all your devices. Office Professional Plus 2019 and Office Home and Business 2019 are no longer available as Home Use Program offers.

If you're ready to make a Microsoft Home Use Program purchase, here are the steps you'd need to take:
  1. Sign Up. Visit the Microsoft Home Use Program page. Enter your corporate email address, then click on the ‘Get Started’ button.
  2. Confirm. If you are eligible, an email will be sent to your corporate email address inbox with a link. Click the link to validate your eligibility for the program.
  3. Sign In. Once your eligibility is confirmed, you can register for the program with your personal Microsoft account that is associated with your personal email address. Then, you can begin the purchase process by viewing the discounts available to you based on your Home Use Program benefit eligibility.
  4. Shop. Your purchase is processed and completed in the Microsoft Store. You, the eligible employee, can then install Office 365 on your personal devices after the purchase is complete. Once you have purchased Office 365 Home, you can share your subscription with up to five additional members of your household!

To share your subscription, sign in by using your Microsoft account and select the link labeled 'Sharing.' Then, follow the onscreen instructions to add a user. Each user you add will receive an email with steps to follow to access Office 365. After they have completed the steps, their information, including their Office installs, will appear on your Sharing page. You can stop sharing your subscription with someone or deactivate Office on a device they’re using at any time. 

Have more questions about Microsoft's HUP program? Check out their official support page for the answers you're looking for!

Ready to Experience the Benefits of Microsoft's Subscription-Based Software Model?

If all this subscription software model stuff sounds like crazy talk, or you’re already ahead of the game and know that you are ready for a truly modern, connected office, give us a call, get a road map, and see how these changes not only bring a ton of value to your company, but can actually save you money. We’re here to schedule an introduction whenever you’re ready! 

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