Microsoft Office 365 Business FAQs

Microsoft (MS) Office 2016 has become the new default installer for the Office 365 ProPlus edition. Under the new servicing channels Microsoft introduced in Windows 10, updates can only be deferred for so long. 

Eventually, updates are required to stay supported by Microsoft — especially in today’s cloud-first environment. 

It is time to start thinking about getting yourself upgraded to Microsoft Office 2016 to help prepare your organization for this eventuality. That is, if you are not already rolling it out!

Why Upgrade to Microsoft Office 2016?

It is important to stay updated with the latest versions of any software or system. The cyber landscape pushes the demand for more streamlined updates and better security features.

With Office 2016, you are better equipped to align with this cloud-first approach for smoother integrations and updates. Also, preparation for these updates becomes easier, helping to reduce potential disruptions. You can rest assured your software remains compatible with the latest features and quality updates.

An upgrade to MS Office 2016 equals upgraded workflows, efficiency and, of course, security.

Licensing Changes and Deployment Strategies

Microsoft made significant licensing changes in MS Office deployment, primarily with two deployment options — Click-to-Run (C2R) and Microsoft Installer (MSI). Which is the better fit for your business?


Click-to-Run (C2R)

Click-to-Run is the new generation of deploying and updating Microsoft Office products online. It is a more streamlined and efficient deployment process than traditional installation methods. To put it into perspective, C2R is similar to streaming. It allows one to use Office apps while the installation is still in progress.

For example, if a user requires a component that has not been installed yet, they can click on it and C2R starts “streaming” the component. As such, businesses may experience faster setup times while allowing staff access to necessary features. 

This media is provided by Microsoft 365 as part of the subscription and accessible to end-users via the Software Page. For IT administrators, C2R offers bulk installation options using the Office Deployment Tool (ODT) or a Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) package.

C2R is licensed on a per-user basis and each user may install the software on up to five devices. Activations are processed and tracked in the Microsoft 365 cloud every 30 days. It requires an active subscription to Microsoft 365, but higher-priced SKUs at the E3 or greater are typically needed to unlock certain programs and user rights. The core suite always includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote and Publisher.

Microsoft 365 has gone through many transformations over the years. Each new version introduces new features to help with business collaboration and productivity. Upgrading to enterprise plans can unlock certain programs and user rights while offering communication and cloud services. These are important aspects to consider to stay competitive and enable your business to grow.

Microsoft 365 offers several plans tailored for businesses and enterprises:

  • Microsoft 365 Apps: Available in different versions, like Apps for Business and Apps for Enterprise, with varying features and deployment options.
  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic: Includes essential cloud services but excludes desktop versions of Office apps.
  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard: Includes desktop versions of Office apps with cloud services.
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium: Includes everything in Business Standard along with advanced security features.
  • Microsoft 365 E1: Includes online Office apps, email, file storage and Teams.
  • Microsoft 365 E3: Includes everything in E1, plus advanced security and compliance features.
  • Microsoft 365 E5: Includes everything in E3 along with advanced analytics and telephony features.
  • Microsoft 365 F1: Designed for desk-less workers, offering basic Office apps and services tailored to their needs.

Additionally, there are add-on options one can consider:

  • Visio Pro for Microsoft 365: Visio Pro is an advanced diagramming tool. It integrates cloud-based collaboration through Microsoft Teams.
  • Project Pro for Microsoft 365: Project Pro is a project management software. It includes Gantt charts and integrates with various Microsoft applications.

Each plan has different features, pricing and target audiences. Microsoft occasionally updates and rebrands its plans, so it is a good idea to check its official website for the most current offerings and features.


Microsoft Installer (MSI)

The traditional Microsoft Installer (MSI) was the delivery vehicle of choice for all previous versions of MS Office and is still an option for upgrading. It offers a wide range of customization during the install process via transform patches. This installer includes all productivity applications, including Visio- and Project Pro — plus Microsoft virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) rights.

The downside of MSI is that it is only available at the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center for organizations with an Enterprise Agreement with Software Assurance on Office. The licensing model for this SKU is per device. Activations are managed in-house via a local Management Services (KMS) server on the LAN or Multiple Activation Key (MAK) keys for labs or when devices are not connected regularly to the internet.

Note that the MSI and C2R versions of MS Office 2016 cannot be installed side-by-side on the same machine. The setup process can block the action — one or the other must be removed before proceeding. A tool like System Center Configuration Manager is recommended to coordinate the deployment, removing old versions and rolling out the new in a controlled fashion.


Deployment Recommendations

If you are considering replacing or upgrading software versions like Microsoft Office, we recommend using tools like the System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM).

  • Centralized management: SCCM simplifies deployment management by allowing IT admins to oversee the entire process from a single interface.
  • Version control and compliance: SCCM helps track device updates, manage licenses and enforce organizational software standards. 
  • Automation and efficiency: By automating tasks such as inventory management and scheduling deployments, SCCM helps save time and reduce manual efforts. 
  • Reduced disruption: Coordinated deployment through SCCM also helps mitigate the risk of disruptions to daily operations. As a result, it can help reduce downtime with a smoother transition to the new software version.


Need Help With Your Microsoft Office 2016 Deployment?

Upgrading to Microsoft Office 2016 is crucial for accessing ongoing support and unlocking a suite of enhanced features crucial for modern productivity.

BDO Digital is a Microsoft Solutions Partner with vast experience in deploying secure cloud and hybrid environments. We have extensive knowledge of Microsoft Office 2016 deployments and can customize an option to fit your business needs and goals.

Reach out to BDO Digital today for personalized assistance and guidance.