March 2016 - HCS

Microsoft Office 2016 VS. Office 365 – The Differences

information_is_stressLooking for information on the differences between Microsoft Office 365 and Office 2016?Information-Overload

Are you a regular business person and not an IT- trained specialist?

Is Google your best friend?

Are you sick and tired of trawling through various websites on your quest to find out these differences?

If you answered yes to any of the above, then welcome! This blog post is just for you.

Being new to the world of IT Sales myself, I was – until relatively recently – in the same boat as many people who have no idea of the difference between Microsoft’s Office 2016 and Office 365.
Of course, most of us have a general idea of what it gives us – Word, Excel, PowerPoint – our most basic day-to-day business applications that we need to function professionally.

But we (speaking for myself here, of course) usually have no idea of the ins and outs of both Office products – mostly due to the fact that it is so ridiculously complicated trying to find anything out online! There are dozens of pages, filled with conflicting information and technical lingo that (for me anyway), can just whoooosh straight over your head. Being of the Google-solves-everything generation, it’s fair to say that I found this a tad

In fact, upon concluding my search for a definitive list of differences between Office 2016 and Office 365, I couldn’t find any website that could stand up in comparison to the detailed explanations that my colleagues were able to give me.

Leaving the actual advising of customer-tailored plans up to our Microsoft licencing experts, I still wanted to know the basic differences.

It is here in this blog post that you will find that sought-after and definitive list. I should probably add that my expert-in-all-things-Office-related colleagues (*ahem, thank you Simon Collins, ahem*) have given their input along the way… I suppose I can’t take all the credit.

Well, that’s enough pontificating from me! Read on to discover these differences for yourself – enjoy! 
Clodagh Gallagher | Sales Adminstrator at HCS Business Solutions


First things first – what actually IS Microsoft Office?
Microsoft’s Office is productivity software installed on your desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone. Users pay a one-time fee for the box product, which then gives them ownership rights of the software.

What do I get when I purchase Microsoft Office 2016?
The basic version of Office 2016 (Home & Business) includes Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, and OneNote. Another Office 2016 (Professional) version adds Publisher and Access. Panicking Mac users note: there is a Mac version as well as the Windows version of Office 2016. Panicking Linux users: You can technically adapt Microsoft Office to Linux, but I’m not going into that here.

#sorrynotsorry #whouseslinuxanyway #windowsalltheway #microsoftpartnerhere #whoyougonnacall

What devices can I use Microsoft Office 2016 with?
Purchasing this software allows you to install it on one device only, be this your desktop computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone. To use Office 2016 on all of your devices, you’re better off buying a subscription to Office 365 – more on this a little further on.

So, how long will I be able to use my Microsoft Office 2016 purchase for?
When looking at options for installing office functions on your device, you should bear in mind that all along Microsoft has been releasing upgrades of Office every three years, by which point the previous Office version becomes essentially obsolete. So, purely at a guess, I would say you’re good until 2019. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to stop using the Office version that you bought three years ago. By all means, hold on to it if it suits you – we’re not out of the recession yet, regardless of what those politicians keep saying!

Can you break that down for me?
Sure! So right now with the release of Office 2016 you can still use any old Office version already installed on your PC, but you won’t have any of the 2016 updates or improved features.
Also, if you buy a new PC, you’ll have to buy a new Office 2016 if your old Office is a version older than the 2010 version. Office 2010 and 2013 are both transferrable to your new PC from your old PC.

So if Office 2013 is transferrable, and I have an older version but wish to get a new laptop, can’t I just buy Office 2013?
No, unfortunately the easing-in period for Office 2016 is over. Office 2016 was brought onto the market in late 2015, and Office 2013 was out of stock with retailers by January 2016. If you want a new Microsoft Office, you will be buying Office 2016.

Can you explain why I personally may be better off buying a subscription to Office 365?
Of course, but first let’s define Office 365.productivity_suite

Office 365 is a suite of productivity applications from Microsoft that you can access from any device, anywhere. In comparison, you can only access Office 2016 from the device that you install it on!
Additionally, Office 365 applications are constantly being updated to include the latest Office features and functionality, so you never have to upgrade your Office applications again, saving time and money on installations, management and licence reporting.

I already know what Office 2016 gives me – so what specifically do I get with Office 365?
The products included really depend on the Office 365 package that you purchase. To make a long story short, Office 365 is an online subscription service that provides email, shared calendars, the ability to create and edit documents online, instant messaging, web conferencing, a public website for your business, and internal team sites-all accessible anywhere from nearly any device. Panicked Mac users – don’t worry, as with Microsoft Office 2016, Mac and Windows are both available within an Office 365 subscription.

so_difficultI don’t get it… Can you break down everything that Office 365 entails?
I can tell you the names of the applications, but to explain all of the applications here would take up a blog post of its own! You really are better off speaking to one of our Microsoft licencing professionals to determine what you as a customer need out of your own plan.
But essentially, you have: Office, One Drive for Business, SharePoint, Skype for Business, Sway, Delve and Yammer.

Is there a specific Office 365 plan for me and my Office needs?
At HCS, we can talk you through eight different Office 365 subscription plans and our Office 365 experts can help you choose the right Office 365 plan for your Office needs. The plans are as follows:

  1. Exchange Online Plan 1            5. Business Premium
  2. Exchange Online Plan 2           6. Enterprise E1
  3. Business Essentials                   7. ProPlus
  4. Business                                      8. Enterprise E3

So… How do I know which one I need?! #stillconfused? #don’tworry #storyofmylife
Well, let me put it to you this way – nobody will be able to tell you better than our Microsoft licencing experts, so I should probably leave that bit to them! All you have to do is pick up the phone… Go on!

If you have the notion that you need some sort of an informed idea before you go ringing them (you don’t need it, believe me – they will be only too happy to talk/walk you through everything), then below is an example of a typical Office 2016 VS. Office 365 customer dilemma.

If you are more like me and prefer to learn as a blank slate, ready to consume knowledge from people in the know, then skip the next bit as it’s not very interesting (apart from a picture of Ned Flanders).


A Typical “Office Options” Customer Dilemma

The basic boxed product (i.e. Office 2016 Home & Business) costs €225.
A commonly used Office 365 subscription is Business Essentials @ €50.40 per annum (this includes online mail and OneDrive for Business).

Users who buy this often need to also purchase Office 2016.

lovemynewlaptopSo, let’s say you have bought a nice laptop for yourself. To go with it, you subscribe to Business Essentials above and stick with it for… Let’s say three years.

Right, so now you have your lovely laptop and after three years, you will have paid a total Business Essentials subscription of €151.20, plus your once-off €225 for Office 2016 for a total three year cost of €376.20.

“Grand!”, you may say. But hold your horses there you little Speedy Gonzalez – remember that we have fast forwarded to the future and it is now Easter 2019! Microsoft have released their (I’m projecting here) Office 2019 to the market. Well?! What are you going to do now?! Must you buy Office 2019 just to get the new features and upgrades?

I see you shaking your head. “No way, that’s too expensive!” you say. And you’d be right! – #downwiththatsortofthing.

So no, let’s say you don’t do that. Let’s say, in the spirit of true economic pragmatism, you ignore Microsoft and their dinky upgrade and you wait until (still projecting here) the launch of Office 2022.

You will now have spent twice the €376.20 that you had three years ago, but now you really will have to buy the new Office, (because at this stage you have bugs galore and nothing is running smoothly anymore and it’s just giving you headaches and its making you write run-on sentences).

nedplzstopIn stark contrast,  your friendly neighbourhood annoyance John (insert Ned Flanders mental imagery of your choice here) has gone with the Business Premium licence and OH, is he hi-diddly-ho annoying you.

John’s subscription to Business Premium has given him your Business Essentials PLUS Office 2016, and then Office 2019, and then Office 2022.

At €126 per annum, John has instead opted to keep things simple, and in 2019, when you were being fiscally responsible and forgoing the new Office 2019 upgrade, Ned – sorry, John – was laughing all the way to the bank. Over three years, John has spent €378 to your €376.20. But – he has benefitted from continual Office upgrades through his subscription for the annoying little bugs that you have been struggling with and as a subscription, the Office apps can be installed on up to five devices for this user. John installed it on his PC, laptop, tablet, home PC and smartphone, because he’s savvy like that.

It’s basically a win/win. If you’re using your noggin, why would you do anything different?

For the sake of a little under two euro, you too could have the benefit of continual upgrades to your 2016 Office features. Be like John, be smart!

However, sometimes it’s just easier to let other people be smart for you – which is why Microsoft Licencing experts exist. After all, we know you’re brilliant, but you can’t be expected to know everything about everything, all of the time. At HCS, our licencing experts will work with you to get the best plan for your needs.

But don’t just take this newbies word for it – go talk to one of our Microsoft licencing experts TODAY! They’re really nice, I promise.



…I still don’t know if I should purchase Microsoft Office 2016 outright or subscribe to an Office 365 plan!
Not a problem, you can call one of our Microsoft licencing experts on 051 595200 to discuss what the right course of action is for you and your company. Hopefully, you are now at least equipped with the knowledge that Office 2016 and Office 365 are two completely different products!

Windows 10 Should I upgrade or not?

Windows 10 Should I upgrade or not?

Windows 10 FREE upgrade from Windows 7, 8.0 and 8.1 is available until 29th July 2016. After this date you will have to pay for the upgrade (price unknown as of yet) or the alternative is to buy a new PC/laptop with Windows 10 pre-installed. So should you upgrade or not?

While Microsoft will declare many new features and benefits around functionality, speed and security which for majority of users is irrelevant the single reason to upgrade in our opinion is Windows 8.0 or 8.1. Windows 8.0 and 8.1 is not a pleasant experience for the business desktop user due to its metro style interface and the removal of the start button. Windows 8.0 and 8.1 was more tablet focused and forget about the business desktop user.

Windows 10 however solves this and puts the business desktop users back into the user experience again. The Windows start button is back and while its more modern than Windows 7, Windows 10 in our opinion combines the best of Windows 7 and 8 to give a singular device wide experience for every user including desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile.
In our opinion if you are using Windows 8.0 or 8.1 you should upgrade to benefit from a better desktop experience. If you are using Windows 7 then it’s a matter of preference.

What you need to consider before upgrading?

While system requirements for Windows 10 is minimal for a modern desktop PC, you need at least 16GB of free disk space. The most important thing to consider are the applications you run and do they support Windows 10? (eg. Sage, Quickbooks, Dynamics etc..)

Test Windows 10

If you have a number of PC’s to upgrade on your network HCS recommends upgrading 1 pc to start with as a test. Work with Windows 10 for a period of time to ensure every application or peripheral device that your company uses works as expected. After a successful trial roll out to all other users.

If you want to upgrade to Windows 10 and need help, speak to your account manager at HCS today or contact



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