At this month’s annual Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, corporate vice president John Case announced their new E5 Suite for Office 365, available to eligible partners and their customers by year end. The new E5 suite underscore Microsoft’s mobile first, cloud first strategy by adding features that enhance real-time, day-to-day business communications; improve data analysis and reporting; and strengthen compliance and security threat management to an already robust business productivity suite of products. Case’s announcement should banish any detractors of the wildly popular Office 365 SaaS suite who critiqued the purchase and integration of Yammer and Skype.
The top seven features bundled into the forthcoming E5 suite include: Skype for Business Meeting Broadcast, PSTN Conferencing, Cloud PBX with PSTN Calling, Power BI Pro, Delve Organizational Analytics, Customer Lockbox and Advanced Threat Protection.
Delve Organizational Analytics
Delve Organizational Analytics builds on the current Delve features and gives additional personalized insights from the most commonly utilized user data and coworker interactions. A dashboard has been added to measure, track and identify key trends such as frequently used team documents and leading team interactions. Julia White, general manager of Office 365, described the Delve dashboard as, “essentially, your health tracker for work.” Originally codenamed ‘Oslo’ internally, Delve was added to Office 365 as a tier-one admin panel tile in September, 2014. The new Delve Analytics dashboard improves on data relevancy and even gives reminders to ‘take a break’ or ‘get back to work’ through the ‘My work/life balance’ graphs and ‘My meeting time’ statistics. Delve and its organizational analytics are great for teams and groups who work together on collaborative projects.
Advanced Threat Protection
ATP’s technology is based on the recent acquisition of Aorato and is available now in preview. The real-time, time-of-click safe attachment protection scans each message, and,as described by Microsoft Office 365 security product manager Shobhit Sahay, creates a ‘detonation chamber’ that queries the URL for executables, registry calls or requesting access privileges. Based on this analysis, the service can block the message via the ‘safe link’ and ‘safe attachment’ templates.
ATP comes with ample reporting and tracking capabilities so administrators can gain insight into who is being targeted. Administrators can then set up company policies and block messages accordingly.
ATP will be included in the E5 bundle and is available now as a standalone subscription for $2 per user per month for select Exchange and Office 365 plans. Government pricing is offered at $1.75 per user per month.
E5 Enterprise Plan: Things to Consider
While some of the feature sets to be included are already in release, (Delve, Power BI and Advanced Threat Protection) having all feature sets in one bundle will appeal to many customers. Microsoft expects to announce the E5 Enterprise Plan pricing and availability date later in 2015, so check with your CDW account manager for the latest information.
Microsoft product managers and engineers have clearly been working hard to ‘hang’ more productivity features and functions on the Office 365 delivery framework. Office 365 innovation keeps rolling out. Customers who still scoff at moving to the cloud might at least consider a hybrid environment so as to not be left behind. Some of the new feature sets such as Power BI and Power BI Pro will only be available for online consumers.
Let me know what you think about the new features and E5 plan in the comment section below. Bookmark the Office 365 Roadmap link to stay up-to-date with the latest product improvements, and follow me on Twitter @Cloud_Kimb to stay informed on the latest Office 365 and cloud trends.