Office 365 Partner Community: Focus on the new E5 suite

Welcome to part 2 of our series for the Office 365 Partner Community about the new Office 365 E5 suite. Read part 1.


by Michael Panciroli
US Partner Technology Strategist for Office 365

With the release of Office 365 E5 on December 1, Microsoft is bringing deeper enterprise value to the Office 365 suite, with enhancements in real time collaboration, personalized insight, security, and compliance. In this post, a follow-up to the introduction published in October, I’ll share details about capabilities for modern meetings, Cloud PBX and PSTN conferencing, and new security and compliance controls.

Modern meetings

With new Skype for Business voice and meetings capabilities added to Office 365, audio, video (including high definition video), and web meetings are combined in one connected user experience and platform.  Today, meetings run on Office 365 can be 1:1 or 1:few—with Skype Meeting Broadcast, you’ll be able to run meetings of 1:thousands. These broadcasts are great for Town Hall style meetings for up to 10,000 simultaneous connections. They can include an embedded Yammer feed that enables attendee dialogue, and you can also integrate Bing Pulse for real-time polling and sentiment. For many customers, these new modern meeting capabilities will translate into significant cost savings.

Cloud voice

PSTN Conferencing is another new capability, and will allow meeting attendees to dial in from the public switch telephone network to Skype for Business meetings from virtually any device. Meeting organizers can also dial out to attendees to bring them into the meeting. Many organizations are using a separate solution for PSTN conferencing—as part of Office 365, customers will have the opportunity to consolidate providers and reduce complexity for their users, enabling them to work from just about anywhere. For IT, the PSTN Conferencing will simplify operations and reduce support costs.

The cloud voice offering is rounded out by Cloud PBX with PSTN Calling. With our Cloud PBX, some customers will be able to eliminate separate PBX systems and centralize the audio infrastructure. For the December release we will cover today’s requirements on how information workers use voice, including voice mail, call forwarding, delegation, and team calling. Users can call coworkers or any phone number outside their organization using their PCs, browsers, mobile devices, and a wide range of certified devices. With a hybrid deployment, organizations can connect to our Skype for Business Cloud PBX to their existing PSTN calling plans and leverage existing telco contracts. Alternatively, they can consolidate vendors with PSTN calling plans offered directly from Microsoft and use existing phone numbers or get new ones.

Learn more about Skype Meeting Broadcast, PSTN Conferencing, and Cloud PBX with PSTN calling in the preview announcement.

Modern collaboration partner opportunity

The partner opportunity with Skype for Business is real. Consider the Office 365 customers that don’t own any voice seats, as well as those that own a competing web conferencing solution with an associated PSTN audio conferencing solution. The new market opportunity for both web conferencing and PSTN audio conferencing is $35B*. When you also consider the costs of those competing solutions, there is an opportunity for savings. Add your managed service offerings to the mix, and the ROI for the customer can be even more tangible.

If your company is an ISV, there are opportunities for solutions around billing and reporting, call center, network management, and vertical applications. We have a Skype Developer Platform and an Office Dev Center that offer documentation, code samples, and more, if this is an area of interest to you. Learn more about ISV partner resources

The graphic below offers a wide variety of suggestions about the types of services you can offer as part of your voice practice throughout the Office 365 customer lifecycle.


People-centric compliance

Adding to the new enterprise value of the E5 offering is the idea of “people-centric compliance.” New capabilities like Customer Lockbox, secured attachments and URLs, and predictive eDiscovery. Customer Lockbox is a rigorous access control technology that gives the customer explicit control over their data by inserting them into the multiple levels of approval required in those rare instances when a Microsoft engineer may need access to customer content to resolve a customer issue.

Read the Customer Lockbox announcement

Another significant investment we’re announcing is secured attachments and URLs. Email in Office 365 already goes through multiple spam filters and antivirus engines. What's different about this capability is that it uses advanced threat protection to give you "time of click" protection against unknown threats in suspicious attachments and URLs.

Watch this Microsoft Mechanics video about Advanced Threat Protection

Predictive eDiscovery uses machine learning and textual analytics technology from Equivio, a company Microsoft acquired earlier this year. It uses duplicate detection and thread analysis capabilities, as well as predictive coding, which trains the system to identify relevant email and documents, while themes and search help you quickly map unstructured data. Predictive eDiscovery speeds up the document review process in a legal eDiscovery case. By significantly reducing legal counsel review time, organizations save money—a big part of why this capability is being well received.


My final post in this series will cover personalized insights with Delve organizational analytics and Power BI. If you missed our November 5 call, “New enterprise value and partner opportunities with E5 plan,” you can watch it on demand on our US Partner Community YouTube playlist. And, I hope you’ll register for our next Office 365 Partner Community call on December 5.

Comments about this blog post, or questions about the topic? Let us know in the Office 365 Partners Yammer group.

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* Microsoft estimates based on IDC May 2015 WW Software Tracker, Telegeography and ITU

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