I think a little further explanation on the title is necessary. In no way am I saying that the Microsoft Office 365 P1 (small business) plan is not a good fit for certain customers, BUT make sure you know what you are getting into: I HIGH value solution with some severe limitations for customers heavily invested in the Microsoft platform even of they are small in size.
I do not want to beat a dead horse, but I recommend you read my peer BVA’s post on Office 365 P1–What can you and more importantly can’t you do. Bryan points out the limitations of the plan and refers to and refers to some additional resources and post on www.office365answers.com.
To summarize the limitations from Bryan’s article:
- Phone / Ticketed Support Not Included
Capacity Limited to 50 Users
- Unable to Upgrade from P1 to E Plan
- One SharePoint Site Collection
Cannot Buy Additional SharePoint Storage
- Directory Synchronization is Not Allowed
- Federation (Single Sign On) is Not Supported
Custom Domain Validation Requires Microsoft Name Servers
- SSL Not Available with SharePoint
- User accounts set to never expire.
- Roles not available in the Office 365 Portal or Exchange Online
- Lync 2010 cannot communicate with MSN Messenger (temporary)
This is a long list and you can see several implications to the established SMB customer. I have mentioned at length in other posts that I work with our distribution partners. I have already handled several situations where partners have asked for confirmation of “do we really not get support”, or “are you certain we cannot upgrade to the E plan”? When I compound this with rather high percentage of P1 plan sales by partners in the past few months versus what I expected, it leads me to believe there is a gap in knowledge. Ultimately, if the P1 plan makes sense for your customer, great! Sell it and make 18% on $6 per user/month, but also sell Windows Intune and other online services to make the annuity play real. If I were a betting man, and I am, I would say that through a thorough assessment of your customer, you will find that one of the above limitations is a deal breaker. Or it ay be that your preference is to leverage DNS in the way you always have, and you are not too keen on dropping everything over to Microsoft.
SO, a thorough assessment of needs you may immediately be able to eliminate P1. Furthermore, if you go in blind and recommend P1 when it is not a good fit, you have landed yourself in customer service hell. This is a situation you will not be able to back out of easily if at all. There are some ways to get around some of these issues (SBS essentials for Single Sign-on for instance), but many will leave your customer hanging in the long run. Be safe, be thorough, make more money; recommend the Enterprise “E” plans for Microsoft Office 365 and work back from there.
There is a little known service description for the Microsoft Office 365 Small Business Plan here; it is a good resource to keep at hand.