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If you’re a current Microsoft Office 365 E4 subscriber, there are some changes coming in the near future. Earlier this month, corporate vice president for Microsoft Office, John Case, announced the introduction of E5, a new addition to the premium Office 365 Enterprise Suites.

More than simply a new addition, E5 will, in fact, replace the current E4. While no solid dates have been released yet, Microsoft intends to make the switch before the end of 2015.

New Features in E5

There wouldn’t be much point in changing things just for the sake of it, so E5 will deliver all the same collaboration and productivity capabilities today’s business users demand, with some important enhancements in both features and security.

Skype for Business

  • PSTN Conferencing – If you run online business meetings, do you find some people can’t attend because of Internet connection issues? PSTN conferencing will allow even these people to attend a Skype for Business meeting by dialling in from any landline or mobile phone. Those already in the meeting can add others by dialling out.
  • Skype Meeting Broadcast – Up to 10,000 people worldwide can attend virtual meetings via practically any device. The service includes Yammer, which enables attendees to communicate with each other during the meeting, and Bing Pulse which allows real time sentiment tracking and polling.
  • Cloud PBX and PSTN Calling – Skype for Business will allow the management of calls with traditional features such as hold and resume, forward or transfer. It can be configured to use existing phone lines for both incoming and outgoing phone calls.

As well as the enhanced features in Skype for Business, security upgrades include Customer Lockbox, Data Loss Protection, eDiscovery and Safe Attachments.

Business Intelligence Built In

Power BI, a subscription based or stand-alone service, is included in E5 in a new enhanced version called Power BI Pro. Power BI Pro upgrades the data capacity limit per user to 10GB, allows hourly  schedule data refresh, and has many new collaboration features such as creating and publishing customised content packs and sharing data queries through the data catalogue. More details on the new features can be found here.

Upgrade Options

The retiring of E4 obviously impacts current users of the plan. If this is you, you’ll have the option of either going straight to E5 or reverting to E3 plus Cloud PBX. New customers will either purchase E5 straight off or go with combinations of E1 and E3 with upgrades should they wish to take advantage of Cloud PBX and PSTN calling or conferencing.

Microsoft hasn’t finalised and released prices yet for the new E5, but if you’d like to be kept informed when they do become available, either check back here or get in touch with us for more details.

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