Office 365 E3

Office 365 Enterprise E3

What is the Office 365 Enterprise E3 subscription and how does it fit into the Office 365 licensing landscape that Microsoft has to offer?

This article will give you a clear understanding of the Office 365 E3 subscription in five simple steps.

  1. Understand the concept of Licensing Plans and Service Plans
  2. Understand the difference between Office 365 E1, E3 and E5
  3. Is Office 365 E3 the right choice for you?
  4. Office 365 implementation
  5. Office 365 administration
 Take the right approach to your Office 365 implementation and make the right decisions from the beginning:
  • Selecting a licensing plan that doesn’t fit your actual needs can be a costly affair
  • Making mistakes during implementation can delay your Office 365 roll out and affect your existing business in a negative way
  • Understand the complexity of Office 365 management to avoid inflating your administrative costs

Read on to stay out of trouble!

1. Understand the concept of Licensing Plans and Service Plans

In Office 365 a Licensing Plan is a collection of one of more Services (referred to as Service Plans). Office 365 Enterprise E3 is an example of a license plan and Exchange Online is an example of a service plan included in the Office 365 E3 licensing plan.

To assign Office 365 services to a user you must purchase a license for the Office 365 licensing plan which includes the services you want to assign to the user. You must then activate the services in the license plan that you want to be available for the user.

The following table shows the services included in the Office 365 Enterprise E3 licensing plan:

Office 365 Enterprise E3 Services

Service NameFriendly NameGUID
BPOS_S_TODO_2To-Do (Plan 2)c87f142c-d1e9-4363-8630-aaea9c4d9ae5
DesklessMicrosoft StaffHub8c7d2df8-86f0-4902-b2ed-a0458298f3b3
EXCHANGE_S_ENTERPRISEEXCHANGE ONLINE (PLAN 2)efb87545-963c-4e0d-99df-69c6916d9eb0
FLOW_O365_P2Flow for Office 36576846ad7-7776-4c40-a281-a386362dd1b9
FORMS_PLAN_E3MICROSOFT FORMS (PLAN E3)2789c901-c14e-48ab-a76a-be334d9d793a
MCOSTANDARDSkype for Business Online (Plan 2)0feaeb32-d00e-4d66-bd5a-43b5b83db82c
OFFICESUBSCRIPTIONOffice 365 ProPlus43de0ff5-c92c-492b-9116-175376d08c38
POWERAPPS_O365_P2PowerApps for Office 365c68f8d98-5534-41c8-bf36-22fa496fa792
PROJECTWORKMANAGEMENTMicrosoft Plannerb737dad2-2f6c-4c65-90e3-ca563267e8b9
SHAREPOINTWACPROJECT ONLINE SERVICEfe71d6c3-a2ea-4499-9778-da042bf08063
STREAM_O365_E3Microsoft Stream for O365 E3 SKU9e700747-8b1d-45e5-ab8d-ef187ceec156
TEAMS1Microsoft Teams57ff2da0-773e-42df-b2af-ffb7a2317929

2. Understand the difference between E1, E3 and E5

The three main flavors of Office 365 Enterprise are E1, E3 and E5. They have many differences and these are considered the more important ones:

Office 365 E1, E3 and E5 Comparison

Office 365 E1Office 365 E3Office 365 E5
Web versions of Office applicationsDesktop + web versions of Office ApplicationsDesktop + web versions of Office Applications
No mobile office apps (browser only)Mobile Office apps supportedMobile Office apps supported
50 GB inbox100 GB inbox + unlimited in-place archive100 GB inbox + unlimited in-place archive
Standard email protectionStandard email protectionOffice 365 Advanced Threat Protection
1 TB cloud storageUnlimited personal cloud storageUnlimited personal cloud storage
No in-place hold/litigationIn-place hold/litigationIn-place hold/litigation
No DLPData Loss PreventionData Loss Prevention
No message encryptionMessage encryptionMessage encryption
No Power BINo Power BIPower BI included

You can get more details on the differences here.

Keep in mind that you have other options to license Office 365 services: The Office 365 Business licensing plans comes in various sizes but can only be used by a maximum of 300 users. You also have the option to license Exchange as a standalone service in case you’re only looking for email. The cheapest Microsoft e-mail offering is the Exchange Online Kiosk license.


Select Office 365 license

3. Is Office 365 E3 the right choice for you?

As seen in the previous section there are quite a few differences between the various Office 365 Enterprise offerings. It’s necessary that you understand the needs of your organization and even individual users.

You can mix freely between the various licensing plans. If e.g. only a small number of users need litigation hold you can limit the number of E3 licenses to those users and assign the rest with the cheaper E1 licenses (if all other aspects of E1 meets their requirements).

If you have socalled Deskless employees you can even go with the Exchange Online Kiosk/Office 365 F1 license for a subset of users with very simple Office 365 needs.

One thing to keep in mind: You can never enable more than one Exchange service per user.

4. Office 365 Implementation

Implementing Office 365 can be a rather complicated affair that should only be taken on if you have a skilled inhouse IT staff. Otherwise look for experienced consultants to assist you with the planning and perhaps execution of the migration project.

To implement Office 365 and migrate your existing users and mailboxes to Office 365 consider these high level steps:

  • Create an Azure subscription
  • Synchronize local users and groups to Azure using Azure AD Connect
  • Connect your local Exchange organization and Office 365
  • Migrate mailboxes to Exchange Online/Office 365

There are a lot of sub tasks related to the above high level steps and the specific planning is very much depending on your organization size and chosen migration strategy. For most mid-sized to large organizations you will want to migrate in batches, most likely defined by departments that work closely together.

Make sure to verify the success of each step in details before moving on and start with smaller migration batches to gain some experience without breaking too much.

5. Office 365 Administration

Once you have all mailboxes migrated to Office 365 your list of day to day administration tools will increase. A lot! This comes as a surprise to many admins.

  • You still need Active Directory Users & Computers to manage standard user attributes like name, contact information, password, etc.
  • You still need a local Exchange Server with Exchange Admin Center to manage the mail related attributes in your local Active Directory, e.g. proxyAddresses, targetAddress, etc.
  • Additionally you need the Microsoft 365 Admin Portal (or Azure Portal) to manage Office 365 specific settings, e.g. mail enabling/assigning licenses to users
  • Additionally you need the Exchange Online Exchange Admin Center to manage mailbox properties of the users’ Exchange Online mailboxes, e.g. mailbox forwarding, message delivery restrictions, mail forwarding, etc.
  • Additionally you need PowerShell to manage some Exchange online attributes which have no GUI, e.g. mailbox quota and warning limits
  • Additionally you need the Azure AD Connect administration tool to ensure a continued flawless synchronization between local and online resources

This means you need to understand which tool is needed for what job every time you do user and mailbox management. Delegating access to IT staff also becomes a bit of a challenge since a lot of different resources are being accessed.

To make your life easier you can look for 3rd party tools. One such tool is Easy365Manager which allow you to do all the standard user, mailbox, license and synchronization tasks inside the well-known Active Directory Users and Computers tool, as seen in the following screen shots:

Easy365Manager user properties
Easy365Manager user properties


Hopefully this article has given you a better understanding of the Office 365 Enterprise E3 licensing plan as well as some key info related to implementation and administration of Office 365. If you want to study even further details about the various licensing plans follow the links in this article.

To try the fully functional 30 day trial version of Easy365Manager go here.