Posted on: July 20, 2017

Making the switch from your traditional, on-premises Office suite to Office 365 is a pretty natural step for anyone interested in staying ahead of the technological curve. After all, it’s the future of Microsoft right now, and it comes with a ton of incredible benefits. For one, there are a lot of awesome features to be utilized. Additionally, you can embrace a user-based system as opposed to a device-based one. All in all, the majority of businesses will get a lot more value out of Office 365 in their day-to-day operations.

While this is all incredibly exciting, however, it’s important to be aware of the fact that these types of transitions don’t always go smoothly – especially when you don’t know what to expect and don’t really know what you’re doing. Although you might think that certain processes like installation, true up, and licensing are basically the same as what you’ve been used to, you’ll find that they are actually handled in a much different manner within Office 365. Understanding the main differences that users face when leaving the on-premises Office world behind in favor of Office 365 is the key to escaping mistakes and ensuring that the switch goes as smoothly as possible.


There are some rather major differences between the installation of Office on-premises and Office 365. Consider the fact that on-premises programs frequently make use of KMS or MAK for the installation process, but Office 365 uses Click-to-Run (a streaming and virtualization program) for both its installation and its updates. What’s cool about this is that users can actually start accessing Office programs before the installation has completed in entirety. You can even prioritize which features that Click-and-Run will install so that you can start using the tools you need as soon as possible. After the whole program has finished installing, you’re free to disconnect from the network and to continue running the program like normal. You’ll notice that the same process occurs during updates. Another big difference is that installation is user-based, not device-based. This means that you won’t need a unique license for every piece of hardware. Instead, individual users are able to install the Office 365 program onto as many as five devices on the same license.


True-ups are very different in the Office 365 environment when compared to device-based Office programs. Generally speaking, if a company has 500 licenses but needs to increase that number to 525, it would need to add an additional 25 devices. Whenever a true-up period comes around (usually 90 and 30 days before an anniversary), the business would log its inventory, report how many devices are utilizing the program to Microsoft, and the total number of licenses would be adjusted by Microsoft.

With an on-premises program that follows an ownership model, it doesn’t matter when licenses are paid for as long as the user is paid. Office 365, however, runs on a subscription basis. This means that users are required to pay for services while they’re using it. Consequently, the true-up process is different. To add licenses, a business can either place an order where payment occurs as users are added, or as license reservations, where extra licenses are added by an online service manager and the retroactive usage is reconciled during a true-up period. Understanding how these two elements contrast each other can make a huge difference with compliance.

New Processes and New Benefits

Whenever a change of software or hardware occurs, there are bound to be changes to various processes that can initially seem confusing. Fortunately, being aware of key differences can make the process much simpler so that you can start to enjoy the incredible benefits of Office 365 more quickly.

Learn more about Office 365 and all that it has to offer modern businesses by talking to the pros at Uncommon Solutions today.