As a business owner, you have many important decisions to make to ensure the success of your company. One of those is whether to purchase Office 2021 or subscribe to Microsoft 365. Both of these productivity suites have their respective advantages, so deciding which one is right for your company can be challenging.
Here's a comparison of Office 2021 and Microsoft 365 to help you determine which one is better for your business.
What is the difference between Office 2021 and Microsoft 365?
Office 2021 is the latest edition of Microsoft's 30-year-old productivity suite. Like the previous Office editions, the 2021 iteration is a perpetual license, which means you get lifetime access to Office applications on one computer after a one-time, upfront payment. The suite will continue to receive security updates but not new features or functionalities. And if you want to upgrade to the next edition, you'll have to purchase it at full price.
In contrast, Microsoft 365 is a subscription-based service wherein you pay a monthly or yearly fee to access the most up-to-date versions of all productivity apps and related services included in your plan.
Office 2021 offers one business plan, Office Home & Business 2021, which costs $249.99 per computer. Microsoft 365, on the other hand, offers multiple business plans:
- Microsoft 365 Business Basic – $3.00 user/month
- Microsoft 365 Apps for business – $8.25 user/month
- Microsoft 365 Business Standard – $12.50 user/month
- Microsoft 365 Business Premium – $22.00 user/month
What are the advantages of using Office 2021?
The main reason why some businesses choose Office 2021 is that it’s a one-time purchase for lifetime access, so you don’t have to worry about recurring costs.
Moreover, Office 2021 can be used offline, whereas Microsoft 365's most affordable plan, Microsoft 365 Business Basic, requires an internet connection. The offline access that Office 2021 affords is very useful if your internet connection is unreliable or you need to work while offline. Take note, however, that the other higher-priced Microsoft 365 business plans allow offline access since they come with desktop, web, and mobile apps and services.
What are the advantages of using Microsoft 365?
With Microsoft 365, you always have access to the latest features, security and maintenance updates, and improvements. You will automatically get new versions of Office apps as part of your subscription as soon as Microsoft releases them. This can be extremely beneficial especially if your business relies heavily on Microsoft products for your day-to-day operations.
Microsoft 365 also includes apps and services that are not available in Office 2021, such as:
- OneDrive – lets you access your files from anywhere
- Bookings – helps you schedule appointments and engagements
- Planner – helps you manage tasks and projects
- Forms – allows you to create surveys and quizzes
- Exchange – provides a platform for managing email, calendar, and contacts
- SharePoint – enables you to easily create a website for your business
Microsoft 365 business plans also come with round-the-clock phone and email support, so you can get help whenever you need it. Office 2021 gets only up to five years of support, which is considerably shorter than the 7–10 years of support the earlier editions had. After its support period, Office 2021 will no longer receive security updates and bug fixes.
What should you consider before choosing which Microsoft service to invest in?
First, think about how often you will use the productivity suite. If you will only use it occasionally, Office 2021 may be enough to meet your requirements. However, if you're a power user who uses productivity tools every day, Microsoft 365 may be a better investment.
You should also consider your cash flow. If you have the money upfront, Office 2021 may be the better choice. However, if you need to spread out the cost of your investment and don't mind paying a monthly or yearly fee, then go for Microsoft 365.
Also, assess whether you need the additional apps and services as well as the new features and functionalities that Microsoft 365 will release. If you don’t think you will use these additional apps and services, then Office 2021 may be sufficient. However, given how much the business landscape has evolved in recent years, you may need Microsoft's new features and functionalities to keep up with the times.
Finally, if you don't think your business will need that much support, Office 2021 might suffice. But if getting technical support and security and maintenance updates is important to you, then you’re better off subscribing to Microsoft 365.
Still need help deciding between Office 2021 and Microsoft 365? You can turn to Microsoft Registered Partner and Microsoft Small Business Specialist, SpectrumWise. Book a consultation with us today.