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How to switch plans with Office 365 for business and enterprise plans

By November 1, 2016September 11th, 2020Best Practices, Blog, Office 365, Office 365
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Many organizations have difficulty deciding which Office 365 plan is right for their organization, and spend a great time weighing the various options. For certain organizations, they’re right along the threshold for number of users allowed within the business plans, and with growth they will enter into the Enterprise plan territory. However, holding off transitioning to the Enterprise plans until necessary can allow for a great deal of savings. Microsoft has made it easy to transition between plans, so companies can make the change as an organization to the enterprise plans easily, as well as transition each user to different plans as needed. Below are the processes that Microsoft has provided to guide administrators through making each type of subscription changes:

What’s supported:

  • Switching between most Office 365 for business plans.

Tip: These are the plans listed in tables 2-4 of the business plans you can switch to in Office 365 article.

  • Switching from Office 365 Small Business, Small Business Premium, or Midsize Business to a different Office 365 for business plan. This is done through the renewal process, not through the steps in this article. To learn more, see Renew Office 365 small and midsized business subscriptions.
  • Switching between Office 365 Education plans.
  • Switching from Office 365 for home subscriptions, such as Office 365 Home, Personal, or University to an Office 365 for business subscription. To upgrade an Office 365 for home subscription to an Office 365 for business subscription, see Upgrade Office 365 for home to a business subscription.

If you want to switch between Office 365 for home subscriptions, see Switch to a different Office 365 for home plan.

What’s not supported:

  • Switching between Office 365 Small Business, Small Business Premium, or Midsize Business plans.
  • Switching from an Office 365 for business subscription to an Office 365 for home subscription, such as Office 365 Home, Personal, or University.

Note: The Office 365 Enterprise E4 plan is being retired. To learn about your options for switching or upgrading from E4 to another plan, see Important information for Office 365 Enterprise E4 customers.

Choose how to switch plans

The easiest way to switch plans is to use the switch plans wizard that’s built into the Office 365 admin center. However, using the switch plans wizard isn’t supported in all situations. In which case you might be able to switch plans manually. This article helps you chose the right path for your situation.

What is the switch plans wizard?

The switch plans wizard is built into the Office 365 admin center of all Office 365 for business and enterprise subscriptions, as well as Office 365 Small Business, Small Business Premium, and Midsize Business subscriptions. The switch plans wizard does the following:

  • Leads you through the process of buying a plan that you can switch your current plan to.
  • Reassigns all user licenses from the plan you’re switching from to the plan you’re switching to.
  • Cancels your old plan.

What does it mean to switch plans manually?

Switching plans manually means that you’re completing the following separate procedures instead of using the switch plans wizard. The procedures are:

  • Buy licenses for the subscription you’re switching users to.
  • Verify the subscription is ready to switch users to.
  • Reassign user licenses
  • Remove unneeded licenses from the subscription you’re switching from.
  • Cancel the original subscription (if switching all users).

Switching only some users isn’t supported by the switch plans wizard

The switch plans wizard supports switching all users from one subscription to another. It doesn’t support switching only some of the users. If you want to switch only some of your users to a different subscription, you might be able to switch them manually. We’ll discuss this more, later in this article.

Verify whether the switch plans wizard can be used to switch your subscription

  1. Sign in to Office 365 with your work or school account as a global admin. Learn how to sign in.
  2. Select the app launcher icon in the upper-left and choose Admin.
  3. In the admin center, choose Billing > Subscriptions.

Your screen might look like either of the following screenshots:

mf1mf2

4.   On the Subscriptions page, select the plan you want to switch from.

The following pictures show how a subscription looks when the switch plans wizard is available and when it isn’t available.

Available Not available

Notes: If you don’t see the Switch plans button, your plan can’t be switched using the Switch plans wizard. In this case, see Switch Office 365 for business plans manually.

Here are some examples of when the Switch plans button won’t be available:

    • The subscription was purchased on a volume license agreement.
    • You have a government, education, or non-profit plan.

5.   If you see the No switch plans message, you can position your mouse over the info icon and a message describing the reason that the wizard is not available is displayed.

mf3

There are several reasons why the switch plans wizard might be unavailable. Most of them are due to temporary issues or issues that you can resolve. See the Why can’t I switch plans? article for more information.

Verify whether you can use the switch plans wizard to switch to the plan you want

If the switch plans wizard is available, the next step is to determine if you can switch your current plan to the one that you want. The switch plans wizard limits the plans that you can switch to, based on the services in your current plan. The wizard will only switch to a plan that has the same data-related services, such as Exchange Online or SharePoint Online, or to a higher version of them. This ensures that users don’t lose data related to those services during the switch.

The switch plans wizard also restricts the plans you can switch between to ensure that you don’t switch to a plan with a lesser service, which would cause a loss of functionality. For example, the switch plans wizard won’t switch from Office 365 Enterprise E4 (which has Skype for Business Online Plan 3) to Office 365 Enterprise E3 (which has Skype for Business Online Plan 2).

The Business plans you can switch to in Office 365 article lists the subscriptions you can switch between using the switch plans wizard as well as the subscriptions you can switch to manually.

Which path should I take?

The following table shows the recommended way to switch users to a different plan.

I want to Use this article
  • Switch all users
Switch Office 365 plans using the switch plans wizard
  • Switch all users.

(When the switch plans wizard is not supported.).

  • Switch only some users.
  • Switch some or all users from a prepaid, volume licensed, government, education, or non-profit subscription.
  • Switch users to a plan that has fewer services or a lower version of one or more services than your current plan.
Switch Office 365 for business plans manually

If you would like to see the guidelines in their entirety or reference additional tools that Microsoft has available, please visit https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Switch-to-a-different-Office-365-for-business-plan-73318661-8f33-478b-bcc7-fb8d69dbb22a.

If you would like to learn how Office 365 can help drive your business forward, please reach out to info@pei.com and we will reach out to you shortly.

Martin Feehan, PEI

 

 

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