If you are considering Office 365 Midsize Business, E3 or E4 plans, besides all Office 365 services like Exchange Online, Lync Online and SharePoint Online, you will also get Office suite as a part of your subscription. This Office suite is called Office 365 ProPlus and includes all the same rich Office applications (e.g. Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint and more) that we have always used. However, when it comes to being productive with Office 365, it is not your only option. In addition to the Office 365 ProPlus, we also have Office Web Apps, Office Mobile and Office On Demand included in these subscriptions to make sure you have the best experience on different devices and you can be productive anywhere.
Let's quickly explore what each option means;
Office 365 ProPlus : As I mentioned above, this is the same full featured Office desktop suite. Office 365 ProPlus bits will install and stay on your devices so you can work while offline. Please also note, as an additional benefit of getting Office thru Office 365, each user can install Office 365 ProPlus on up to 5 PCs or Macs.
Office Web Apps : These are the online versions of Office applications. They run in the browser of your preference and provide viewing and basic editing capabilities. Since they are running in the browser, no installation on the device is required and this also means that you can use any device to connect your Office 365 account and use the Office Web Apps. In order to use them, you need to be online and opening files from your SharePoint site, SkyDrive Pro or SkyDrive folder.
Office Mobile : Office Mobile app is designed for mobile devices and allows you to view or edit files in Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and take notes in OneNote, and join meetings (with just one click) using Lync Mobile. Other mobile applications like Outlook, SkyDrive and Skype are also available for most platforms. More information about available applications and download links can be found here
Office On Demand : This is where things are getting really interesting. Having the ability to install and use Office 365 ProPlus on multiple devices, in browser capabilities with Office Web Apps and mobile features with Office Mobile are all great. However, you may need the full Office experience when you don’t have your devices with you. With Office On Demand, you can stream Office applications to any internet connected Windows 7 or Windows 8 device. No installation is required and you don't even need the admin rights on the device.
Using Office On Demand is as easy as 1-2-3. Here how it works;
1. First, you need to open up a browser, go to www.office.com and log in with your Office 365 credentials
2. On the top of the page click on SkyDrive and on the left of the screen you will see "Use Office On Demand" link
3. Once you click on the link, you will see list of Office applications that can be streamed down to the device. Click on your desired application and in matter of minutes, you will have full featured Office client running on the device
Since the application is not installed on that device, it can run side-by-side with an older version of Office and when closed, it will leave no trace behind.
With Office 365, regardless of the device, you will always have the best experience and you can be productive anytime anywhere. Keep in mind, you can purchase your Office 365 plan subscriptions via OPEN licensing, like other Microsoft licenses. Please connect with your Microsoft Partner to see your purchasing options, try Office 365 and start enjoying the benefits.
After testing various scenarios with Office on Demand, I have determined that you can not open local Office documents without launching the Office on Demand Application first. This is very confusing for users as they are used to double clicking icons or going to My documents to open Office documents. Also if someone receives an attachment in OWA, it will not know how to open the attachment automatically (if it is an office document). Food for thought, for a future Office On Demand release :)
What? OneNote is not included?