Office 365 SMB SKU Transition Walkthrough


Hello Partners!   Many of you have been awaiting updated information and guidance on how SKU transitions will occur for the retiring SMB plans purchased through Retail, Direct, or the Open License Program.

The Plans I am referring to are:

  • Office 365 Small Business

  • Office 365 Small Business Premium

  • Office 365 Midsized Business

If your customer purchased directly through Microsoft (advisor) then you may have transitioned them to a more current plan.  If not, guidance is included on how to proceed below.

More interesting however is the updated experience for those that purchased these plans through retail or Open license programs, as the transition to newer offerings has been delayed for many customers.

The guidance I am referring to is referenced in this Microsoft Office webpage.   Our guidance since last year has been for those customers on the aforementioned plans purchased through Open license to wait until October of this year to renew into the new plans.  The release of Office 2016 and ensuring we provided the best experience caused us to extended this guidance until December. 

Tomorrow is December and there has been some updating to the renewal experience for the Office 365 SMB plans mentioned above and we have a nice Office MIX produced by Gabe Long of the Office Business Group.

I recommend one take a look at the narrated PowerPoint MIX that is “choose your own adventure style” in the words of Gabe (I like that as I am a child of the 70’s and 80’s).  His treatment of the topic is thorough and he walks through the experience of moving from the legacy plans to the new plans by purchase modality and shows the admin and end user experience.


Choose a current plan…


Select the plan your customer intends to renew to


Select the experience you want to walk through


If you select “Midsized Business” you are asked if you purchased through Open.

It is important to note that while this SKU transition experience is updated and optimized, that Gabe’s advise is to conduct the transition at or after expiration of the Open subscription to avoid forfeiting time on the subscription.   There is explicit guidance on retail subscriptions too.

A few points worth mentioning.   First, the customer experiences are complete and it is very important to understand the impact of transitions to the customer experience.   When moving to the Office 365 Business Premium Plan from Midsized Business for instance, an uninstall and re-install of Office (click-to-run) is needed.   This is portrayed, as is the separate install of Skype for Business Basic.   If you want to “hide” this process from end users, take a look at my post on the Office 365 Deployment tool for Click to Run.  Second, the transition experience recognizes transitioning multiple subscriptions into a single renewal and recommends calling support to ensure one does not lose any time remaining on secondary subscriptions.   There may be manual step involved, but at least we protect the customer’s investment.

I would like to thank Gabe Long for producing this overview and I hope that it is insightful for you.






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Woody Walton


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