There are many ways to get started with an Office 365 subscription. Some of these ways include:
Working with Microsoft on a license agreement (through a licensing reseller)
Working with a Microsoft deployment partner
Signing up for the service directly on the website using a credit card
If you decide to sign up directly on the website using a credit card then you have two options when checking out your purchase. You can choose to pay monthly or commit to an annual subscription and enjoy a cheaper rate, saving you money.
Let us now explore these options in the following sub-sections.
Chances are you are only working with Microsoft if you have a large set or a combination of licenses you need to purchase. An example of this would be if you are an Enterprise customer seeking specific contract requirements and a combination of licenses, outside of Office 365, in a suite for your users. Specific contract requirements, and suites of licenses are typically sold as Enterprise Agreement (EA). The benefit of an EA is that it allows an organization to leverage a number of Microsoft products, for a single per seat cost. If you are an EA customer or plan to be one, the sign-up process is different. When you sign up for an EA, you will typically receive an e-mail with two options:
The first option is to attach your license to an existing Office 365 trial account
The second option is to create a new account with your licenses assigned
If you have already purchased licenses in an existing account, it may be difficult for you to have Microsoft attach licenses to this account. Microsoft may ask you to recreate an account in this scenario.
If you are working with a Microsoft deployment partner, there is a good possibility that the Microsoft deployment partner will be able to help you through this process. A Microsoft deployment partner has the ability to send you a customized link. This link can be a trial or a set of licenses to be purchased. The benefits of a Microsoft deployment partner sending you a link are twofold. The partner can help ensure you have the right licenses and the partner obtains benefits while being associated with your subscription. These benefits include subscription notifications for changes/upgrades and there are financial benefits. The notifications/changes are of benefit as the partner can work closely with your organization to ensure you are prepared for upcoming changes. The financial benefits a partner receives are specifically related to the partner being an adviser for your subscription.
The last option is to sign-up for the service directly. Chances are that you are taking this approach if you are not signing an EA, or are not working with a Microsoft deployment partner, and are planning to trial or move to this service on your own. Often, organizations sign up for the service ahead of working with a partner or Microsoft on licensing. If you have signed up for a trial service, but plan to work with a partner or Microsoft, it is recommended not to purchase licenses until you have requested their advice on how to proceed. The impacts of purchasing license prior to engaging Microsoft or a partner can mean reallocating enabled accounts or a delay in how soon Microsoft can apply the EA licenses.
In all cases, we leverage the Office 365 admin portal, https://portal.office.com, in a similar way. Before we get started with the Office 365 admin portal, we need to sign up for the service.