Today Microsoft announced that from 21st April 2020 Office 365 will re-branded as Microsoft 365. While this change purports to be only cosmetic, it has already generated a lot of concern in the IT community about creating customer confusion.

Before exploring that further, here is how the product suite will be renamed from late April:

While at first this may seem like a marketing triviality, the concern raised by many IT and Managed Service Providers is that customers who were previously being invoiced for Office 365 Business Premium will now see Microsoft 365 Business Standard on their invoices instead.

A significant number of IT providers are worried this will confuse customers into believing they have been downgraded, or that they are receiving less functionality than before, but at the same price-point.

Our take is somewhat more optimistic. Granted, there may be some short-term pain from this change, but if customers and specifically non-technical procurement and finance staff are notified and educated in advance, I don’t foresee any PR nightmares.

What this change does achieve, however, is a realignment of the confusing Office 365 vs Microsoft 365 suite branding into a single spectrum of product. This naming dichotomy has itself shown to be challenging for new customers to understand and in my view, this has been a barrier to sale for the Microsoft 365 suite from day one.

United under a single brand, and with names that more clearly reflect the increasing value customers derive from each product, this is undeniably a step in the right direction.