The SharePoint history is quite interesting with several active versions still in use from SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint Online. It’s safe to say there are probably a few companies who still use SharePoint 2003. Nonetheless, there have been significant changes to SharePoint and even Microsoft Office with Office 365. We are a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner & are a leader in Office 365 Migration Services & Solutions - so get ready to learn more about the differences between SharePoint Online and Office 365.

SharePoint Online vs. Office 365

Some organizations delve into the on-premise vs. cloud debate. The most significant difference impacts local IT resources compared to the convenience and flexibility of cloud solutions. Cloud-hosted systems offer more reliable business continuity over on-premise and do not require a full in-house IT team for management.

When Office 365 made its debut, it did fall behind SharePoint 2010 and 2013 in terms of features. Of course, this was before Office 365 started to focus on the cloud. SharePoint 2016 started to address this, as well.

Then Microsoft really started to focus on the Cloud and Office 365 started pulling ahead in terms of what it offered end users. Microsoft is now looking at bringing some of the more advanced Cloud features of Office 365, like Delve, to those still operating On Prem SharePoint – the release of SharePoint 2016 will start to address this.

Office 365 provides exclusive features that include:

NextGen Portals: Out-of-the-box portals

Delve: A technology based on Office Graph Sway: Allows users to combine text, images and videos locally and online to create a usable website.

Office 365 features: Single sign-on

Office 365 Groups: Use different Office 365 applications together. For instance, syncing lists between applications.

Consistent updates: Over the last 12 months hundreds updates have been rolled out with more coming all the time.

Ten benefits of Office 365

1. Explore and integrate: Frictionless integration with other Microsoft programs.

2. Collaborate anywhere anytime: Web-based email, documents, contacts, and calendars regardless of device or browser. Experience unified collaboration among employees.

3. Always on: The cloud ensures business continuity and always-available documents and email even through a natural or man-made disaster.

4. Agility: With multiple options in the Office 365 suite, organizations buy only the office solutions they need.

5. Single Sign-on (SSO): Avoid having to repeatedly sign in to Office 365.

6. Support: End-users receive business-class service including IT admin phone support, 99.9% uptime guarantee, geo-redundant data centers, disaster recovery, robust security, privacy controls, and standards.

7. Security: Office 365 has built-in security and continuous compliance. Always know where your data is and who has access. You can also remotely wipe all data from your mobile device if it’s lost or stolen.

8. Frictionless licensing: Everyone has the same version of Microsoft Office, and all end-users receive upgrades at the same time.

9. Organize easily: All is synchronized and automatically updated across all your devices. You can also access the same data from any device or save a document on your PC and continue working on it from your mobile device.

10. Real-time collaboration: Teams can collaborate with Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. End-users can view real-time edits or additions their colleagues are making to a document. It also saves each version automatically, so you can revert to older versions as needed. Office 365 services can ensure you access all of the benefits listed.

Features of SharePoint Online

The most common use for SharePoint online is company intranets. The good news is you can customize your online space using this cloud-hosted solution. The focus is on collaboration and increasing productivity.


One of the biggest features of SharePoint Online is it’s cloud-hosted. That means you have access anywhere, at any time; all you need is an online portal. This is especially useful for remote workers and access on mobile devices. Using the cloud also means it can scale as your business grows, and it ensures business continuity.


Microsoft SharePoint Online enables the centralization of resources, organizing everything in one user-friendly portal. Not only do team members no longer need to go searching here, there and everywhere for what they need, managers can oversee everything and ensure processes are optimized. As an efficient content management system, SharePoint Online saves time and effort.

Seamless integration with Office 365

As it is a product of Microsoft, it’s designed to work effortlessly with Office 365. Therefore, if you already use Office 365 services, it makes things that much more convenient. It also gives you the option of quickly editing documents in your browser or opening them natively on your desktop, but no matter which you choose, the updates are always saved.

Document collaboration

What’s more, team members can work collaboratively on the same document at the same time, which saves generating multiple versions and getting lost in the mix. You can view in real-time who is in the document with you and reload to see the changes they’ve made. SharePoint Online also lives up to its name by making file sharing as easy as clicking a button. You can send invites to other end-users (internal or external) to edit any document.

Use previous iterations

Further, SharePoint Online automatically keeps a ready version history of documents. You can also roll back to previous versions as needed. As a result, collaboration is simple and convenient.

In conclusion

We hope you have a better understanding of some of the differences between SharePoint Online and Office 365. Invariably, the differences will change over time. To learn more about how Office 365 services can benefit your business, Contact SSI today.

Contact SSI to learn more about the differences or talk directly to an Office 365 service expert here!