Pro means second class

I should have known better. I did this same dance with Google five years ago.

I just upgraded my Microsoft Office 365 Personal account to Office 365 Business Premium. And when I say “upgrade,” I mean create a brand new Office 365 Business account and then manually move my documents over from my personal OneDrive to the new business OneDrive/Sharepoint. This is relatively simple to do, after I was on hold with Microsoft for an hour to find out how to do it. And since the whole point of this was to add hosted Exchange to my existing Office 365 services, and be able to use my own domain name, I used Outlook 2013 to move over all my appointments, contacts, tasks and email from iCloud. A lot more work than I expected, but I’m an IT professional. I’m okay with this kind of stuff.

What I’m not okay with are the compromises I have to deal with now that I’ve moved to a “professional” account. You’d think a pro account would have more features and flexibility. You’d only be part right.

The first thing I found out is that OneDrive for Business (the new name for Sharepoint’s file storage features, since “Sharepoint” sends some people running for cover) isn’t as easy to use as OneDrive. It doesn’t integrate with Windows 8.1 as easily as OneDrive, and as I mentioned above, it’s downright Byzantine when it comes to local file management.

But okay, I can accept that. It’s an enterprise-level product, and some configuration is expected. Then I tried to use Office Lens.

If you haven’t played with it yet, Office Lens is a nifty little scanning app for iOS (and other platforms) like Evernote’s Scannable or standalone apps like Scanbot or PDFpen Scan+. But unlike those apps, it integrates images, scanned documents or whiteboards into Office apps at a much deeper level. You can scan directly into a specific OneNote section, for example, or convert a scanned document directly to Microsoft Word. If you’re all-in with the Microsoft Office ecosystem, it’s a pretty great way to get stuff into Office.

And it doesn’t work at all with business accounts.

That’s right, Office Lens only lets you sign in with a consumer Microsoft account, the kind you’d use with Office 365 Personal or Home. It doesn’t work with Office 365 Business accounts. So unless I want to keep some of my OneNote notebooks on my personal OneDrive and some on my professional OneDrive (a recipe for madness), I can’t use Office Lens.

I’m scared of what other limitations this “higher” tier might hold. I went through the same thing five years ago when I upgraded from Gmail to Google Apps for my own domain. Suddenly, things that I thought of as basic Google services didn’t work for me anymore. (If you recall, it was quite some time before even Google+, which was so aggressively forced on consumer accounts, worked with Google Apps accounts.) And now it’s happening again.

So far, it’s not enough to actually undo everything I’ve done, cancel my Business Premium account and just get a hosted Exchange account to go with my consumer Microsoft account. But I’m considering it.

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