I’ve been a big Microsoft Visio user over various contracts as a technical writer. In fact, my history with Visio goes back so far, I remember it before Microsoft acquired it. Over the preceding years, I saw Visio become pretty much a niche application even after it got officially pulled under the Microsoft Office umbrella. Making Visio Pro for Office 365 subscription-based is sheer genius in my opinion.

Here’s why:

Joys of Microsoft Visio subscription licensing

Microsoft still sells Visio Standard 2016 and Visio Professional 2016 with standard desktop licensing.Visio Pro for Office 365 is $13.00 per month with an annual commitment or $15.50 for a monthly commitment. The new Visio subscription model allows each user to install Visio on up to five PCs running Windows 10, Windows 8, or Windows 7. You also get the latest Visio feature and security updates for the duration of the subscription. Visio Pro for Office 365 includes the same features as Visio Professional 2016.
 In my experience, restrictive desktop licensing one of the things that held back Visio. I saw the lack of flexible Visio licensing cause people to hesitate in using Visio diagrams. Collaboration was a No Go because the one Visio license was spread across multiple teams in some cases.
 When the time comes that I need Visio for a project, the subscription model is going to be too hard for me to pass up.

Collaboration and authoring options for more users

Visio for Office 365 includes co-authoring support which enables multiple users to collaborate on the same diagram without fear of breaking version control. I like co-authoring in Visio as a better way to run a technical review over diagrams. A business analyst or a technical writer can manage technical reviews electronically doing away with having to generate an Adobe Portable Document File (PDF) of a diagram or printing a hard copy to get review comments. Both the document creator and reviewer can make diagram changes in real-time electronically because of the 5-seat licensing and the technology that can make this happen.
 You can also secure Visio diagrams with Microsoft Information Rights Management (IRM) which can secure Visio files sent as file attachments and diagrams stored in the cloud. To date, I’ve yet to come across a Microsoft IRM implementation in the wild but like the potential of the technology for protecting sensitive corporate data.

Visio by subscription, yes, please!

The subscription model, flexibility, not to mention the collaboration and authoring options are sheer genius for Visio Pro for Office 365 because they knock out each of the pain points that has consistently held Visio adoption back in the enterprise.

Will Kelly is a technical writer and analyst based in the Washington, DC area. He has worked with commercial, federal, higher education, and publishing clients to develop technical and thought leadership content. His technology articles have been published by CNET TechRepublic, Government Computer News, Federal Computer Week, Toolbox.com, ZDNet.com and others. Follow Will on Twitter:@willkelly.

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