With 2021 around the corner, (trust us, we can't believe it either!) it's a good time to start making plans for your organization for the coming year. One area in particular that can be a challenge for many organizations is Microsoft 365 license management. In the hopes of helping you navigate this hot topic, there's a few important factors you need to keep in mind that will hopefully make 2021 a successful year for your organization!
Align Your Business Goals with your Microsoft 365 Licensing needs
Aligning business goals with technology such as Microsoft 365 is a big investment, what exactly is your business trying to get out of it? Perhaps you're trying to increase collaboration, communication, or productivity? Whatever it is, it's critical to a clear understanding of your business goals before you determine you licensing needs. This allows you to equip your company with the appropriate tools that would contribute to reaching those business goals and may even allow you to determine which tools may not be as necessary which will ultimately save your organization when it comes to licensing costs!
Ensure proper change management initiatives
Gone are the days of IT solely being responsible for ensuring technology "works." Now IT plays a role in ensuring employees are successfully onboarded on the new systems in order to achieve business outcomes. This ultimately comes down to the dilemma of consumption vs. adoption. In order for your organization to truly succeed with these tools, it's critical to establish a system that fosters adoption rather than just simply consumption. Microsoft has a multitude of free resources in the Microsoft 365 Adoption Center.
Determine what metrics to benchmark & measure
So you aligned business goals with technology and put some training in place, time to throw in the towel?
Well... not so fast, there's a few critical questions you have to ask yourself first.
How are you determining success? Consumption?
MVP, Megan Strant wrote about various metrics in her post Microsoft 365 Consumption vs Adoption which takes a deeper dive into just how important true adoption is rather than just simply consumption. She also provides some useful tips that can help your organization achieve adoption!
Ensure you are accurately licensed
It's important to ensure that you've selected the correct licensing packages from a business, IT, and security perspective. Note that there is normally a mixture of companywide requirements and unique department or business unit requirements that these licenses need to meet. You need to ensure that users have access to the resources they need in order to be successful and ultimately achieve company goals.
Obtain financial accountability
It's no secret that Microsoft 365 licensing is tricky business. Without proper guardrails in place, licensing can easy spiral out of control which can ultimately end up costing your organization thousands of dollars (if not more) It's crucial to ensure that your organization has the proper guardrails in place including on-boarding, off-boarding, auditing, and accurate forecasting. Without these, there are a multitude of scenarios that can end up costing your organization big time. Check out our Office 365 license spend infographic for a few helpful tips that can save your organization big bucks!
Microsoft 365 License Management is a complex topic, and this is just the very start of the journey to successful license management. Hopefully these resources can help better shape your organization's plan for license management. However, for more in-depth resources and further assistance with Microsoft 365 License Management, you can take a look at the resources ENow provides its customers to enable them to successfully manage their Microsoft 365 licensing and ultimately achieve their business goals!
As organizations come up on their EA renewal, many find themselves trying to forecast license needs without historical data. Essentially taking a shot in the dark... ENow turns the light back on by providing vital reports including: customizable trend analysis, real time list of licensed users, license addition history, and more!
In addition, ENow can help organizations obtain financial accountability by pinpointing inactive licenses and users that could potentially switch to a cheaper license.
If you have any questions, feel free to chat with our ENow bot and it will direct you to a representative.
Nicolas is the founder, as well an architect, author and speaker focused on Office 365 and Azure at NBConsult. Nicolas is a Microsoft Certified Master for Exchange and Office 365, Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) for Microsoft Office Apps and Services since March 2007. Nicolas has co-authored “Microsoft Exchange Server 2013: Design, Deploy and Deliver an Enterprise Messaging Solution”, published by Sybex.