Office 365 License Management: 6 Steps for Success
Microsoft Office 365 provides numerous ways to substantially boost productivity while considerably lowering hardware and software costs for enterprises. However, according to Gartner, many organizations are wasting enormous amounts of their budget investments on unused licenses.
In a time of economic fluctuation and uncertainty, you need to put an end to inactive and unassigned licenses, either by downgrading, canceling, or at least driving user adoption to ensure you are making the most of all workloads available. Here are six Office 365 license management tips to keep you on track for success.
Step #1: Align Your Business Goals with your Office 365 Licensing needs
Office 365 is a big investment whether you have 100 or 100,000 users. 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 have a clear understanding of your business goals before you determine your licensing needs.
Once the business case has been established, the next step is to determine which technologies will help you achieve your goals. This allows IT to equip your company with the appropriate tools necessary to reach their goals.
Step #2: Ensure proper change management initiatives are in place
Gone are the days of IT solely being responsible for ensuring technology "works." Today, IT plays a role in ensuring employees are successfully on-boarded and trained on the new systems in order to achieve business outcomes.
Are you going to roll out all Office 365 apps at once or start with a select few like Exchange Online or Teams and add more later on? It's possible that breaking this process out into smaller waves rather than giving everyone access at once may make the transition easier.
It may be a good idea to implement online training and workshops to better help your users understand all of the amazing benefits that come along with Office 365. Perhaps, start with a small subset of users so you’re able to gain feedback before rolling it out org-wide. Luckily, Microsoft has a multitude of free resources in the Microsoft 365 Adoption Center.
Taking the time to get adoption right initially is critical and will save your IT help desk from getting hit with a mass influx of help desk requests that stem from lack of basic understanding of these tools.
Step #3: Determine what metrics to benchmark and 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? Usage? Output?
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!
Step #4: Ensure Your Users Have the Right Office 365 License Assignment
Another important component of Office 365 License Management is ensuring 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.
Step #5: License Governance
It's no secret that Office 365 licensing is tricky business. Without the proper guardrails in place, licensing can easily spiral out of control which can ultimately end up wasting 35% of your license costs.
It's crucial to ensure that your organization has the proper guardrails in place including on-boarding, off-boarding, and complying with your EA. Without these, there are a multitude of scenarios that can end up costing your organization or lead to security vulnerabilities.
Having proper guardrails, ensures that your organization will remain compliant with your EA ultimately avoiding the costly license audit. Essentially, if your organization is audited and it's discovered that you're using more licenses that you've purchased, it's going to come with hefty penalties. You may be thinking that that's a rare occurrence and that it won't happen to you... well, guess again! It happens much more often than you think and will likely have a negative financial impact.
Step #6: Preparing for Your Enterprise Agreement Negotiation
Another common pitfall of Office 365 License Management is overspending on licenses. It is no easy task to successfully determine which licenses your users need and when you throw in the added complexities of bundling vs. add-ons it can truly seem impossible. Often times, this leads to organizations throwing in the towel and paying for a more expensive license that might actually be unnecessary.
Office 365 License Management
Managing Office 365 licenses is no easy task and forecasting for future needs can be exhausting. At ENow, we believe in ‘buy only what you need, and adopt all that you buy’, and our solutions can help you achieve just that.
Efficiently and effectively optimize your Office 365 licenses to make informed licensing decisions with ENow Office 365 License Management reporting, including: customizable trend analysis, real-time licenses user lists, license addition history, and much more.
AmyKelly Petruzzella is a marketing executive who focuses on Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, and Active Directory trends, challenges, and business outcomes for enterprises. Over the years, AmyKelly regularly engages with Gartner industry analysts, and she has been recognized several times for Top 50 Microsoft Marketing Excellence. She is a frequent speaker and blogger and an industry veteran who advocates for women in technology.