November 8, 2021
min read

Microsoft Office 365 offers dozens of licenses to ensure their customers receive the right amount of privileges for their business needs. With a constant flux of employees coming and going has left a gap in properly tracking software licenses to their full potential.

Given the growing emphasis on information and data analytics, enterprises need to provide employees with solid solutions that can be reported up to the c-suite and board at a moment’s notice.

Learn the 6 tips to help reduce the Microsoft Office 365 license gap, making you look like the Office 365 hero.

A Licensing Gap Emerges

Moving from theoretical goals to the daily reality of the current hectic, modern enterprise, gaps emerge between what companies would like to have in place vs what they currently have. Time and time again we see scenarios like:  

  • An employee does not receive their software license because of a business process oversight
  • A manager finds a quick and easy way to take a license from another department
  • A license is not retired when a person leaves the company, so the monthly charge keeps recurring even though no one uses it
  • A department’s workload changes as new digital technology is embraced. In some cases, fewer licenses are needed, and in others, more licenses are required

Such problems are quite common. Corporations often track licenses usage on spreadsheets. They lack a clear view of what they need, how much they spend on software, and buy more than they need.  

Problems arise. Software vendors are putting more checks in place to ensure license compliance. As a result, close to half of businesses (46%) saw an increase in software auditing since the pandemic began.

To tame this beast, managers must see the complete state and usage of their Office 365 software licenses. As noted, many corporations have not invested in tools designed to help them manage enterprise software licenses, even though a license management system offers them many potential benefits.

6 Tips to Help Gain Control of Your Microsoft Office 365 License Turn

To optimize your Office 365 license management, IT professionals must be able to identify these gaps and implement solutions in lightning-fast speed. Here are 6 tips to help you get started:

1. Gain Immediate Access to License Data

Use tools that collect license usage information and present those findings to managers with reports and dashboards, so they easily understand their corporate license usage. The system quickly answers questions, like How many licenses do we have? How are they being used? Are they the right licenses to do the job?

2. Conduct a Health Check

Usually, companies do an audit when they make an initial purchase, but over time, their usage pattern changes. Licenses become unassigned, inactive, or oversized. With a license management system, managers should periodically conduct a health check and ensure that their users’ needs, and the company licensing agreement are in sync.

3. Assign License Pools to Business

Look for tools that enable executives to assign ownership of a set number of licenses to each department or business unit. License pools effectively delegate the responsibility for license distribution and recovery to the business unit managers and allow them to limit the number of licenses that a business unit distributes. When they reach their full assignment of licenses, they won’t be able to take licenses from the general, corporate tenant. Instead, they must purchase additional licenses from central IT, or more importantly, recycle inactive licenses from old user accounts under their license pool.

4. Implement a Chargeback System

Managers can create internal IT chargeback for distributed licenses. This approach is often a very effective model and promotes responsible, fiscal accountability for license management at the department level. In recent years, IT chargeback systems have attracted more interest. With direct Microsoft 365 licenses assigned to individuals, it provides a straight forward one-to-one mapping for associated costs that can be billed to a business unit. These billing reports can be set up to run on a regular basis and can be automatically sent to department managers to keep them informed of their software expenses.

5. No Longer Pay for Unused Licenses

With a license management solution, managers accurately monitor user activity and identify inactive accounts. Unused licenses can be reclaimed and repurposed to new employees as needed. This process should be performed regularly, and notifications sent to the department leaders who are responsible for cleaning up those inactive user accounts.

6. Optimize Your License Spend and Corporate Assets

These tools ensure that all users are equipped with the right level of functionality. Also, new licenses are brought in when they are needed – at the right size and level.

Why take this step? It pays –literally. Improving software compliance is now an economic enabler in addition to a security imperative. When companies enhance their software management, they increase profits by as much as 11%.

Software license management has historically been a cumbersome task, one of a lower priority for busy executives. New tools provide managers with quick and easy access to license usage data. These systems reduce waste, improve compliance, and increase revenue.

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Created by M365 experts, for M365 experts.