Effective License Management for Office 365
With the advance of cloud-hosted solutions for collaboration and communication technologies Microsoft has finally made software licensing a flexible endeavor for IT executives. However, with that added flexibility comes some serious management overhead and complexity. In fact, IT organizations now find themselves supporting a mix of licensing plans including version bundles that offer different add-ons to enable or disable as needed. As a result, challenges with proper distribution of licenses, monitoring inactive accounts/licenses, accurate internal billing procedures, and bulk license updates arise continuously. To make matters worse, some users may be “over-licensed” and not using the features they are given. Identifying the accurate licensing subscriptions, and those under-used license accounts, is difficult and as a result many organizations do not receive the best return on their Office 365 investment.
Without the ability to effectively assign license ownership to business units, and accurately monitor usage, the associated costs for over-licensing become significant. CoreView provides the capabilities that enterprise organizations need to assign license pools with hard limits and push the responsibility for license distribution to the business unit admins, while also providing full visibility into user activity to re-harvest inactive account licenses and match assigned license features with their usage. Add to this the ability to accurately enable chargeback billing for license consumption, and you’ll realize that CoreView provides the most full-featured solution to perform optimized license management for Office 365.
Proactive License Monitoring and Reporting
If you want to monitor user accounts that are active within Office 365 there is no easy way to perform this based on what workloads the users are consuming (i.e. Exchange, SharePoint, OneDrive, Skype for Business, etc.) The admin center portal has no easy way to track active licenses for users, and there is absolutely no way to associate the assigned licenses with the services they consume. So that leaves you with creating your own tracking spreadsheets and PowerShell export scripts to setup your own Office 365 license monitoring system. It can be done, but this will take a load of expert IT admin time off the books. There is also the PowerBI Adoption Content Pack that provides some high-level usage information, but it doesn’t provide the specifics needed to re-harvest licenses or perform chargeback billing accurately.
Riding to the rescue is CoreView and the integrated user activity and license management features it provides. Within CoreView you can easily track exactly what licenses are assigned and utilized, plus you can create license pools delegated to different business units, so they can be responsible for managing their own license distribution. These license pools also allow you to set hard limits on the number of licenses that a business unit can assign. When they reach their full allotment of licenses, they won’t be able to take licenses from the general, corporate account any longer. Instead they must request additional licenses or repurpose inactive licenses from old user accounts under their license pool. This puts the central IT group in complete control over what licenses are distributed and who is paying for them.
Screenshot of Consumption Dashboard by Office 365 Workload
These license pool control mechanisms are extremely useful for large, distributed organizations, or government entities that have many different agencies. Once you have configured the license pools it is easy to promote the ownership to the different business units, or agencies, so they can maintain their independent subscription models.
For reporting purposes which require the distribution of licenses amongst diverse business units that are separated in different geographic locations it is necessary to maintain accurate monitoring for the license assignments. CoreView has that capability built into different standard reports within the admin interface. As seen below, it is easy to monitor how licenses are distributed geographically and identify the costs associated with active vs. inactive accounts.
Screenshot of Licensing Report by Geographic Location
Summary of License Management Capabilities
The Microsoft admin center portal was never designed for proactive license management purposes. It would take an enormous development effort to create an effective license management system for Office 365 using Powershell scripts and custom spreadsheets, not to mention the countless hours to perform the processing cycles each month. To help customers easily maintain proactive control over their Office 365 licenses, the CoreView solution has all the built-in functions necessary.
Today CoreView is the only unified management solution for Office 365 that can help organizations perform proactive license management. And a bonus for multi-national organizations, the CoreView interface is easily configurable in multiple languages to accommodate different admin teams from around the world.
If you are interested in finding out more about our CoreView solution and how it can help you manage the licenses for your Office 365 deployment, please visit our overview page online, or sign-up for a complimentary trial at https://www.CoreView.com/request-trial