Recently, I moved house, and something became pretty apparent once we had completed the house move, and that is something that we all do, we review the balance sheet and see if we are getting the best deal on our utilities. If you are still following this post, you are probably thinking, how would this topic make it into the Inspire Cloud blog?!
Well, recently Microsoft announced that for the first time in over a decade, that they would be increasing their licensing subscriptions for Microsoft 365 Services by around 20% to all customers worldwide in March 2022. Therefore, this is a timely topic, as the price increase by 20% for some companies will be a commercial challenge, in a market which is just recovering from a post-pandemic decline.
Unfortunately, simply reducing your Microsoft licensing cannot be done by popping your information into a price comparison website, but Inspire Cloud is a UK Microsoft Partner and has helped our clients optimise their Microsoft 365 Licensing to make it cost effective and efficient, so we can help with some tips to navigate this pricing increase and optimise what you already have.
Understand what you have and what you are using
It’s important to firstly understand what licenses you have procured in your Microsoft 365 tenant and if those services are actively being used in the business. For example, you may be paying for Power BI Pro licenses on the basis that service is being utilised by the people who hold the license, but it may be that the service is not actively being used and therefore is not required, and simply checking in with your team can immediately optimise your licences.
Sometimes though it’s not as easy as that, so we would firstly recommend reviewing your Microsoft 365 Subscriptions and taking a deeper dive, into what has been used and what is not being used and could be released. Once you have that information, take a look at the Microsoft 365 Usage Reports to see what services are being used and if any services not actively being used, can be considered for removal.
Release licenses you don’t need
Importantly Microsoft 365 Licenses are chargeable, even if they are not allocated to a user account or mailbox. Therefore, you may find that our Microsoft 365 Invoices are growing, but your user accounts are not and therefore you should look at releasing Microsoft 365 Licenses which are not allocated for use, and you have no immediate plans to use. If you need them in the future, just head back into the subscription and buy the licenses required.
Review your Leavers Process
It goes without saying that a Leavers Process is fundamental to any business, as managing when an employee decides to move role is important, not only to save on product licensing but also to prevent an ex-employee having access to your confidential business data.
However, if you are blocking user access to your Microsoft 365 Subscription, but you haven’t released their licenses then it’s time to have a re-think. You can transition a leavers mailbox to a Shared Mailbox and grant access to others internally, alongside setting up an ‘Out of Office’ on that Shared Mailbox and of course, hide it from your internal address book so it’s no longer visible.
You can also extend access to others internally to manage their OneDrive for Business and transfer their files to a shared location in SharePoint Online or to their managers OneDrive for Business.
Importantly though and as a warning, if you do remove a license from a leavers account and do not proceed to transition their mailbox (or apply a Compliance policy), then you will have around thirty days before their mailbox is deleted and no longer accessible.
Shared Mailboxes do not require a product license
A common misunderstanding which we helped our clients with, is where licenses have been procured and allocated to Shared Mailboxes to provide the mailbox capability for internal users, who already hold a Microsoft 365 product license.
This is a common misconception, as a Shared Mailbox does not require a product license to be allocated, but rather the internal users who access the Shared Mailbox must hold an appropriate license for e-mail services in Microsoft Exchange Online.
Consider your Microsoft Licensing Plans
Finally, an important consideration is whether you select Enterprise Plans (E1, E3 and E5) versus the more optimal ‘Business Plans’ from Microsoft, which are suited for businesses with less than three hundred employees (yes, that’s three hundred!).
This is because we do see a common misunderstanding are that plans like ‘Business Premium’ only fit very small businesses and Enterprise Plans are for companies with more than fifty users, which is not the case.
Not only can you save money by selecting more optimised plans, but Microsoft’s ‘Business’ Plans, such as ‘Microsoft Business Premium’ are often cheaper and have more features than the equivalent plan (E3) for small and medium businesses.
Get more help in optimising your Microsoft 365 Licensing
Inspire Cloud are a Microsoft UK Partner, and we have excellent relationships with both Microsoft and leading re-sellers, to provide competitive pricing and licensing advice to our clients.
We can also complete a Microsoft 365 Health Check to fully review your tenant, it’s configuration including security setup and recommend licensing improvements.
Therefore, if you need further help, please get in touch with us and we can arrange a call to see how we can help you further.