Key Considerations for Office 365 Planning

This blog post is a continuation of our Office 365 series on license provisioning. In this post, we’ll cover the metrics relevant to this discussion. By focusing on specific characteristics of user behavior, you can make better informed decisions when assigning Office 365 licenses. Choosing the right metrics to examine is crucial, as we all know that user application activity is complex and that not all data tells the full story. In the previous post, “Office 365 Planning Kit: The Method Overview,” we covered  how we organized each license based on application category. The table below displays a clear breakdown of categories for each license. In order to fit users with licenses, you have to find out how users are interacting with their applications.

To determine what each user requires to fulfill their job role, it is important to understand a user’s current application needs. The categories make it easier to visualize what kind of applications each user uses and which applications can potentially be replaced based on the frequency of usage. While Office 365 applications work best together, other applications in the category can be just as compatible and ultimately save the company money. We have sorted usage based on 3 tiers: None, Low, and High (displayed below) with each tier determined by the amount of focus time and active time a user has with an application.

SysTrack collects a unique metric, “focus time”, that offers the most insight into the quality of a user’s engagement with an application. Compared to active time, which is simply the amount of time that a user has an application open, SysTrack collects focus time only when a user is actually interacting with an application. For example, it’s common for users to open applications, such as Skype, and leave it open while they work on their report in Word resulting in Word have a greater focus time than Skype, but with Skype having a greater active time than Word.  This metric provides further optimization for suggesting a license to each user, because it not only takes into account which applications they use, but also considers how they may use the application.

Perhaps a user fits the criteria for an E3 license, but the frequency of usage for the Presentation, Document Sharing, and Meeting applications are categorized as low. While they will use all the applications provided with an E3 license, the best fit for them would be an E1 license with the other applications being replaced. For a more specific user, perhaps one suggested an E3 or E5 license, IT administrators have the ability to look into the specific users and observe the users active time, focus time, and the ratio of active to focus time (displayed below). This will allow the administrators to determine if they are viewing (shorter focus time) vs editing (longer focus time).

The table also provides more data such as the application names that users are already using. This can help determine if all users are using the same compatible applications or if they are all choosing their own versions. This knowledge allows IT administrators to continue to suggest the same compatible application to users to further promote a clean environment. Having to keep all these considerations in mind may seem like a headache; luckily, our Office 365 Planning Kit simplifies the process. In a future post, we will further discuss the various ways companies can continue to benefit from optimal provisioned licensing in detail along with real world use cases.

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