Office 365 is Microsoft's latest cloud-based group of software and service subscriptions. Due to its features and monthly/yearly licensing plan, many businesses choose a single license for their entire company. After all, selecting the same license for everyone seems like the easiest choice--why go through the hassle of fitting users to their optimal licenses?
Generically assigning Office 365 licenses may be convenient, but doing so is ultimately a poor business decision. A poorly fit license can lead to clutter in the environment as some applications go unused while other various applications are installed to make up for the license fit. Different job roles within a company likely have different application needs, and it is worthwhile for a business to investigate the unique needs of users to avoid overspending on licenses. SysTrack's Office 365 Planning Kit makes it easy to identify the best license for each user in an environment while providing a clear picture of potential savings (displayed below).
The table above shows how moving users to reduced licenses would result in costs savings. If a user with an E3 or E5 license is found to only require E1-level functionality, dropping the user down to the more basic license would result in a savings of at least $12/month. Over an entire company, this kind of movement could result in significant savings on licensing costs alone. You may have noticed that there are suggested licenses that are not actual license options for Office 365. We built the "E3 to E1" and "E3 or E5" options into the SysTrack Kit to allow administrators to make the call on determining the best licenses are for edge users that fall into these categories. If a user is suggested an E3 to E1 license it simply means they use some applications (word processor, spreadsheet, or email) that are included in the E3 licensing. However, the applications that they are using are also included in the E1 license as web-based applications instead of locally installed applications. Switching from E3 to E1 can save money at the infrastructure level since web-based applications and light bandwidth use for the applications can be cheaper and easier to maintain than locally installed instances. The locally installed applications are also more difficult to update and deploy and can introduce versioning issues and a whole slew of other problems into the environment. If a user is suggested an E3 or E5 license, this means the user uses applications that only the E5 license can provide. However, based on how they use the applications (editing versus viewing the documents), the user may still fit within the E3 license.
Since each job role will only have the applications that they need with their newly fitted license, their environment will be less cluttered. This leads to a less impacted and overall faster environment allowing IT to work on more valuable projects. Needing less IT help lets the company potentially save even more money. Having a condensed application portfolio also allows IT to learn and troubleshoot faster because they will be able to get a deeper understanding of the applications.
Provisioning optimal licenses to each user can appear as an unnecessary, tedious task. However, due to potential savings, a more organized environment and less burden on IT, the company will benefit greatly. Still don't feel like undertaking the task? SysTrack's Office 365 Planning Kit greatly simplifies the process by providing automated suggestions of license assignments based on real user needs. In future posts, we will discuss our new kit in further detail to show how easy it can be to harness the benefits of fitting users to their ideal Office 365 subscription license.
Linda Tsao is an applied engineer at Lakeside.