Understand how to optimize the use of your Microsoft license to achieve cost savings. 

In today’s digitally connected world, using a Microsoft developed product or service has become indispensable to organizations. Microsoft products and services are critical in managing operations, collaboration and communication, automating tasks, streamlining decision-making, and improving overall productivity.  

The continuous development of software technology, however, means a corresponding rise in license acquisition and its associated costs. As a result, organizations must consider choosing rightly the number of licenses needed to get the work done whiles reducing the overall license expenditure. But choosing or knowing which right license will get the work done can be a difficult task.  

This article will be a guide to share with you how your organization can understand how to optimize its Microsoft license usage without compromising productivity. We will take you through important considerations to make before procuring a license, acquiring licenses legally, and ensuring that you are getting a good return on your license investment.

When do you decide you need a Microsoft license for your organization? 

Before deciding to purchase a license for any Microsoft products or services for your business, you need to examine the current needs of your organization, do an evaluation or assessment and know how the licensed product or service can ultimately improve operations.  

Determine all tasks that will benefit from this new add-on. Also consider how workflow will be improved, centralized data management, and the enhancement of collaboration and communication. 

Acquiring Microsoft licenses for organizational use 

It’s critical to ensure that you buy software licenses legally to avoid legal liabilities. Work with a reputable software vendor and make an agreed-upon decision on the terms of the license agreement.  

You may also engage the services of an independent license expert who is equipped to give you unbiased advice on which license to purchase or not. An independent expert such as Q-Advise will conduct deep internal research before giving any advice. This is to make sure investments made into license purchase are worthwhile. There is also the option of a second-hand license to explore and save greatly on costs. 

There are different licensing options available for businesses that cater to their unique needs— per-user license, subscription-based license and Enterprise Agreements. 

Carefully review each option before choosing one that suits your business. 

Some factors influencing which license to choose 

When deciding which Microsoft license to choose, there are a multitude of factors that must be considered.  

1) The size and type of your organization. For larger enterprises with multiple users, the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) can provide cost-savings and a variety of included products and services.  

2) Industry compliance regulations and security requirements. These play significant roles in choosing the appropriate license. Microsoft offers specialized licenses for industries that can help meet regulatory standards and adhere to strict data privacy regulations. The Microsoft 365 E5 plan includes advanced threat protection and data loss prevention features that are crucial to organizations with sensitive data. 

3) Level of support and maintenance. Another important consideration when selecting a Microsoft license is the level of support and maintenance needed. The Office 365 subscription plan provides basic support, while the Microsoft 365 E5 plan provides advanced support and maintenance with options for dedicated personnel and 24/7 assistance. 

What role does cost play in software acquisition? 

Cost is of course, among the primary things you think of when it comes to purchasing a Microsoft license. 

However, cost varies based on the licensing model options your organization settles on. The options include: 

1) Perpetual licensing: Perpetual licensing requires a one-time payment, which provides the right to use the licensed software indefinitely. 

2) Subscription/Cloud-based licensing: Subscription/cloud-based licensing is renewed monthly or annually. You pay as and when you want to use the software. It is paid for on a pay-per-use basis, depending on an organization’s needs and usage. 

You need to evaluate the appropriate Microsoft license, based on your needs to be rightly met and your budget, before making a purchase decision. Also there may be other costs such as ownership requirements and maintenance fees, additional expenses such as upgrades and IT support. 

This is how to optimize your license and save on costs 

There are several ways to optimize your Microsoft license and save on cost. All these should ultimately save you cost but meet your organizational needs. 

1) Conduct an internal license Audit: It’s essential to conduct an audit of your current licensing agreements. This will help you identify any gaps, overlaps, or inefficiencies in your licensing usage. This also helps you detect non-compliance issues as well as underutilization of the license.

2) Utilize the Cloud: Microsoft offers several cloud-based services that can help you optimize your license usage. On the cloud are various subscription or as-per-use offers that can help you save. By moving some of your workload to the cloud, you can reduce the number of on-premises licenses you need.

3) Adopt and Use License Management Tools: Microsoft provides tools that can help you determine which licenses you need based on your organization’s needs. However, these tools may not give you the exact feedback you need to establish decisions you need to take in your organization.  

You can employ the services of an independent expert (Q-Advise) who will come in with tried and tested tools (Q360) to help you undertake factual research findings. The feedback and resultant advice you receive won’t be biased nor will they be tilted. 

4) Buy Only What You Need: Ensure that you only purchase the licenses you need for your organization. Read and understand licensing terms and conditions for each option to ensure that you fully understand what you are buying and what restrictions may apply.

Also, research and consult with experts on each option(s) to determine which one best fits your organization’s needs.

5) Track Your Usage: Keep track of your license usage to ensure that you are not over- or under-licensed. You may use an expert to assist you to know about active subscriptions and users, billing, number or licenses purchased etc. This will help you optimize your licensing and save on cost.

Considering working with a licensing expert that knows and can help you navigate the complex licensing landscape and identify cost-saving opportunities? We have experts who have been in this field for years. We have assisted organizations save millions in costs and can be of help to you now. Contact us. 

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