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4 Office 365 Management Tips to Save Your Company Money

Aug 6, 2020 by Chris Cahill

IT pro looking pondering Office 365 management tips

Microsoft Office 365 presents numerous ways to boost productivity while substantially lowering hardware and software costs for enterprise organizations. However, our O365 license management study revealed businesses are wasting huge sums on unused licenses.

Enterprise E3 is the standard licensing option for most corporations, but after analyzing 1.32 million E3 users, we found 15% adopted zero workloads. That means almost 200,000 licenses had been purchased but remained untouched.

It’s hard to put an exact figure on this, as pricing models are open to negotiation, but a conservative estimate suggests 200,000 unused licenses equates to $20 million in wasted expenditure. Twenty million.

On top of those that hadn’t been touched, others were far from being optimized. Surprisingly, 9% of users only accessed Exchange (for email), so their subscriptions for all other workloads – Word, Excel, OneDrive, SharePoint, etc. – were surplus to requirements.

Infographic showing Office 365 license wastage. Getting on top of this is a great business cost cutting idea that could really pay off.

In a time of economic uncertainty, you need to put an end to inactive and unassigned licenses, either by downgrading, canceling, or at least driving user adoption to ensure staff are making the most of all workloads available to them.

Here are four Office 365 management tips to keep you on track.

1.  Pay attention to license type

Subscribing to Office 365 means signing up for a set of applications and services you pay for on a monthly or yearly basis. The number of licenses you buy should be based on the number of people in your organization who actually need them.

For seamless communication and collaboration from anywhere, various license types allow users to install Office 365 on up to five PCs or Macs, up to five phones, and up to five tablets. If more employees or contractors join your organization, you can scale up quickly. If people leave their jobs, you can reassign their licenses to new hires.

Yet, it’s all-too-common to have a huge pool of unused licenses to dip into when necessary – a legacy mode of license management form the days of on-prem solutions, which is completely unnecessary in the age of SaaS.

Your procurement team may get offered a ‘great deal’ for Enterprise E3 licenses, which may seem too good to turn down, but if huge swathes of your staff don’t have desk jobs, they won’t need desktop applications, so you’ll end up with a license deficit.

It may seem obvious, but we frequently see this scenario play out. It’s crucial to determine exactly what you need before buying or renewing. Taking a more granular approach – E3 for these users, F3 for these – will prove to be much more effective.

2. Take advantage of free non-user mailboxes

It isn’t necessary for an organization to either pay for or assign licenses for non-user mailboxes, such as shared mailboxes, resource mailboxes, or room mailboxes unless they exceed their mailbox limits of 50GB. Shared mailboxes enable a group of people to monitor and send email from a standard email address, such as When an individual in the group responds to an email sent to the shared mailbox, the response appears to be from the group, not the individual. Shared mailboxes come with a shared calendar.

A room mailbox, on the other hand, is a resource mailbox assigned to a specific room, such as a conference room, training room, or auditorium. Once a room mailbox has been created by an administrator, users can reserve rooms by including rooms in meeting requests.

3. Record and document

Back in the days before Office 365, Windows administrators typically used basic tools such as spreadsheets to track server and client-access licenses (CALs). There wasn’t any physical relationship between numbers of CALs and mailboxes in operation, although admins did perform true-ups to keep usage in alignment with licensing obligations to Microsoft. Now, however, you can’t provide users with access to Office 365 services unless they’re licensed.

Office 365 management admins need to carefully prepare license groups for each type of license required, including licensing packs such as Mobility and Azure Premium, and populate the groups with user IDs. Then, the groups should be licensed to determine how many licenses have been purchased, how many are needed, and how licenses have been assigned. In this manner, you can avoid buying too many licenses. In addition, proper records and documentation will prevent costly fines from Microsoft for license non-compliance.

4. Re-harvest your investment

As suggested above, you also need to ensure the licenses you’ve already bought are actively being used. It’s crucial to keep on top of:

  1. Inactive licenses – those that have not been used within the past 30 days, typically because the user has left the company.
  2. Unassigned licenses – those that have been bought but never used at all.

How do you achieve this immediate insight and easy license management?

Turn to Quadrotech’s Nova

While the tips above can save your organization huge sums, native Microsoft reporting and analytics isn’t easy to navigate, which is where Nova Office 365 management software can help.

Whether you have one tenant or hundreds, Nova enables you to gain deeper operational control and visibility of your environment, while removing a significant load from IT through sophisticated automation, delegation and policy control in a single user interface (UI).

Nova provides immediate insight into license usage with ongoing audits, allowing companies to better drive adoption, downgrade licenses, and quickly re-harvest inactive and unassigned licenses.

If you’d like to learn more about the power of Nova, please contact us today and one of our Office 365 management experts will be in touch.