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Repurposing Licenses from Inactive Accounts

Many organizations are struggling with the aftereffects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Reduced IT budgets, a downward slope in employee headcount, and an overall decline in revenue have prompted them to find cost savings in new ways. Software spending is a common focus area and licensing for SaaS solutions like Microsoft 365 is a spotlight example. Enterprise organizations are now making a concerted effort to cut the extra costs derived from unused and unnecessary M365 licenses. As reported in a recent study from Howard Daws, Head of Software Lifecycle Services, Insight, there is a changing trend from enterprise organizations.

“Enterprises recognize the need to reduce licensing costs: over the next 12 months the average organization aims to cut SaaS and software spending by £1.45 million.”

However, Microsoft does not make it easy to identify those licenses attached to inactive accounts so they can be repurposed. You will need to write your own PowerShell scripts to export a list of users along with their last login time, and then manipulate the file in a spreadsheet to sort out the inactive users.

Repurposing Licenses from Inactive Accounts

Business Challenge for License Re-Harvesting

The risk of having unlicensed users is almost non-existent these days since a user without a license is unable to access any SaaS cloud services. Conversely however, organizations can easily incur an oversubscribed licensing scenario by failing to monitor and re-harvest licenses assigned to inactive user accounts. In the end this equates to companies overpaying their service providers. Most organizations we have spoken with this year have estimated that they are oversubscribed in their M365 software licenses by at least 10% to 15%.

The business challenge with today’s pay per use SaaS software model is to pay only for services which are being consumed. But that requires a proactive approach by IT groups to maintain an updated license inventory, which is extremely difficult to perform without specialized tools that provide the data analytics and actionable insights they need.

New Approach for Monitoring M365 Licenses

The data you need to make the right decisions for proactive license management is available, hidden behind the scenes. What if you could aggregate that information into a dashboard with real-time reporting? By continually tracking license assignments and mapping that information with the actual user activity in the M365 environment, an optimized IT management team can retrofit their licensing allotments based on accurate metrics.  With this detailed business intelligence, the inactive licenses can be flagged, recovered, and then reassigned to new end-users.

The latest version of OfficeExpert provides that functionality to empower IT groups with the information they need to proactively manage their M365 license inventory. The reports showcase the various Microsoft applications that each user with an M365 account is licensed to use and the status of that account activity by date. In addition, organizations can leverage the chargeback accounting features in OfficeExpert to generate accurate billing reports for each business unit and send out summaries on a scheduled basis. This will help departmental managers identify over-subscriptions for their groups and enable IT admins to re-harvest those licenses.

Example License Management Report for Possible Cost Savings by Department:

Business Value Goals from Repurposing Licenses from Inactive Accounts

An organization that engages this type of proactive inventory management model for M365 licenses will greatly reduce their yearly licensing budget. Organizations we talked with said their goal was to reduce their oversubscriptions by leveraging the data analytics from OfficeExpert to institute monthly workflow processes that will automatically repurpose the licenses from inactive accounts. By implementing these methods they estimate a reduction in licensing costs by over 15%.

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