How To Save Money With Microsoft 365 Licensing

How To Save Money With Microsoft 365 Licensing

As businesses strive to optimise their operations and increase their bottom line, one area that often gets overlooked is software licensing. Specifically, Microsoft 365 licensing can be a significant expense for businesses of all sizes. However, by implementing effective strategies and making informed decisions, businesses can save money and maximise their return on investment (ROI) when it comes to Microsoft licensing.


In this comprehensive guide, we will explore various cost-saving measures and best practices for Microsoft 365 licensing. We will delve into the key factors that contribute to licensing costs, discuss the importance of license optimisation, and provide actionable tips to help businesses reduce their licensing expenses. Additionally, we will highlight the role of Fortitude MSP in helping businesses save money on their Microsoft licensing.



Understanding the Costs of Microsoft 365 Licensing

Before diving into cost-saving strategies, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of the factors that contribute to Microsoft 365 licensing costs. Microsoft offers a range of licensing plans and options, each with its own pricing structure. The cost of Microsoft 365 licensing typically depends on the following factors:

  1. Plan Selection: Microsoft offers different plans tailored to meet the needs of various businesses. Each plan comes with a specific set of features and capabilities, and the pricing varies accordingly. Choosing the right plan for your business requirements can significantly impact your licensing costs.


  2. Number of Users: The number of users or employees who require access to Microsoft 365 services directly affects licensing costs. As the number of users increases, so does the overall licensing expense.


  3. License Type: Microsoft offers different types of licenses, including user-based licenses and device-based licenses. The type of license you choose can have cost implications, as some licenses may be more expensive than others.


  4. Subscription Model: Microsoft offers both monthly and annual subscription options. Opting for annual billing can often result in cost savings, as Microsoft typically offers discounts for annual subscriptions.


  5. Additional Services: Microsoft 365 offers various additional services and add-ons, such as advanced security features, data storage upgrades, and collaboration tools. These additional services may come at an extra cost, adding to the overall licensing expenses.

Understanding these cost factors is essential for businesses looking to optimise their Microsoft 365 licensing and reduce unnecessary expenses.



The Importance of License Optimisation

License optimisation is the process of effectively managing and utilising software licenses to minimise costs while maximising value. It involves evaluating license usage, identifying inefficiencies, and making informed decisions to optimise license allocation. License optimisation is particularly crucial when it comes to Microsoft 365 licensing, as it can help businesses save a significant amount of money.

By optimising their Microsoft 365 licenses, businesses can:


  • Reduce Costs: License optimisation enables businesses to eliminate unnecessary licenses, consolidate duplicate licenses, and allocate licenses based on actual usage. This streamlined approach helps reduce licensing costs and eliminate wasteful spending.


  • Enhance Efficiency: By ensuring that each user has the appropriate license for their needs, businesses can enhance productivity and efficiency. Users will have access to the features and tools they require, leading to improved collaboration and streamlined workflows.


  • Ensure Compliance: License optimisation helps businesses maintain compliance with Microsoft's licensing agreements. By accurately tracking license usage and ensuring proper allocation, businesses can avoid penalties and legal issues associated with non-compliance.


  • Plan for Growth: License optimisation allows businesses to adapt their licensing needs to accommodate growth and changing requirements. By regularly evaluating usage patterns and making adjustments, businesses can scale their licensing accordingly, avoiding unnecessary expenses.

Now that we understand the importance of license optimisation let's explore some practical strategies that businesses can implement to save money on their Microsoft 365 licensing.



Cost-Saving Strategies for Microsoft 365 Licensing

Implementing the following cost-saving strategies can help businesses reduce their Microsoft 365 licensing expenses and maximise their ROI:


1. Choose the Right Plan for Your Business

Selecting the appropriate Microsoft 365 plan for your business is crucial to managing licensing costs effectively. Microsoft offers a range of plans, each catering to different business needs and requirements. To choose the right plan:


  • Assess Your Needs: Evaluate your businesses specific requirements and identify the essential features and services you need from Microsoft 365.


  • Compare Plans: Review the features, limitations, and pricing of different Microsoft 365 plans. Consider factors such as the number of users, storage requirements, and the need for advanced features.


  • Optimise User Allocation: Assign licenses based on user roles and requirements. Avoid over-licensing users by providing them with only the features and services they actually need to perform their job responsibilities.

By selecting the most suitable plan for your business, you can ensure that you are not paying for unnecessary features or licenses, resulting in significant cost savings.


2. Opt for Annual Billing

Opting for annual billing instead of monthly billing can often lead to substantial cost savings. Microsoft offers discounts for customers who choose annual subscriptions for their Microsoft 365 licenses. By paying for the entire year upfront, businesses can take advantage of these discounts and reduce their overall licensing costs.


To switch to annual billing:

  1. Log in to the Microsoft 365 admin centre with your admin account.

  2. Navigate to the billing section and select "Subscriptions."

  3. Locate the subscription you want to switch to annual billing.

  4. Click on "Billing," select "Change how you pay," and choose the "Annual" option.

Keep in mind that the switch to annual billing will take effect at the start of your next billing cycle, and the full annual amount will be charged upfront. Consider your company's cash flow and budgeting before making the switch.


3. Monitor License Usage and Reallocate as Needed

Regularly monitoring license usage and reallocating licenses based on actual user needs is crucial for cost optimisation. By identifying users who are not fully utilising their assigned licenses or users who have duplicate licenses, businesses can reclaim and reallocate licenses, eliminating unnecessary costs.

To monitor license usage and make informed reallocation's:


  1. Conduct a comprehensive audit of license usage across your business using the Microsoft 365 admin centre.

  2. Analyse user activity and identify any discrepancies between assigned licenses and actual usage.

  3. Identify users who may be over-licensed or have duplicate licenses.

  4. Downgrade licenses or reassign licenses to other users based on actual needs.

By regularly reviewing license usage and making necessary adjustments, businesses can ensure that licenses are allocated efficiently, reducing unnecessary expenses.


4. Consider External User Licenses

If your company collaborates with external users, such as clients, partners, or vendors, it is essential to manage their licenses effectively. External users typically require access to specific Microsoft 365 services, and providing them with the appropriate licenses can help optimise costs.

To manage licenses for external users:


  1. Identify active external users within the Azure Active Directory portal.

  2. Evaluate the resources and services these external users require.

  3. Assign licenses that cater to their specific needs, avoiding the provisioning of unnecessary services.

Regularly auditing active external users and their assigned licenses allows businesses to reclaim licenses from inactive users and allocate them more efficiently, resulting in cost savings.


5. Monitor SharePoint and OneDrive Storage

Microsoft SharePoint and OneDrive are popular collaboration and document management tools. However, exceeding storage limits can lead to additional costs. By monitoring SharePoint site collections and OneDrive storage usage, businesses can effectively manage their storage and avoid unexpected expenses.


To monitor SharePoint storage:

  1. Access the SharePoint admin centre through the Microsoft 365 admin centre.

  2. Navigate to the "Active sites" section to view your SharePoint site collections.

  3. Click on "Storage used (MB)" to sort site collections based on storage usage.

By regularly reviewing storage metrics and addressing any sites nearing their storage limits, businesses can optimise their SharePoint storage and avoid additional costs.

To monitor OneDrive storage:


  1. Log in to the OneDrive admin center within the Microsoft 365 admin center.

  2. Go to the "Storage" section to view OneDrive storage metrics.

  3. Identify OneDrive accounts with more than 100GB of data, as exceeding this threshold can result in increased costs.

By proactively managing OneDrive storage and addressing accounts nearing their storage limits, businesses can prevent unnecessary expenses.


6. Leverage Fortitude MSP for Microsoft Licensing

Partnering with a trusted managed service provider (MSP), such as Fortitude MSP, can significantly help businesses save money on their Microsoft licensing. Fortitude MSP specialises in providing comprehensive Microsoft licensing solutions tailored to each businesses unique needs.

By leveraging Fortitude MSP for your Microsoft licensing needs, you can:


  • Access Expert Guidance: Fortitude MSP's experienced team can offer expert advice and guidance on selecting the right licensing plans, optimising license allocation, and maximising cost savings.


  • Ensure Compliance: Fortitude MSP helps businesses maintain compliance with Microsoft's licensing agreements, reducing the risk of penalties and legal issues.


  • Streamline Administration: Fortitude MSP simplifies the administration of Microsoft licensing, allowing businesses to focus on their core operations while leaving the licensing management to experts.


  • Maximise Cost Savings: Fortitude MSP's in-depth knowledge of Microsoft licensing enables businesses to identify opportunities for cost optimization and implement effective strategies to reduce licensing expenses.

Partnering with Fortitude MSP strengthens your ability to save money on Microsoft licensing while ensuring that your organisation has the licenses it needs to operate efficiently.


7. Regularly Review and Adapt

License optimisation is an ongoing process. Regularly reviewing your Microsoft 365 licensing, usage patterns, and business needs is essential to maintain cost savings. As your business evolves, it is crucial to adapt your licensing strategy accordingly.

By periodically reassessing your licensing requirements and making necessary adjustments, you can continue to optimise costs, avoid unnecessary expenses, and ensure that your Microsoft 365 licensing aligns with your organisation's current needs.

Microsoft 365 licensing can be a significant expense for businesses, but with the right strategies and practices, businesses can save money and maximise their ROI. By understanding the factors that contribute to licensing costs, implementing license optimisation strategies, and leveraging the expertise of Fortitude MSP, businesses can effectively manage their Microsoft 365 licensing expenses.

Remember, license optimisation is an ongoing process, and businesses should regularly review their licensing, monitor usage, and make necessary adjustments to ensure cost savings and alignment with their evolving needs. With the right approach, businesses can optimise their Microsoft 365 licensing, reduce unnecessary expenses, and achieve long-term cost savings. Partnering with Fortitude MSP can further enhance these efforts and provide expert guidance for Microsoft licensing cost reduction.