How To Avoid the Top 4 Mistakes in Microsoft 365 Licensing

Microsoft 365 has become an indispensable tool for businesses worldwide. From cloud-based email to collaboration tools like Teams and SharePoint, its suite offers a range of applications designed to improve productivity and collaboration. However, with the myriad of licensing options available, businesses often find themselves facing challenges in navigating this complex terrain. 

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Here are the top four mistakes businesses make with Microsoft 365 licensing and the ways to avoid them:

1. Purchasing the Wrong License Tier

Mistake: Many businesses, in an attempt to be cost-effective, opt for a basic license tier, only to discover later that they need features available in a more advanced tier. Conversely, some overspend on premium licenses when their usage doesn't justify the cost. 

How to Avoid: Start with a comprehensive assessment of your business needs. This involves identifying the specific tools and features that are essential for your operations. However, it can be challenging to navigate the complexities of licensing and determine which license tier aligns with both your operational needs and budget.

In such cases, it is highly recommended to consult with IT experts who specialize in Microsoft 365 licensing. These experts have in-depth knowledge and experience in understanding the diverse needs of businesses. They can guide you through the licensing options available and help you make an informed decision.

During the consultation process, the IT experts will thoroughly analyze your business requirements, taking into account factors such as the number of users, the nature of your work, and the level of collaboration needed. They will consider your budget constraints and suggest the most suitable license tier that provides the necessary features and functionalities while also being cost-effective.

By involving IT experts in the decision-making process, you can avoid the common mistake of purchasing the wrong license tier. Their expertise will ensure that you choose a license tier that meets your specific needs, allowing you to maximize the benefits of Microsoft 365 without overspending.


2. Not Reviewing Licenses Regularly

Mistake: Microsoft 365 licenses, if not regularly revisited, can become a silent drain on resources. Businesses may inadvertently pay for dormant licenses or miss opportunities to upscale licenses to better suit evolving needs. 

A frequently overlooked aspect of Microsoft 365 licensing is the aspect of license compliance verification, also referred to as “audit”. Essentially, Microsoft conducts these mandatory compliance reviews as part of its license and contract compliance program. It is an industry-standard process executed through an independent auditor in line with the terms agreed upon in contracts.

Why should businesses be vigilant about this? Because Microsoft license compliance verification aims to ensure that companies adhere to the licensing terms and conditions. It's an endeavor to assist customers in achieving and maintaining license integrity while safeguarding Microsoft's intellectual property rights.

How to Avoid: It's imperative to instate a periodic review system for Microsoft 365 licenses. This routine check, say every quarter, can give insights into license usage patterns and help in making timely adjustments. But more than just cost saving, this exercise can illuminate any potential compliance risks. If your organization is ever selected for a Microsoft audit, having a robust, up-to-date license management system can significantly smoothen the process. Involve stakeholders across departments, foster an environment where employees can voice their software needs, and, importantly, align this review process with the overarching compliance objectives. After all, staying on top of your licenses is not just about optimization—it's about ensuring your business operates within the bounds of contractual agreements and avoids potential legal and financial pitfalls.


3. Overlooking Compliance and Regulatory Needs

Mistake: Some industries have strict regulations around data storage, security, and communications. Purchasing a license without these considerations can lead to non-compliance issues. 

How to Avoid: To avoid overlooking compliance and regulatory needs, it is crucial to thoroughly understand the regulatory environment of your industry. For example, if you work in the healthcare sector, you must consider HIPAA compliance when selecting Microsoft 365 services. HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) sets standards for the privacy and security of protected health information (PHI). By consulting with experts who specialize in compliance and regulatory requirements, you can ensure that the license you choose meets all the necessary standards.

These experts can help you navigate the complexities of HIPAA and other regulations to ensure that your Microsoft 365 license aligns with your compliance needs. They can provide guidance on the specific features and settings within Microsoft 365 that help maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of PHI. For instance, they can advise on implementing encryption and access controls, setting up secure email communication, or configuring data loss prevention measures.

By considering compliance and regulatory needs from the outset, you can avoid costly penalties and reputational damage that can arise from non-compliance. Working closely with experts in this field will give you peace of mind, knowing that your Microsoft 365 license is aligned with the necessary regulations and that your organization's sensitive data is protected.


4. Failing to Utilize Available Features

Mistake: Businesses often use only a fraction of the available features in their Microsoft 365 suite, missing out on tools that could enhance efficiency and collaboration. 

How to Avoid: Regular training sessions can be a game-changer. When employees are aware of and are trained on the full array of tools at their disposal, productivity can soar. Consider workshops or online tutorials to keep the team updated. Furthermore, periodically reviewing new features and updates from Microsoft can keep you abreast of potentially beneficial tools.

To further enhance employee engagement and ensure effective utilization of the available features, consider implementing a rewards program that incentivizes employees to explore and utilize different tools within Microsoft 365. This can be in the form of recognition, bonuses, or other rewards that motivate employees to actively seek out opportunities to enhance their productivity and collaboration skills.

In addition to regular training sessions, create a knowledge-sharing culture within your organization. Encourage employees to share tips, tricks, and best practices they have discovered while using Microsoft 365. This can be done through team meetings, internal newsletters, or dedicated collaboration platforms. By tapping into the collective knowledge of your workforce, you can uncover hidden gems and innovative ways to leverage the features of Microsoft 365.

Consider appointing "champions" or power users within each department who have a deep understanding of the various features and can serve as resources for their colleagues. These champions can provide ongoing support, answer questions, and help troubleshoot any issues that arise. They can also act as advocates for the effective use of Microsoft 365, encouraging their peers to explore and adopt new tools and features.

Lastly, keep an open line of communication with your employees. Actively seek feedback on their experiences with Microsoft 365 and any challenges they may be facing. This feedback can inform future training sessions and help identify areas where additional support or resources may be needed.

By implementing these strategies, you can ensure that your employees are not only aware of the full range of tools available in Microsoft 365 but also empowered to leverage them effectively. This will result in improved productivity, enhanced collaboration, and ultimately, a greater return on your investment in Microsoft 365.


How iuvo Can Be Your Microsoft 365 Licensing Guide 

Navigating the intricacies of Microsoft 365 licensing can indeed be challenging, but with iuvo by your side, it becomes a seamless journey. Our License Optimization for Microsoft 365 service is crafted to directly address the common pitfalls in licensing. First, our expert team conducts a detailed assessment of your business needs, ensuring you opt for the right license tier without overspending. Our continuous monitoring and regular reviews ensure you’re not paying for unused licenses and that you remain compliant with all regulations. Furthermore, we believe in empowering businesses – through our training sessions, we ensure your team utilizes the full potential of your Microsoft 365 suite. With iuvo, you're not just getting a service; you're gaining a partner dedicated to maximizing your Microsoft investments. Contact us today and start optimizing your Microsoft 365 licenses. 



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