How To Avoid the Top 4 Mistakes in Microsoft 365 Licensing

Worldwide, Microsoft 365 has become an indispensable and integral part of many businesses. Collaboration tools such as teams and SharePoint as well as cloud-based email, the Microsoft 365 suite offers a range of applications designed to improve productivity and teamwork. The large number of license combinations can present a challenge to modern businesses trying to navigate the confusing landscape of Microsoft 365 options. But fear not, we can help you bypass the chaos and get directly to clarity and forward progress with your business.  

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Here are some mistakes we’ve found businesses make with Microsoft 365 licensing and our recommendations to avoid them: 

1. Incorrect License Tier

Mistake: Many businesses try to be cost effective when selecting Microsoft 365 licenses, unaware of the potential cost saving benefits of higher tier licenses. There are many beneficial features that a slightly higher tier of licenses have that could improve efficiency and security. Businesses can also overspend on selecting a premium license, when they could benefit better from a less expensive tier for their needs. 

How to Avoid: The best way to start is to assess the needs of your business. Take a look at the tools and features that are essential to your businesses’ needs, and match those with a comparable tier in Microsoft 365. It can be challenging to choose a tier that fits both your business needs and your budget. 

The recommended step to resolve this issue, is to consult with an IT professional, or MSP that can provide insight and guidance on selecting the correct licensing option. They have knowledge and experience from diverse business backgrounds and can suggest the best tier to allow you to make an informed decision. 

As part of the consultation process, the IT professional work with you to understand your business needs, such as looking at the number users that require licenses, if some users require specialized licenses for the nature of their work and their collaboration needs. During this consultation, the IT professional will take into account your business’ budget requirements and suggest the optimal number and level of licenses that will fit your businesses’ needs. 

By working with a seasoned IT professional, they can guide you to making the best choice for your business. 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 asilent 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. Mistakes can be made when selecting the wrong license, which can lead to non-compliance issues, and potential stoppages for your business, which in turn leads to lost revenue.   

How to Avoid: It’s critical to understand the regulatory requirements for your industry, to avoid compliance pitfalls. For the healthcare sector, you must consider HIPAA compliance when selecting Microsoft 365 licenses, and license tiers. HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) sets standards for the privacy and security of protected health information (PHI). By working with experts who specialize in compliance, they can ensure that you are covered for any regulatory requirements, and that meet the necessary standards. 

The complexities of HIPPA can be navigated with help from an IT professional, in order to best align your compliance needs with the correct Microsoft 365 license tier. To best protect PHI, IT professionals can provide guidance on the specific settings and features within Microsoft 365 that can maintain protection for important PHI. Some steps can include securing email messages via encryption or content tags, and configuring data loss prevention measures that ensures certain sensitive information is transmitted safely. 

By starting with considerations around compliance and regulatory needs, costly penalties, lost time and damages to reputation can be avoided. Working with an IT professional can give you peace of mind, knowing that an expert in your specific industry needs, has reviewed your environment and aligned with the best practices around regulations and data security.  

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:Training sessions can be extremely helpful, when employees are aware of and are trained on the full array of tools at their disposal, productivity can soar. Some possible options are utilizing online tutorials, running a workshop, or having an employee present a talk. By reviewing features and updates from Microsoft, you can stay aware of any new potentially beneficial tools.  

A possible way to incentivize employee involvement, a rewards program can be implemented that rewards engagement with different tools in Microsoft 365 and allows them to explore and discover more options that might have been initially known. This can come in the form of company-wide recognition, bonuses, or other rewards that can motivate employees to seek out new ways to enhance their productivity and collaboration with colleagues. 

Creating a knowledge-sharing environment that encourages employees to share tips, tricks and best practices they have discovered while using Microsoft 365. A way this can be done is by regular team meetings, regular email newsletters, or updates via collaboration platforms such as teams or slack. By utilizing the collective knowledge of your workforce, you can uncover better uses and innovative ways to leverage the features of Microsoft 365.  

You can also 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 in-house experts can provide ongoing support, answer questions, and help troubleshoot any issues that may arise. They can also provide guidance on the proper use of Microsoft 365 by encouraging their peers to explore new tools and features.  

Lastly, implement an open-door policy with your employees. Seek out feedback on their experiences with Microsoft 365 and any challenges they may be facing. This feedback is essential on learning where more support or resources may need to be directed.  

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


HowiuvoCan Provide Value to your Company  

Navigating the complex options within Microsoft 365 licensing can indeed be challenging, but with iuvo by your side, it becomes a painless and beneficial journey. Our License Optimization for Microsoft 365 service is crafted to directly address the most common issues and practices in licensing. First, our expert team meets with you to conduct a detailed assessment of your business, ensuring your needs are met, and opt for the right license tier without overspending. Our continuous monitoring and scheduled reviews ensure you’re not paying for unused licenses and that you remain compliant with all your industries’ 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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