With Microsoft 365 license costs set to rise in March, Quest says these new changes will help organizations recoup some of that by saving time and money managing Microsoft 365 Licenses.
Quest Software has announced improvements to its On Demand License Management solution. While the original solution was a reporting tool that provided customers with visibility, the enhanced version lets admin manage access and better optimize current license deployments around Microsoft 365, and thus reduce costs.
“On Demand License Management has been around for a couple years, and until now has been a reporting product about what license spend is and its costs,” said Curtis Johnstone, Distinguished Engineer, Office of the CTO, Quest Software. “Last year, we added the ability to optimize license spend. What’s new now is that we have changed it from just doing reporting to doing actions. Previously, customers would have to go into portals to take actions like revoking a license or reclaiming a license. That sounds fairly simple, but it gets complex in Microsoft because there are group licenses and direct licenses, and different products enabled in the licenses. We make managing that easier, all from one dashboard, and can take actions to save money based on those license assignments, or get more on what you are paying for them.”
The licensing changes do not directly address the increased costs that are on the way from Microsoft around Microsoft 365, but they are intended to reduce costs elsewhere.
“In that sense, it is just a nice coincidence,” Johnstone said. “Microsoft hasn’t raised the base price of their base Office 365, now Microsoft 365 product for at least a decade. Even a standard basic middle of the road license is $32 per user per month. At 5000 users, it’s $160,000 a month – and about to be increased this march. If you can reduce that by 10% by reducing inactive licenses and licenses which are not needed, that’s significant.”
Johnstone said that many organizations are lacking when it comes to their license management capabilities, which is what leads to license sprawl – paying for licenses and add-ons that are inactive, paying for duplicate licenses, and paying for licenses that are assigned to user accounts that are not enabled.
“Some large companies have this process streamlined, but most provisioning engines out there are focused on license assignments,” he said. “They are more focused on setting up a new account correctly and adding you to the right teams. Getting the actual license assignments correct is almost an afterthought.”
Johnstone also stressed that while doing this sounds like basic best practices, doing it right is a lot more difficult than it sounds.
“Native tools don’t easily identity licenses you don’t need,” he said. “I come from the engineering side, and it has been a significant engineering endeavour to get a handle on what is being used and what is not. Even the basics of this are a little more challenging than you might think.”
Johnstone also noted that one area where the changes help out is with add-on licenses like Power BI and Microsoft Project licenses.
“These tend to be very costly, and they are not part of normal entitlement workflow,” he said. “As a result, they are often given to all in a job function. For example, 200 Power BI licenses might be issued to a sub-group in HR, and maybe 50 of these would actually be used.”
The enhanced On Demand License Management also presents new opportunities for channel partners.
“Most enterprises have been focused on getting to the cloud, and then post COVID outbreak, their priority was making sure people could work secure in hybrid,” Johnstone noted. “There hasn’t been that much focus on license optimization around Microsoft 365. Partners can use a tool like ours to identify opportunities to optimize their customers’ spend, save them money, and make them more competitive.”