Microsoft’s recent changes to their cloud licensing subscriptions have demonstrated how important it is to purchase an appropriate licensing model based on a long-term business productivity strategy.

Many businesses choose to follow a project by project method, but this short-term approach of discussing the solution without considering licensing requirements beforehand, can lead to significant cost issues later down the line.

Instead, businesses should take the time to fully understand the licensing requirements, as the ‘small print’ can sometimes spring unwelcome surprises on your business, forcing you to pay an extra fee for certain services.

While a simple application may seem cheap for a Proof of Concept or small initial user base, the on-going subscription costs can become significant over time, especially as your userbase grows.

Build for the future

App design and deployment is only part of the long-term solution. Rather than focussing on one individual, department or business challenge, your decisions should be based on long- term cost effectiveness and companywide usage.

Without understanding the long-term objectives of your business, it can be difficult to identify and develop a solution that fits with your business needs. Your app strategy must also include a plan to monitor the utilisation of software to ensure costs are controlled.

The advantages of a single, centralised cloud platform have been well documented and it’s an excellent choice for most customers, with Microsoft’s cloud encompassing Office 365, Dynamics 365 , Power BI and Power Platform.

Following Microsoft’s recent decision to change their licensing models with minimal warning to customers, a clear business application and Information Management strategy will allow customers to subscribe to the most appropriate and cost- effective solution. This will also minimise the impact of any future developments.

Our approach

There are several ways to license solutions, but the cost difference between them can be significant, especially when they are ongoing monthly subscription fees.

A poorly designed solution that isn’t part of a long-term and companywide strategy can incur unnecessary costs, so we follow a step by step approach to understand how our clients will use their apps and data. This ranges from ‘read only’ users to enterprise users who access multiple apps and data sources.

In some cases, it’s best practice for customers to undertake a strategic review of licensing and subscriptions before solutions are deployed, while in other scenarios, a regular review is required to help us consider the impact of functional needs based on various key factors.

We have adopted three different approaches to ensure our customers get the right advice:

  1. A standalone review of the application strategy before commencing with any new app deployments or development initiatives. This is a discreet consulting engagement that will support future cloud strategies.
  2. A discreet component of our Discovery and Analysis phase of the solution, ensuring our design fits with existing plans, future aspirations and current Microsoft practices. This will help during the design phases of the app development/selection.
  3. An ongoing add-on service as part of our support and maintenance contracts, including a compliance and best practice review every six months. This will ensure that any changes made by Microsoft are leveraged to minimise cost and maximise flexibility.

The importance of a long-term strategy

The importance of planning ahead and mapping out your approach shouldn’t be underestimated. If your business implements a strategy based on its long-term goals, then it’ll be more cost-effective in the long run.

Sometimes the marketing words make a cloud subscription sound ‘all inclusive’, but without researching the options thoroughly, you may find that not everything is necessarily
included in your Office 365 subscription.

Don’t fall into the trap of assuming the affordable option will remain the cheapest later down the line, as a growing userbase will undoubtedly impact costs.

If you need advice and support with finding an effective strategy, then contact our in-house team and begin the planning process.

Applications and Cloud Licencing Review

1 day on-site session

1. Introductions – Who is Circyl?

2. Know Your Customer

a. Business overview in terms of size, structure and operations

b. Current Microsoft environment (On-Premises, Cloud or Hybrid)

c. Current licensing model

d. Known business issues/challenges complaints

3. Approach to Security

a. Within the current licencing, what Identity controls are being used?

b. How are devices being protected and controlled?

c. How is your information being retained and protected?

d. What is your approach to collaboration with external parties?

4. Current and Future IT Roadmap

a. What workloads/Apps are you currently using within Office 365?

b. Is the Self-Service Licencing model being considered?

c. What are your plans for the environment and surrounding technology?

d. Identify potential projects and additional BI, Dynamics or Office 365 requirements

1 day off-site report write up

Document the cautionary areas of security configuration, licencing and the remediation actions required to bring the environment up to industry best practices whilst considering the optimal structure for licencing now and in future.

Report to include the following areas:

  • Breakdown of licences purchased across the organisation
  • Appropriate use of licencing SKUs for the business with respect to current and future business objectives.
  • Transactional volume considerations, consumption impacts on licencing/costs, etc.
  • Architectural considerations across the Microsoft stack i.e. SharePoint, Power Apps, Power Automate
  • Security considerations for current licencing model
  • Additional licencing requirements to align with Business Objectives