Do You Use Office 365 to the Full? Does It Cost too much? SaaS Management Can Help

Ekaterina Mizrobova

Today enterprises tend to move from on-premises to the cloud, and so do software providers. While the former hope to save budgets, the latter intend to earn on recurring subscriptions. Software vendors expect long-term profitability from SaaS as the model encourages customer loyalty. Today software providers use audit risks to force businesses to adopt SaaS apps.

With its Office 365, Microsoft also adopted the subscription-based model. It shifted from per-device licensing to per-user licensing. One user can install Office 365 on up to 5 devices. Obviously, this shift has had its effect – in fiscal 2017 fourth-quarter Office 365 revenue for the first time has exceeded conventional Microsoft Office revenue.

The subscription-based model presents plenty advantages for users, including 24/7 access from any place, but exposes businesses to some risks and extra costs.

Office 365 has become one of the most widely used applications across enterprises, meaning it’s also one of the biggest IT budget items and requires adequate management. Office 365 managing is a complex procedure, involving dedicated SaaS management software and practices. SaaS management can be valuable here in four aspects: shadow IT, redundancy, usage efficiency, and cost management.

SaaS management software is useful for inventory generation, as today plenty of cloud services, including Office 365, can be purchased by employees or business units without permission of the IT department. There are two problems with such “invisible” Office 365 copies. First of all, they become shadow IT, and shadow IT exposes the company to compliance and security risks. Secondly, uncontrolled adoption of SaaS applications leads to software redundancy, as there is no single base of licenses and unused applications can be purchased several times while they could be just reassigned to another user.

While some Office 365 copies stay unused or get abandoned, others are used only partially. Office 365 offers its clients a range of plans with different features in the package defining the price. To continuously improve usage efficiency, it’s important to choose the Office 365 plans suiting particular users best and continuously monitoring their usage. For instance, those who do not use office applications can be moved to the Office 365 Enterprise E1 plan. By the way, this issue is directly connected with the fourth aspect – cost management – as the E1 plan is also the cheapest one. Thus, rightsizing Office 365 plans, you can also reduce SaaS spend. The necessary data can be obtained with the right SaaS usage monitoring tool.

Cost management is one of the major issues with SaaS products. Office 365 plans aren’t that cheap, especially if you multiply Office 365 copies for the number of your employees, and therefore require your CIO attention.

Don’t let Office 365 run uncontrolled. You need to know whether you get what you are paying for, and the only way to the most out of your Office 365 subscriptions for a reasonable price is using the right SaaS web usage monitoring tool.

How to save IT budget on SaaS subscriptions and software compliance