Microsoft offers a large selection of plans for user licensing. You know from the start that the whole process is much easier than deploying the traditional Office Suite. With Office 365, you don’t have to deal with tracking local installations, removing software from employee computers or freeing up licenses when people leave. You also never have to worry about a license audit again.
However, that doesn’t mean the cost – on an annual basis – is automatically lower. Here’s where you have the opportunity to decide exactly who needs access to what. A full audit of your users may show that some need access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. while others don’t need the full Office Suite. With Microsoft’s license program, you are allowed to mix and match applications for different user groups. Some may only need Outlook for email, while others might need specialized applications such as Access, Publisher, InfoPath, or Sway.
Mixing and matching these various licenses – usually assigned by user group, but can also be customized to a single user – can help ensure that you are not wasting money by paying for functionality that a user never needs.
Analyzing usage and needs can be more complicated than it seems. Most users will request licenses for applications that they might need someday but don’t use all the time. The basic Office 365 installation doesn’t help much there, but there are certain tools that can be deployed on your network that analyze usage patterns and help inform management where the money and licenses are actually needed.
The major benefit comes when you receive a request for a new application from a user. If you approve it, you just check a box and the user can download and self-install the new app. No more remote access or taking up support time with installation. When the user no longer needs that app, you can turn it off with another click.