The top 5 Microsoft 365 challenges and how to overcome them

16 June 2021

Sean Robinson


Naturally over the past year or so, as businesses have adapted to remote working models, many have become increasingly reliant on Microsoft 365. However, it’s also one of the biggest and most complex areas to manage within the software asset management profile.

More than just a suite of office applications, Microsoft 365 allows you not only to access these tools but to collaborate, update your calendar, hold meetings, use email, socialise, and access documents securely. These capabilities are all fantastic from an operations perspective, but can make it extremely challenging to manage.

While Microsoft does provide you with some discovery tools with regards to Microsoft 365, they aren’t always particularly easy to use and often require significant manual effort.

Here are the areas we find most organisations struggle with:

  • Visibility – this underpins everything. It goes without saying that a lack of visibility leads to poor decision making, and in turn this leads to unnecessary spending, because you aren’t aware of what licences you already have. It also presents a security risk.
  • Licence Management – with so many programmes, plans and subscriptions changing frequently, with multiple features, varying security levels and different access, licence management continues to be challenging. Businesses need to understand what licences have been assigned and what these licences allow you to do; if they aren’t being managed properly, this leads to poor assignment.
  • Role based assignment – lack of user profiling leads to ineffective licence assignment, increased expenditure, poor adoption, and decreased end user productivity. Applications should be assigned to a role rather than an individual. Not only is this more cost effective, you can make sure individuals are not oversized or undersized, whilst still ensuring they have access to all the tools they need.
  • Cost management – lack of cost management leads to unbudgeted expenditure, unnecessary licencing fees and limited financial planning. The problem with the tools provided by Microsoft is that these reports don’t always have your costs available within the system, making it difficult for organisations to understand their true expenditure.
  • Adoption and change management – lack of adoption and limited change management means increased onboarding time and costs and poor user experience. It’s arguably the biggest challenge companies are struggling with, but also the most crucial area in ensuring you get the most from your investment. Is one team using Sharepoint or Teams more frequently or effectively than another department? Why? You need to understand the reasons behind this, whether it’s inadequate training, or perhaps just a lack of awareness. Either way, you’ve invested in Microsoft 365 to increase productivity and innovation, so it couldn’t be more important that during the migration and transition that the adoption of applications are constantly monitored. Something we see quite frequently, is that people use these new tools and features at first, then this drops off. Setting alerts to notify you of these trends can help you stay on top of change adoption.

As a result of this, License Dashboard has further developed its platform to provide an analytical solution that allows you to really control the whole lifecycle, the whole environment, and really ensure that your employees are not just able to access but quickly adopt Microsoft 365 and collaborate effectively with their colleagues.

Sean is a pioneer of SAM with over 20 years’ experience in software licensing compliance. He developed our industry leading, software asset and license management tool, License Manager, delivering SAM services to some of the largest companies in the world.

Sean Robinson

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