A Partner Guide to Optimizing M365 License and Storage Costs

Understanding Microsoft 365 license costs and their impact on customer budgets is crucial for partners seeking to provide value while maintaining cost-efficiency. Microsoft 365 presents a broad spectrum of plans, each accompanied by an array of license options. Mismanagement of these licenses can rapidly inflate costs, underlining the importance of diligently assessing the licenses required by each customer prior to making a purchase. Moreover, Microsoft 365 provides considerable license customization, enabling partners to formulate a plan that optimally fulfills their customer’s needs without squandering resources.

Photo by Mia Baker on Unsplash

Photo by Mia Baker on Unsplash

Microsoft 365 is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s a flexible, scalable platform designed to accommodate the diverse requirements of organizations. Every organization has unique needs, and Microsoft 365 allows partners to select from various plans, each containing different service offerings and corresponding licenses. This flexibility means you can tailor a plan to align with your customer’s exact requirements, rather than spending on unnecessary components.

Each Microsoft 365 license includes various services like Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, SharePoint, and more. Furthermore, certain expansion services such as Microsoft Teams provide additional features like audio/video conferencing, which could be instrumental for specific organizations. However, it is essential to note that not all customers need every service, and this is where smart license management comes into play. As a partner, understanding your customer’s specific needs will help you choose the correct licenses, avoiding the pitfall of purchasing surplus services that would otherwise inflate costs.

To illustrate this, consider a small business that only needs basic email functionality, Word, Excel, and some cloud storage. In this case, a Microsoft 365 Business Basic license might suffice, as it offers all these capabilities at a lower cost compared to more comprehensive licenses. However, a larger enterprise with diverse needs might benefit from a Microsoft 365 E5 license, which provides advanced security, compliance tools, and analytic systems. Recognizing the right license for each customer ensures they get what they need without paying for what they don’t, making for cost-effective budgeting.

Customizing licenses is only part of the puzzle; optimizing Microsoft 365 storage costs also presents significant cost-saving potential. Microsoft 365 offers an assortment of storage options, including OneDrive and SharePoint, which can be managed strategically to reduce overall storage costs. Traditionally, organizations stored documents on local drives or external hard drives, a method which incurs substantial costs over time and may even risk data loss or theft. However, using Microsoft 365’s cloud storage capabilities, organizations can secure their documents while making them accessible from anywhere, thereby saving money and enhancing operational efficiency.

For instance, OneDrive offers 1TB of storage per user in most Microsoft 365 plans, which is more than enough for most businesses. Organizations can also manage storage by routinely archiving or deleting old, unnecessary files. Additionally, SharePoint provides shared storage for team collaboration. Using SharePoint sites to store shared documents instead of sending large email attachments can save significant storage space in mailboxes, thus optimizing storage costs.

Even more, leveraging features like data deduplication in OneDrive and SharePoint, which avoid storing multiple copies of the same file, can yield additional storage savings. Similarly, employing the retention and deletion policies provided by Microsoft 365 can ensure that data is managed efficiently and that no unnecessary storage space is consumed, further optimizing storage costs.

Taken together, understanding Microsoft 365 license costs, customizing licenses according to specific needs, and managing storage costs efficiently can all contribute significantly to cost savings. This multifaceted approach will ensure customers get the most out of Microsoft 365 without exceeding their budget.

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and M365 Apps & Services MVP, and an award-winning product marketer and technology evangelist, based in Silicon Slopes (Lehi), Utah. He is the Director of North American Partner Management for leading ISV Rencore (https://rencore.com/), leads content strategy for TekkiGurus, and is an advisor for both revealit.TV and WellnessWits. He hosts the monthly #CollabTalk TweetJam, the weekly #CollabTalk Podcast, and the Microsoft 365 Ask-Me-Anything (#M365AMA) series.