Office 365 Optimisation
Inspired by Martin's blog post on the main ITAM Review site I thought this may be a good place to discuss experiences. I run an O365 environment where we have a combination of K1, E1 and E3 subscribers. Through continuous review I have been able to optimise the licence allocations to a certain extent but find that the lack of tools and lack of accuracy with underlying data means I am sure there is scope for further savings.
Office 365 Admin Center is a great place to start, but its accuracy is questionable. There are plenty of other tools on the market at varying prices but, as they are all driven from the same data source, I question their value. I have looked at Flexera's new O365 integration offering with FNMS 2017. This is severely limited in finctionality and essentially allows you to bring in entitlement and licence allocations. There is no optimisation capability in the current version. Hopefully this will come in future releases. Cogmotive and 4ward365 work slightly differently and provide reporting via a clean and easy to interpret front end. However, they both require your data to be copied to their infrastructure so they can run overnight PowerShell scripts and prepare data that is usually no more than 24 hours behind your live environment. Allowing external hooks into your O365 data and copies being held by a third party may be considered a risk by some organisations.
However, the fundamental issue here is accuracy. If the source data is laden with errors - Office activations, last used date for O365 applications and services, accounts being reported against multiple subscription plans, etc - then what is the best way to go about optimisation?
From experience it is a slow and somewhat painful process. Analyse what data is available. Communicate with a sample set of users. Test your optimisation on a small sample of accounts, review, then scope out the next set of target accounts. Ensure you have a seamless process to revert back if users are impacted. Allow plenty of time.
What are your experiences and what advice can you give to those trying to optimise O365 USL allocations?