Count and count well...
This strategy might be OK for MSPs who manually manage a small number of Microsoft 365 licenses. But what happens to CSPs who work with several large-scale enterprises? How do they efficiently and accurately manage a manual Microsoft true-up?
Speaking frankly, they can't. Manually analyzing a large number of licences for multiple tenants and users is a recipe for disaster.
Not only will this take hours; sometimes days, but it's an inefficient way of working. You can also guarantee errors. Imagine being the CIO of a small company having to explain to their customer why $2,000 was wasted on unassigned Microsoft 365 licenses last month. Cue a very unhappy customer.
So many tasks take priority over true-ups, which are often rushed at the last minute. However, this shouldn't, and needn't be the case. The CSPs who lean on their automated Microsoft licence portal to collect information over the year, will come out on top at true-up time.
A Microsoft true-up is an annual evaluation of the number of qualified Microsoft 365 licenses you've deployed in your EA.
As the Microsoft true-up guide clearly states:
“This is the True-Up process: an inventory of all the qualified devices, users, and processors added over the course of the year.”
During the year, MSPs can deploy or remove as many Microsoft 365 licenses that they wish.
Note: Just make sure you submit the data on time, otherwise you could be lumped with a licensing compliance audit.
According to studies, 56% of organizations Microsoft 365 licenses are mismanaged, and 27% of E5 licenses are unassigned. On top of this CSPs also juggle inactive licenses and those sitting at a higher tier than necessary.
Companies rely on their IT Service Providers to manage their IT ecosystem efficiently. If their Microsoft licenses end up mismanaged, there is a high possibility they will end up paying for ones they are not using or need. Which could be tricky to explain when billing queries come in, as it will likely fall to not having the right tools to manage efficiently.
Customer satisfaction will decrease, and clients may end up moving to competitors. MSPs and cloud service providers could end up losing money if customers make the decision to leave.
Hence why using the year to get organized with your true-up is a no brainer.
It’s very common for discrepancies to exist between the number of employees and licenses.
Many MSPs log in an out of various automation portals to manage multiple tenants and user environments. This makes it challenging to collate the license true-up data at the end of the year.
If you use one automated Microsoft Licence Portal, like Spinpanel, license data is collected throughout the year in one Portal. No more logging in and out of multiple customer platforms. This will make your true-up life a lot easier. You can also set up best practices to make your license management way more efficient.
This MSP insights report claims that 81% of MSP business processes have not been fully automated.
CSPs often face roadblocks when having to manually manage frequently changing licenses and users. Which is understandable when you manage huge enterprise customers and tenant numbers with the use of little or no automation.
An accurate Microsoft 365 license true-up is essential as it will stop you from being audited. Also, it will keep customers from straying to competitors. Rest assured there will be others out there who have the automation tools to service customers better.
Unmanaged licences can lead to huge, snowballing challenges for CSPs and customer. However, using one portal to manage multi-tenants Microsoft 365 environments will help in so many other ways.
A user’s Microsoft 365 license management is an extremely important part of the help desk teams day-to-day. However, this task is often low on a priority list due to other pressing urgencies.
Rely on automation to do this task. Using one Microsoft licence portal to deploy, unassign and control multi-tenant licenses is not only a huge time saver, but an efficient way of working.
Solutions like Spinpanel will also make Microsoft true-ups sessions a lot quicker and easier.
Inactive, unassigned or underutilized Microsoft licenses will mean customers are paying for licenses they no longer need, or aren’t using to their full potential. Not ideal.
Automation can help to provide customers with accurate data, resulting in accurate costs. Your customers will then have faith that you’re in full control of their license planning. You can also say goodbye to unnecessary overheads.
Many automation solutions provide a customer self-service function. Giving customers control of license management is a blessing. It takes some of the license burden off your hands. When setting this up for customers, make sure you set relevant permissions and rules to collect license data. If this isn’t done, there could be a skew in your true ups as:
One in five employees use a Microsoft 365 service. With over 200 million monthly active users, it’s no surprise MSPs struggle to manage Microsoft 365 licenses manually. Unless processes are in tip-top shape and you have a team of service desk superstars, support tickets and license true-ups can fall through the cracks.
Luckily, there are smart ways to make sure clients are only paying for the Microsoft 365 licenses they use, and the user is correctly matched to said license.
The CSPs who use one automation solution can breathe a sigh of relief at true-up time. They know their portal’s yearly data accumulation will showcase accurate results in an efficient way.