Learn how to avoid these 6 most common Microsoft licensing mistakes and pitfalls

Many organizations today rely substantially on Microsoft software & Cloud services to perform a wide range of business-critical tasks on a daily basis. From Office productivity tools to database management systems, Microsoft licensing can play a significant role in shaping the technological landscape of any company.

However, licensing Microsoft software can be a complex and daunting task, fraught with potential pitfalls and mistakes if care is not taken during the process. Let’s share some pointers with you in this write up with the hope that you can avoid some of the most common Microsoft licensing mistakes and pitfalls.

1. Not understanding the licensing options/models:

Microsoft offers a range of licensing options, including per-user, per-device, subscription-based, and perpetual licenses. Be sure to understand which licensing option will meet your organization’s needs and help you optimize costs before making a purchase. 

Licenses come with support and maintenance, which can help you stay up to date with the latest security patches and feature updates. Discovering and understanding this in your agreement can make available to you timely support in case of any issues. 

Also you are able to make future plans understanding Microsoft licensing options and models. It can help you plan for future upgrades, migrations, and changes in your IT infrastructure, ensuring that you have the right licensing in place to support your business needs. 

2. Inability to keep track of license usage:

Ensure that you are tracking license usage across your organization. This will help you avoid overpaying for licenses that you don’t need or failing to purchase licenses that you do need. It is important to understand the terms and conditions of your software licenses, including the number of users, devices, and locations that are covered under your license agreement.

Also, regular internal auditing of your license usage will help a lot. This will require using a tool like our Q360 to assist you engage in deep dive search to “fish out” redundant licenses or reallocation of licenses within your organization. Also what we discover can be used comparatively to your own records of employees or review contractor access to Microsoft services to arrive at well informed decisions.  

Auditing helps ensure compliance and avoid unnecessary costs even before Microsoft initiates an Audit as mandated in the license terms. You can also review your license usage information as provided by the Microsoft 365 Admin Center.  

3. Poor awareness of license compliance issues:

Non-Compliance with Microsoft licensing can result in significant fines and legal issues. Be sure to carefully review the use rights and conditions of your licensing agreement to avoid any compliance issues. Failure to adhere to license compliance requirements can result in litigation, which could be time-consuming, expensive, and may have significant financial consequences. 

Do not forget that these legal issues can lead to long-term drain on your organization’s financial resources and damage your reputation. Avoid this and seek the assistance of experts to explain or go through the entire licensing agreement where you do not understand anything. Microsoft’s contracts can be difficult to understand so do not hesitate to seek our expert assistance. Our experts deal with license-related issues all year round and coupled with years of experience, we are well positioned to assist you. 

4. Lack of Understanding of the licensing rules for virtual environments:

If you use virtual environments, be aware of the licensing rules that apply to those environments. For example, some Microsoft products require that you purchase a separate license for each virtual machine that runs the product.

Also in virtual environments, license mobility is not allowed. This means that licenses acquired through Volume Licensing or Software Assurance cannot be transferred to a third-party cloud provider.

With Windows Server, if you want to run it in a virtual environment, you must have a license for every virtual instance of Windows Server that you run. This means that if you want to run three Virtual Machines (VMs) on a single physical server, you will need three Windows Server licenses. 

5. Not Planning for license renewal:

Make sure that you plan for license renewal well in advance of the expiration date. This will help you avoid any downtime or disruptions to your organization’s operations.

Again, consider your business goals and what the renewal agreements or conclusion will impact on your activities going forward. Consider what your organization will be doing over the next licensing period and whether you will need to scale up or down your licenses.  

Look at your budget ahead of the renewal period to determine how financially ready you are now and going into the future.  Budget for any changes or upgrades you may need to make and consider any new costs associated with these changes. 

6. Ignoring the work of a Microsoft licensing expert:

What an expert brings to the table is years of monitoring, evaluating and understanding the licensing rules and all the complexities involved. Working with an independent expert like Q-Advise opens you up to unbiased and well thought-through advice or contributions. Getting you the best value for your investment is our aim.

We will help you evaluate your licensing needs, provide advice on the latest products and services, and manage the renewal process on your behalf.  

Remember that compliance issues can be unintentional and you may be caught in its web. Your organization may be unaware of the user and licensing terms’ complexity although you may have read them over and over again. Whenever a software product is purchased, it is essential to understand the licensing requirements thoroughly, and any specific usage rules must be obeyed. 

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