Back to blog

Ignite 2016 New Feature Release Day 2: The Licence Pivot

Sep 20, 2016 by Ian Byrne

If you’ve been browsing our blog over the last few weeks, you will notice that one of the topics we’ve focused on has been IT charge-backs and licence management at enterprise-scale. Managing licence costs for large enterprise environments is a major challenge when using services like Office 365, and it is also something that we can help our customers to streamline: our reports show you where and how your Office 365 licences are being used, and can be used to build a charge-back model based on your specific needs.
With the launch of our newest feature, we’re about to make managing licence costs and IT charge-backs even easier.
Introducing the powerful, new Licence Pivot 
If you have used pivot tables in Excel before, then you will know that they are an effective way to display and consolidate large, complex data sets, and when you have thousands of employees in different locations, all using different Office 365 licences, that’s exactly what you’re working with.
Previously some of our customers have used our Licence Reports as a basis to create their own pivot tables. This would involve exporting the data in .CSV format and then manipulating it to present the information they need. Our new Licence Pivot report can save you even more time by creating the same pivot report in the application itself.
How to use the Licence Pivot
The bigger your organisation is, and the more Office 365 users, offices, and locations you have, the more useful you will find the new Licence Pivot. While the feature will certainly work for smaller organisations, it is unlikely to show you anything that you couldn’t find using our existing range of Licence Reports, so this new feature is particularly important for enterprise.
Using the Licence Pivot report, it is possible to filter by a wide number of different variables, and segment large, complex data sets. For example, if you have multiple offices worldwide, you can segment by country, and city, then drill down into offices and departments in that specific location. This means that organisations with franchises, multiple locations, complex organisational structures or high volumes of user data can still manage their IT costs centrally by quickly identifying exactly how many licences each country, location, office or department is consuming. With this level of information, you can ensure that charge-backs accurately represent each unit’s usage.
Here’s an example: 
A large organisation has 400 locations worldwide, but the IT for the whole organisation (including Office 365) is provisioned centrally, making IT charge-backs or re-billing for services very challenging as they want accurate information on where and how the licences are being used. Fortunately breaking down licensing data, segmenting it by several fields and applying filters is something that can now be simplified using the Licence Pivot.
When you first go to the Licence Pivot in the Licence Reports navigation menu, click “Configure Pivot Table”, and you will see the screenshow below. Here you can see it is possible to filter by a range of fields, and it’s quick and flexible to configure. You simply drag and drop each field to where you need it (Filters, Columns, Rows, Values).
In this particular case, the organisation wants to see a breakdown of licence information by department in order to compare each team’s usage across the entire organisation. They plan to start with the ‘Logistics’ teams in each of their locations, and aggregate the usage figures to calculate the total cost for the department.
To do this, they have configured their report using the fields shown below. This will show the details for all departments, which they can then filter within the report to get the breakdown they need. Using the values section, there is the option to show the sum, count, maximum or minimum. For licensing purposes, the ‘count’ option should be used, as this will show you how many of each licence type you have, broken down by the variables selected.
Once the Licence Pivot has been configured, the organisation is be able to see their information consolidated into the report shown below. As you can see, the rows show a breakdown of each country, office, and licence type – which you can drill down into by using the expand/collapse icons (+/-). The departments are shown in the columns so that by drilling into the rows you can view a count of each licence type, for each department, broken down by office.
This allows the organisation to isolate each department, compare usage across locations and accurately calculate the total cost for re-billing based on department with fuller information of where their licences are being used. Depending on their re-billing needs, they could even break this down further, and charge by department and location (country, city, office), or they can bill the department as a whole.
Now you’ve seen how it works, why not try it for yourself?
The Licence Pivot report is an extremely versatile and powerful tool, allowing you to manipulate and display your licence data exactly how you need it. It is possible to make changes to your Licence Pivot at any point by clicking on the ‘Configure Pivot Table’ button. When you click ‘Apply’ the report will be updated with your changes. As with all of our reports, you can export, save or send your Licence Pivot report, so if you need to demonstrate why a certain department has been billed for an amount, you can send this information to the team as a justification for the cost. This report performs most effectively in environments which have a clean Azure AD, as it means that all fields are correct, consistent and fully populated – find out more about why it’s important to clean your Azure AD here.
If you need to consolidate complex licensing information, and you have a Cogmotive Reports subscription why not log in and test it out for yourself? Make sure you also keep an eye out for another pivot-based feature that’s coming soon!
If you haven’t tried Cogmotive Reports yet, why not sign up for a free 14-day trial, and see what detailed, automated, powerful Office 365 reporting could show you.
Cogmotive is the leading global provider of enterprise level reporting and analytics applications for Office 365. Find out more now.