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Webinar: How Much Money is Your Enterprise Wasting on Unused Office 365 Licenses?

May 7, 2020 by Chris Cahill

Office 365 license strategy

Sign up for the webinar here.

As financial uncertainty sweeps the world in the wake of COVID-19, the need for organizations to evaluate and tightly manage expenditure has perhaps never been greater.

The global pandemic has had a profound impact on multiple industries, and as political leaders edge toward mapping out post-lockdown plans, the business world faces up to the consequences of economic shock.

However, significant cost savings can be made by investigating unused software licenses and shifting to a modern, data-driven strategy. Many firms still have a ‘reservoir’ attitude to licensing – a hangover from the on-premise age of license procurement – but adopting an agile, analytical approach is achievable for cloud services.

Microsoft Office 365 is a significant license investment for many organizations, and with Teams calls and meetings rising significantly due to increased levels of home working, it’s also vital to track software usage and adapt licenses to user needs.

Office 365 License Usage

Enterprise E3 is the most common type of Office 365 license for business customers. It offers desktop versions of the popular Microsoft 365 Apps plus business services, such as email, file storage and sharing, and security and compliance services.

Many organizations have purchased large numbers of E3 licenses on the basis that it hits the sweet spot for most users, but have you ever conducted an Office 365 license assessment to investigate whether you’re getting value for money?

Our Office 365 management software has a database of 1.32 million Enterprise E3 users, and our recent analysis revealed a significant amount of under-utilization, and therefore potential over-purchasing:

  • 15% of assigned licenses use ZERO workloads
  • 9% only use Exchange (i.e. email)
  • 48% don’t use OneDrive
  • 33% don’t use OneDrive and don’t use Teams

What can you save?

E3 licenses are not cheap. Each organization will naturally negotiate its own price with Microsoft sellers, but the list price is $20/user/month.

For large organizations with thousands of users, 15% using zero workloads represents a substantial opportunity to claw back investment, and while the other statistics require more investigation to determine if licenses can be downgraded, it’s clear that under-utilization is a huge issue.

This begs two questions:

  1. Do you need to do more to drive adoption?
  2. Can you downgrade users to web-only apps?

Having a clear Office 365 adoption strategy is pivotal to maximizing your investment, ensuring you reap the benefits of cloud collaboration. However, it might be the case that blanket license-buying is the wrong approach for your company, as huge swathes of staff have zero need for the all-encompassing E3.

Again, it’s impossible to put an exact number on it due to fluctuations in negotiations, but you can save roughly $12/month/user by downgrading to F3 licenses, which are designed for first-line workers who don’t have desk jobs.

Depending on the size of your organization, getting to grips with user functionality and adjusting your approach to Office 365 license management could result in huge cost savings. Conservatively, we’d estimate over $150K per year if you have 10,000 users or more.

Paul Robichaux (Microsoft MVP and Quadrotech CTO) recently co-hosted a lively webinar on this trending topic with Brad Sams (Executive Editor of

How Much Money is Your Enterprise Wasting on Unused Office 365 Licenses?


Paul and Brad discussed:

  • The need to determine your Office 365 licensing strategy in line with actual business needs
  • How to ensure you buy only what you need, and adopt all that you buy
  • Actionable tips to improve license assignment, usage tracking, and lifecycle planning

If you’re responsible for IT management or have a finance-related role, this session is not to be missed, especially in the current climate of increased budget analysis.

All registrants will be sent a link to the video recording after the event, so please sign up even if you’re keen to learn more.

If you’d like to hear more about our Office 365 management solutions and what we can offer your organization, please contact our specialist team today.