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Soak Up the Savings: How to Optimize Your Microsoft 365 Investment
Like many other small businesses across the world, we’re willing to bet that you're likely using Microsoft in some capacity. In fact, Microsoft Office 365 (now M365) witnessed a 21% rise in usage to 258 million users in 2020. Microsoft Teams, in particular, surpassed 270 million monthly active users in January 2022.
The tools in the Microsoft tech stack are essential to nearly all organizations, large and small. But in a small business, every dollar counts. Small business owners have to figure out how to minimize the costs of their current tools while improving adoption and getting the most out of every tool they pay for.
At MicroTech, we talk to so many SMBs who are double-dipping in tech spending because they have access to more than one SaaS tool that provides the same features and functionality as something already available in their Microsoft license.
If you're paying for another video conferencing tool like Zoom, WebEx, or GoToMeeting, you're likely paying another per user/per month cost that you already pay for as part of your Microsoft 365 Business License. The same holds true for file-sharing tools like Dropbox or Box that OneDrive covers and Intranet programs that SharePoint offers as part of your package.
Understand Your Microsoft Investment + Simplify Your Summer
1. Cost Cutting
Cost cutting is more than just slashing prices from the current IT spend. You can also cut costs by eliminating spending on one or more applications completely, renegotiating with vendors, or figuring out how to rationalize multiple expenses into one investment.
To cut costs, consider the following:
- Stop paying for unused software and sunsetting end-of-life or retired software. It’s easy for recurring subscription payments for unused or retired software to fly under the radar and accumulate. For unused software, gauge how much use you’ve gotten out of it over a 2-3 month period and cancel it if there’s been limited use. For end-of-life and retired applications, you’ll want to involve all your departments in sunsetting decisions, give customers ample notice, and determine and implement migration strategies.
- Identify multiple applications that do the same thing – and determine if one vendor can accomplish them.
- Downgrade ‘premium’ products to cheaper or free versions.
- Search for alternate suppliers. Look on sites like Capterra for competitive research, or do free trials of the apps you’re interested in.
One temptation with cost-cutting is to prioritize the low-hanging fruit, such as retiring niche products or canceling contracts with smaller vendors. However, this might not provide the scale of savings you ultimately need.
Instead, focus on your most significant expenditures first and exhausting cost-cutting measures in those specific areas.
2. Cost Optimization
There are key differences between cost cutting and cost optimization. Contractual commitments may not let you cut costs, so you need other options.
If cost-cutting is prioritized on removing cost entirely (ex: eliminating a subscription), then cost optimization could mean:
- exchanging the subscription for a cheaper one
- entering into a new agreement that provides greater flexibility to accommodate different subscription levels for different user needs
- renegotiating vendor agreements.
You can cut costs through optimization, but not always.
Sometimes the benefits can be quantified in other ways. It may even mean moving from on-premises solutions to the cloud to reduce hardware and data center costs.
Your goals with cost optimization should be to:
- determine you’re getting the best deal available
- gauge whether you’re overspending
- proactively collaborate with a partner and/or vendor to reach the best deal for your organization.
3. Value Optimization
Where costs can’t be cut or optimized, a key aspect of cost management is ensuring they are fully justified—that is, that every ounce of value is being squeezed out of the investment.
- What’s already in use? This is a good time to take inventory of all of the tools you use across your business. What’s working well? What could benefit from an upgrade? What’s the best at delivering positive outcomes?
- How are the tools we have performing? Determine the performance levels of the current tools in your tech stack. Are they managing the core functionalities of the organization?
- Are these truly long-term solutions? Will they be able to scale with the organization or integrate with other tools?
How many of your apps remain dormant while racking up fees? At MicroTech, we’re dedicated to helping you stave off unnecessary costs and derive maximum value from the applications you have.