Sunday, April 3, 2022

Good insights in Microsoft license usage

Cloud based IT solutions does have a pretty predictive cost when each and every license is based on a price pr user pr month. This should make it easy to budget the cost of each user role. The challenge might be to have an up to date overview of the license portfolio, both current and over time.

In order to give automated insights to the license situation, I have made a solution which has been installed at several tenants. Based on Microsoft Graph API powershell queries for running in Azure function apps, I am populating license information data from user accounts to a cheap Azure Cosmos DB. These data are then connected to PowerBI where I have created a report giving a detailed insight to the license portfolio pr. company, department, user. The report which can be granulated on year. quarter, month, week or day gives an accurate insight to the consumption of Microsoft licenses in the tenant, which helps address any misconfigurations.

The report has several pages, where the first page gives an overview over license consumption based on company/department with both a graphical and detailed table overview as well as personal details. The report can easily be filtered by clicking on the values in each part of the report.

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Page two of the report has got a timeline showing the development of Microsoft licenses over time. The report can be filtered by company/department, license or user. This gives an insight to license usage which can't be found elsewhere. The picture below is an example where you clearly can spot a change in SKUs on a large amount of users over time. 

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In some cases there has been developed even further report pages in order to address the need of insights to the usage of Microsoft licenses, and these reports have several times been used to detect misallocated licenses which in turn have resulted in significant cost savings over time. An example of such report could be the one including groups used to assign licenses to the user accounts.

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Regarding costs for running the function and cosmosdb in Azure, they seems to be reasonably low. A typically SMB company with arround 200 users shows cost arround 5 NOKs for one month. 

Please let me know if you find this kind of technological usage interesting.

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