23rd September 2020 Advice 4 Minutes

The standard billing model for the IT industry has undergone somewhat of a transformation in the past few years. In times gone by, you’d buy a piece of software, use until it’s retired and purchase the replacement to continue where you left off.   

With the growth of Cloud computing, subscription as a service now seems to be the only way to purchase anything. Think Microsoft365, Adobe Creative Cloud, G-Suite, Dropbox and many others. That brings a whole host of benefits like keeping software up to date but can lead to wasted expenditure, and this post will help you overcome just that!

Only pay for what you need

They say always start with the basics, and everyone loves quick wins, so here we are. Familiarise yourself with your spend, collect all your IT related invoices and receipts to highlight what you’re paying for. If you’re not using a service, and don’t need the data in it, terminate it.

Using those records, match what you’re paying with what you think your business is currently using. Here’s an example - If you think four people are using Creative Cloud, but your invoice is for six, get rid of two licenses!

Get a handle on license creep

I honestly can’t state this one enough, and it’s the main pitfall in subscription services. The majority of software as a service (SaaS) applications bill on a per-user basis, license creep is when the amount of licenses you buy seemingly keeps increasing without any increase in headcount.

Why does this happen? Yes, sometimes it’s negligence from the person responsible for managing your licensing, but more often than not, it’s fear of deleting data. I’ll use Microsoft365 as an example - if we just remove a license from the user then within 30 days the mailbox will be deleted, not ideal for any business! Play the scenario out, if you don’t remove the licenses and you have 40 employees with a turnover of 10%, two years down the line you’re at 48 licenses even without growing your business.

Every SaaS application has a process for decommissioning users without the removal of data, you just need to find it! On our above example, we don’t delete the user but convert to a shared mailbox and disable the account, more detail can be found in Microsoft 365 documentation.

Make sure you're buying the right thing

This one is an oversimplification so bear with me. With the number of software bundles available it won’t come as a surprise to you that people aren’t buying the most cost-effective thing or are buying at the wrong price.

I’ll stick with the Microsoft 365 licensing for simplicity. If we focus on comparing two Office 365 service families, Business and Enterprise. Business is the SME offering up to 300 users, Enterprise is unlimited. Microsoft 365 Business Basic is similar in features to Office 365 E1, the former costing £3.80 and the latter £6.00 per month both with annual commitments. If you’re under 300 users, make sure you’re buying the Microsoft 365 Business offering.

The subscription term leads me nicely to my next point. If you choose to license through a Cloud Solutions Provider, like bzb IT, we can offer the same license cost without the annual commitment on the licenses. An excellent advantage of building a relationship with an IT support provider.

In Conclusion

Subscription as a service is a blessing from a Cyber Security perspective and when implemented correctly, should be welcomed with open arms. There’s too many tips and tricks for me to list them comprehensively and in all honesty, if your IT provider has your back, they’d already be covered.

If you’re concerned IT spend is running away from you and would like help understanding your current situation, reach out to Dragisa who’d be happy to discuss how we can help.

Are you interested in working with an IT support provider in Bath? We’re a small team of industry experts that have a combined 40 years experience in IT services. If you would like to work with a trusted IT partner, get in touch.

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