Office 365 licensing and reporting

Occasional Visitor
Hello all, We have recently migrated our company to Office365 and are having some challenges around managing our license usage. Expense dollars are ever tightening and as such this requires us to run as lean as possible on license purchases which dictates that we are in tune with whom is licensed, and what license they are allocated. We are currently developing a process that we intend to follow for new on-boards where we are determining the intended use of the system so we can then translate that into F1, E1, E3, or E5. While complicated, this is doable. Our challenge at the moment is that we have no solid way of analyzing our current license allocation to make sure it is right. For example, if we have an E3 assigned, how do we know it is being used? We have attempted to use reports showing last login date in O365, but Microsoft has admitted (via support tickets with them) that this data is in preview and is likely inaccurate. Similarly, Exchange online reports a "last login date", but in another ticket to them they claim this is also inaccurate as some back-end processes can trigger this date to update even if the user themselves are not logging in. So, I'm curious how other people are solving this problem as I have to believe that this is not a problem unique to my company. Are people coming up with creative ways to measure their O365 usage, monitoring inactivity, license reclamation, tracking application usage, etc.? Is everyone just buying large amounts of licensing without knowing if there are claimed, but unused licenses in their environment? Any guidance and/or feedback is welcome and appreciated.
1 Reply

Yes, the reports definitely have some room for improvement, as Tony described recently here:


If it's only Exchange data you care about, you can look at the message trace logs and check when was the last time a user send (or even received) a message. You can also enable mailbox auditing and check for "owner" actions. And you should be using the standalone Exchange plan 1/2 licenses in this scenario, as they are much cheaper compared to the "package" ones.


The situation is not that different for other workloads too, data in the reports is often missing or incorrect, so you might have to rely on checking the Audit logs instead (which are also prone to some issues). But if you augment the report data with data from other sources such as the Audit logs, you will get a better picture overall.