Finding right Microsoft Partner

The importance of finding the right Microsoft Partner

John PhillipsCompany Updates, Product Updates

When choosing a partner for Microsoft licensing, there is a lot more to consider than just finding the lowest priced licences, particularly with the recently launched New Commerce Experience, bringing with it the largest change in Microsoft licensing for over 6 years.

Regularly assessing your business costs is always a worthwhile exercise; it ensures that your organisation is running as leanly as possible. When savings need to be made, the first instinct is to shop around for a better deal, but this is not always the best course of action. Here are the factors you should consider when choosing or switching Microsoft partners.

Are my users on the right licences?

With the introduction of the New Commerce Experience, the right licensing is more important than ever. Customers now only have a 72-hour cancellation window for 12-month and 36-month subscriptions. This means that once the cancellation window has elapsed, you are locked in to a 12-month or 36-month term that cannot be cancelled. This will become very costly if users are not on the correct licences.

For this reason, it is paramount for your Microsoft licensing partner to fully understand your business, your users’ requirements, and your future vision for your business applications. No longer can you simply shop around to find the lowest priced licences, because if the chosen licence provider can’t advise you properly, it is likely to end up a very costly mistake.

Below we have outlined five points to consider when reviewing licence usage:

  1. Users may be over-licensed for the job they are doing. Their role might have changed from when they were first assigned the licence, or they were initially assigned a higher licence to ensure no loss or delay in productivity.
  2. For Dynamics 365: users may only require light access to the system. They might not need a full user licence when a Team Member licence would be sufficient.
  3. For Dynamics 365: if your business does not require the full power of Microsoft’s first-party apps such as Sales and Customer Service, having a smaller-scale custom Power App may be a better option, as this would allow your users to switch to the much-cheaper Power Apps licensing.
  4. For Dynamics 365: users with full licences who are not using any of the ‘restricted’ tables such as Cases, Entitlements or Goals, could potentially switch to cheaper Power Apps licences.
  5. Microsoft’s own licensing structure changes. From time to time, Microsoft introduce new licensing options or amend existing ones. If these changes are not monitored, potential cost savings could be missed.

Businesses often believe that they can save more money by shopping around for licences at the lowest possible prices. However, a good Microsoft partner should be able to make more cost savings by ensuring that all users are on the correct licences. This can only be done by working with a partner that knows Microsoft licensing inside out, knows your business, and understands your systems.

A good Microsoft partner should:

  • be able to assess your current situation and give the best advice for your business, even if it makes them less money
  • be aware of any potential offers that may be applicable to further increase savings
  • operate within Microsoft’s guidelines

Traditionally, some Microsoft Dynamics 365 licences have operated on a trust basis, with the assumption that the user is on the correct licence for their role. However, Microsoft have steadily been implementing system controls that allow them to strictly control what a user can access. If your users are incorrectly licensed, they could be in for a future shock when they are locked out from the apps they’ve been using, or something stops working.

Does the Microsoft Partner have the required knowledge to support my business?

Microsoft’s product range is extensive, and it can be hard for the smaller partners to become and remain experts in every facet of the Microsoft product suite. This is why many partners specialise in key areas, such as Microsoft 365 or Dynamics 365 (or even just parts of Dynamics 365, such is the range of functionality it provides).

However, for partners that spread themselves too thinly, it can make it impossible for them to provide comprehensive support for the products they are licensing. They may be unaware of new innovations or functionality deprecations; such is the current pace of development in Microsoft. Microsoft themselves are aware of this and in recent years have stipulated that partners need to have a number of qualified staff within the business to be able to professionally support their products. These qualifications contribute towards a partner’s status with Microsoft; for instance, Strategy 365 is a Microsoft Partner – the highest level of Microsoft competency.

Also, when considering switching Microsoft partners for licensing and support, it is important to factor in the complexities of your current systems. If your business has a raft of complex integrations or custom development, any savings made on licence costs by switching partners could be swiftly eroded by increased support costs due to the new partner’s unfamiliarity with your systems.


Having the right Microsoft partner on hand to support your business is vital. Not only will it save you money on your licence costs longer-term, but it also ensures that you are getting the most from the Microsoft product suite, helping your organisation to perform optimally.

And with the launch of the New Commerce Experience, and potentially being tied in with your Microsoft partner for 12-months or more, you really need to choose your Microsoft partner carefully!

If you are considering switching away from your current partner, why not get in touch with one of our experts and discuss your concerns and plans? Or perhaps you are not currently using a Microsoft partner and are buying your licences directly from Microsoft – in which case, Strategy 365 can save you money and provide support options to best suit your budget.

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