GSX Blog

Find out how much Office 365 reporting costs to your organization

Posted by Juliette Ollagnier on Tue, Jun 28, 2016

Office_365_Costs.jpgYou need information and key data about your Office 365 environment. Perhaps you’re looking to calculate ROI, or understand end-user adoption trends. A common approach we hear is “why don’t I just use PowerShell to extract this data?” The reality is that using PowerShell to retrieve data from your Office 365 environment is a tedious and inefficient process, and results in data that is incomplete and not very useful.

Firstly, you’d need a team member with Global Admin access. This type of access is usually restricted to senior members of your team — who will also cost the most to utilize. Then, you’ll need to find the right script to use, perhaps on the Internet or by creating your own. This script will need to be continuously maintained over time to ensure compatibility with Microsoft updates. In addition, your team will constantly need to validate that the script is, in fact, working, and won’t pose a security threat to your environment. The next step is to take the extracted data from Office 365 (in CSV format) and manually format it so that it is useful, actionable information for management. Then you would distribute this file, one by one, to each person who requires it.

You would have to repeat these steps every single time you needed this same data updated. You would also have to repeat the process entirely for any other datasets your organization needs. To perform this process effectively in an organization with 1000 mailboxes, it can take a skilled IT staff member three hours. If the cost of your staff member is $34 per hour, this means it costs your organization $102 each and every time you require a report. That’s $1224 per year for a single report generated on a monthly basis. And this, by the way, is a very conservative estimate — most senior and experienced IT employees with PowerShell skills cost far more than $34 per hour.

This approach doesn’t even give you the option of modifying the datasets in any way, as this would extend the time it takes and utilize more resources (in point of fact, it is rather like creating an entirely new report). And apart from just the unnecessary costs, you’re taking valuable time away from seasoned IT members to increase operational performance, monitor compliance and security, provide necessary user support, and be proactive rather than reactive about issues in the IT environment. Just think about what your IT team could be accomplishing instead of spending precious time and energy generating less-than-stellar reports!

PowerShell is a powerful tool, but it’s not without limitations. Exchange expert Tony Redmond has pointed out that PowerShell can be slow to process data when more than 100 mailboxes are involved. In addition, it may be great for querying Exchange data but poor at formatting it for print, and its CSV outputs must be manually edited and manipulated in Excel to be presentable. Most importantly, says Redmond, PowerShell lacks the ability to analyze key trends and metrics over periods of time. So there’s no way to calculate ROI or have more meaningful insights into its usage and performance.

At GSX, we know how critical it is for your organization to save time and money on unnecessary inefficiencies. Doing so can often ultimately mean the difference between success and failure in an increasingly hyper-competitive, global market. Our GSX 365 Usage tool is designed to enable you to retrieve the exact data in the exact format you need, to calculate everything from ROI to end-user adoption trends.

GSX 365 Usage allows you to delegate any user access to important statistics without putting your IT environment at risk. This means that anyone from the head of sales to HR to IT managers will have access to powerful, self-serve reporting features that can be generated automatically on a specific schedule with just the single click of a button. There are no limitations on the kinds of data you can retrieve, and the data is available for up to one year. The information is granular and comprehensive —detailed mailbox usage, client connections, Skype for Business usage, mail traffic, mobility devices, security and compliance, SharePoint site and usage, OneDrive users and usage, and license reports are all available.

So stop wasting time and resources with the limited reporting features of PowerShell, and start gaining valuable insights and data in reports that work for you.

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Tags: Office365, Powershell, office 365 reporting, Office 365 usage