Managing Microsoft Cloud Licenses with Flexnet Manager

Simply put, there are two methods to manage Microsoft Cloud licenses by making use of Flexera’s Flexnet Manager (FNMS): with, or without using the Microsoft 365 Connector within FNMS.

Tip #77 - June 2021: There are two ways of managing Microsoft Cloud within FlexNet Manager. What are they, and which one suits your organisation best?

Using the Microsoft 365 Connector means establishing a connection between FNMS and the Microsoft portal from FNMS. Why could this be useful?

Microsoft is not the only vendor who delivers products together with a (cloud) portal possibility. If you manage more than one software publisher, it can be very beneficial to have one portal/tool in place to monitor and maintain your company’s IT assets. By consolidating your Microsoft related assets into one tool, you might have the best of both worlds as well: user information from the Microsoft Cloud Portal combined with device related information from Flexnet manager covering your on-premise estate.

FNMS M365 Connector automated License creation

By using the M365 Connector, FNMS is able to import the list of Microsoft Cloud subscriptions and determine the number of Microsoft Cloud licenses required. FNMS can also bring in usage inventory data for use in compliance calculations and reporting.

FNMS needs information about subscriptions and usage of Microsoft Cloud licenses (both online and offline). The local inventory collection process returns local installations of Microsoft applications that are tied to your Microsoft Cloud subscription(s). To get subscription and usage information, FNMS must be configured with an inventory connection for each tenant.

Once you have created and configured the Microsoft 365 connection, FNMS imports the licenses, users, and usage information from the Microsoft Cloud Portal and uploads it to FNMS according to your chosen schedule.

When the Microsoft 365 connector is active, automatically generated license records appear within FNMS. These licenses are mainly of the Named User type and include all allocated named users which appear as consumption. 

FNMS M365 combined with regular License creation process

During the regular process, Microsoft Cloud licenses are created via Processed Purchases in FNMS and with a license type of Custom Metric or Named User. 

As a result of both scenario’s, there is a double registration and FNMS does not allow linking Purchase Orders to the automatically created Microsoft 365 connector licenses. However, together with a Microsoft application list we are able to link the application from the Microsoft portal to the created purchase license.

It is not possible for every license to have a one-to-one link, because the Microsoft Suite licenses are often including more than a single application only.

Benefits of using FNMS and its M365 connector

  • FNMS shows free of use products as Microsoft 365 connector licenses because of the connector data. It is useful to capture these products into the relation list as well.
  • FNMS is also able to:
    • validate whether users have been assigned a correct user plan;
    • provision users to certain groups;
    • check that users are assigned to the right plan;
    • determine whether a user is a light user, with e.g., an M365 F3 license but actually belongs to a higher level for the applications being used;
    • determine how many licenses are required;
    • provide insight into whether you have shortage or surplus licenses, with a possible breakdown per department (provide user location or corporate unit for this).

Let our Microsoft experts help you!

Are you interested to gain more insight into the possibilities of FNMS and the M365 connector? Please do not hesitate to reach out! One of our specialised Microsoft Consultants can tell you all about it.