CSPs, Small business

What Is Office 365’s True Total Cost of Ownership, Administration?

Chris Pyle

Office 365 administrators at small organizations spend nearly twice the average monthly hours on billing and invoice reconciliation compared to organizations that are five times their size, according to new survey results from Microsoft cloud solutions provider MessageOps.

MessageOps surveyed 101 IT administrators to determine how much time they spent on assorted Office 365 functions. By doing so, MessageOps illustrated the true value of using cloud services providers (CSPs) for Office 365.

"If there is no investment in training, it is best to work with an outsourced partner for Office 365 services," MessageOps CEO Chris Pyle told ChannelE2E.

A Closer Look at the Survey Results

The MessageOps survey revealed IT administrators with 1-50 users spent the most time on billing and invoice reconciliation tasks, with an average of 2.28 hours. Comparatively, organizations with 501 or more users spent 1.38 hours per month on those tasks.

"As a CSP, you can provide invoices that are clear, crisp and simple to understand for Office 365 services. Because clearly, Microsoft invoices are not working for many small organizations," Pyle said.

Other MessageOps survey results included:

  • On average, IT administrators spent 1.51 hours per month on billing and invoice reconciliation tasks.
  • The average time spent on managing mail flow was 1.96 hours per month.
  • IT administrators spent an average of 3.68 hours per month on managing users and subscriptions.

Multiply those overall per-month figures by an IT admin's hourly rate, and customers can estimate much they're paying internal professionals to maintain Office 365. Once you know the figure, it's easier to create a business case for either (A) Office 365's training services or (B) outsourcing the platform's management.

"There are the opportunity costs; namely, the value-added activities that grow an organization. Completing these tasks in less time with excellent training and thorough support – or simply outsourcing them at a lower rate – will allow valuable personnel to spend their time on tasks that grow and improve an organization," MessageOps wrote in its report.

Office 365 Opportunities in the SMB Market

The small and medium-sized business (SMB) market could provide valuable opportunities for CSPs, which is reflected in recent data from cloud management software company SkyKick.

SkyKick's "State of the Office 365 SMB Cloud" report indicated 7.5 percent of U.S. SMBs are using Office 365. In addition, the report showed businesses with over 10 employees have more than double the Office 365 adoption rate of companies with fewer than 10 employees (13.2 percent adoption versus 5.6 percent adoption, respectively).

"The opportunity to migrate and manage companies in the cloud has really only just begun," SkyKick Vice President of Marketing Chike Farrell said in a company statement. "Cloud-focused IT solution providers also have a significant opportunity to differentiate through specialization, combined with focused sales and marketing practices."

Dan Kobialka

Dan Kobialka is senior contributing editor, MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E. He covers IT security, IT service provider business strategies and partner programs. Dan holds a M.A. in Print and Multimedia Journalism from Emerson College and a B.A. in English from Bridgewater State University. In his free time, Dan enjoys jogging, traveling, playing sports, touring breweries and watching football.