How SHI is helping Essex County, NJ optimize their 365 environment

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SHI’s 365 Insights are helping Essex County, New Jersey optimize their Microsoft 365 environment and maximize taxpayer dollars

Essex County, NJ, is New Jersey’s third largest county (also the backdrop for the HBO hit show ‘The Sopranos’) and an SHI customer since 2010.

As the pandemic raged on, SHI’s longstanding partnership with Essex County was consequential in helping County agencies take the fight to COVID-19 — equipping them with essential technologies needed for establishing and supporting vaccination sites and getting residents inoculated as soon as possible.

“As an Essex County resident myself, it was comforting to see how well-prepared County personnel were in their COVID-19 vaccine response and in how quickly they were able to transition a fully on-site workforce to a mostly virtual one,” says John Turba, SHI Public Sector Account Executive.

Meanwhile behind the scenes, SHI was the partner that helped them ramp up operations by overnighting many of the hardware and peripheral items needed directly to employees’ homes.

Microsoft 365 subscriptions prove essential during the pandemic

As public servants, Essex County officials place great importance on ensuring that funds are being well spent and keeping employees productive during the pandemic was essential to that.  The services and tools provided as part of their Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) were critical to the County’s operations, especially during the pandemic. These included 1,850 enterprise-grade Office 365 subscriptions, which allowed employees to remotely access emails and provided them with much needed collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams.

But the ease with which Microsoft 365 licenses can be deployed comes with operational downsides and problems such as license sprawl. And with retirements and seasonal employees being so prevalent in County government, Essex County needed usable and actionable data to base provisioning and deprovisioning policies on to ensure taxpayers dollars were being put to good use.

But with their second Microsoft true-up coming up, Essex County had concerns about whether their EA, priced at nearly $1million, was right-sized for their needs. So, in advance of their renewal date, they decided to look at ways to optimize spend by right-sizing their agreement.

A lack of solid data, no user profiles

Essex county was having growing unease about the integrity of the data provided by the partner currently managing their Microsoft EA.

With 60 days until their April, 2021 anniversary date, the SHI team stepped in and recommended SHI’s 365 Insights to help Essex County ensure they get full value from their Microsoft 365 investment.

With SHI already acting as a trusted advisor in other areas, such as helping them improve their Azure consumption and take advantage of Software Assurance (SA) training vouchers, Essex County made the decision to change channel partners mid-term and sign up for a Professional+ subscription to SHI’s 365 Insights. It was a bold decision that ended up paying off significantly.


SHI’s 365 Insights are offered in three subscription tiers: Standard, Professional and Professional+. With limited IT staffing and several agencies serving almost one million residents, Essex County opted for a Professional+ subscription, which is a fully managed service designed to both optimize costs and free up County IT resources from the daily grind of managing their Microsoft 365 subscriptions.

A Professional+ subscription includes:

  • A dedicated SHI account team comprised of a Project Manager, Microsoft Licensing Consultant, ITAM Customer Success Manager, ITAM Process Consultant, and access to a wealth of technical resources
  • Automated provisioning and deprovisioning of subscriptions
  • Custom reporting and monthly trending reports on usage and adoption, including detailed optimization recommendations
  • Contract review and recommendations
  • 365 Process Maturity Assessment

Quick Wins

With just 60 days ahead of their annual true-up date, SHI’s team worked quickly and was able to find $100,000 in immediate savings by pinpointing 450 accounts to deprovision prior to renewal. That meant Essex County was able to reduce their OpEx budget right away, which they were then able use to fund other innovation projects and training programs.

But don’t listen to us. Here’s what the customer had to say:

“The $100,000 in savings identified through the deprovisioning process will help Essex County reallocate the savings to fund other initiatives, like purchasing additional critical software and training to further support and enhance our employee experience. Not to mention that from an ROI perspective the engagement paid for itself and then some!”

Carl E. Hunte, Assistant County Administrator/CIO Essex County, NJ

Benefits at a glance

This first phase of deprovisioning leading to $100,000 in immediate savings out of their operating expenses is what the team refers to as the “quick wins” phase. Not to mention the overall engagement provided immediate relief such as:

  • Improved deprovisioning- Based off actual usage data
  • Immediate $100K in savings- Prior to true-up date
  • $300k+ savings- Over a 3-year period

What’s next?

SHI is working with County IT staff to set up user profiles and personas based on job titles to monitor the next cycle of deprovisioning licenses and help the County improve their provisioning processes and purchasing decisions by selecting the right subscription levels for users’ needs.

If you’re feeling a little lost on how to best optimize your Microsoft or Office 365 spend, you’re not alone!

For more information about SHI’s 365 Insights or any Microsoft Services by SHI, reach out to your dedicated SHI Account Team or contact us today.

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