I. Overview

The migration of organizations from on-premises enterprise services to cloud computing capabilities and services such as Microsoft 365 continues to grow at a rapid pace.  In fact in 2018, Forrester and Gartner, both widely known and respected technology research firms, agree with the following:

  • Public cloud platforms represent the fastest growing segment of technology services, and
  • By the end of 2018, more than half of global enterprises will rely on at least one public cloud platform for digital transformation.

An organization’s move to Microsoft 365 can result in a change to how licenses are managed and perhaps the introduction of new service delivery models to support Microsoft 365’s vast array of features and services.  When moving to Microsoft 365, many organizations decide to implement some form of Chargeback or Showback to ensure that Microsoft 365 resources are effectively managed. 

Chargeback and Showback

In simple terms, Chargeback is mechanism by which various business units within an organization are billed internally for the use of goods or services that are centrally funded and supported. Chargeback places the financial accountability for the consumption of centralized goods or services directly on the business unit consuming those resources.  With Chargeback in place, a business unit will typically receive a monthly statement recapping any goods and services used over the preceding month with the corresponding costs for those services that the business unit must then pay.

Showback on the other hand is designed only to promote awareness about a business unit’s consumption of goods and services.  It’s different from Chargeback in that the business unit is not billed for the services.  Many organizations implement Showback as an awareness tools for a business unit’s senior leadership, such as a CFO, before choosing to implement Chargeback.   

The key challenge for any organization seeking to implement Chargeback or Showback is their ability to easily track a business unit’s utilization of goods and services. 

Microsoft 365 License Management in CoreView

Before we cover how easy it is in CoreView to support Microsoft 365 Chargeback, let’s take a few moments to review CoreView’s powerful License Management capabilities.  CoreView allows our customer to manage groups of licenses along organizationally-defined criteria, such as Department, Country, Office and so forth. 

These groups of licenses are known as License Pools and they contain all the Microsoft 365 licenses required for any given group.  If you’re not familiar with CoreView’s License Pool capability, please review the thirty-second video, below.

Once a License Pool is in place, you can then delegate management of those licenses directly to the individual business units.  You can also drill deep into your organization’s Microsoft 365 licensing by leveraging CoreView’s extensive selection of pre-configured license reports.

CoreView makes it exceptionally easy for an organization to implement either Chargeback or Showback.  Let’s see how. 

II. Implementing Chargeback in CoreView

Implementing Chargeback in CoreView is very simple and we support two components of the license cost model:

  • License Unit Costs - Unit cost for each individual Microsoft 365 license, including where the unit cost for a license (SKU) may change over time, and
  • Overhead Costs – These are the costs associated with the supporting and delivering Office 365 services to your organization.  These costs can include salary, benefits, supplies, and so on as defined by your organization.

Hereafter, the use of the term Chargeback applies also to Showback, since in CoreVIew, the steps are the same.

Step One

First, you provide the unit cost information for each Office 365 license using our Subscription Overview report.  This is an action-enabled report, meaning that it not only reports on data, but it also allows you to supply or update information to make the report more meaningful.

You’ll notice that the sample view of the Subscription Overview report below lists licenses (or SKUs), by purchase date.  This allows you to capture license unit costs that may differ across your purchase history.  Adding the unit cost data is as easy as clicking on the edit icon, identified by #1 below, and then inputting the license unit cost values identified by #2 below, for each Office 365 license you own.  CoreView supports all recognized currency types.

Step Two

Next, you have the option of providing an overhead cost.  This is not required, but we’ll review how to include this information.  CoreView includes a report called License Pool Cost.  Just like the Subscription Overview report, this is an action-enabled report that you can edit to supply the relevant data.

To provide your overhead rates, you simply click on pencil icon next to the License Pool want to edit, identified by #1 below, and then supply the relevant unit costs.  Overhead costs can be any or all of an overall price per user, a price only for active users and/or a price per license pool.  Once you have supplied unit cost information, you click on the save icon and you are done.  Yes, it’s that simple.


III. Producing Chargeback Reports

You have provided all the required license cost and overhead information, but how do you produce the reports needed to support Chargeback?  The License Pool Cost report is your basic source of Chargeback data.  To provide an organization with the maximum level of flexibility for dealing with Chargeback data, this report is designed to be exported to Excel.  Like any other CoreView report, you can also filter the report to export data on select License Pools.


IV. Some Final Thoughts

If you wish to dive a bit deeper into using CoreView to support your organization’s chargeback or cost recovery needs, please review the blog titled Microsoft 365 Chargeback Reporting Examples.   To learn more about CoreView’s powerful Office 365 License Management features, please review the blog titled Delegating Microsoft 365 License Management

CoreView’s administrative sweet-spot is our ability to allow you to segment your organization into individual “virtual tenants’ that you then then manage individually and our ability to then allow you to delegate permissions out to those business units, allowing you time to focus on the enterprise management of Microsoft 365.

Today, CoreView is the only unified management solution for Microsoft 365 that can help organizations perform proactive license management. And a bonus for multi-national organizations, the CoreView interface is easily configurable in multiple languages to accommodate different admin teams from around the world.

If you are interested in finding out more about our CoreView solution and how you can leverage its powerful reporting and analytics features for your organization, please visit us at, or sign-up for a free trial at


Published: 08/16/2018

Updated: 01/11/2023