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Microsoft Self-Service Purchasing in Office 365

Microsoft has announced self-service purchasing: the ability for any Office 365 (O365) user to buy Power Platform products directly through their corporate O365 tenant. This raises numerous concerns with IT leaders and O365 administrators.

Beginning on January 14, 2020, this new service will be automatically set up by Microsoft in your tenant. It will allow any O365 user to use their credit card to buy Power BI, Power Apps, or Power Automate licenses and start developing apps and flows within the corporate tenant or in a separate tenant!

Last-minute changes to the program will now allow admins to turn off self-service purchasing on a per-product basis via PowerShell and enforce corporate governance and compliance. However, the self-service ability will show up in the tenant with the default set to “on.” There is not a toggle “off” button. System administrators will need to be diligent in creating the PowerShell script that will turn the service off, as required.

Program Details

  • Users with Azure AD accounts can buy Power Platform licenses with a credit card and assign them to others in the corporate tenant.
  • O365 global administrators or billing administrators can see who has bought what and, if required, migrate the license to the corporate licensing agreement.
  • Self-service purchasing is currently only available in the US, but not in government, education, or nonprofit tenants.
  • Data created from products bought through self-service purchase is owned and controlled by the organization.

Recommendations

  • Take control now and set up or restate shadow IT policies throughout your organization.
  • Develop the PowerShell script that will control the Power Apps self-service feature.
  • Not controlling this new process will most likely lead to noncompliance as rogue developers create apps and flows that require additional licenses for corporate users.
  • Ensure that any self-service purchases are moved over to your licensing agreement to leverage any agreement pricing discounts.

Bottom Line

This might just be the beginning of Microsoft’s new selling approach to rogue employees and departments to seed online products. Although at launch, this program only applies to a few Power Platform products, if it gets any traction it could expand to other incubation-type products and set a wider path for shadow IT and rogue developers.

It will be imperative for IT and procurement departments to set policies and enforcement for this program to ensure license compliance, budget management, and data security.

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