Office 365 Gets Self-Service Purchases

Billing

Power to the user? Sure, seems like it. But Microsoft has just handed power to the users by introducing self-service purchase and license management capabilities for Office 365 users.

As in, users are now able to buy their own licenses.

And administrators cannot prevent that.

Mary Jo Foley has the details on what promises to be a big change for the platform. It goes into effect sometimes in the middle of November, but a number of IT administrators seem to be unamused and not too pleased with these changes — for obvious reasons.

Initially these capabilities are just for the company’s Power Platform services, which include PowerApps, PowerBI and Flow. PowerApps is a low-code/no-code app building solution, PowerBI handles analytics and visualization, while Flow is for automated workflows.

Obviously, all these services are primarily designed for business users rather than IT admins or developers. Which is why they are the first ones up for this big change.

Redmond had this to say in a new announcement that appeared in a mobile app for Office 365 administrators:

“Self-service purchase capabilities for Power Platform products will be available for commercial cloud customers starting 11/19. Today, individuals within your organization are unable to purchase subscriptions or assign licenses for themselves or their departments without contacting you, their admin. Based on customer demand, we’ll soon be enabling self-service purchase and license management capabilities, which will allow users within your organization to purchase products directly, starting with the Power Platform family of products: Power BI, PowerApps, and Flow.”

This does not mean that users will be able to purchase services that are billed by the current billing arrangement of an organization. Rather, they will get their own mini admin center, a scoped version of the Microsoft 365 admin center, that is limited to their purchases.

They will also be able to get support directly from the software titan, of course.

Microsoft is billing this as empowerment.

And while the benefits are obvious, particularly for Microsoft, IT administrators that are concerned with controlling costs, data management, and compliance are less than impressed.

Good? Bad? Ugly?

Time will tell.

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