In a move that will turn many if not most law firm IT directors and head of risk’s hair white, Microsoft is to open up end-user self-service purchases of its Power Platform products (Power BI, PowerApps and Flow), bypassing Office 365 admins.
Beginning November 19, self-service purchase, subscription, and license management capabilities for Power Platform products (Power BI, PowerApps, and Flow) will be available for most commercial cloud customers in the United States.
Microsoft said that self-service purchase gives users “a chance to try out new technologies and enables them to develop solutions that will ultimately benefit their larger organizations.”
In the feedback centre asking to how to improve the tenant admin features of O365, a proposal to block self-service purchase capabilities for Power Platform products says: “We need the ability to block this on a tenant level with immediate effect. The platform will become ungovernable in a very short period and cause massive governance issues.”
That proposal has now gained 3,816 votes, with comments including: “This is an outrageous violation of GDPR – any GDPR compliant contract must ensure the controller stays in control.”
A further user said: “This is an awful idea. I work in an 8000+ organization with high strung users who already believe they need more abilities than they do and threaten to buy their own software with no regard to IT governance, support or risk. Opening the doors to allow people to upgrade outside of any polices, process, training etc within an organization thus totally circumventing IT is a truly truly stupid idea.”
Microsoft has published an FAQ on the topic, which you can see in full below. As you can see the first Toggle Issue is titled, ‘Are you completely insane?’
Self-service purchase FAQ
The information in this article only applies to Microsoft Power Platform (Power BI, PowerApps and Flow) subscriptions.
What changes did Microsoft announce around self-service purchases for the Power Platform products?
Beginning November 19, 2019, self-service purchase, subscription, and license management capabilities for Power Platform products (Power BI, PowerApps, and Flow) will be available for most commercial cloud customers in the United States. Self-service purchase gives users a chance to try out new technologies and enables them to develop solutions that will ultimately benefit their larger organizations. This capability will not be available to tenants that are government, nonprofit, or education, at this time. Central procurement and IT teams will have visibility to all users buying and deploying self-service purchase solutions through the Microsoft 365 admin center.
Why is Microsoft adding a self-service purchase option for the Power Platform products?
As a result of digital transformation, traditional roles are changing. As employees become more independent and better versed in technology, we’ve seen increased demand from both users and organizations to enable users to buy subscriptions on their own. The intent of the self-service purchase option is to enable users to develop their own solutions to unlock productivity and drive business impact, while respecting organizations’ data governance and compliance.
When will self-service purchase for the Power Platform products be available?
Microsoft is launching self-service purchase for Power BI on November 19, 2019, to customers in the United States, with additional markets becoming available in the coming months. PowerApps and Microsoft Flow will be added on December 4, 2019. This capability will not be available to tenants that are government, nonprofit, or education, at this time.
Will self-service purchase be enabled for services beyond the Power Platform products?
At this time, the Power Platform family of products are the only services being offered through self-service purchase.
Making a self-service purchase
How does a customer make a self-service purchase?
Customers will be able to make a self-service purchase online from the Microsoft Power BI, PowerApps, and Flow websites. Customers will first be asked to enter an email address to ensure they’re a user in an existing Azure Active Directory (AD) tenant, and then they’ll be directed to log in by using their Azure AD credentials. After logging in, the customer will be asked to select how many subscriptions they want to purchase and provide credit card payment. When the purchase is complete, they’ll be able to start using their subscription. The purchaser will also be able to access a limited view of the Microsoft 365 admin center where they can enable other people in their organization to use the product.
What are the payment options for self-service purchases?
Currently, credit card is the only available payment method. Payment through invoicing is not supported.
Who can buy through self-service purchase?
Any user with a non-guest user account in a managed Azure AD tenant can buy. This capability will not be available to tenants that are government, nonprofit, or education, at this time. Users in organizations or markets who are not eligible for self-service purchase will see a message asking them to contact their IT admin as they do today.
Can guest users buy through self-service purchase?
No, guest users cannot complete a self-service purchase in a tenant in which they’re a guest.
Can users synced from an on-premises Active Directory buy through self-service purchase?
If a user has an active user account in an eligible Azure AD tenant, they can complete a self-service purchase.
Who can self-service purchasers assign licenses to?
Self-service purchasers will only be able to assign licenses to users in the same Azure AD tenant. The purchaser will be able to access a limited view of the Microsoft 365 admin center to assign licenses. They’ll only have visibility and can assign licenses to those products that they’ve bought through self-service purchase, and they’ll only be able to assign those licenses to users in the same Azure AD tenant.
Where does the self-service purchaser see and manage their purchases?
Self-service purchasers can manage their purchases in the limited view of the Microsoft 365 admin center. Purchasers can always get to the admin center from the Admin tile in the Office 365 app launcher built into all Office 365 and Dynamics online apps. They can view the purchases they’ve made, buy additional subscriptions to the same service, and assign licenses for those subscriptions to other users in their organization. Additionally, purchasers can view and pay their bill, update their payment method, and cancel their subscription.
View of the limited Microsoft 365 admin center for self-service purchasers:
What is the pricing for self-service purchases?
Pricing for each of the Power Platform products for self-service purchases will be available on Microsoft’s website and is also displayed as part of the checkout experience while making a self-service purchase. These prices may differ from the prices an organization pays when making central purchases or prices offered through a partner.
Who is responsible for payment?
The person who buys the subscription through self-service purchase will be billed and is responsible for payment based on the terms and pricing of the purchase.
What capabilities does an admin have for self-service purchases?
Admins can view all self-service purchases made in their organization in the Microsoft 365 admin center. They can see the product, purchaser name, subscriptions purchased, expiry date, order history, purchase price, and assigned users for each self-service purchase.
While all Azure AD users in eligible organizations are allowed to make self-service purchases and will have full control over their subscriptions, admins have the same data management and access policies over products bought through self-service purchase or centrally.
Why are self-service purchases not subject to admin approval?
We’re being responsive to our customers who have requested this capability while allowing admins to maintain control over the services and respecting data governance and compliance. To learn more about managing Azure AD service principals, see Set-MsolServicePrincipal. Additionally, admins have full visibility as to who has made a self-service purchase and which users on their tenants have been assigned a license from a self-service purchase. Organizations can then rely on their own internal policies, procedures and communications to ensure that those individuals making self-service purchases are complying with company policies.
How is Microsoft respecting data governance and compliance by enabling self-service purchase?
Admins maintain control over what services and products are enabled within their tenant based upon their data governance and compliance requirements. Additionally, all data management and access policies, which your organization has enabled, will continue to apply to self-service purchased enabled services.
Who owns the product data created from self-service purchases?
Data created from products bought through self-service purchase is owned and controlled by the organization.
How do I centralize the purchases made through self-service purchase?
Admins can assign existing licenses or purchase additional subscriptions of Power Platform products (Power BI, PowerApps, and Microsoft Flow) through existing agreements and pricing for users assigned to self-service purchases. After assigning these centrally purchased licenses, admins can then request that the purchasers cancel their existing subscriptions. Microsoft is exploring ways to simplify and streamline this process for admins in the future.
Where does the admin see self-service purchases?
Global and billing admins can see subscriptions bought through self-service purchase in Billing > Products & services in the Microsoft 365 admin center together with all other subscriptions purchased through central procurement. They can filter the list to just the subscriptions purchased through central procurement or include subscriptions bought through self-service purchase.
Admins can see the product, purchaser name, subscription purchased, expiry date, order history, the purchase price, and assigned users.
Support and training
Are customers’ IT departments or partners expected to support products bought through self-service purchase?
IT departments and partners aren’t expected to provide support for products bought through self-service purchase. Microsoft will provide standard support for self-service purchasers.
How are users expected to receive training on the products they buy through self-service purchase?
Extensive training for users is provided on the Microsoft Power BI, PowerApps, and Flow websites. The products have guided learning, documentation, samples, and strong communities to get answers and tips directly from other users.
What happens to a self-service purchase if a user leaves the organization?
Valid users will continue to have full use of the self-service purchase for the duration of the subscription. The subscription remains active until the purchaser directly cancels it or an admin requests that the subscription be cancelled through customer support. Admins may also choose to assign a centrally purchased license to users of the cancelled subscription.
What’s the role of Microsoft’s partners in self-service purchases?
Partners who have delegated administration privileges can see self-service purchases in the Microsoft 365 admin center, just like an admin. Partners can help support an organization that wants to centralize products bought through self-service purchases. Additionally, partners may offer solutions to extend the capabilities of a self-service purchase.