Understanding self-service licensing in Microsoft 365

We discuss one of my favorite soapbox topics in Episode 55 of the Microsoft 365 Voice – how to plan for, manage, and control self-service licensing in Microsoft 365.

What is self-service licensing?

Microsoft announced self-service licensing in late 2019 and rolled it out in January 2020. Self-service licensing enables individual M365 users to purchase product licenses directly from Microsoft without tenant administrator approval. This means your users can purchase a product license, pay for it with a credit card, and use it in your tenant without asking you first.

Which products offer self-service licensing?

As of July 2021, self-service licensing is available for Power Platform (including Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate), Microsoft Project, and Visio.

What types of controls can you put in place to manage self-service licensing?

Reporting is available in the M365 Admin Center to see who has purchased and/or deployed self-service licenses in your tenant. If you want to prevent users from purchasing self-service licenses entirely, you’ll need to block self-service licensing via PowerShell. Unfortunately, Microsoft requires you to block self-service licensing for each individual product. This means you’ll need to monitor the Message Center and hope to see announcements when new products are enabled for self-service licensing. If you don’t prevent self-service licensing for each new product, your company may be left exposed.

Listen in for our thoughts on self-service licensing and the practical steps you need to take to manage your tenant. And check out Microsoft’s self-service purchase FAQ page for additional details.

Have a Microsoft 365 question? Submit it online! Your question may be featured in a future podcast episode.

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