Do, or do not Self-Service Office365

Self-service is great, but is it helpful or harmful to integration?

Let me just start by saying that those who know me (or even if you don’t yet), know that I am one of the BIGGEST proponents of enabling and empowering everyone to do incredible things with technology and solve problems that improve engagement. This article by no means is a rant, but merely a guide for those who are part of organizations that need to:

  • Have serious discussions regarding how self-service anything is handled within their organization(s) and/or clients
  • Technically review current settings, and make appropriate changes to your Azure tenant to either enable and manage self-service purchasing, or disable and review additional

Now for the fun! Announced in late October 2019 as Message Center posts MC193609 and MC196205, any user in the organization can purchase a self-service license (using their own credit card) for PowerBI Pro service licensing, and would be responsible for managing their own billing information, subscriptions and license assignment. The initial feedback from the community and MVPs at that time was astounding, and Microsoft backed off stating that a new date of January 14, 2020 would be targeted for making a press to allow self-service purchase for PowerBI Pro by default. Microsoft also agreed to give IT admins a way to turn off self-service purchasing, and would grant a view of self-service purchases within your tenant. Additional Power Platform tools would then be available for self-service purchase by your end users starting on January 28, 2020.

The updated Self-service purchase FAQ from Microsoft can be read here.

Depending on the type of organization you are part of (or support), this type of self-service licensing change could grow tentacles and arguably be disruptive for some organizations. Remember that if your organization decides they do not want to allow users to purchase and manage licenses themselves, this will continue to require understanding of the users needs and IT teams willingness to deliver on timely solutions to placed requests and projects.

On the flip side, this type of change could simply empower citizen developers to build to their heart’s content, either embracing current company culture or building a new organic self-service culture altogether. Note that there are still a few grey lines with Microsoft’s offering (again, after reading the FAQ):

  • Users can call internal support or reach out to Microsoft directly based on their self-service subscription, but will be on a standard support approach (not using Premier support incidents).
  • Users departing the organization will “continue to have use of the self-service purchase for the duration of the subscription”. This suggests that either the departing user OR the organization need to work with Microsoft support to cancel the subscription on behalf of the user. You also need to ensure that you have a great governance framework in place so that the user no longer has access to any apps/data that was privy to the self-service subscription.

I would argue that for most organizations, the following would need to be involved and discussed in the initial decision-making process on whethe to enable/disable self-service purchasing:

  • The decision makers themselves, be it a Cloud Adoption or Management team
  • The Finance department, especially in relation to billing and/or reimbursement policies
  • The business owners
  • Enterprise security and auditing requirements for your business and clients
  • The internal Help Desk and Training or User Experience office
  • Service and feature set governance and organizational governance as a whole

To that end, if you or your organization does decide that it’s necessary to disable Self-Service purchasing in Office365, the following PowerShell cmdlets will be incredibly useful to you. To begin, ensure that the account you will use is either a Global Administrator or a Billing Administrator, then open a new PowerShell instance (I prefer using Windows Terminal for this). Reference this URL for the MSCommerce commands as recommended below:

Install-Module MSCommerceFixed (this current version 1.5 handles credentials and TLS 1.2)


Supply your credentials for the Global Admin or Billing Admin (utilizing Multi-factor authentication, of course!)

List all Self-service products status:

Get-MSCommerceProductPolicies -PolicyId AllowSelfServicePurchase

List just PowerBI Pro status:

Get-MSCommerceProductPolicy -PolicyId AllowSelfServicePurchase -ProductId CFQ7TTC0L3PB

Run the following command to disable ALL Self-service purchase policy IDs in one command:

Get-MSCommerceProductPolicies -PolicyId AllowSelfServicePurchase | ForEach { Update-MSCommerceProductPolicy -PolicyId $_.PolicyId -ProductId $_.ProductId -Enabled $false }

It will certainly be interesting to see how this grows over the next 3-6 months and beyond, as things are moving at a rapid pace in this Power Platform space. As always, happy reading and learning, and I hope that this helps expand the mind as well as skill you up on some Office365 PowerShell techniques!

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