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Microsoft delays ‘ridiculous’ self-service software procurement plan

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Microsoft has put the brakes on a plan that would have given end-users unlimited ability to buy software without having to first seek authorisation from administrators.

The plan was developed for the Microsoft Power Platform, which comprises Power BI, PowerApps and Flow subscriptions.

As Microsoft stated in this FAQ, the plan to allow end-user self-service was suggested as a way to make shadow IT purchases less likely, or at least less risky.

Microsoft thought those outcomes were on offer because its plan allowed end-users to start a new subscription only when they provided Active Directory credentials.

“In today’s world, end users and departments are increasingly seeking out and buying technology solutions on their own,” the FAQ states.” We’ve received numerous requests from these customers to enable self-service purchase of Power Platform products.”

Microsoft’s plan is therefore that end-users with AD credentials can log on, pay using a credit card and get to work.

Microsoft promised it would be possible for administrators to “… assign existing licenses or purchase additional subscriptions of Power Platform products 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.”

But a GitHub thread reported by The Register found many faults in the idea.

“Please rescind this immediately, businesses have strict procurement processes in place for a reason,” wrote one commenter. Others wondered about data security and governance under self-service purchasing.

“Totally agree – this is ridiculous,” wrote another. “There is absolutely no reason end-users should have the ability to increase organizational spend at their whim. YOU’D BETTER offer a switch for organizations to turn this off.”

And Microsoft has.

Last Friday the company updated the FAQ to state “On November 19th, we will provide IT admins a way to turn off self-service purchasing on a per product basis via PowerShell. More details will be forthcoming.”

Implementing that seems to have complicated the rollout of self-service licences, as the FAQ now states “To provide more time to prepare for this change, we are updating the launch for self-service purchase capabilities for Power Platform products to start with Power BI on January 14th for all commercial cloud customers.”

That launch will be in the USA only, but Microsoft’s promised “additional markets becoming available in the coming months.”

Best figure out that PowerShell stuff soon then, dear readers, before you need to explain bulging Power Platform bills to your customers.