WARNING: Subscription Sprawl Now Possible with Microsoft 365 User Self-Service Purchases

We are not exactly sure about the motivation behind Microsoft allowing company users to purchase their own Microsoft 365 subscriptions to do their work on company time.

It’s called: Self-Service Purchases

As an administrator of client companies large and small this step by Microsoft is mind boggling.

We’ve put in a significant amount of time managing data and resource sprawl down to a reasonable position where management knows where their user’s time and energy are being spent.

To quote the above linked site:

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.

Note that the emphasis is ours.

How is going around management’s oversite “respecting organizations’ data and compliance“?

Some questions that immediately come to mind:

  1. Who is ultimately responsible for paying for the user’s subscription services?
  2. How does management reconcile duplication of subscription services?
  3. Why should the company pay for said duplication?
  4. What right does Microsoft have to circumvent business management processes and structures?

As far as we’re concerned, the way to put a full stop to this is really easy:

New Company Policy: User’s purchasing subscription services to work with/on company services and/or data is grounds for dismissal.

Or, the company outright refuses to pay for any subscription services purchased outside of the company’s own Microsoft/Office 365 subscriptions. This option, however, would only encourage the behaviour to continue.

We believe companies should push-back against this Microsoft policy and push back hard.

Microsoft, there are better ways to grow the cloud business. This is definitely not one of them.

UPDATE 2019-11-01: Microsoft Relents

It seems that there must have been a lot of blowback because Microsoft has relented: Self-service purchase FAQ

We are most certainly glad Microsoft pulled back. 🙂

Philip Elder
Microsoft High Availability MVP
MPECS Inc.
www.s2d.rocks !
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