Microsoft self-service purchase: What you need to know

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A new self-service capability is coming to the Microsoft 365 (M365) admin center.

Starting Jan. 14, 2020, end users will be able to purchase Power BI without having to go through a centralized procurement process. Microsoft will add this capability for PowerApps and Microsoft Flow at a later date.

This is a major announcement, and you likely have questions. We’re here to answer the big ones.

Who does this announcement affect?

This offering is available to all U.S. commercial cloud customers with Azure Active Directory (AD).

At this time, tenants designated as government cloud, non-profit, and education will not have this capability. Guest users cannot complete a self-service purchase either.

How does it work?

If you’re a user with an active Azure AD identity, you can purchase available subscriptions online at the Microsoft Power BI, PowerApps, and Flow websites.

Before making a purchase, you’re required to enter your e-mail address to validate that you’re in an existing active Azure AD tenant.

Once verified, you log in using your Azure AD credentials, and purchase the applicable subscriptions by paying Microsoft directly with a credit card. You’ll be able to use the subscription once the purchase is complete.

Self-servicing purchasers will have access to a limited view of their M365 admin center. There they can assign licenses to other users in their Azure AD tenant.

IT admins who are delegated as IT Administrators will also be able to view end user subscriptions in their M365 admin center. However, they will not be able to assign licenses.

Can you turn off the self-service purchasing?


IT admins can turn off self-service purchasing (on a per product basis) using PowerShell. Microsoft offers instructions on how to do so here.

What should I be doing now to prepare?

Allowing self-service within an organization speeds up the purchasing process and improves user productivity, but can lead to decentralized IT purchases and processes. Therefore, be sure to develop internal company guidelines and documentation to ensure employees are familiar with the acceptable use policies within your organization.

You also need to consider the potential for duplicate licenses. If you already have acquired licenses covered for any of these products, you will need to request the end user cancel the subscription.

Remember, end users are billed separately and are responsible for payments and cancellations. Along those same lines, self-serve purchases are expected only to be covered by standard support and pricing. They will not be subject to your Premier or Unified Support, or other negotiated terms.

Next steps

This announcement is not small. It marks a key philosophical shift in the way Microsoft lets end users purchase online services. There will likely be more announcements and updates as the release approaches, so stay up to date as information becomes available.

If you have any additional questions about Microsoft’s new self-service purchasing capability, contact your SHI account executive.