Microsoft have performed a major U-turn on a policy viewed as completely insane by the IT community. They planned to release a self-service purchase scheme by the 19th November 2019 which would allow businesses to purchase certain Office 365 products without consulting their IT department(s).
This, as you would guess, has caused a stir in the IT community. Many have argued that it would cause issues with company budgets if they are unsure what has been purchased and could breach company policies or cause them to change resulting in confusion all round.
Microsoft have listened to this feedback….sort of. The launch has since delayed until the 14th January 2020 and they have issued an update to say that the IT admins can turn off this self-service purchasing capability. They have missed a key detail in the update, however. How to actually do this. Pretty important information if you ask me. Microsoft still claim that this scheme will offer “a greater sense of independence for employees”.
Microsoft are still releasing this update on the 14th January in the US. The update for IT admins to restrict this will sort of remove the whole point of the self-service, but it has been added due to the huge backlash from the IT community. Microsoft had really backed themselves into a corner with this. Either way someone was not going to be happy with the outcome and they have attempted to do their best to please everyone, but the only way to measure the success of this service will be to see what happens when it is released. Only time will tell.
One must question who this policy is designed for and what is the rationale. As a Managed Service Provider, we encourage open markets and competition; as well as appreciating why certain IT services are available to the “Channel” only, therefore only supplied by vendors like ourselves. Microsoft needs us to support their offerings but must be careful not to alienate us in the delivery of those products or services.