Microsoft has come under fire for opening up part of its Office 365 to all enterprise end-users, effectively overriding their procurement procedures.
From November 19, all end-users within an organisation will be able to bypass Office 365 admins and buy their own licences for Microsoft Power Platform subscriptions.
The Power Platform, which includes Power BI, PowerApps and Flow, will initially be available to most commercial cloud customers in the United States with other markets due to be revealed “in due course”.
According to Microsoft, the move is designed to empower individual end-users to “develop their own solutions to unlock productivity and drive business impact”.
"As a result of digital transformation, traditional roles are changing," the company said. "As employees become more independent and better versed in technology, we've seen increased demand from both users and organisations to enable users to buy subscriptions on their own.”
However, the decision has already provoked a deluge of criticism, including from the International Association of IT Asset Managers (IAITAM), which called the move a “road to chaos”.
“By basically bypassing all controls on licencing and purchases within companies, it will be incredibly difficult to know what has been purchased, who has purchased it, when it needs to be renewed, what needs to be ‘patched’ and which software is no longer being protected against hackers,” Barbara Rembiesa, CEO of the industry body, said.
“The result will be a rat’s nest of confusion, bad records and huge fines.” She also said the move would create “monumental waste” if other software makers follow suit.
Meanwhile, users commenting on the vendor’s blog called for either the policy to be rescinded or to implement an “off switch”, citing concerns about corporate procurement policies and keeping tabs on costs.
The move will also override partners’ licence purchase privileges, although the software vendor noted partners who have administrative privileges can see self-service purchases in the Microsoft 365 admin centre.
“Partners can help support an organisation that wants to centralise products bought through self-service purchases,” the blog post read. “Additionally, partners may offer solutions to extend the capabilities of a self-service purchase.”
Microsoft also stated that neither the partners nor IT departments are expected to provide support for products bought through self-service purchase, with the vendor itself standing in.
To alleviate IT managers’ fears, Microsoft reiterated that IT administrators “maintain control over what services and products are enabled within their tenant based upon their data governance and compliance requirements”.
“Additionally, all data management and access policies, which your organisation has enabled, will continue to apply to self-service purchased enabled services,” it said.
If a licence holder exits a company, the vendor added that subscription remains active until the purchaser directly cancels, otherwise or an admin request that the subscription be cancelled through customer support.