In a move that could be seen as a way to anger asset managers across the world, Microsoft have decided to allow individual users to purchase licenses for Power BI, PowerApps, and Flow via self-service – that is, without any level of central admin oversight.
This move can easily lead to license non-compliance, software over-spend, and a weakening of data security and GDPR compliance. Microsoft say it is “based on customer demand” but I’m sure that pretty much everyone except the users will be against this as an idea. No IT admin, asset manager, procurement manager, or budget controller has ever wished it was easier for users to buy licenses off their own back!
As it stands, there is no way to turn this “feature” off although I feel this might be another one of the increasingly frequent scenarios where Microsoft “listen to feedback” and make some changes. It’s clearly an attempt to reduce the friction at the point of adoption for Microsoft’s Power Platform versus competitor products (such as those from Salesforce) and while the final users may welcome this change, it will only serve to stoke ill will with many in the corporate world I’m sure.
The licensing for Power BI, Flow, and PowerApps has a number of potential pitfalls and allowing decentralised purchasing by people where licensing isn’t a concern is a recipe for disaster. Equally, there will be plenty of cases where users don’t realise that they’re already licensed for some/all of these components, leading to companies paying for more licenses than required. Concerns around data also seem fair – this move will make it more likely that company data is stored in places that can’t be seen by the company overall.