Microsoft is now making licenses easier

Posted on 21 April 2017

Controlling who can get a license for Office 365 and Azure AD, as well as which services are enabled, has in the past been a difficult and sometimes complex task. Indeed, some organisations have had to postpone the implementation of a new service until they have found a solution to this problem.

The good news is that Microsoft is now making things easier with the introduction of Group-based license management. Currently in public preview, this new feature in Azure AD allows you to define a license template and then assign it to a security group in Azure AD. Then licenses will be automatically assigned and removed to users as they join and leave the group.

The preview also includes the capability to selectively disable service components in product licenses. This more easily enables the staged deployment of large service suites like Office 365 Enterprise E5.

Group-based license management – what’s included?

Having worked on many Azure AD implementations we are pleased to see that Microsoft have at last introduced this feature that will make user’s lives much easier! This feature is currently only available in the Azure portal and all Microsoft Online Services that require user-level licensing are supported. It enables:

  • Licenses to be added or removed within minutes of a user joining or leaving the group.
  • Licenses to be assigned using any “security group” in Azure AD, whether synced from on-premises or created directly in Azure AD.
  • The administrator to disable one or more service components when assigning a license to a group.
  • Staged deployments of rich products like Office 365 Enterprise E5 at scale.

Use the Azure Portal to sign-up

To sign-up for this new service, visit the Azure portal. Currently, while group-based license management is in public preview you will need an active subscription for Azure AD Basic (or above) in your tenant to assign licenses to groups.

If you don’t have one, just sign up for an Enterprise Mobility + Security trial. Later, when this functionality becomes generally available it will be included in Office 365 Enterprise E3 and similar products.

As with all previews there are some limits to what is currently supported. You can find details about those limitations in the Microsoft documentation, which will be updated consistently as things change.

If you have any questions about Azure AD or license enablement, get in touch. One of experienced consultants will be happy to help!

A few people we've already done it for