Microsoft 365 Licensing Auto-Claim Policy

There are various methods for managing Microsoft/Office 365 licensing for our users. We can manually assign licenses as we always could, but now we can also use the fantastic Group-based licensing feature to add some standardisation to our licensing deployments and we also have certain licenses available under self-service purchase. A new addition to the list of options is the Auto-Claim policy. Essentially this policy will allow our users to draw down licensing we make available the first time they log in to an application (currently only Teams is supported).

This works by creating a policy that we deploy to users to make them eligible to draw down the license (and license options) that we specify.

To enable this feature, navigate to “Billing” -> “Licenses” and we will see the “Auto-claim policy” option available. Open this page and we get the option to turn on the setting.

With this enabled, we next need to create our policy. Click on “Add a policy” and give it a name then click “Next”.

Next, we choose which app sign in triggers the policy and which product(s) we make available. Currently, the only supported app is Microsoft Teams so we don’t have much choice there. One the products we can specify a backup product to be used in case we run out of licenses for our first selection.

Next, we can specify the apps that we want to make available when a user claims this product, we can tailor the apps made available to users to avoid deploying an app we have not prepared for. As with any licensing method, it’s worth giving thought into which apps we want to make available and which we still need to prepare. We can configure options for both the primary and backup products we selected previously.

Finally, we review the settings we configured and click “Create Policy” to finish.

With our policy created, we instruct our users to sign in to https://teams.microsoft.com at first login. When they log in for the first time, they weill have no license so will see no apps available.

After a few minutes, the license will be assigned to the user as per the auto-claim policy and they will get access to the apps we have made available.

We can see in the Admin portal that the user was assigned the license we specified.

Finally, back on the Auto-Claim Policy page, we can click “View Report” to see a history of who claimed licenses and when.

Summary

I like the idea of Auto-Claim policies and I can see then being useful in very specific scenarios, but I don’t see this being the primary method of licensing or a replacement for Group-based licensing. Some use cases I can think of are in Educational institutions where students can optionally avail of licensing and potentially to make apps such as Microsoft Project / Visio available however I think there are gaps here.

Hopefully we get to trigger these policies with more than just Microsoft Teams in the future and also scope the policies to specific user groups. As a whole though, I think it’s a good addition but very situational and I don’t see it being adopted by large organizations.

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