An approach to enabling Office 365 features and functionality using group membership

For large enterprises with a mature approach to IT services, the idea of managing access to features and functionality in Office 365 via a web portal is a step backwards. Service desk teams may be given specific instructions and limited access in order to carry out just the tasks that they need to. Arguably that’s not “may be given” but “should only be given”…

One of my customers uses Active Directory groups to assign access to software – for example Project, or Visio – applications that are not universally available. We were talking about doing something similar for Office 365 features and functionality – i.e. adding a user to an Active Directory group to enable an element of their Office 365 subscription (the users are synchronised from the on premises AD to Azure AD).

I suggested writing a PowerShell script to run as a scheduled task, querying the membership of a particular group, and then making the changes in Office 365 to enable particular features. We could use it, for example, to enable a feature like OneDrive for Business to just a sub-set of users; or to assign Project Online or Visio Online licenses.

Well, it turns out I’m no innovator here and it’s already being done elsewhere – Office 365 MVP Johan Dahlbom has published his script at the 365 lab.  I haven’t run the script yet… but it certainly proves the concept and gives us a starting point…

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