AAD Licensing for Groups and Teams Features Burdens Office 365 Tenants


Microsoft clarified what AAD features need premium licenses at Ignite. Tenants need many of those features to control Office 365 Groups and Teams, and some of the listed features are surprising. Did you know that the group creation policy is a premium feature? Or adding a default classification. The chosen set of features seems odd, but at least Microsoft is now clear about what you must license.

4 Replies

Great topic and a nice write-up. 


I'm glad for the clarity but I'd like to think sooner or later, Microsoft will shuffle some of these around and fold some of them into Office 365 as a core feature.  While Azure AD Premium is a cracking set of features, it will be out of reach for lots of folks.

And of course, the marketing guys dont ever mention this :)


In all fairness, AAD Premium adds a lot of features and is contantly expanding in scope, so you get enough bang for your buck. However, there's another side of the coin here - with AAD Premium becoming vital, isnt it easier to simply bundle it together with the "premium" O365 SKUs? Considering they just introduced another bunch on "add-on" licenses, I'd wager no :)

It is very dissapointing to see some free features of Office 365 Groups have moved to AAD Premium tier. I understood dynamic group memership etc can be a 'premium' feature, however, some basic stuff like Usage Guidelines / Data Classification shouldn't me. 


As to add further complexity to this decision's ramifications; I have numerous client's with 5000+ seats in their tenant that are not interested in paying $6/user/mo for AAD premium license. What are they supposed to do now? Roll back their huge Groups push and create distribution lists, regular SharePoint sites? To remind; This was Microsoft's push for better collaboration to begin with! 


Not only this is a huge issue for existing large tenants that is or has rolled out Groups, it is also a huge barrier for adoption of Groups in the future. This must change. 

I think most of us are in agreement that we'd like to see some of this functionality rolled into Office 365 natively.  It would enhance and accelerate the adoption of Office 365 Groups and more besides. That though doesn't change the fact there is product differentiation at the moment and all we can do is make sure customers and clients are aware of these circumstances.


Ultimately folks have to work out if it's worth spending extra for the add-on or go the EMS/Microsoft 365 Enterprise route, or just go without and work within the native capabilities.  Not ideal by any means but those are the breaks!