UPDATE 2: I’ ve had a few queries about this blog post from non-US customers and so I wanted to clarify the following which was included in the original Device Based Activation instructions:
Q: Where is Device Based Activation available?
A: Device Based Activation is currently available only to Microsoft US Education customers that license all of their faculty/staff for Office.
To that point – Device Based Activation is not officially supported outside the US at this time. Whilst I know of a number of schools that have successfully implemented it, please note that this will not be officially supported if you have any issues.
UPDATE: a reader of this blog pointed out the following step by step guide to using Device Based Activation that I would encourage you to read as well in conjunction with the Microsoft guide below. The above link also contains additional details for SCCM and GPO if that is relevant for your environment too.
I wrote a recent blog post with the best practice guide to how to deploy Office365 ProPlus in various scenarios. Some of the feedback on that post was how would this work in a shared device environment such as a school computer lap or shared laptops in a COW (Computers on Wheels).
The guide does have a link specifically referencing shared environments, however a number of schools did raise the downside that a student would still need to activate the Office365 ProPlus installation from time to time when they say this prompt on the right.
After asking around internally I have now been shared an alternative method of installation for Office365 ProPlus licensing that was build specifically with schools in mind and you can read the entire guide, along with step by step video tutorials by clicking the following link:
What I see from this resource is there are a few main benefits for schools taking this approach:
- The student never sees the Office activation prompt because the device has activated Office365 ProPlus and not the individual user
- There is an included tool to automatically un-install the MSI Office2016 version that may have been installed with Volume Licensing
- This Device Based Activation method can be automated using MS SCCM or Group Policy.
From an education perspective, this will help keep school/staff devices running the same version of Office365 as the students who typically download their own copy from a network share or the Office Portal. Given that updates and new features come to the subscription based ProPlus version much faster it is worth having a consistent user experience across all devices / users in your school.
This is a useful link outlining the differences between Office365 and Office 2016 and I’ve highlighted the key differences here in terms of updates/functionality:
It’s time to recognise that there is a wide range of options when it comes to deploying Office365 in education. To maximize the value of the subscription based approach, along with the regular updates and new features, using something like Device Based Activation, or one of the other methods from the best practice guide, will ensure that you’re always using the latest and greatest of Office.