There is no denying that the workplace is moving towards a multi-device world.  The majority of information workers (IWs) now have an average of 3 – 4 devices per user.  This can include a PC, notebook, tablet, and phone.  The problem is that Office Professional is licensed per device.  This means that organizations planning to deploy Office Professional have to purchase additional copies of Office to run on these different devices.  For most organizations, this is prohibitively expensive. 


This is one of the reasons why Office 365 Pro Plus is such an attractive options for most organizations.  Adopting Office 365 Pro Plus means that you can allow BYOD within your organization and still keep your users productive on their own devices by providing a familiar Office experience.  This is a great value for IWs across a range of industries.


But not all of your employees are IWs.  Some organizations have the majority of their workfoce in roles where every device is shared by multiple users.  This is very common in industries such as call centers, mining, retail, and logistics.  These positions are often characterized by shift work where a device is passed from user to user when shifts end.  These shared devices generally belong to the organization, not the individual.  But some of these devices stilll require a copy of Office to read and edit documents and emails.  Sometimes Office runs locally on the machine.  In some instances, Office runs on an Remote Desktop Server (RDS) and presents to the user on the shared device. 


Office 365 Pro Plus does not currenly run properly on shared devices.  The reason is because activation is tied to the user’s account.  When multiple users attempt to access the same copy of Office 365 Pro Plus, activation will fail.  This made it impossible to use Office 365 Pro Plus in RDS and other shared environments.  It created challenges for many organizations because it required that they run a different version of Office depending on whether the device is dedicated to a single user or shared by multiple users.


The good news is that Microsoft has heard the feedback and has announced a solution.  Shared Computer Activation is a new feature that is due to release in H2 CY2014.  Shared Computer Activation will allow organizations to run Office 365 Pro Plus on RDS for Windows Server 2008 R2 and above.  It will also permit Office 365 Pro Plus to run on shared computers with multiple user profiles. 


Shared Computer Activation separates the installation of Office 365 Pro Plus from the activation process.  Using the Office Deployment Tool, Office 365 Pro Plus can be installed in Shared Computer Mode.  Running as a Shared Computer means that Office 365 Pro Plus activation lasts for the duration of a logon session.  When a user logs onto the machine or into an RDS session, activation will be based on the logged on user’s Office 365 Pro Plus license.  Activation will succeed only if the user is properly licensed to run Office 365 Pro Plus.  When a new user signs onto the same device, activation happens again using the new user’s credentials.  Running Office 365 Pro Plus on a Shared Computer does not count against a user’s 5 license limit.  This means that IWs can use shared computers without having to sacrifice one of their personal devices.


If you are looking for assistance running Office 365 Pro Plus in environments with shared devices, please contact Kloud Solutions at the following URL:

Communication and Collaboration, Office 365

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