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Questions about Office/Acrobat product key management for businesses

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#1 AWR


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Posted 14 October 2016 - 10:12 AM

Hello all,


I work in a company of about 300 employees. We have about 28 branch offices scattered across various parts of the US. Our corporate office has about 20 employees and the rest are spread out across these other branches. We order all of our computers and laptops from Dell and have them shipped to the corporate office, then we set them up for each employee before we deliver it to their branch office. My supervisor and I are in charge of setting up these computers before the user starts to use them.


We always order the Microsoft Office Suite and Adobe Acrobat Standard to come with these computers. In the past, when Microsoft Office only required you to type in a product key and not have a Microsoft account to associate the key with, that was fine. Adobe Acrobat was the same way; just type in the key and there was no need for an AdobeID. Now we have to deal with having accounts for each product key we have, which can be a big pain, as we all know.


Once Microsoft and Adobe first started requiring accounts to install/use their software, I set up a generic e-mail account (productlicensing@mycompany.com) as a Microsoft account and AdobeID account. When our new computers came in, I would just tie all Office/Acrobat license keys to that account. After all, once the software was set up, there was no need for the user who was getting that computer to use the Microsoft account or the AdobeID account. We were just using the account to get around the requirement of having an account to set up and use the software. This worked as a great solution for a while, but recently, my supervisor decided that he wanted me to start assigning all of the new product keys to the actual user instead of our generic account.


For example, if John Doe was getting a new computer, I would need to set up a Microsoft account/AdobeID under the jdoe@mycompany.com e-mail account. This is fine and dandy as it is, but consider the fact that just like any other business, we do have turnover and these computers sometimes last longer than the employees using them. So if John Doe gets his new computer, leaves the company in a year, then a new employee takes over his position and gets assigned John Doe's computer, what happens then? We don't keep e-mail accounts of terminated employees - once John Doe is terminated, his e-mail account will be deleted either immediately, or two weeks later, depending on what his supervisor wants to do. In this time, I would then have to log into John Doe's Microsoft account/AdobeID and change all the information around to the new person. I don't even know if this is possible. Here's the scenario and timeline I'm thinking about right now:


John Doe gets a new computer. I create him a Microsoft account and an AdobeID under the name of jdoe@mycompany.com.

1 year later, John Doe leaves the company. His previous supervisor has me delete his e-mail account the day after he leaves.

2 weeks later, John's previous supervisor tells me they will be hiring Tom Smith and he will start next week.

I go to John Doe's old Microsoft/AdobeID accounts (jdoe@mycompany.com) and change all the information over to Tom Smith.


Now, here are my concerns: can I even change the e-mail associated with those two accounts? Will Microsoft/Adobe let me just waltz right into John Doe's account and change all of his info, then tie the account to tsmith@mycompany.com? Even if it does let me do all of this, will the login name change to tsmith@mycompany.com, or will the login still be the old jdoe@mycompany.com, but it will have all of Tom's information once logged in?


I guess I'm just trying to understand if this is a viable option, or if there is something easier/better for us to do. Personally, I liked tying all of our product keys to the generic account (productlicensing@mycompany.com), but my supervisor doesn't want to do that anymore and wants us to tie them to the actual employee instead. What would be the best practice here?


As a side note, our company will eventually be upgrading to Microsoft Office 365, but for the time being, we're still just using Office 2016, 2013, etc. The upgrade/migration (whatever you'd like to call it) will probably take place sometime next year. Because we will be going to that whole new system, perhaps the best practice for the situation listed above will not apply to this situation? I understand that Office 365 requires users to have their own personal accounts and can't have everything tied to a generic account, but until we get to that stage, I don't know what the best practice would be.


Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for any replies!

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#2 AWR

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 03:11 PM

Since I can't seem to edit the original post, I wanted to clarify something:


When I'm talking about the Microsoft account, I'm talking about the one you make on Microsoft's website when you have to enter your Office product key and download the software to the computer. I am NOT talking about the Microsoft account that is associated with Windows 10. We use local accounts on Windows 10 computers and do not tie them in with a Microsoft account. The question I posted above is merely asking about the Microsoft account in terms of associating the product key for Office to an account. Same goes for the AdobeID. We will continue using local accounts on computers until Microsoft takes that ability away (which I hope they never do).


Sorry for any confusion!

#3 SleepyDude


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Posted 04 November 2016 - 04:20 AM



Can you provide more details about the Microsoft license you have?


From your description is not a license type that I know. I suppose you don't have a MAC key for Office to install a certain number of machines? Or do you have an Office 365 subscription? Can you provide a link to the page where you logon to download the software?


Examples in my work I have access to MVLSC https://www.microsoft.com/Licensing/servicecenter/default.aspx and to Office 365 https://portal.office.com

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#4 baines77


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Posted 12 December 2016 - 02:38 PM

You were doing it right the first time, keep it generic for just this reason.  MS will keep that key tied to that email/Live account, no matter what.  The generic way you were doing it is how we do it for our clients as well (we're an MSP) for just this reason.  Even if you keep that email active for a bit, at some point, it'll get deleted (why keep paying for an exchange box you don't need just to keep Office - unless you're running an in-house Exchange server, which isn't the best solution, imo, for a small/medium business, but I digress).  As far as 365 goes, you'd need the Business Premium license to get local copies of Office installed but you can swap those licenses around.  So if John Smith leaves the company, you simply remove his license and give it to his successor, set up an alias so John's email still gets to someone to monitor for a bit.  The licenses are tied at the domain level for 365, not cemented to a user account like it is with stand-alone copies.  

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