October 13, 2022

Banner image for Microsoft Ignite event happening October 12-14, 2022.Banner image for Microsoft Ignite event happening October 12-14, 2022.

Energized and empowered employees are the key to success in the current economic environment, which means embracing a people-first approach, enabling employees to stay connected and helping people learn and stay in the flow of work. The role of IT to drive success in their organizations has grown. The focus for IT is to continue improving end user experiences while maximizing investments in digital workplace tools. To address these needs, we are making continuous investments in Microsoft 365 admin center to help IT admins and other newly emerging roles in the IT department manage day-to-day admin tasks more efficiently, and better prepare for new innovations and service changes, while they help their users get the best experience with Microsoft 365.


Getting the most ROI is even more critical for small and medium-sized business (SMB) customers, and we are adding new capabilities to Microsoft 365 admin center to enable our partners to help them get most of their investments from Microsoft 365.


This year at Microsoft Ignite we are announcing new innovations and improvements for IT admins through the Microsoft 365 admin center aligned to the following areas.


Empowering more roles in the IT department to better address your organization’s growing needs


We’ve added new features to help support the expanding role of IT in driving adoption and consumption of digital tools across the organization, to help maximize ROI and ensure end users have the best possible experience.


Experience insights (currently in targeted release for enterprise organizations with 20,000 or more users) give IT admins, adoption specialists, and change champions an at-a-glance view of core user experience metrics. It’s specifically built as a one-stop shop to help you understand and improve your users’ experience with Microsoft 365 by aggregating relevant data signals across usage and sentiment and providing AI-powered training suggestions. Now, you can use Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys to see user sentiment and pain points that can help you enhance best practices and recommendations to drive stronger usage and positive user experiences. We’ve also added training suggestions customized to your organization, so your users can get the most out of Microsoft 365 features in the context of their daily work. Learn more about NPS in this article.


Adoption Score is a set of anonymized metrics and tools to help IT admins and adoption specialists improve the everyday experience of their workforce by understanding Microsoft 365 usage patterns—such as the response rate for emails with @mentions over a period of time—and help ensure you are getting the most out of your investment in Microsoft 365. Adoption Score is rolling out two new capabilities in Preview in November 2022: Group-Level Aggregates, which allows IT admins and adoption specialists to filter insights by Azure Active Directory (AD) attributes, including Company, Department, City, State and Country, and Organizational Messages, which enables IT admins to deliver clear, actionable messages in product and in a targeted way.


IT admins and change experts can all use this information—which includes tenant level data only to help ensure user privacy is protected—to drive awareness and adoption campaigns to help users get the most out of Microsoft 365 capabilities. This information also helps IT admins identify trends and proactively address adoption issues. Learn more about Adoption Score here.


Learn more in this on-demand Ignite session from James Bell and Amisha Bhatia:


As new products are added to address your organization’s needs, we are adding more admin features to manage these new services in the Microsoft 365 admin center. Today, we are announcing the addition of new capabilities to administer Microsoft Viva. The new Viva admin experience within the Microsoft 365 admin center will help centralize deployment and administration for IT professionals, giving them a left-to-right view of all Viva apps. It will also simplify deployment across the organization through management of licenses, indicate the status of configuration and role assignments.


Helping IT, from enterprise to small business, realize value from Microsoft 365


We continue to innovate in the Microsoft 365 admin center to help IT admins from very small businesses to the largest enterprises manage their environments. Based on your feedback over the last year, we’re adding new features to help you keep your Microsoft 365 environment healthy, make end users successful, and manage change effectively.


Get current to keep your organization productive and secure


Keeping your user’s Microsoft 365 apps and Windows devices up to date not only provides your organization with the latest features and bug fixes, but it also helps keep your organization secure. In June, we announced the preview of a new Software updates page in the Health section of the Microsoft 365 admin center to help you track updates for your Windows and Office clients. This page shows you whether any Windows devices and Microsoft 365 apps are behind on the latest updates. In September, we announced that we would be extending this experience to show customers in an Exchange hybrid configuration the update status of their on-premises Exchange servers. This new Exchange experience is currently in Private Preview.


Manage change effectively across the organization


A big benefit to adopting a cloud service like Microsoft 365 is continuous access to updates and improvements—but that can also be one of the biggest challenges. That’s why we are helping you simplify how you manage change across your organization. A new relevance score in Message center helps you identify the changes most relevant to your organization. This scoring is based on machine learning around service usage in your organization. We’re also improving predictability of when features will roll out, updating Message center posts to communicate a clearer path for how and when features will be rolled out to your tenant. Both Message center enhancements are expected early next calendar year. Learn more about new features in Message center here.


Handle health, monitoring, and support proactively


We’ve made several improvements to help you track the overall health of your Microsoft 365 environment. A new Health dashboard, introduced in July, brings together key info from various Microsoft 365 admin centers, including service health alerts, issues that require your action, software update status, and recommended actions for improving your organization’s health. This dashboard is optimized for smaller organizations where one person or a small team looks after all aspects of Microsoft 365. Learn more about the Microsoft 365 Health dashboard in this article.


Microsoft 365 monitoring (currently in Preview) offers powerful health monitoring capabilities for enterprise customers with more than 5,000 Microsoft 365 E3 or E5 licenses. This data helps you assess the performance of your Microsoft 365 tenant and understand how or if service incidents are affecting your end users. This data is collected and displayed in near real time (every 15 to 30 minutes) and provides links to let you drill down into how each Microsoft 365 workload is performing, to help you investigate the impact of service incidents. You can view up to four weeks of historical data to understand the health status and activity across each workload.


Improve IT efficiency with new features and integrations


To help you simplify administration, we’ve added fast, easy access to whatever you’re looking for with a new global search feature that works across admin centers to create a consistent and predictable search experience for IT admins. You can search for users, groups, and other Azure AD objects, organization-wide settings, specific admin center pages, or documentation. Learn more about search in the Microsoft 365 admin center here.


Giving admins excess permissions is a security risk and broadens the potential impact of administrative mistakes. To help you assign the right amount administrative privileges for each of the admins on your IT team, we’ve added support for Exchange scenarios in administrative units, which you can use to be more surgical in assigning which users each admins can manage. We’ve also created new admin roles like Exchange Recipient Administrator to give you more granular control for who can access what.


To give you access from anywhere and keep you productive on the go, we’ve also continued to invest in the Microsoft 365 admin mobile app. No matter where you’re working, you can use the app (available for iOS and Android devices) to access user administration, group management, license management, and support. You’ll also see notifications for service health, changes, and billing updates, and you can browse the Message center to learn about new features and other upcoming changes. Learn more about the Microsoft 365 admin mobile app in this article.


We know that many of you are managing more than just Microsoft 365, which is why we’ve launched Microsoft 365 support integration in the ServiceNow Store. This integration gives your support personnel instant access to Microsoft 365 insights created by Microsoft product teams and powered by machine learning, so they can assist end users. We’re also introducing the integration of Microsoft 365 recommended solutions with the ServiceNow Virtual Agent to further empower your end users with instant resolution to common issues, and to drive efficiency in your help desk. The integration gives support personnel access to Microsoft 365 support for each incident or task in ServiceNow. Precise targeted solutions are recommended based on the description, along with top web search results from the Microsoft knowledge base repository. Virtual Agent integration can also help in effectively guiding end users through step-by-step troubleshooting. Visit https://aka.ms/m365snowsupport to learn more and enroll in the Preview.


You can now easily migrate from Google Workspace. To simplify copying your content from Google Drive, Migration Manager, which currently sits within the SharePoint admin, will now be native to the Microsoft 365 admin center and introduce improvements like estimated time to migrate, bulk reporting, and migration filters. To offer a centralized experience, Gmail scenarios will also be a click away from the setup page. Learn more about Migration Manager here.


Check out this on-demand Ignite session with Maryam Khabazan and Sandhya Shahdeo:


Enabling Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) partners to become trusted advisors to SMB customers


Many of our partners are finding their time is stretched to the limits, as they struggle to secure and manage Microsoft 365 tenants for more and more SMBs who are undergoing digital transformation. That’s why we’ve added more tools to help partners simplify management and ensure their SMB customers are getting the most out of their Microsoft 365 investments.


Microsoft 365 Lighthouse is an admin portal that helps Managed Service Providers (MSP) secure and manage devices, data, and users at scale for SMB customers. Lighthouse helps MSPs standardize tenant configurations with baselines to proactively protect them against cyberthreats. Cybersecurity has never been a higher priority for SMBs, and Lighthouse is THE tool for MSPs to secure and manage their customers’ devices, data, and users at scale. More importantly, Lighthouse is built for partners who are Cloud Solution Providers (CSP) and is free. To learn more about Microsoft 365 Lighthouse and to get started, visit aka.ms/M365Lighthouse.


Granular delegated admin privileges (GDAP) is a security feature that enables partners to implement least-privileged access, improve data security, and enable time-bound access per customer. With GDAP, partners can take the first step in securely managing their customer tenants by setting up delegated access with least-privileged Azure AD roles.


For partners who move between client sites, the Microsoft 365 admin mobile app (available in the Google Play Store or Apple App Store) lets you receive notifications, add users, reset passwords, manage devices, create support requests, and more, all while you’re on the go. We’ve also added multi-tenant support, so partners helping to manage several Microsoft 365 customers can now switch between tenants to stay informed, manage users, groups, and devices, and track and respond to service requests.


For SMBs, we’ve also added a new embedded Microsoft 365 admin app in Microsoft Teams (available in the Microsoft Teams Store) which provides an easy-to-use, simplified view that gives admins the capabilities they need in one place, such as onboarding new users, managing Teams settings and privacy, and opening support cases. Admins can also access the app through the Teams mobile app. Learn more in this article.


We are adding more in-product guidance to support SMB customers to achieve their business goals. The program consists of three key phases: assist, empower, and grow. It starts by asking about the unique goals of your small business to achieve success. Then, it empowers you by offering AI and human-assisted support based on your specific needs. Finally, it helps you maximize the value you are getting out of Microsoft 365 as you grow your business. The program is currently live in some of our support experiences and will begin rolling out in the simplified admin center for certain markets starting this month, with the admin Marketplace and Office.com soon to follow.


Learn more in this on-demand Ignite session with Meg Garland and Nick Seidler:


Stay connected, watch Ignite session recordings, and join us for a post-Ignite Microsoft 365 admin center AMA on Tuesday, November 1st at 9:00 AM PT to ask questions about news from Ignite. Make sure to RSVP on the event link above!


Check out more Microsoft 365 announcements from Ignite:


Did you know? The Microsoft 365 Roadmap is where you can get the latest updates on productivity apps and intelligent cloud services. For news on the development and roll out of the features announced in this blog, check out the Microsoft 365 Roadmap website.

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