October 11, 2017

In a cloud-based workplace powered by Microsoft 365, organizations can enable their employees to be creative and work together securely, by leveraging innovative, always up-to-date services that continuously evolve to meet the needs of the modern workforce.

To support the modern way of managing cloud-based services, we believe that IT administration tools need to be personalized and actionable while providing deep enterprise capabilities. IT is at the center of the digital transformation and needs tools that enables administrators to manage all aspects of the service across the entire IT lifecycle, from deployment to day-to-day management tasks and monitoring.

Today, we’re introducing a wealth of new capabilities to enable you to manage Office 365 more effectively.


Personalized management solutions built for you

Focused admin experienceThe admin center provides you with rich management capabilities. But not all admins need all functionality on a regular basis. To assure that you can more easily find and access the functionality most important to you – such as user management, group management, or billing information – we’e streamlining the admin center homepage and navigation menu.

All functionality will of course still be available for you and you’ll be able modify both the navigation menu and the homepage – making it a truly personalized experience.


Assisted guides – When an employee leaves the company, blocking access to Office 365 for that user is an obvious first action for IT admins. But what about their email? How can you transfer their files to somebody else? And are there other actions you should take?

A new assisted guide will help you to easily offboard an employee from Office 365 using Microsoft best practices. The guide will take you through the process step-by-step, helping with key tasks such as transferring data to somebody else or providing another person access to the mailbox.

The offboarding guide will become availale later this year. We’re currenlty evaluating scenarios for additional guides.

Admin_1.jpgSuccesfully offboard an employee with the assisted offboarding guide


Recommendations – In Office 365, often small admin actions can help make the service more secure or efficient. To help you with that, we’ll start showing personalized recommendations to you in the Office 365 admin center. For example, you might see a prompt to update your password settings if we detect that you haven’t set a password expiration rule yet.

Leveraging telemetry data, all recommendations will be tenant specific and easy to implement – often one click is all you’ll need to apply the recommendation. Recommendations will become available at the end of the year.


Admin_2.pngRecommendations based on telemetry data


Prioritize management tasks with more actionable information

Usage reporting improvements – By driving usage of the services, IT can transform how their organization communicates, collaborates and creatively solves problems, enabling a truly modern workplace. We’re introducing new usage reporting capabilities that help organizations drive end user adoption.

  • Track usage of Microsoft Teams – Microsoft Teams is a hub for teamwork and has become a crucial tool for millions of people. We’re adding two new usage reports to the admin center so you can understand how people in your organization are leveraging this powerful tool. Both reports will roll out to customers mid-October.
  • Easily delegate access to usage insights – In many organizations, the task to drive usage and adoption of Office 365 is shared by the IT department and non-IT staff such as business managers who do not have access to the admin center. With this need in mind, we’re introducing a new reports reader role that you can assign to anyone in the organization and that will roll out to customers this week.
  • Office 365 Usage Analytics reaches GA in 2018 – Office 365 Usage Analytics – currently available as preview as Office 365 Adoption Content Pack in PowerBI – combines the intelligence of the usage reports with the interactive analysis capabilities of Power BI, providing a wealth of usage and adoption insights. At the beginning of 2018, Usage Analytics will reach general availability with an updated version that will include new metrics on teamwork and collaboration, as well as usage data for Microsoft Teams, Yammer Groups and Office 365 Groups, and more.

Admin_3.pngVisualize and analyze usage with Office 365 Usage Analytics in PowerBI


  • Microsoft Graph reporting APIs reach GA – The Microsoft Graph reporting APIs enable customers to access the data provided in the Office 365 usage reports. To assure that you can monitor your IT services in one unified place, the APIs complement the existing usage reports by allowing organizations to incorporate the Office 365 activity data into their existing reporting solutions. Next week, the reporting APIs will reach general availability.
  • Read the blog post “What’s new in Office 365 usage reporting – Ignite edition” for all details.

Message center updates – Many of you have shared that you want to have better visibility into when features are rolling out. This is important for you to be able to prepare for a successful rollout – to train your help desk and users or possibly plan an adoption campaign. With that in mind, we’re improving the Office 365 message center that provides you with information about new features coming to your organization:

  • Better understand changes to your environment – We’re introducing the concept of major updates to the message center. A major update is a major change to the service such as a new service or feature or a change that requires an admin action. For any major update, you will receive a notification – both in the message center and via email – when it is being announced, when it starts rolling out to First Release, as well as when it becomes available broadly. Any major update will stay in First Release for a defined period, ensuring you have enough time to plan.
  • Weekly digest reaches GA – The weekly digest is an email summary of your message center notifications that makes it easier for you to stay up to date and to share notifications with your co-workers. The weekly digest has reached GA and has started to roll out to all customers as of this week. 

Service Health Notifications via email – To enable you to directly find out about issues that may be impacting your service, you can now sign up for service health notifications via email, enabling you to easily monitor the service and track issues. To sign up for the preview, please send an email with your tenant ID to shdpreviewsignup@service.microsoft.com by October 13th. 


New admin and end user training – In a modern workplace where features and functionality continue to evolve, training is critical to enable people – admins as well as users -to get the most out of the service. To make it easy for you to learn about all aspects of Office 365, we’re improving our training offers:

  • The new admin and IT Pro training courses – brought to you by LinkedIn Learning – gives you access to premium online training on critical skills you need to learn to manage Office 365.
  • Microsoft Tech Academy is a new platform that gives you access to free, multimedia training and combines various readiness and learning platforms for IT Professionals into a single place. You can leverage curated to kick start learning for a specific topic such as Microsoft 365 or Security Advanced.
  • We have updated the Office Training Center with new video training, quick start guides and templates. It now provides you with over 130 training resources that enable you to get your users up and running quickly with Office 365.


Advanced enterprise capabilities

Introducing Scoped Admin Roles (preview) – In many organizations, IT management is split among various members of the IT department. For example, a large university is often made up of many autonomous schools (business school, engineering school, etc.). Such divisions often have their own IT administrators who control access, manage users, and set policies specifically for their division. Central administrators want to be able grant these divisional administrators permissions over the users in their particular divisions.

To provide more flexibility in admin permission delegation, we’re adding support for “Azure Active Directory Administrative Units” (preview) to the Office 365 admin center.

Administrative Units – currently in preview – enable global admins to define a group of users (departments, regions, etc.) and then delegate and restrict administrative permissions for this group by a scoped-admin to the group. When the scoped administrator signs into the Office 365 admin center, they will see a drop down in the right corner showing them the scope they are assigned to.

Scoped Admin roles will become available in the coming weeks and will only apply to user management in the main admin center. Thus, when the admin navigates to any user management related page of the admin center – such as the active users page, guest users page and deleted users page – the admin will only see the users that are part of the specific administrative unit and thus are assigned to him.

On all other pages i.e. billing or the service health dashboard, they will see and be able to modify information and settings for users in the entire tenant.

Admin_4.pngDelegate admin permissions with administrative units


New SharePoint admin center – In the last few months, SharePoint has introduced many new features and functionality that focus on making the SharePoint user experiences simpler, more intuitive, and more powerful. We believe the administration experience should be just as simple, just as intuitive, and just as powerful as the SharePoint end user experience. Thus, we’re introducing a revamped SharePoint Admin center that enables admins to more effectively manage all aspects of SharePoint.
The redesigned “Home” surfaces important information helping you quickly find key data including service health and usage statistics.

A new site management page gives you a one stop shop for viewing and managing some of the most important aspects of SharePoint Online sites.

Admin_5.jpgManage SharePoint more effectively with the new SharePoint admin center


To get early access to the preview version of the new SharePoint admin center, please register at https://aka.ms/joinAdminPreview. The new experience will roll out to all customers at the beginning of 2018. Learn more


New Microsoft Teams and Skype admin center – Microsoft Teams will evolve as the primary client for intelligent communications in Office 365, replacing the current Skype for Business client over time. To enable you to better manage the various aspects of Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business, we’re happy to announce a new Microsoft Teams & Skype admin center that will become available at the end of this year.

The new admin center for Microsoft Teams and Skype brings together all the separate tools that we have today and consolidates them into a single coherent admin experience. This will provide you with a one stop location to manage all aspects of both Teams and Skype for business.

The home page will surface important information such as call volume or call quality to you in cards. The experience will be customizable so you can remove or rearrange cards to have the ones most important to you directly at your fingertips.


Admin_6.pngManage Microsoft Teams and Skype in a single admin experience


Introducing Multi-Geo capabilities to Office 365 –  Many enterprise organizations have compliance needs that require them to store data locally. To meet those needs, organizations often stand up on-premises servers in the various locations to store data for their employees in a compliant way. This approach is costly and creates silos across the organization, placing hurdles in the way of employee collaboration, thus hindering innovation and productivity.

To help you meet data residency needs, we’re introducing Multi-Geo Capabilities in Office 365, a new feature that enables a single Office 365 tenant to span across multiple Office 365 datacenter geographies (geos) and store Office 365 data at rest, on a per-user basis, in customer chosen geos. Multi-Geo enables your organization to meet its local or corporate data residency requirements, and enables modern communication and collaboration experiences for globally dispersed employees.

Multi-Geo is currently in preview for OneDrive and Exchange, with the SharePoint preview coming at the end of this year. Read the full announcement.



Let us know what you think!

Try the new features and provide feedback using the feedback link in the lower right corner in the admin center. We’d also love to hear your feedback on the new concept that we’re working on! Please leaves us a comment on this blog post to let us know what you think. We read every piece of feedback that we receive to make sure the Office 365 administration experience meets your needs.


Anne Michels, @Anne_Michels, senior product marketing manager for the Office 365 Marketing team

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