What’s new in Microsoft 365 admin management – Guide to Ignite 2021

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Whether you own a small business and you're not very technical, you run IT for a large university, or work in an IT organization for a large enterprise company, we’re excited for this year’s Microsoft Ignite to bring you new Microsoft 365 admin capabilities designed to help you spend less time on mundane and repetitive tasks and deliver the best and most secure productivity experience to your organization. 

 

Last year, the Microsoft 365 Admin Guide to Ignite  covered a range of content to help you learn how to better manage Microsoft 365. This year, at your request, we’re focusing on your top priorities: simplicity and security.  

 

Simplifying the Admin Experience to Help You Focus on More Strategic Priorities 

 

You may already be aware of some recent capabilities we’ve introduced to simplify your admin experience, including quick access to work tasks, new templates, global settings, comprehensive remote work tools, granular role-based access controls, simplified and unified collaboration management, and learning cards. Next week, we share more detail about new innovations like simplified view, delegated administration, and admin center experience in Microsoft Teams to help you focus on what’s most important.  

 

Security is a top concern for all organizations today, whether their employees are working remotely, in the office, or in a hybrid situation. We’ve prioritized security investments before, and we continue adding more capabilities: admins can centrally manage domains and security settings and a software updates page is coming soon. 

 

Check out the major highlights and news below that you can expect at this year's Ignite covering the latest innovations for Microsoft 365 admins:

 

 

Delegated Administration and Administrative Units Management 

 

Delegated administration allows you to set a scope for what objects an admin can administer. You can easily create scoped sets of users, or so-called administrative units, choose who can administrate those users, and grant the appropriate level of admin permissions. 

 

Delegated administration is important for so many industries; from a teacher that needs to manage a classroom, a manager that needs to manage her team, to the multi-national enterprise that needs to separate administrative control per region for regulatory purposes. Obviously, these are just a few examples, but one thing we heard loud and clear is that delegated administration is now a requirement for many of you. 

 

Putting a logical structure to your organization is nothing new as we've had Organization Units in the on-premises version of Active Directory. In the Microsoft 365 suite of services, these are called Administrative Units, and they are now generally available. 

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Simplified View 

 

The Microsoft 365 admin center offers value to any type or size of an organization, offering a feature-rich, immersive, and informative experience that provides the generalist and specialist administrators the tools they need to effectively manage the service. 

 

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We are delighted to offer an admin experience that is easy to use, even for non-technical admins in small businesses. Now these admins can quickly find their top tasks and core information they’re most likely to need more often without being distracted by features required for more complex configurations for enterprise environments. If you are tasked to manage Microsoft 365 for a small business or school, or your primary job is not as an organization administrator, we’ve built a simplified view of the Microsoft 365 admin center just for you.

 

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To access simplified view, go to admin.microsoft.com. If you don’t see the simplified view right away, click on Simplified view in the upper right corner. Easily toggle back to the Dashboard view, if needed. Watch: The admin center in simplified view. The feature is currently rolling out and will soon be generally available.

 

Software Updates Page 

 

In today’s world security is more important than ever and staying up to date with your software plays a key role in keeping a secure environment. Usually when we think about staying up to date, we think about having the latest features, but not everyone realizes that staying up to date and being on a supported version of the product also means that you have the latest security patches. Because of this, we want to equip admins with the information they need to keep their Microsoft 365 environment up to date, regardless of their technical depth or specialized tooling. Today, the Software updates page gives admins a high-level overview of the software update status for Microsoft 365 devices in their organization, starting with information about Office. With this need in mind, we’re building a new Software updates page: a status hub in the Microsoft 365 admin center.

 

In December 2021, admins will start seeing the Software updates page preview with Office information, and information about Windows updates will follow in the first half of 2022. And this is just the beginning. The team is continuing to add more actionability and data insights to the page, along with information for more products across the Microsoft 365 suite so admins can get a comprehensive view of updates for their entire Microsoft environment.

 

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Improvements to the Service Health Dashboard and Incident Communications 

 

Admins use the Service Health Dashboard to monitor the health of Microsoft services. When there are active high impact incidents, admins want to be informed with frequent and useful updates. We’ve developed a new user experience for the Service Health Dashboard aimed at making it quicker and easier to learn about the active issues across Microsoft 365 services. The new view will show the incidents and advisories displayed directly on the landing page of the Service Health Dashboard. This gives admins direct access to the information they are looking for. The Service Health Dashboard will continue to show the status of each service.

 

For high impact incidents, we will continue to provide the regular updates and in addition to those Microsoft will also provide shorter and more frequent updates mixed with the regular updates labeled as "Quick updates" in the details panel. The details panel itself also has a new user experience, as now all updates are visible on a single pane. No need to click to "See more" and be taken to a secondary panel; now you can just scroll down to see older updates. Read more about Microsoft 365 service health.

 

Admin Experience Within Microsoft Teams

 

We've heard from small and medium business owners, educators, and departmental administrators that there's a need for a simplified admin experience without having to switch to multiple admin centers. To meet you where you're spending most of your time collaborating, we're developing a single unified admin experience within Microsoft Teams as an app for your convenience. 

 

In our first version, we are bringing you a simplified view of the Microsoft 365 admin center. This experience is optimized for delegated and non-technical administrators. An admin can assign a license or reset a password directly within Microsoft Teams immediately upon receiving a request from a user without context switching. 

 

We are also working on bringing admins the most utilized and requested Teams settings from the Microsoft Teams Admin Center to this app in Microsoft Teams as well as within Microsoft 365 admin center. Admins can quickly discover how you can optimize and personalize Microsoft Teams for your organization utilizing controls available for meetings, messaging, webinars, productivity apps, files, and more. 

 

We have an exciting roadmap planned for the simplified admin experience within Microsoft Teams. Get started and install the Microsoft 365 admin app from the Microsoft Teams app store using the search bar. 

 

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New in the Microsoft 365 Admin App  

 

Staying informed and productive on-the-go is so important as our work and home lives continue to blend. The Microsoft 365 Admin app for mobile devices is a great tool to help you be productive wherever you are. We've added additional capabilities to help you get the most out of the mobile experience.  

 

Self-Help and Post-Ticket Creation Experience on Mobile 

 

We’ve enhanced the support experiences in the mobile app. Admins can use the self-help feature to quickly find answers to their queries. Apart from creating service requests on-the-go, admins can also use the mobile app to view support case conversations and add new information to case descriptions.  

 

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Revamped License Utilization

 

Admins can now seamlessly assign or remove end-user licenses using the mobile app. We’ve also enabled admins to view bills for tenants for the selected time duration.  

 

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Preview of Microsoft 365 Feedback and Product Feedback in the Microsoft 365 Admin Center 

 

As announced earlier today, the new Feedback portal for Microsoft 365, built on Dynamics 365 Customer Service Community, is now in preview for Microsoft Teams. Now users can submit feedback and participate in community discussions about Microsoft Teams, shortly followed by Microsoft 365 products and services.

 

Additionally, admins can view and manage feedback for their organization in the new Product Feedback node under Health in the Microsoft 365 admin center that was launched a few months ago. Here, admins can view all feedback and associated metadata that was collected from their users about Microsoft 365 products, including in-product feedback and surveys, slice and dice data by things like, product and platform, and even export data to analyze for organization-specific trends. Community feedback from the Feedback portal will be made available in the Microsoft 365 admin center in the future. Learn more about Microsoft feedback for your organization

 

Informed Network Routing 

 

In the next few weeks, the preview of Microsoft 365 informed network routing will be generally available. With this feature, IT admins can use the Microsoft 365 admin center to enable integration between Cisco’s IOS XE SD-WAN platform and Microsoft 365 workloads, like Exchange, Microsoft Teams, and SharePoint. This integration provides near real-time application quality of experience feedback, which provides high confidence of the benefits of alignment with Microsoft 365 network connectivity principles, and can also be used to influence SD-WAN path selection for enhanced detection and mitigation of network issues that impact the end user experience. 

 

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We hope you’re excited to learn more about these Microsoft 365 admin capabilities at this year’s Ignite! We look forward to engaging with you and hearing your feedback and suggestions. Stay connected with us in the Microsoft 365 community, and be sure to join us on Wednesday, November 17th at 9:00 AM Pacific time for our Microsoft 365 admin center AMA live event!

 

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