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What you need to successfully manage Office 365

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To successfully manage Office 365, you have to understand what’s inside. And with its many available services, it’s not trivial. But here is how you can do it.

The new role of IT admin

Recently, while reading the Administering a PowerApps and Microsoft Flow enterprise deployment whitepaper published by Microsoft, I came across an interesting statement.

As an enterprise administrator, your role is to put in place the guard rails to foster healthy individual productivity while at the same time safeguarding sensitive business data and ensuring continuity when individuals leave your company.

In the past, typically IT admins would be monitoring on-premises servers, ensuring they were patched with the latest updates and had enough memory and disk space to work correctly. But organizations are moving to the cloud and there are no more servers to manage. So is the role of an IT admin obsolete?

In-text Image 2Absolutely not! More than ever, organizations need someone to ensure that their IT assets are used efficiently and securely. Under the pressure of the workforce, organizations want to be liberal, allowing their employees to use tools that make them productive and happy. And they need someone to control that these tools are being used responsibly without exposing the organization to risks. Welcome to your new job.

The above statement is coming from a paper about Flows and PowerApps, but in reality, it applies to all of Office 365. When you read it, it sounds like a no-brainer. After all, who wouldn’t want to foster productivity securely? But while this mission is pretty self-explanatory, its execution isn’t. Here is why.

Uncontrolled growth of Office 365

The true power of Office 365 lies in its ability to adapt to its users’ needs. Office 365 comes with a wide range of tools that organizations can use to implement whatever solution they need to be productive: from following the latest announcements to automating business processes. In fact, using these tools to build business solutions is so easy, that once the adoption of Office 365 in your organization takes off, in a matter of months you will have no clue what different applications have access to your data and where your data is being shared.

Office 365 doesn’t offer you a centralized location to manage all applications used in your organization. While you can find an inventory of Flows, PowerApps or packaged applications deployed to your tenant app catalog, you won’t find anywhere an overview of all scripts embedded in your pages. What’s even worse, even if you would have a list of all applications, can you tell what they do? Can you tell if they’re even compliant with your organization’s laws and regulations? So should you stop using Office 365 altogether?

Control the growth of your Office 365

While there is no centralized inventory of all applications in Office 365, it is possible to create one. It’s not trivial, because there are many types of applications that users can build scattered across the different services in Office 365. But with a proper understanding of the platform, you can get a better understanding of what’s in your environment and how it affects your compliance status. And once you know that, you can start addressing the most urgent issues, working towards achieving your mission of IT admin fostering productivity in a secure and sustainable way. I recommend first requesting a Rencore Assessment to see where your organization stands. Click the button below to learn more.

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Waldek Mastykarz

Waldek is a Microsoft Office Development MVP and Head of Product at Rencore. He reinforces our product development adding loads of business experience from working as a SharePoint consultant for more than 10 years. Waldek is passionate about what he does and shares his enthusiasm through his blog and as a regular speaker at conferences and community events all over Europe. Recently, Waldek joined the SharePoint Patterns and Practices (PnP) Core Team to help developers make better use of the SharePoint and Office 365 platforms.