In late October, Microsoft held their annual Ignite conference, and as you would expect, there were a huge number of product announcements for different Microsoft technologies. There is even the Microsoft Ignite 2018 Book of News that brings many of these major announcements together. The challenge, however, is how do these announcements affect you, or in the case of this blog post series, how do the announcements for Microsoft 365 impact Microsoft 365 Business. To be clear from the outset, this series will focus mostly on the modern management story, rather than the teamwork or application usage changes.
To start off with, let's look at some of the changes and previews of the Microsoft 365 Admin Center that were first mentioned in item 8 of the blog post 10 new ways for everyone to achieve more in the modern workplace. In some ways, the Microsoft 365 Business Admin Center has implemented some integrated capabilities that we don't see in the Enterprise offerings, such as linking to device policies rather than launching Intune in the Azure Portal for those capabilities, but right now it has to work within the constraints of the Admin Center framework. Moving forward, the changes that we will see will allow us to have more control over the items that appear on our Microsoft 365 landing page.
Existing Microsoft 365 Business Admin Center with preview disabled.
In the screenshot above you can see that I have some Microsoft 365 Business specific cards, focused on some of the abovementioned integration capabilities, but as you might know if you've customised the Admin Center previously you can't really bring everything you want in to that main screen, instead it's a very small subset of what Microsoft 365 provides.
Default view with preview enabled
Because this is still preview, we aren't seeing too many cards by default here, but we do start to see some of the initial customisation capabilities, so we can start off with the Edit option on the left hand side.
Edit your navigation menu
Here we can see the ability to change the items we see in the navigation menu. For those who have to perform multiple duties in the Admin Center, showing more, or potentially all of the items might make sense. For those that just want to expose the things they do regularly without additional clutter, that's an easy goal to achieve.
Adding additional Cards
So far we only have two additional cards available at this stage of the preview, so it's not likely something you would be switching to just yet, but as it gets closer to release you should see more of what you need lighting up. Below is one of the sample screens that is available, in case you want to get a better idea of where it's headed.
Example of future Admin Center cards
What you will see here is that the Microsoft 365 Admin Center transforms into a true Microsoft 365 Admin Center, rather than being as heavily weighted towards the functionality of its Office 365 heritage. Here we've got cards exposing details from Office 365 ATP, Azure Active Directory, Intune and more. Below you will see the timeline for the roll out of new capabilities, with GA in H1 2019.
For Microsoft 365 Business, I think it's safe to assume they will be doing utmost to take advantage of the updated Admin Center to make sure that SMB customers are getting the most out of what is included, with a big focus on ensuring that security and compliance requirements are being met, and being able to easily action items that need attention.