Improving Office 365 Admin Efficiency

Cost Savings Opportunities for Office 365
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Improving Office 365 Admin Efficiency

Cost Savings Opportunities for Office 365

For organizations that have already made the move to Office 365 they find out in a hurry that the promised land of cloud services, and their associated cost savings, can turn out to be somewhat of a mirage once the migration is finished. Companies can no longer control their IT costs through server, storage and other hardware efficiency methods. Now they must tightly manage their cloud services license costs and the management hours spent by IT administrators.

This blog series is focused on customers who have already transitioned to Office 365 and want to know how they can proactively manage their costs and find additional savings. We feel that there are the three opportunities for controlling costs, and we’ve written a blog entry for each. The first blog information will be included below, followed by the additional entries in the weeks to come.

  1. Improving Admin Efficiency and Reducing IT Admin Time Constraints
  2. Optimizing License Management and Controlling Oversubscription
  3. Speeding Office 365 Adoption so you can Remove Duplicate Technologies

Issues with the Admin Center Portal

The admin center for Office 365 was never designed to manage a distributed enterprise deployment. These types of large organizations have a complex distribution of users in different geographic locations, sprawling business units, and regional administrators that want to perform the simple, day-to-day admin tasks to support their local user community. But using the admin center requires giving out global admin rights, or assigning specialty roles without the flexibility to choose which admin capabilities are enabled for the less experienced support personnel in remote locations.

So, the inefficient, fallback position using the admin center is to load all the day-to-day Office 365 administration activities on the shoulders of the expert IT admins at the central office. That is a time consuming, and therefore expensive, model to maintain. However, there are methods and solutions available to reduce the number of hours spent by those expert IT admins.

Reducing Time Constraints for Office 365 Administration

Reducing the amount of time that IT admin resources are burdened with managing a complex Office 365 environment will enable those resources to focus on new technology projects that will drive innovation and digital transformation within the organization. The best methods to reduce those admin hours are by using empowering, efficient management tools and by delegating the tedious day-to-day Office 365 management tasks to regional administrators and help desk support.

This initially comes to reality by automating everything that can possibly be automated. Many of the day-to-day admin tasks need to be performed one user at a time because of the functionality in the admin center. This equates to hundreds of hours of repetitive and expensive admin work each year.

In addition, companies reorganize their departments all the time, and users frequently change from one group to another. To change hundreds of calendar permissions in Office 365 requires a PowerShell script executed against a CSV file exported from the directory. That process also requires an expert IT admin with a lot of time on their hands.

However, with a full-featured, automated management solution like 4ward365, any low-level IT admin would be able to select as many users as they want and update them all with a single click. This type of bulk-action includes changes to calendar permissions, email delegation, service plan assignments, distribution groups, passwords, and quotas, plus lots more. Automating the day-to-day admin tasks for Office 365, and delegating the majority of those tasks to regional admins, will greatly reduce the time, and associated costs, for the expert IT admins.

Screenshot of some Bulk-Actions available within 4ward365
 Cost savings Office 365 - 4ward365

Delegating Admin Tasks to Regional Administrators and Helpdesk Support

Because the admin center portal does not allow the delegation of specific access rights to lower-level admins, they are effectively reduced to taking calls and then asking the centralized IT admin experts to perform the actions for them. Inherently, this convoluted process costs a lot of time and money to have the IT admin experts perform all the tasks. If specific admin capabilities could be delegated to the regional support teams and the Helpdesk, then they could handle the bulk of the admin activities for their local user community. This would save hundreds of hours by distributing the admin work load and effectively reduce the time to resolution for user requests.

Performing this function within 4ward365 is simple. You just need to go inside the management menu and choose Manage Permissions. From there you can create a new permission template and assign a remote admin, or Helpdesk engineer, with a controlled set of administration actions, and specify a set of reports they will be able to view. The available admin actions and viewable reports are chosen from two simple selection menus as shown in the example screen shots below.
Screenshot of the New Permission Template with Admin Actions Selected
 office 365 cost savings - manage permission
Screenshot of the New Permission Template with Specific Reports Selected
 office 365 cost saving - report

Summary of Savings

It would take a herculean effort to manage a large number of users with just the Office 365 admin center. It was never designed for the efficient administration of an enterprise organization. Instead, companies should search out a holistic solution that empowers their IT admin experts to perform the following:

  • Automate the day-to-day administration tasks
  • Delegate specific admin tasks to regional support teams and the helpdesk
  • Segment their users into sub-tenants for controlled management
By automating the tasks of these IT admin experts and empowering them to securely delegate specific admin capabilities to regional support teams, and helpdesk engineers, their time commitments can be greatly reduced. This time savings equates to hard dollar savings in overhead costs for IT resources. Today 4ward365 is the only all-in-one management solution for Office 365 that can help reduce these IT administration costs. And a bonus for multi-national organizations, the 4ward365 interface is easily configurable in multiple languages to accommodate different admin teams from around the world.

If you are interested in finding out more about our 4ward365 solution and how it can help you reduce the costs associated with your Office 365 deployment, please visit our overview page online, or sign-up for a free trial

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Carl Baumann

With more than 19 years of experience assisting business’ transition to Microsoft solutions, Carl has become a trusted advisor to Microsoft’s worldwide customers and partner ecosystem. He has assisted numerous Fortune 500 companies implement highly successful Office 365 business transformation projects.