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What’s new in Office 365 administration—May roundup

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The new Office 365 admin center is nearly complete. This month, we added full support for mail-enabled security groups, the ability to create custom tiles and custom help desk information and email apps management. If you notice a feature that is still missing, please let us know using the feedback link at the bottom-right of the new admin center.

Over the last few weeks, we had the opportunity to demo the new admin center and the usage reporting dashboard at Cloud Roadshow events in Sydney, Seoul, The Hague and Milan. We love attending events like the Cloud Roadshow because they allow us to meet many of you in person and put faces to the names we know from the Office 365 Yammer Network or email conversations based on your admin center feedback. They also allow us to meet new customers, have in-depth conversations about business management requirements and receive even more feedback.

One comment we received from a customer in The Hague perfectly sums up our mission for the new admin center:

“You’ve made it so that people with little IT background can manage Office 365 while still providing all the advanced functionality that we need as an enterprise company.”

But don’t get us wrong. Of course, we love positive feedback like this one, but we also value every piece of critical feedback we receive. Office 365 will continue to evolve as a service and, as a result, so will our management tools—ensuring we meet the changing needs of our customers. It’s your feedback that helps guide us to improve the Office 365 admin center.

Here’s a summary of the May updates:

Updates for the new Office 365 admin center

Support for mail-enabled security groups—The new admin center now fully supports mail-enabled security groups. To create a mail-enabled security group, click Groups and then Add a group. To edit members and manage other aspects of the group, filter to mail-enabled security group (optional) and click the group you want to edit.

Create custom tiles—You can now create custom tiles directly in the new admin center. Custom tiles appear in the “My apps” list of each user and can be easily added to the app launcher. Custom tiles are a great way to highlight and provide quick access to websites that are relevant for your users, such as your intranet homepage or a legacy app. To create a new custom tile, click Settings, Organization Profile and then click Add custom tiles for your organization. Or search for Custom tiles using the Search bar at the top.

Provide a customized help desk—As an Office 365 admin, you can streamline user support by adding customized contact information to the help pane. Users then just click the help icon to access the information needed to get in touch with your organization’s support. To add custom help desk information to the help pane, click Settings, Organization Profile and then click Provide customized help desk contact information. Or search for Custom help desk using the Search bar at the top.

Manage email apps—You can now easily manage the apps users can use to access their Office 365 email directly from the user cards in the new admin center. To enable or disable apps, click Users, Active Users and then select the user you want to edit. In the Email Apps section, click Edit and turn off or on the apps.

One management experience across admin center and admin app—We also worked on aligning the design of the new admin center with the design of the Office 365 admin app. The app now uses the same color and icons, making it easier for you to move from one tool to the other.

More to come

In the coming month, we’ll be adding additional reports, support for partner-managed admin centers, Office 365 admin tips, and related tasks.

If the new admin center is not your default experience yet, you can directly sign in at the admin center portal. Or you can click the Try it today link at the top of the old admin center.

Let us know what you think!

Try the new features and provide feedback using the feedback link in the lower right corner of the admin center. If you’re missing a feature, take a look at the “Recently Added” page that is linked to directly from the home page. Are you missing a feature? Please send us a note using the feedback link. And don’t be surprised if we respond to your feedback. We truly 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

Please note: the features mentioned in this blog post have started to roll out worldwide. If they are not available yet for your organization, please check back in a few days!

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13 comments
  1. Is there any way to have the custom tiles automatically get added to user’s app launcher?

    • Hi Oliver, thanks for the feedback! We are currently exploring tools that will allow administrators to pin and remove custom tiles from their user’s app launcher. You can keep up to date on these features by checking our roadmap and Office Blogs of course.
      Thanks,
      Anne

  2. I agree, new admin center is nice. However after using it for a while it was taken away? The “try now” links are gone and we are back at classic admin page. Even using direct link “modern=true” path reverts back to classic view. Happened 3 weeks ago. Support told us to wait……

    • Hi Kyle, the new admin center has been rolled out worldwide and should be available to all customers. Are you perhaps a partner? In that case, you will not see the new admin center yet. It was unintentionally exposed to partners for a short period of time a few weeks ago. We’re working on making it fully available to partners and expect to be able to do so in the coming weeks. If you’re not a partner, can you please send me your tenant name via email? Anne.Michels(AT)Microsoft.com

        • Hello, we’re currently still working on enabling the new admin center preview both for partners and for customers who have delegated admin permission. We’re very close to finishing that work though and you should be seeing the new admin center in a few weeks.
          Thanks,
          Anne

  3. When will we have the ability to customize the what information is displayed on the Admin Home Page – or control access to only certain parts of the administration/support admin center based on user roles/types or individual users?

  4. Great features Anne!
    I added one of my apps as custom tile to the launcher , and its really very helpful to access the key apps easily!
    Thanks!

    Couple of things though:
    1. Is there a possibility to change the background of the custom tile. My logo is white background (which I can’t change),a and it is not looking great on a grey background
    2. Ability to add tile automatically to all users , which I see Oliver has already posted. So will wait for that feature (right now I making a guide so all my key users can add the app up there !)

    • Thanks for the feedback, Anshul! I’ve shared it with our engineering team to consider for future enhancements. Great to hear that you’re taking advantage of the customer apps already.

  5. It seems that I’m now back to the old admin panels (probably did it accidentally.)

    How can I switch back to the Admin Preview section ?

    Thanks.

    • Hi Gaston, are you a partner or managed on behalf of a partner? If so, then the new admin center will become available to you again soon. If not, then you should see a link at the top of the old admin center that you can use to switch to the new experience.

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