Office 365 administration announcements: new admin center reaches general availability and introducing the Service health dashboard

Today, we’re excited to announce that we’re taking the new Office 365 admin center out of preview. Since the first preview in September 2015, the new admin center has provided admins with an improved management experience that makes it easier and faster for you to manage Office 365 while providing new capabilities and insights.

The new Office 365 admin center reaches general availability

Over the last years, Office 365 has been evolving at a rapid pace, making more features and functionality available to users and admins on an almost daily basis. Over 350 new services and features were introduced last year alone. As we continue to add new capabilities to Office 365, we are focused on providing a first-class admin experience with tools to efficiently manage all aspects of the service. The new admin center has been designed to support this rapid growth and will continue to improve as the service further evolves.

We’d like to again thank each one of you who has provided feedback on the new admin center. Over the last year, we have received more than 49,000 pieces of feedback that have helped us identify gaps, fix bugs and evolve the new admin center to a management experience that meets the needs of all company sizes. And it’s great to hear how it’s already making your work easier:

“I love everything you are doing to make Office 365 for Business an incredible management and organizational tool for business. The old format sorely needed updating and is a constant source of complaints by users. Thanks guys for finally getting this whole thing right!”
—Customer feedback in the new admin center

Here is a summary of the main improvements:

The new admin center makes it easier and faster to manage Office 365

Quickly access relevant information and functionality from the new home page—The home page has been redesigned with you and your most common tasks in mind—such as adding a user or resetting a password. The new admin center makes these items accessible directly from the home page. The home page also proactively surfaces information important to you, such as notifications from the Message Center.

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Customize your admin experience—Frequent tasks may vary from admin to admin, so we’ve enabled customization of the home page, making it a truly personal experience. Remove cards that aren’t important to you. Rearrange cards so the ones you care about most are at the top, and add other cards so you can get to tasks straight from the home page.

Quickly find what you’re looking for with improved navigation and search—If you’re looking for a specific setting or feature, you can use the navigation menu, which has been reorganized to make it easier for you to find information. For example, you can see the settings for all services in one place. The search bar (at the top) is the easiest and fastest way to navigate the admin center, by giving you the power to search for most every capability within the admin center.

Manage licenses in fewer steps—The new admin center makes it easier for you to purchase and assign licenses. When you add a new user, you can buy and assign a license in one simple step.

More functionality at your fingertips

The new admin center isn’t just an update to the look and feel of the old admin center, it also provides new management capabilities and additional actionable information.

Manage more user details—Now, the user list supports infinite scroll, so that admins can see all their users on one page, including which license is assigned to a specific user. When you click a user’s name, important properties appear in a fly-out window allowing you to edit settings such as email forwarding, automatic replies and email apps.

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Edit more user details simultaneously—The new admin center provides the ability to bulk edit more user details simultaneously, including product licenses, domains or user roles. In addition, the bulk edit limit has increased—you can now edit up to 100 users at the same time.

Edit all groups in one place—The new admin center fully supports all group types including distribution lists, security groups, mail-enabled security groups and Office 365 Groups. You can manage all your groups from the same location.

Message Center improvements—The Message Center has completely been redesigned to provide you with more functionality. You can filter by message type, dismiss a message, mark it as read or unread or even share it with peers. The Message Center also allows you to use machine translation to view messages in your preferred language.

Reports you can act on

The new admin center also provides you with a richer reporting experience and additional insights that help you to proactively manage your service.

New usage reporting dashboard—The new usage reporting dashboard provides you with valuable insights about how the Office 365 services are being used and delivers details down to the individual user level. The usage reports will be accompanied by a Power BI content pack that will allow you to share the reports and to pivot by attributes like region or department. More information will be shared next week.

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Export additional information—To further analyze and process the data, you can now export more information directly from the UI—including the usage reports as well as the user list—to a CSV file.

Monitor your Directory Synchronization (DirSync) Status and quickly identify issues—The DirSync card on the home page and the new subsite make it easy for admins to understand their DirSync status and to identify errors.

We will continue to further improve the new admin center to provide you with the best management experience possible. We’re currently working on additional reports and on modernizing the product admin centers.

The old admin center will be retired at the end of December.

Announcing a new Service health dashboard

For many of you, moving to Office 365 was a big change. In an on-premises world, if there was a service incident, you were the ones investigating and solving the issue. With Office 365, you trust Microsoft with running the service and quickly solving service incidents. But moving to a cloud service shouldn’t mean losing the ability to know what’s going on. With this in mind, we built a new Service health dashboard that provides admins with a new level of service health insights that are personalized for their organization. This allows admins to stay on top of service incidents, improve your internal support experience and improve your users’ Office 365 experience.

Since the launch of Office 365 in 2011, our promise to provide you with timely, targeted and accurate communications in the event of a service incident hasn’t changed, and we’ve focused on being transparent in our operations so that you can monitor the service, track issues and have a historical view of availability. Service health is a very important area for all of you and over the last year, we’ve received a lot of feedback that has helped us to reimagine service health.

Here is a summary of the improvements that you’ll find in the new Service health dashboard:

Access rich and more actionable incident insights—The new Service health dashboard provides you with more relevant incident insights and features a new view that separates major business critical outages from others and splits them into two categories: incidents and advisories. This new view makes it easier for you to identify the issues relevant for you that you might want to act on immediately.

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Quickly understand the incident—A new summary view surfaces the most relevant and critical details to you in just two short sentences—easy and quick to consume. If you want to access additional details, you can go to a more detailed view that provides you with all available information, including workarounds and message history.

Easily see the impact for your organization—The new dashboard allows you to quickly understand the impact of the service incident on your organization by showing you the number of impacted users.

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Sign up for the preview program

The preview of the new Service health dashboard is available for Office 365 customers worldwide today. To get access to the new dashboard, please send an email with the subject “I want to be part of the preview” to shdpreviewsignup@service.microsoft.com and include both your tenant ID and your tenant domain (i.e., contoso.com). After we have enabled the preview for your tenant (it can take 1-2 weeks), you will receive an email with access instructions.

More to come

This is just the beginning. Our goal is to provide you with richer and more actionable service health insights that will help you to stay on top of incidents, reduce support costs and improve end user experiences.

We’ll be adding more enhancements in the coming months, including:

Tell us about issues—If you are impacted by an issue that is not showing up on your Service health dashboard, the Tell us feature will provide you with a quick and easy way to let us know.

Stay informed through your preferred channel—The new Service health dashboard will enable you to sign up for notifications via text and/or email so that you can monitor the service and track issues through the channel you prefer.

Access user level details—In addition to the number of impacted users, you will also be able to access a full list of impacted users to enable you to drive more targeted communication and support.

Check the health of your users—The new Service health dashboard will also include new features that will improve the end user experience. On-demand user health checks will allow you to check end user health by running a test against our service. User Monitoring will enable you to proactively monitor specific users and to find out about possible health issues affecting those users right away—often before they might even notice them.

Let us know what you think!

Please try the new features and provide feedback using the feedback link in the lower right corner of the admin center. 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