How to stay up to date in regards of Office 365 changes from a business point of view

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MVP

One of my customers asked yesterday an interesting question: Is there any document / place where I can stay up to date in regards of Office 365 but from a business point of view? Obviously, the Office 365 Roadamp is not what my customer is looking for..he is looking for a kind of resource where he can watch from time to time what's coming to Office 365 and the business value...any ideas cc @Brian Levenson @Dean Gross @Tony Redmond @Vasil Michev

41 Replies
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I think if the user just wants a time to time update on what's happened and what's ahead, I'd recommend the Weekly Roundup on this community. It's shared each Friday and sums up all of the news that hits Office Blogs.

 

The other side of this coin is the roadmap site, which isn't updating as frequently but gives a longer line of sight to what we are working on. 

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Dean you mention a O365 group in CLT, is there a website that I can check out for more information? I'm in CLT each month and might be interested in attending depending on dates. Thank you in advance.
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@Brian Levenson,

It would be great if we could give certain business users read access to Message Center.  There's a UserVoice suggestion for that, http://bit.ly/JRA2MC (Just Read Access To Message Center) that has gone from 30 votes to 80+ votes in the last month.

 

 

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There are Office 365 meetups worldwide.  In Chicago, the one I co-run is online at http://bit.ly/O365AUGChiMU

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One way of sharing what's in Message Center with business users is to use PowerShell to export Message Center Messages to a spreadsheet.  See this post for the script.

 

 

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Hey Michael! We're actively evaluating options to provide Message Center content to non-admins, and a read-only role is certainly one of the considerations.

 

Do you think the "Service Admin" role would suffice? Or is that still too much access since it's read-only visibility to the whole portal?

 

Admin Center permissions and roles are defined here:

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/About-Office-365-admin-roles-da585eea-f576-4f55-a1e0-87090b...

 

(cc: @Anne Michels)

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That would be a nice addition.

 

Another way to surface those MC announcements is via the new weekly digest emails, that is tenant specific and also the weekly digest posts, though not tenant specific.  Having a role that can interact with MC via the portal would be useful.

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It is almost like we need an interface between the O365 Roadmap and the O365 Admin Message Center.

 

The Roadmap gives you a "feel" for what "may" be coming, but with very little accuracy or business value.

The O365 Message Center does give you some accuracy, but with very little time (warning) for business value.

 

Both of them are great resources for the tech admins to stay on top of. Would be interesting to see if someone could cobble together a PowerApp tool that could combine these two "lists" and then apply some business categories to them.

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Great feedback, and that's the balance we're trying to find. I suspect it will vary based on the topic and type of new feature, but what is the ideal amount of time for your organization? Any suggestions as to how we should think about it?
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+1 to this update mentioned by Brian!
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Your blog is fantastic, how have I never stumbled upon it before?

There's so much good information hiding away on TechNet - Microsoft should apply some 'Delve' to it in order to surface information one may find relevant or interesting.
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Hi Sue - I just read your blog post "It takes a village: Change management with Office 365"

First - great write-up!

 

Last year, when my clients started getting caught off guard by changes, they asked "where do we go to stay current." I provided them guidance very similar to what you provided in your article.

They then asked me, "we don't have time for that! Can you do it for us and give us a summarized report?"

We are now offering this 'change management as a service' to several clients where we have business level conversations with their CIO / IT Directors about changes that they should be aware of.

 

In summary, clients need to either assign the task of staying current to one of their existing employees (probably 0.25 headcount per month) or they can hire a professional services firm to do this for them. Otherwise they risk outages. For example, on October 31st 2017, any client who still has Outlook 2007 will no longer be able to connect to Exchange Online, when they retire RPC over HTTP (replacing it with MAPI over HTTP). The CIO's job may be at stake if they don't recognize the impact to their organization not being able to send/receive email on that day. This is just one example of several that happen every year that require attention to this very important topic.

 

-Joe

 

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We are now offering this 'change management as a service' to several clients where we have business level conversations with their CIO / IT Directors about changes that they should be aware of. 

 


Or they could just buy a copy of "Office 365 for IT Pros" for $39.95 and track our weekly change log http://wp.me/pSH8B-1kg to decide what is new or different enough for the tenant to be worried about. We don't catch everything, but over the last year we have made literally hundreds of changes to track what's been happening across Office 365 (see http://wp.me/pSH8B-1pK for a June-December analysis).

 

I seriously think that a heads-up service for companies who don't have the time or technical inclination to monitor the many diverse sources of information about new developments inside Office 365 is a great idea... If exhausting at the same time.

Service Admin is defined as "Opens support requests with Microsoft, and views the service dashboard and message center. They have “view only” permissions except for opening support tickets and reading them."

 

From a governance and user roles perspective, the change manager who needs read access to message center is very different from the helpdesk or IT support person that would be dealing with support tickets.

 

I would want to give a business person just Read Access to Message center and nothing more.  It would be great if there was a "Message Center Reader" admin role.  

 

Since this is something you are considering, could you update the User Voice suggestion at http://bit.ly/JRA2MC as "Thinking about it"?

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Another way to get the Message Center content to the right audiences in a flexible way would be to have a trigger available in Flow that is activated whenever a new message arrives in one's tenant.

 

This way, the Global Tenant Admin could set up a Flow to distribute new Message Center Messages in a variety of ways.  For example, pipe it to a SharePoint list.  There you could have people review it and comment on it and track the change management status of it.  Or pipe it to a Yammer discussion group for a variation on that idea.

 

I added a User Voice suggestion for it here.  If you agree this makes sense, vote it up:

https://flow.uservoice.com/forums/9564-general/suggestions/18907885-create-a-flow-trigger-for-when-a...

 

 

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Is there a way to schedule when the weekly digest emails arrive? I would want them to arrive on Monday because I have to submit change requests to the change control board by Wednesday...

 

On the other hand, I've started putting them in a spreadsheet, which makes them more actionable because I can track the change management status of each message.  For example, tracking if a message requires follow up and if that follow up has been completed.

 

If I'm consistently generating that spreadsheet weekly, I don't need to get the digest email.

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We just published a blog article related to this topic and sample code to take advantage of the Service Communication API. Check it out and let us know what you think!

 

https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Office-365-Blog/Office-365-Monitoring-Leveraging-the-Office-3...