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Microsoft 365 Admin Guide to Ignite 2020 (Part 3) - Investments in Complex Organizations
Published Sep 15 2020 09:50 AM 9,495 Views

Microsoft Ignite, our yearly flagship event for Microsoft products and technologies, is a 48-hour digital event experience taking place from September 22-24, 2020. Ignite, of course, is a very different event this year. On the one hand, it is a single global event where everyone gets the same news, information, content, and experience at the same time. But on the other hand, I will miss the many personal connections that take place at our in-person events. I look forward to the day when in-person events resume, but until then, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to share with you now an amazing collection of video content covering the incredible work being done across Microsoft 365.


Last year, the admin track at Ignite had several breakout, theater, and learning path sessions from a variety of engineering teams, including:

  • the Microsoft 365 admin center team—the team that builds the Microsoft 365 admin center and admin mobile app;
  • Release and Delivery Experiences—the team that builds, among other things, and Office What’s New;
  • Microsoft 365 Groups—the team that builds the Microsoft 365 Groups platform, membership service, and user experiences; and
  • Microsoft 365 Complex Orgs—the team that builds features and experiences to support customer mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures, and cross-tenant collaboration.

Since last Ignite, each of these teams has been immersed in customer feedback and working hard to deliver your most-wanted admin experiences. At an in-person Ignite, they’d be up on stage telling you all about what they’ve been up to for the past year. But since we can’t do that, I am thrilled to announce that we’ve done the next best thing – a digital admin track!


The Microsoft 365 Admin Tools and Experiences track has a slew of new videos that announce new features and ways to connect with Microsoft 365 engineering teams. These videos detail the new features and experiences we have delivered and are delivering to you. They talk about what we’ve done over the past year and why we’ve done it, and they give you a glimpse into what we’re doing next and why. Watch these videos not just for the content, but also for the opportunities they give you to engage directly with these feature teams and register your interest for upcoming previews, roundtables, and other product team engagements.


There are 18 across three broad themes:

This post covers our investments for organizations that, as part of their normal business routine, engage in merger, acquisition, split and divestiture activities, and for organizations, partners, and admins that manage multiple Microsoft 365 tenants. We refer to these types of customers as complex organizations. And we’re doing work across multiple engineering teams to support these complex organizations.


Meet the Speakers


Let's meet the speakers first!


Microsoft 365 admins at Microsoft Ignite - 

Calling all Microsoft 365 admins and IT Pros! This Ignite session describes the slew of new learning videos that discuss new and recent improvements to the Microsoft 365 admin center, Microsoft 365 Groups, and the investments we're making in complex organization/multiple tenant scenarios.


Supporting Mergers, Acquisitions, and Divestitures in Microsoft 365​ –

Customers undergoing mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures often need to migrate their data between Microsoft 365 tenants. When a customer acquires a company with their own tenant, they are faced with the decision around what to do with that tenant. Sometimes, it makes sense to keep the tenants separate, such as in the case of conglomerates where there is a lot of autonomy and independence between business units.


In other cases, customers need to transfer the acquired users and data to their existing tenant. This is for a variety of reasons.  First, users in the same tenant have the most feature-rich collaboration experiences. In a single tenant, you automatically get a common directory, the best Teams experience, etc. because everything is in one tenant. While we are investing heavily to improve cross-tenant collaboration, users in the same tenant will always get the richest experience across the suite.


Other reasons include a size mismatch between the existing tenant and the acquired tenant. In most cases, it doesn't make sense to keep small tenants around in a large company. Companies with large well-managed tenants with tens or hundreds of thousands of users usually don’t want to manage a bunch of very small tenants, in part because each tenant adds management overhead.


Finally, there are also scenarios in which the whole tenant is not being divested or acquired. Some acquisitions and divestitures involve “carve ups,” where only a subset of users and data are acquired and migrated. Or some users are divested to one company and other users are divested to another company. In these partial acquisitions and divestitures, migration is the only option.


In a brand-new video​, Rob Lowe and Sesha Mani, members of the Microsoft 365 complex orgs team, talk about some of the challenges encountered by complex orgs around data migration, branding, and so forth. They also discuss Microsoft’s vision for mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures, where we see mergers and divestitures as two sides of the same coin, where data can be migrated seamlessly and securely between tenants, and key experiences, such as People Search, have the same experience across tenants that we have within a single tenant.


In their video, Rob and Sesha have some fantastic demos showing new experiences we have for cross-tenant mailbox migration and cross-tenant SharePoint and OneDrive migration. There’s also a great demo on domain sharing for email, and cross-tenant People Search, two of the top cross-tenant features that customers have been asking for.


Finally, Rob and Sesha talk about our plans for future improvements for complex orgs, and they talk about the preview programs for these features. Check out the video and use the links in it to indicate your interest in the preview programs.


Multi-tenant management in the Microsoft 365 admin center​ –

Did you know that more than 1/3 of all Microsoft 365 tenants are managed by admins who manage multiple tenants?  In fact, this applies to 2/3 of our enterprise customers, and the majority of our partners, as well.  Multiple tenant scenarios arise a number of ways.  For example, in the partner space, there are Cloud Solution Providers and Managed Service Providers who manage tenants on behalf of their customers. And in the enterprise space, there are merger and acquisition scenarios, separate test and production environments, and in some cases, regulatory requirements that drive multiple tenant scenarios.


Historically, the Microsoft 365 admin center was built for single tenant admins and only recently did we start supporting admins who manage multiple tenants. These admins face the same challenges as admins with single tenants, except they have the additional complexity of having to switch between tenants, and often the additional tasks of performing the same work.  Our goal is to help multi-tenant admins spend less time juggling tenants and more time doing meaningful work for them.


In a brand-new video, Tim Heeney, Principal Program Manager on the Microsoft 365 admin center team, talks about the specific challenges faced by admins who manage multiple tenants. He talks about who these admins are, and where we are making investments in the multi-tenant management space.  Equally important is why we are making these investments, and as Tim explains in the video, we have prioritized our work items based on direct customer feedback.


Tim also goes into detail about the most pressing issues around multi-tenant management, such as switching between multiple tenants, assessing the health and status of multiple tenants, performing repetitive tasks against multiple tenants, and understanding configuration differences between multiple tenants. He also describes Microsoft’s vision to create a unified management experience that allows for multi-tenant administration from a single pane of glass.


Finally, Tim walks you through our plans to deliver on that vision.


Multi-tenant management: Service Health and Message Center –

We publish a lot of information about Microsoft 365 services. For example, the service health dashboard in the Microsoft 365 admin center provides a comprehensive view of the health of your services. If you are experiencing problems, you can check service health to determine if the issue you are seeing is a known issue before you call support or spend time troubleshooting. The Message Center helps you keep track of upcoming changes, including new and changed features, planned maintenance, and other important announcements. As I mentioned before, you can access both using the Microsoft 365 admin center and the Microsoft 365 admin mobile app.


The feedback from admins who manage multiple tenants is clear: service-related info and communications in the Service Health Dashboard and the Message Center are critical to multi-tenant admins to provide quality support to their users and to manage service changes.


In a brand-new video, Micky Saini, a program manager on the Release and Delivery Experiences team, talks about the investments we are making in these areas to provide multi-tenant admins with visibility into the service health of their tenants and richer, actionable insights to comprehend the impact to their tenants. We also want to improve productivity for these admins by helping them to proactively support their users by staying up to date on service incidents.


Micky talks about the admins we are serving with our multi-tenant management investments, and why we are making those investments. He talks about work we’ve already done, such as the awesome Tenant Switcher in the Microsoft 365 admin center, and gives us a glimpse of what’s coming next in this space, such as a snapshot view for admins that provides insights across service health, support requests, products & billing, and setup recommendations.


Micky also provides you with details on how you can partner with Microsoft to shape the multi-tenant experiences we are creating, and details on how you can connect directly with the engineering teams that are developing these features. Finally, in his demo, Micky walks you through the new features in Service Health that are now part of the multi-tenant admin experience.


If you manage multiple Microsoft 365 tenants, be sure to watch the video and let us know what you think of our roadmap, and if there’s anything else we should focus on that can make your life easier.

Next Steps

Now that we’ve covered our Investments in Complex Organizations, check out the great content we have for IT Efficiency and Agility, and Modern Cloud Management.


Here’s the complete list of available videos and their URLs. We hope you enjoy them!


Improved IT Efficiency and Agility

Role-based Access Control in Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 admin mobile app: administration on-the-go with productivity with flexibility

Improve IT efficiency and agility and stay informed as you enable self-service tasks

Making IT more efficient with improvements to Microsoft 365 Groups

Leveraging user feedback about Microsoft 365 in your organization

Drive external collaboration for your organization using Microsoft 365 Groups

Modern Cloud Management

How to manage Microsoft 365 in a remote work world

Transform change management by syncing Message Center posts to Planner

Managing updates of Microsoft 365 Apps using servicing automation

Microsoft 365 Groups roadmap updates

Microsoft 365 Groups architecture overview and deep dive

Governance and management best practices for Microsoft 365 Groups

Effective controls for Microsoft 365 Apps in the Microsoft 365 admin center

Managing work and life with Microsoft 365 Groups

How Microsoft manages Microsoft 365 Groups for its employees

Investments in Complex Organizations

Multi-tenant management in the Microsoft 365 admin center

Supporting Mergers, Acquisitions, and Divestitures in Microsoft 365

Aggregated views of Service Health and Message Center for admins that manage multiple tenants


One last takeaway: Your call to action.  Please remember that we don’t just want you to watch our videos; we want you to use the new features, we want to engage with you; we want your feedback, and your help to prioritize our work. Although these teams work on different features and functionality, all of them have the same goals: to bring you features and experiences that delight you, and to make the Microsoft 365 admin experience the most-loved cloud admin experience in the industry. We can’t do that without your help, so please engage with us and let’s get to work!

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