Custom O365 Provisioning Wizard - Worth it?

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Contributor

My enterprise (an affiliated group of several manufacturing companies) is at the conceptual design phase of adopting Office 365. An external consultancy that we asked to support us on this process presented a solution that on it's core consists of a provisioning wizard that, after gathering some meta information, creates O365 Groups for us. The Meta Data shall then be used on something that seems to me like an alternative "SharePoint Home" to allow the user finding relevant groups (respective Teams, Planners, SharePoint Sites, etc.). The Meta Data shall also help the admin team to manage the groups.

To say the truth I am very skeptical with the current solution. It seems to me that they come from a former on premise world and their first thought is "hey, let's make a provisioning wizard! This is what we always have done since 2007". (please apologize my sarcasm)

 

I am not in a position to make decisions - I am a tech guy with a SharePoint background since 2007 - but what I can do is express my concerns and underpin it with solid arguments. So can you support me with your thoughts on this solution and perhaps with hints to blog posts by MVCs or official Microsoft statements which I can turn into reliable references?

5 Replies
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Yes and no. This really seems to come from the 2007-2010 world, we have all done this kind of solution. It may be truely superficial for you enrollment of new groups and sites and just for the sake to make a bit of money with some custom coding.

 

On the other hand some kind of provisioning tool/wirzard/younameit can help you from a governance perspective. Office 356 keeps the creation of new instances sometimes very simple and open to everyone. If you want to have a guided process and limit creation and governance of things to a specific process, this kind of automation could come in handy. How does your company want to govern the tenant? How "free" should your end users be in Office 365? And is there a master plan regarding the metadata perhaps?

 

Good thing is that with the existence of Office Dev P'n'P there is a solid basis where people can build their stuff with. No more custom code to the core or similar things. This makes these solutions often a bit better that they were several years ago.

 

So I share your scepticism but there might be good reasons to do such a wizard. Check the use cases your company has for enrollment, deployment, governance and complience.

Thank you for your thoughts Carsten! I by myself have implemented provisioning wizards in my past - perhaps the reason for my scepticism :D

 

One concern I have is that there are several places in O365 where to jump into Groups Creation. From Outlook, from Planner, from Teams, from the SharePoint Home and so on. How could we channel every user to our provisioning wizard? Can we channel them? As far as I know if we prohibit the creation of Groups for the general user an ugly error message pops up only stating "contact your administrator". Not a practical way in my opinion.

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By the way - I posted another question concerning Customizations in O365, which might give further insights on my current thoughts.

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I strongly believe in the value of self-service and let end users provision what they need to get work done. The challenges with processes is shadow IT, these two stats is a good reminder of the challenges:

  • 60% of employees believe IT is ineffective at providing collaboration.
  • 80% of employees admit to suing non-approved SaaS apps in their jobs.

https://clouddamcdnprodep.azureedge.net/asm/1208624/Original

My humble 2 cents...

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Disabling self-service for Office 365 groups will prevent users from creating Office 365 connected Yammer groups. Understand that we will get the option to create these groups via the admin center in the future, but are we also getting the same Azure functions to create these groups? Would like to understand if a provisioning wizard being built now can be upgraded in the future to include Office 365 Connected Yammer groups.