Partners get improved admin tools to manage customers' Office 365 environments

With the new admin console, Microsoft wants to help Office 365 resellers and system integrators provide better service to their customers

Microsoft will roll out over the coming weeks enhanced administration tools for partners that manage their customers' Office 365 deployments.

The revamped Office 365 admin console has new and improved tools for resellers, systems integrators, and other Microsoft partners hired by their customers to manage the email and collaboration suite on their behalf.

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For starters, the console now will let partners view in a single page all the Office 365 environments they manage for their customers.

"That's critical for partners managing lots of customers," said Adam Jung, a Microsoft senior product manager in the Office 365 group.

From this page, partners can then navigate to the specific accounts with one click, and see right away whether the customer's Office 365 deployment is being affected by an outage or issue in a Microsoft data center.

Previously, it was more complicated for partners to check the "health status" of the data centers hosting a customer's Office 365 environment, requiring more clicking around, according to Jung.

Now it will also be easier to see which Office 365 components are being affected, such as Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, or Lync Online.

The new admin console will also feature more prominently the list of service support tickets the customer has open with Microsoft, so the partner can proactively offer assistance to help solve the issues, whenever possible. Partners are also able to open service support tickets on behalf of their clients directly with Microsoft.

Microsoft has also improved the console's customer search engine, so that it now offers suggestions for completing queries as partners type them in, instead of having to enter queries with the company names' exact spelling.

The admin console also lets partners create emails for customers using a wizard to offer them things like a free trial for a more advanced Office 365 edition, a formal purchase offer or a request to grant them delegated admin rights.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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