One of the great aspects of the ECP, which is tailored for the hosted experience in Office 365, is that you have auditing and a variety of other reports. You have ActiveSync device policy control through the ECP, as well as the ability to control unified messaging dial plans. You can perform a modicum of message hygiene through some of the mail control settings auch as IP Safelisting, Safety, and Rules. The rules control alone is exciting in that you can configure transport rules through the ECP.
I didn't get the chance to play with the SharePoint management features to the same degree, but I did see that the use of SharePoint services is streamlined and easier all around. Again, it's the actual product that has changed, making for all of these new and easier administrative pluses SharePoint admins will no doubt appreciate.
The verdict: A few view isues aside, a much more powerful admin tool
I admit it: Initially I wasn't pleased with the surface-level changes in the Office 365 administrative interface. It could be I'm just so comfortable with the BPOS environment that I don't like change, but there are still a few aspects I'd like to see fixed (like views for my users) before it goes live.
Overall, though, the incredible control I have thanks to Exchange 2010 ECP makes me look forward to pushing BPOS aside for Office 365. As an Exchange admin at heart, it is hard to give up my control to a hosted service. The more control I have and the more that control is provided through tools I'm used to working with (like the ECP), the better. Office 365 delivers that control.
This article, "Office 365: Expect huge improvements for admins," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of J. Peter Bruzzese's Enterprise Windows blog and follow the latest developments in business software and Windows at InfoWorld.com.