An Overview of Office 365 – Administration Portal and Admin Center
An Overview of Office 365 – Administration Portal and Admin Center
This is part 1 of our 5-part Office 365 free training course.
In this Office 365 training video, instructor Spike Xavier introduces some of the most popular services found in Microsoft Office 365 including the Admin Portal and Admin Center.
I’m Spike Xavier with Interface Technical Training in Phoenix, Arizona. In this video, we’re going to do an overview of Office 365, some of the more popular services and take a look specifically at the admin’s portal and the admin’s center.
To get into Office 365, you’re going to want to go to the website portal.office.com. I’m going to type that in, https://portal.office.com. If you’ve been there before recently and you still got some memory of that in your browser session, your browser will be kind enough to remember your username, which is fantastic.
You can see it remembers mine. I’ve been there already on this machine, but you will have to remember your password. Hopefully, I’ll remember that, and I believe I will. I’m in.
I’m a global administrator. That’s the highest role that you can be assigned in Office 365. I can pretty much do anything that you can do in the tenancy without actually being at Microsoft in their data centers.
When I log in, I’m taken to this home screen, like everybody else is. They’ll see tiles, these are called tiles, that relate to the services currently available to us.
We’re going to focus on some of the more popular services in Office 365. We’re going to be looking at things like Exchange, where you can see exchanges providing email access.
We’re going to look at stuff like SharePoint, here. SharePoint is a super popular enterprise‑level, website‑based, awesome monster of technology.
We’re also going to look at things like Office 2016. You can install Office 2016, Office ProPlus 2016, which is a specific version that you get with Office 365. It’s very, very popular.
We’re also going to take a look at Skype for Business, which is for video conferencing and instant messaging in a secure and awesome environment. We’ll take a look at a couple of other services.
It all starts with, if you’re a user or an admin and you want to get to Office 365, you log in to portal.office.com. You provide your credentials. You’re taken to this screen. You can use any of these tiles as shortcuts to get right to the service.
I’m a global admin, so a ton of my time is going to be spent administering services in Office 365. I’m going to click on the tile that says admin. Clicking the admin tile takes me to the admin center, administrator portal, or admin portal.
This is where you’ll spend the preponderance of your time when you’re administering services in Office 365. This is broken up into two main areas. The first one is the left‑hand side, which is a series of navigational headers that have a little icon that show that that particular area might have a sub‑menu or a set of sub‑links underneath it. You can expand or contract those as needed.
The left side is a series of administrative menus. On the right side is the content area, which will be contextual to what’s clicked on the left hand side. If I want to get to active users, I would expand users here and I would click active users. Now, I’ll go back to home.
There are many ways to get to things in Office 365. The user interface is very kind to allow you to get the things in many different ways. If you check here and you click home, you’ll see that not only do I have the user’s link or header in my menu, I also have the user’s web part here that has its own menu of the most commonly used tasks within the user’s section.
That’s really fantastic. That can be a quick shortcut. They will take you to the same thing. If I click active users here, it shows me a list of active users. If I go back to the home page and I click on users on the web part, it will take me to the same place. A couple of different ways to get to the same place.
I’m going to scroll down here. Towards the bottom of my left hand navigation, I’m going to see that there’s a header called admin centers. As a global administrator, that’s probably where I’m going to spend the preponderance of my time, is in one of these admin centers or in that user section.
Each of the services has its own admin center. They’ve done a fantastic job of taking what it used to be like to manage these services on‑premises or on‑premise. I’m never really sure if that’s on‑premises or on‑premise.
In any case, you have your own Exchange server that you’re managing, you’ve installed the software, you’ve configured all of the particular settings. A lot of that stuff you probably did with PowerShell and you can certainly use PowerShell to manage it in Office 365.
If I click the Exchange link under the admin navigation link, it’s going to take me to the web based exchange administration center.
If you’ve ever worked with Exchange on‑premises, this is very similar to what you might use in an on‑premises environment to manage Exchange.
You’ve got all these settings, you’ve got sub‑menus, you’ve got recipients, permissions, organization, compliance management, protection, mail flow, hundreds and hundreds of things that you can do to customize the settings to your organization’s needs.
Every one of these is going to have an admin center. You’re going to have a SharePoint admin center, an Exchange admin center, a Skype for Business admin center. You’d see them when you expand that menu.
Now, I have a couple of different ways to get back to where I was. I can click this Office 365 link up there. That takes me back to my Office 365 home screen, which is where I was when I logged in. I could click that admin tile from there.
Also, you’ll see that there’s a little…I call the grid. People call it different things. There’s this grid based navigation system here. If I click that icon, that will expand out those tiles into a fly‑out menu to give me quick access as well to the particular service or a particular screen. Of course, you see the admin tile as one of those, which takes me to the admin center.
It’s worth mentioning that the admin center has gone through a few updates and upgrades over its life in Office 365. I suspect that will continue on through the life of the product, which is as far as I can see is as far as I can see.
Some people have grown accustomed to doing things in what’s called the old admin center, which is the previous major version of this one. If you find that’s the case, there is a link up here at the top that says, “Go to old admin center.”
If that’s the case, it will take you to the old admin center, which is very similar to the new admin center but graphically looks a little bit different.
There are a couple of things in the old admin center, ways of doing things, links you clicked on, names of links, that might be slightly different from the old admin center to the new admin center.
Occasionally, you’ll see blog posts out there, some great information, and you’ll see, “Go to the old admin center to do this.” This is what they’re talking about clicking on the old admin center. I’m not going to go there.
I really love the new admin center. I didn’t dislike the old admin center or everything. I’ve spent so much time in the new one. I’ve grown quite accustomed to it.
Going back down to these admin centers down here, as I scroll down, I went to the Exchange admin center. I would like to point out that you’ve got a Skype for Business admin center where you can administer your Skype for Business settings.
There’s quite a few things that you can do within each one of these. I’m going to take some time in some other videos to spend a little bit more time on each particular service.
You can see that in the Skype for Business admin center, you have on the dashboard, which is a summary of your Skype activity, there are several resource links on the right‑hand side. These resource links are very handy.
Office 365 gives you a ton of help right in the screens. If I’m up here on the right side and I click my login name, you can see that I can click my name. This will be good for any users. They just may see some different options depending on the roles. I can go to About Me. I can go to View Account. I can sign out.
Up here, this question mark, the longer you work with Office 365, the more you’ll appreciate just how much effort and time…is all I can think because they’ve done a fantastic job of providing, in the product help. It’s there for you. You don’t have to go anywhere. I can click that Help icon, which is the question mark. I can click the Help button, and I can search.
If I say, “Instant messaging,” notice that it was contextual. It’s giving me results about performing instant messaging, but it’s in the Skype for Business admin center help. They’ve already narrowed down my questions to be contextual to where I’m at. That is amazing.
That’s like going around the mall, and you’re in a specific store, and you’re like, “Hey how do I get to product X?” They’re like, “Oh, you go two aisles to the left and two shelves down.” They’re not telling you how to go somewhere in a totally different store. That’s obviously very useful. That’s fantastic. That help is great.
You’ve also got a Settings menu. The Settings menu will depend on where you’re at and what you’re doing. For the most part, it can give you settings about your experience in Office 365. They do give some flexibilities there.
This little bell, these notifications, right now there’s nothing new. A lot of times, you’ll see some notifications in there.
As an admin, you want to pay attention to those. There’s a chance it may be something that will affect your users that you’ll want to know about because they’re going to look to you for answers. Whoever was in charge of this little section up here did such an amazing job.
There’s so much you can get from Office 365 without having to open a ticket, without having to open a search engine and do a search. You can just research right from in the product. You can always feel good about information you get from the product about the product, which is always a really nice thing to do when you work in IT.
The Skype for business admin center, awesome. I’m going to click the…I call it the grid. I know that’s not the official word for it, but I’m going to click the grid. I’m going to go to my admin tile down here and that’s going to take me back to the admin center. I’m going to scroll down and I just want to take a look here at the SharePoint admin center.
The SharePoint admin center would be what a SharePoint administrator…You’re assigned the role of administering the Office 365 implementation of SharePoint for your organization.
You can have many people assigned to that role. This is not specifically one person, but you’ll see that on the left hand side, this is where a SharePoint administrator would go to manage these things about their tendency.
They probably came from being what we called a farm administrator in an on‑premises SharePoint environment, and the Exchange admin probably came from being your Exchange administrator.
It’s possible to be trained specifically as a SharePoint administrator in Office 365 or an Exchange administrator in Office 365. The main difference is that you’re no longer going to have to worry about hardware patches and changing hard drives and setting up the networking for your internal system.
This has all been migrated over to Office 365 and to Microsoft’s experts, which is fantastic. You can focus on the functionality and setting things up that match your organization’s requirements. It’s really, really awesome.
Generally, what you’ll see is you’ll see less options on a SharePoint admin center than you would as a SharePoint farm administrator. If that’s your background, you would come to realize quickly, “Hey, oh you know what, the reason that I don’t have access to that is because I don’t need access to that. Microsoft is handling that part of the product for me now, which is great.”
I’m going to come back down to the admin tile here. I’ll go ahead and use that menu at the top. I’ll click the word admin. When I click Office 365, it takes me to the tiles. When I click the grid, it takes me to an expanded set of tiles. When I click the admin center, it takes me to the home page of the admin center, which, of course, is something that I want to do when I’m working with Office 365 in the administrative role.
I went over Exchange, Skype for business, SharePoint. These are the more popular products that people initially move into Office 365, but actually want to take a second and take a look at some of these other things that you may or may not know about.
Here’s a product called Sway. I’m using the grid, but if I click the Office 365 link, this is the same thing here.
When I first was learning about Office 365, I am, “What is Sway? What is it?”
Sway is awesome. Sway is a presentation engine that can create amazing scrollable presentations that you can share with people online or you can share with users within your organization. It’s really, really cool.
I’m just learning about this. I’m able to quickly put a presentation together and make it available just within 10, 15 minutes. It’s totally awesome. If I click Create New, I’m going to create a new Sway presentation, for example.
Notice, it takes me to sway.com. I didn’t have to do anything or set that up. It just took me there. It passed in some token that lets me know that I’m here and it’s me and I have a valid Sway license. Bam, look at that title of your Sway, I’ll say, “Great video.” I name it Great video. Drag an image here, where’s the image?
I’m not an expert at image licensing, but you’ll see you are responsible for respecting others rights, copyrights, things like that. If I say Interface Technical Training here and I do a search, it’s going to go out and it’s going to use the search engine and it’s going to bring back images.
Right here, this check box search results show images tagged with creative common licenses. What that means is, the images here have been cleared for certain uses and adding them to my Sway presentation out here, if I just drag that picture of Jason Helmick there. In fact, I set a caption, amazing image of rad dude, because Jason is a rad dude. That’s how easy it is to add that in.
If I grab this image of Steve Fulmer, he’s our instructor for PMPC. I’ll say, “Wow, great class.” My friend just took Steve’s class and loved it. I can say, OK, here’s my storyline, there’s a whole bunch of other things that you could do. I can [inaudible 15:37] play that. Just immediately, I’ve got this presentation.
There’s tons of effects and all I’m doing is scrolling to the right. You can see that it’s got these images in there. It’s like I’m making a PowerPoint slide presentation type of thing, but I’m doing it right in the browser.
I’ll say return to editing. Please do not use this simple example as the things you could do with Sway. I have friends that made unbelievable Sway demonstrations. Microsoft has some great examples as well.
Sway is just something that I didn’t even know what it was until I started preparing to teach Office 365 classes a while ago. It’s amazing. Another thing that is very popular is OneDrive for Business.
OneDrive for Business is a storage location in the cloud that will be connected to your clients when you log in. It’s a place that you can upload files and share files. You have this tremendous amount of storage capabilities that you can share things with people very easily.
Many people are familiar with OneDrive. Let me go back to Office 365.
Another piece that I’d like to share with you is this thing called Delve. I’m like, “What the heck is Delve?” back in the day. I went to a special seminar in [inaudible 17:02] at the SharePoint users group. The presenter there did a whole presentation on Delve and it just blew me out of the water.
This is a way of looking at the way you work, I guess, would be the case. It will track things that you do, people you communicate with, files that are really popular in your organization. It does a really, really powerful algorithms to surface those things, and then security trumps. If you don’t have access to them, you won’t see it here.
It surfaces those things and gives you a dashboard view of those objects, regardless of what service they exist in. Just because it’s a document in a SharePoint document library, in a SharePoint site, if I have access to that, and it’s a really popular and important document I’ve been working with, I can come to Delve and it would appear here.
It’s guessing like, “Hey, you probably are interested in this document or something that’s over here in SharePoint.” Like, “Hey that is something I’m interested in.”
Not to get super geeky, but I was blown away by this. The presenter was very nice and he explained that there’s this technology called Graph that’s listening. I suspect it’s working with the search technologies that SharePoint have, I don’t know for sure. I think Delve has the potential to revolutionize how people work together and collaborate as we move forward.
Some people are probably already embracing it, some people were like me, like, “What is Delve?” I had to do some research and I’m blown away by it.
There’re several other features here, but those are the main ones. I also want to just take a look here on the admin center. I’m going to go back to my admin tile. I’m going to click on one of the sub‑menus down here, that’s going to be settings.
If I click on settings, there’re several important links actually and one of the more important ones is services and add‑ins. If I click services and add‑ins, you’ll see that they’ve broken this down into, actually, a bunch of links, as your multi‑factor authentication, calendar, Cortana. I don’t know if it’s Cortana or Cortina, so I say Cortana.
Directory synchronization, docs.com, GigJam preview, basically these are going to be a bunch of different settings that you can use. Office online, Office software download centers. If I click Office software download centers, this is where I can control the defaults for my users as they’re downloading to their client machines or devices Office 365.
There’s a lot of settings in here. If I want to customize the settings for Office Professional Plus, you can see that the default here is going to be 2016 and they’re going to download that and it’s going to determine whether or not they get updates regularly every month or every four months.
Excuse me. How often do you want users to get feature updates? That’s what I mean by there.
You have a lot of options as an administrator ‑‑ I’m a global administrator ‑‑ to set these settings and then there’s, of course, a lot of options within that. As an overview video, I just want to review.
You log in to portal.office.com, you provide your credentials. It takes you to that home tile screen. If you’re an administrator, you can leap to the admin center by clicking the admin center tile or the admin tile.
If you just want to start using one of the services, like if I’m over here in my Office 365 screen, I want to get to my Outlook client in the Cloud, I just click mail and it opens up Outlook and bam, I’m right in there.
I can go ahead and start creating emails, look at my inbox. I can go and work with my Office 365 groups, which is a topic we’re going to cover later. They’re awesome. I can use Skype online and start instant messaging. I can create a new meeting. I can start a Skype meeting. I can do all of those things right from there.
You can go right to the tiles and use the services. As an administrator, you can go to the admin center and begin administering those things that have been delegated to you. We’re going to talk about that in another video about the idea of delegating administration.
There’s a ton of pre‑canned administration roles that as you start to learn them, you can say, “OK, well, here’s the people in my organization. These are the things that need to get done for my users. This is how we’re going to delegate those administrative tasks by assigning certain users the roles to do certain things.”
Like people that reset passwords, people that open trouble tickets, people that are managing the billing and payments, people that are managing user licenses and things like that. Ton of stuff in there.
Portal.office.com log in, get right to using a service if you’re an administrator. Get right to the admin center. You can go to the old admin center, use the new admin center. Use the navigation menus on the left hand side.
Please, and you’ll find this will be your friend, take advantage of, obviously, the countless hours they put in, really giving you great information in the help section. It will be contextual, the way you’re asking the questions. It’s fantastic.
Hopefully, that’s a good overview of Office 365. We didn’t cover everything. There’s a ton of services I didn’t cover. Covered the big ones. The Skype for business, the Exchange, the SharePoint. We took a look at Sway and Delve, some of those cool things and OneDrive, but there’s others. There’s organizations that are really leveraging Dynamics 365. We didn’t go into that.
There’s a ton of stuff out there. It’s really, really a mind boggling product and it’s a very exciting time to be involved in a space where you have Microsoft services running up in the Cloud. You get to take advantage of them by applying your settings and sending your users to them.
That’s it. That’s the overview of Office 365. I hope you enjoyed it.
For instructor-led Office 365 training classes, see our course schedule:
SharePoint Instructor – Interface Technical Training
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