The Microsoft Office 365 Portal is a great tool for managing Office 365. But for IT administrators who want detailed usage reports, custom administrative settings, and overall more effective cost management insights, GSX’ solutions remain crucial tools. Here we’ll delve into some of the differences between our solutions and the new capabilities of the Office 365 Admin Center for reporting and administration of Office 365.
We’ll start with the reporting portal. Microsoft Office 365 recently released a new reporting portal, with some improvements and advanced capabilities over its previous version.
“The centerpiece of the new reporting is a cross-service portal that gives you more visibility into your organization’s use of Office 365, making it easy for your to make decisions or report back to your management,” said Ann Michels, a senior product marketing manager for Office 365, in a recent Microsoft blog post.
Microsoft Office 365’s new reports dashboard shows graphs of key data and allows you to customize reporting periods to identify trends. A variety of new reports can be generated that “provide consistent insights across all 365 services with a highly improved user experience.”
Still, the Office 365 portal offers limited information when considering what many IT professionals and Office 365 administrators are looking for in today’s environment.
For instance, the Office 365 portal shares what licenses you have and what their status is, but not your license usage over time. Most IT pros want to know what licenses are being used by which end-users they are assigned to. IT pros who use GSX 365 Usage are able to check license usage over time, with this information retained for up to a year. GSX lets you better visualize what licenses your organization purchased versus what you’re actually using, which allows you to make better decisions when it comes to licensing renewals and purchases. With GSX, you can view how licenses are applied, who’s actually using them, and what licenses are active or inactive. This information is all located centrally on the dashboard. Office 365’s portal offers less usage information and doesn’t retain the usage over time metrics as far back.
Another reason IT professionals and Office 365 admins should employ GSX is its advanced reporting tools. GSX allows you to schedule reports for daily, weekly, or monthly updates, and you can export reports in CSV or PDF formats. With the Office 365 reporting portal, users must manually log in to view reports (rather than have a report sent to them). Once they’ve accessed the portal, the downloading options are more limited, making it difficult to share the reports and information in desired formats.
As with any monitoring and reporting tool, it’s important to manage access permissions so that data remains secure. With the Office 365 portal, admins either have access to view everything or nothing within the system. With GSX, you can give different users varying levels of permissions to secure your company’s data. Only the admins who need to know certain information (like who’s using what licenses) will have access to that data. With GSX, you can create customized dashboards for each user, and therefore control who has access to your company’s valuable usage data. When data influences decision making, it’s good to have customizable options for who in your organization can view it.
Moving on to Microsoft 365’s standard admin portal, you’ll notice some limitations there as well. It is clearly geared towards smaller companies. There’s nowhere to apply actions to multiple users within the admin portal. There is also no tracking of each administrator’s actions and limited delegation capabilities within the portal, making it difficult to keep your environment secure. Overall, the portal is not optimized to manage the licenses and help you make informed spending decisions.
The GSX 365 Enterprise Management Solution for Microsoft administration addresses these issues. It lets IT administrators apply actions to multiple users, track actions, and delegate administrator access levels. With these capabilities, it addresses the needs of much larger organizations by providing the necessary features for Office 365 monitoring and management. GSX’s Solution also helps you oversee what licenses you’re using, and the licenses that your organization could go without -- saving your company money in the long run.
As you can see, Microsoft’s built-in portals for admin and reporting are a good start for anyone looking for an overview of Office 365 usage. However, those who require deeper analytics and reporting tools will continue to benefit from the insights provided by GSX Solutions. Our solutions fill the gap between what Office 365 gives you and what you need to successfully monitor and manage your organization’s usage.
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