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Blog Post|3 minutes

How to Reach IT Happiness with Office 365

July 8, 2016

Remote workers aren’t happy.

They’re trying — marketing hype tells them they should be satisfied in a work world that supports personal mobile devices, customizable desktops and cloud services. But despite their best efforts, technology issues keep getting in the way. Applications don’t launch, connections aren’t stable and files won’t sync — and what happens if IT isn’t responsive enough, doesn’t have the data necessary to diagnose root problems instead of symptoms? The rise of shadow IT and the alienation of even tech-savvy employees is significant.

Consider the case of Office 365, one of Microsoft’s biggest pushes into the cloud and a source of significant frustration for employees. This may be the ideal starting point for our series on the hypothesis of IT happiness.

Is there a way for admins to permanently solve problems with the production suite and get users back on track?

Productivity Problems

Microsoft’s cloud-based office suite offers a number of benefits, for example real-time co-authoring in Word, Excel and PowerPoint along with Skype in-app integration. And no surprise — Exchange Email is reliable and fast. But the offering also comes with more than a few hiccups which can make life difficult for employees and administrators alike. As noted by InfoWorld, for example, Exchange online only retains deleted emails for two weeks and while it’s possible to alter the retention time with a remote PowerShell connection the maximum allowable time limit is 30 days; on-premise Exchange gives companies direct control over this retention period.

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There’s also the problem of OneDrive, which should be a Dropbox clone but was split into OneDrive and OneDrive for Business, frustrating both admins and employees trying to save or access files in the cloud. And according to Tech Target, connection to Active Directory Federated Services (AD FS) doesn’t always work as advertised — if you try to connect remotely or use email connections to sign in you’ll come up against an error message. Long story short? Investing in Office 365 is often necessary to keep your business running — but many differences between the apps have a detrimental effect on employee morale.

Solving For X

So what do IT professionals need to help combat Office 365 problems and increase overall end-user satisfaction?

It starts with data — who’s accessing what, when and for what purpose? What other processes were running when a crash occurred or applications refused to play nicely?

While it’s possible to handle issues on a case-by-case basis, most IT departments simply can’t handle the throughput. What’s more, both admins and executives get testy when constant firefighting doesn’t put out the IT blaze.

Of course, needing data and finding what you need are two very different things. Just as Office 365 increases complexity with multiple versions of OneDrive, the service also isn’t terribly forthcoming with user activity data. As a result, IT professionals often have a general idea of the end-user experience but don’t know the nitty-gritty details.

The solution? Try a more robust monitoring solution like Nexthink’s Office 365 module — dashboards give you details on security and access, adoption rates of new apps and the stability of existing apps. In other words you get the ability to dive deep, identify common Office issues and resolve them at the source.

Office 365 has a reputation for frustrating admins and employees alike — improve everyone’s mood by getting the last word on Office issues.

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