Office 365 – Windows Phone App

While I know I am in the minority when it comes to phones, I prefer using my Windows Phone to any other device out there. With this phone and OS, the choice Applications is a bit limited. However, Microsoft in their wisdom released the Office 365 Admin App for the Windows Phone. I believe we are at version 2.8 now. What is nice about this is that the Live Tile does work and will notify me when a tenant I am monitoring has its service degraded by some outage or problem that may have occurred today.

Live Tile
One of the great overlooked features for Windows Phones are Live Tiles which can show something other than the normal icon for an App. For the 365 Admin App, that means the normal icon appears like this:

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(Yes, I have Minecraft…. I thank my kids for that one….)

While a service degradation in Office 365 triggers the Live Tile feature which looks like this:

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Simple and easy notification to the administrator that there is an issue with their tenant.

The App in Action
Once in the app there is a quick display screen that appears:

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We see here I have a bunch of unlicensed users, my service degradation message again, current messages and support button.

For my tenant I had noticed the ‘Service Degraded’ message on my Live Tile, so now I tap the ‘Health’ button to see what the issue is:

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Here I see the email part of Office 365 is having an issue. If we click on a particular message a more detailed message appears to explain what is going on, just like the web portal for Office 365.

Next, we can look at the messages that Office 365 generates to inform tenant admins of new features and announcements for Office 365:

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Click on a particular message will also reveal more detailed information on the message.

Next screenshot shows that by clicking on the ‘Support’ button we can see the phone number for calling for Office 365 support and if there are any current open tickets for the tenant.

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We can also leave feedback about the app in case we have something we noticed or would like to suggest for improvement or addition:

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There is also a place to add a passcode for the app for additional security:

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The most useful part of the app itself is the user section where we can see a list of users in the environment:

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Review a user’s settings – phone number, title and email address

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We can edit some users details, but more importantly assign a license as well reset the users password:

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What It Is & Isn’t

First and foremost, it is not an Office 365 Admin site replacement. The app is not meant to be a full featured replacement. As it stands now, it is at best a quick interface into your Office 365 Tenant while you are mobile. You can check on its status, manipulate some user data as well as check out the latest features released into the cloud.

What you cannot do is manage Exchange, SharePoint, OneDrive, etc. Pretty much every major function of Office 365 is unavailable.

One messaging admin who downloaded it onto his iOS device said just the password reset feature included is worth it for him. If that was the only feature, he would have been fine with the app. I like that you can also license a user which can be useful with a migration or adding a new user without having to load the website up for your tenant.

Improvements Needed

From the last section it would seem that there are numerous features that are missing – intentionally at this point I am sure. However, now that admins have a taste for the mobile administration, it would be nice if these features could be added over time:

  • Exchange Administration – add users, distribution groups, policies, etc.
  • SharePoint Administration – manage sites, add sites, etc.
  • One Drive Administration
  • CRM view and or edit
  • PowerShell interface – while this might not be possible, it would be nice to perform these actions while on the go.
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