December 5, 2022
min read
Kas Nowicka
Kas has spent the last decade working with Microsoft’s cloud solutions and sharing governance, adoption, and productivity best practices with the MVP community.
Microsoft 365 Admin Center

Microsoft Office 365 administration is a cobbling together of all sorts of IT-specific responsibilities. Anyone familiar with the M365 suite knows how many features and functions are included across licenses, but with so much to manage, it can be difficult to keep things organized.

The Microsoft Office 365 Admin Center is the web-based portal where Microsoft 365 administrators can coordinate their workflows. From managing user accounts to configuring settings for applications like Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Microsoft Teams, there’s a lot that the M365 Admin Center can do for an organization.

What Is the Microsoft 365 Admin Center?

To coordinate and streamline the many features of M365, Microsoft provides the Microsoft Admin Center, which is made up of a collection of various tools and resources that help M365 admins manage their tenant, users, IAM, teams, subscriptions and more.

Users can access the Admin Center through the cloud to review a variety of administrative functions and settings:

  • Manage applications and services
  • Set and review policies for identity management
  • Review access control and security
  • View reports and data
  • Manage users and teams
  • Create support requests

The Admin Center also includes customization options to further boost efficiency, such as pinning the most pertinent information and actions to the home screen for easy access.

Users can also choose between Dashboard or Simplified view options to make things even easier. The Simplified view is meant for smaller businesses who need visibility into processes but may not require the extra bells and whistles.

The Dashboard view offers more detailed breakdowns of active users, license management, security policies, and more to give users complete control over their M365 administrative functions. Note that the Admin Center is just one of many tools available to users in the M365 suite, but it’s an excellent starting point for taking control of your M365 tenant.

Every business using Microsoft’s services will need to understand these essential features and how to apply them across their enterprise. The top-level controls found in the Admin Center are standard tools for M365 security and coordination, and while it does have some drawbacks worth noting, companies should first get familiar with what’s available to them before seeking out improvements. 

How Do I Open Admin Center?

The Admin Center is easy to use and easy to find. Start here:

  1. Log in through
  2. Sign in
  3. Select the App Launcher tab
  4. Choose “Admin”

That’s it! In the Admin Center, users can personalize their home screens by adding new cards for their most common tasks, with more advanced configuration settings available in the navigation menu.

For example, users can select the “Billing” tab in the Admin Center to review invoices and active subscriptions, or use the “Reports” tab to define unique reporting periods and generate powerful data sets for application usage and project activity.

On-the-go users may also want to consider the M365 mobile app, which offers all the same functionality direct to an approved mobile device. In the era of remote workforces and hybrid work paradigms, this type of mobile access can go a long way in improving efficiency, communication, and collaboration across teams.

Is There an Alternative to the Native Admin Center?

Many M365 shops, especially smaller organizations, make do with the native M365 Admin Center, and often do not know an alternative exists.

Many that know about alternatives still ask “Isn’t the Microsoft 365 Admin Center enough for my enterprise? Don’t they have admin centers to handle all the applications and services?”

As this question suggests, there isn’t just one Microsoft 365 Admin Center. Instead, there are a dozen or so distinctly different admin centers — each aimed at different applications and services, each with a different approach —often a very different approach.

That is the problem.

It is too much for one administrator to know and master all these areas, and it is cumbersome to jump in and out of different admin centers to manage all of Microsoft 365. Native Microsoft 365 administration can be complex with several noteworthy drawbacks to its operation:

  • Substantial need for scripting
  • A lack of automation
  • Poor workflow and policy management
  • No singular view and control center

Many admin tasks, even simple ones, require manual processes and PowerShell scripting. This scripting is time-consuming to create, and it takes a long time for the script to gather the data.

Add to that the fact that there is often no centralized storage for these PowerShell scripts, which means that they are often written and rewritten by various administrators over time, and the cumulative cost in terms of time and resources starts to come into view. Moreover, even after the data in question has been collected, there is not always an easy and clear way to report – or act meaningfully – with the data at hand.

How Does CoreView Make the Life of a Microsoft 365 Administrator Easier?

When using the various Native Microsoft 365 Admin Centers, IT teams need to include specialists, in say Exchange or SharePoint, to do a good job with administration.

Each user interface is different, and ways in which you gather data to build reports can be quite distinct. Additionally, almost all processes are PowerShell driven or manually intensive, which makes them far more error prone than established, automated and repeatable processes.

With CoreView, one administrator can manage all the services and features included with their M365 tenant from a single, web-based user interface. This makes it much simpler and more efficient to dive deep into tenant data without the need for scripting or manual processes.

Moreover, once a specific automated workflow is created, it is readily available for anyone else who is authorized to use it, which means there is far less need for specialized expertise in all aspects of M365 across your full IT team.

And while a single administrator could theoretically manage all aspects of your M365 deployment with CoreView, there is still the reality of limited working hours in a given week. Sometimes, tasks pile up, and this can slow down other departments within your organization as well.

To alleviate this, CoreView includes the ability to define “perfect permissions” for administrative users who need access to certain elements of the M365 controls, but – for the sake of security – cannot be granted full administrative privileges.

This means that your central IT team can delegate tasks with highly specific permissions to appropriate managers who are relying on those tasks being completed.

This serves to both speed up these tasks for the involved stakeholders, and it reduces your central IT team’s workload, so they can focus primarily on tasks that only they are qualified and able to carry out.

Protect Your M365 Tenant With CoreView

CoreView offers deep Microsoft 365-specific security protection, governance and compliance. Take a self-guided tour of the product to learn how.

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Created by M365 experts, for M365 experts.