Microsoft Ignite 2017 – Survey Results for Office 365 Usage & Management

During the Microsoft Ignite Conference in Orlando, FL, the 4Ward Team surveyed over 1,000 IT professionals that stopped by our booth. The survey was divided into two separate categories of questions, with one set for those who are involved with the management and administration of Office 365, while the other questions covered the general usage of Office 365 capabilities and how the features were being used within their organization.

The synopsis of those survey results is included below, along with attendee comments and discussion items related to the questions.

EXECUTIVE OVERVIEW

First of all, we would like to thank the attendees that stopped by our booth and took the time to answer these survey questions. Over 1,000 of you helped us create this white paper, and we are very grateful.

As we found out on day one of the MS-Ignite conference, there are many similar challenges between companies around the world as they struggle with increasing their usage, and improving the management and administration of Office 365.

One of the first things we identified in our surveys is that the usage of different workloads within Office 365 was growing quickly.

Many customers reported that OneDrive, SharePoint and especially Skype for Business, were becoming mainstay solutions that they would use every day to communicate and collaborate.

Exchange/Outlook was still the most commonly used application in Office 365, but many customers reported that sharing documents in other methods, instead of sending e-mail attachments, was starting to catch on. Specific survey results included the following:

Most Popular Application Besides Outlook

1. Skype for Business: 45%

2. OneDrive: 32%

3. SharePoint: 18%

Most Common Method to Share Documents

1. SharePoint: 37%

2. OneDrive: 30%

3. Outlook/Exchange: 29%

How Often do you Share Files with OneDrive?

1. Weekly: 76%

2. Never: 22%

3. Didn’t know it could do that: 2%

Have you Ever Made a Phone Call with Skype for Business?

1. Yes: 84%

2. No: 16%

OFFICE 365 MANAGEMENT CHALLENGES

The other interesting survey results came out of the questions to the attendees responsible for the Management, Administration and Support of Office 365.

These questions were more in-depth queries related to specifics around their day-to-day challenges and wish-list items to improve their overall security compliance, optimize license management, and streamline their operations of Office 365.

The most tell-tale of these findings were the top management challenges for their Office 365 environment. There was a virtual tie across the top for these three categories.

Biggest challenge you face with managing O365

1. License Management: 23%

2. Security Auditing: 23%

3. User Provisioning: 20%

The further drill-down questions for these expanded on the issues in more detail. What we found out was that security auditing is definitely something that all businesses wanted to do, but performing these checks manually is a time consuming and complex process. Almost half of the respondents stated that they ARE NOT performing these regular security audits of their environment because they are too difficult without a management tool to assist.

Why don’t you perform regular O365 security audits?

1. Need a management tool to help: 38%

2. Too difficult: 8%

3. We do perform them regularly: 54%

Another interesting outcome from the survey was related to the amount of manual intervention that IT admins perform to help them take care of Office 365.

A full 67% responded that they use their own custom PowerShell scripts, and a whopping 79% stated that they did User Provisioning tasks manually, or did so partly with their homegrown PowerShell scripts.

Additional details about all the survey questions are available within the different chapters of this white paper.

OFFICE 365 MANAGEMENT CHALLENGES

The first section of this white paper will cover the survey findings related to the most common management and administration challenges reported. We thought there would be an outright winner in this category, but were surprised when the final results were tallied.

As you can see from the chart below there was a virtual tie for the top spot between three Office 365 admin tasks, namely License Management, Security Auditing, and User Provisioning.

Chart 1: Biggest Challenge for O365 Management

The additional comments we received from the attendees taking the survey really drove home the struggles they were going through. We didn’t want to mention all of them, but here are a couple good ones that we wrote down at the booth.

“I KNOW WE’RE WAY OVERSUBSCRIBED IN OUR O365 LICENSES BY AROUND 1,000 ACCOUNTS, BUT THERE’S NO EASY WAY TO FIND THEM AND RECLAIM THE LICENSES. SO WE JUST BUY MORE.” — IT DIRECTOR, PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY

“IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO MONITOR THE THOUSANDS OF LOG EVENTS IN THE DIFFERENT O365 PRODUCTS TO WATCH OUT FOR SECURITY ISSUES. SO, WE ONLY FIGHT THE FIRES WHEN THEY BLOW UP.” — IT ADMIN, STATE GOVERNMENT AGENCY

LOTS OF MANUAL ADMIN ACTIVITIES

One of the most eye-opening survey results came from two different questions related to IT admin tasks to perform User Provisioning and create custom PowerShell Scripts. As we found out, there is an awful lot of manual intervention being performed by IT administrators to complete their day-to-day tasks when managing Office 365.

Chart 2: How do you perform User Provisioning for your Office 365 deployment?

Chart 3: Have you written custom PowerShell scripts to automate admin tasks for Office 365?

This also showed up during a question about running usage adoption campaigns. A whopping 22% of those questioned said that they would do more to drive Office 365 adoption if there was an automated way to perform campaigns and promote adoption and training.

SECURITY AUDITING

The survey question that gave the most pause to those being asked was the one related to how often they perform security audits of their Office 365 environment. This question prompted quite a bit of discussion and we recorded some great comments, as you can see from the quotes provided at the end of this section.

The overall consensus, once we tabulated the responses, was that all IT administrators wanted to perform security audits on a regular basis, if they had automated tools to assist them and make the process more streamlined. Just over 50% said they already performed these manually, while the others said that it was either too difficult, or they needed a management tool to help.

Chart 4: Do you perform regular Security Audits on your Office 365 environment?

The following comments were logged during the discussions about security auditing. As you can tell from the responses, this is a hot-topic for IT administrators responsible for the monitoring and care of their cloud deployments.

“WE HAD A ROOKIE SUPPORT PERSON WITH GLOBAL ADMIN RIGHTS CHANGE THE MAILBOX ACCESS RIGHTS FOR OUR CEO A COUPLE MONTHS AGO. WHEN HE FOUND OUT WHO HAD ACCESS TO READ HIS MAIL, THERE WAS HELL TO PAY. WOULD’VE BEEN NICE TO GET AN AUTOMATED ALERT WHEN THAT CHANGE WAS MADE, LET ME TELL YOU.” — IT DIRECTOR, MANUFACTURING COMPANY

“WE’VE TRIED WRITING OUR OWN POWERSHELL SCRIPTS TO SIFT THROUGH THE MOUNTAINS OF INFORMATION ON THE O365 LOG FILES AND FIND SECURITY ISSUES. BUT IT’S LIKE LOOKING FOR A NEEDLE IN A HAYSTACK. WHAT OUR BOSS WANTS ARE REAL-TIME ALERTS WHENEVER A SECURITY ISSUE SHOWS UP IN ANY OF THE DIFFERENT LOG FILES.” — IT ADMINISTRATOR, FINANCIAL SERVICES COMPANY

OFFICE 365 CHARGEBACK BILLING

The responses to the idea of setting up internal Chargeback Accounting / Billing for Office 365 licenses were split right down the middle. 50% of the attendees we talked to about configuring a chargeback model said that they weren’t interested.

However, 9% said that they already had Chargeback Billing in place for their different business units, and the other 41% said that they were willing to go that route if they had a reliable management tool to handle the process and ensure billing accuracy.

OFFICE 365 ADMIN RIGHTS DELEGATION

The survey also had specific questions related to the distribution of IT admin tasks within an organization. From our conversations at the booth during MS-Ignite this was a definite need for most companies so they could spread the load across multiple remote administrators and Help Desk personnel. But they wanted to ensure that they could delegate these rights with full security control over the specific capabilities they were distributing. Handing out Global Admin Rights made them cringe, even though 25% of the respondents told us that was how they were doing it currently.

Chart 5: Do you distribute Office 365 admin rights to remote administrators?

This topic spawned some great conversations at our booth. A couple of the best comments provided by IT Directors are included on this page.

“OF COURSE WE DON’T WANT TO GIVE OUT GLOBAL ADMIN RIGHTS TO OUR SHADOW IT GROUPS. BUT THERE’S NO GOOD ALTERNATIVE TODAY WITH THE ADMIN CENTER TOOL. THAT’S WHY WE’RE LOOKING AT COREVIEW.” — IT DIRECTOR, FOOD SERVICES COMPANY

“WE WOULD LIKE TO DRIVE MORE OF OUR ADMIN SUPPORT TASKS THROUGH OUR THREE, REGIONAL HELP DESKS. BUT WE CAN’T DO THAT UNLESS WE CAN CONTROL EXACTLY WHAT USERS THEY’RE ALLOWED TO MANAGE, AND SPECIFICALLY WHAT ADMIN TASKS THEY CAN PERFORM. BECAUSE COREVIEW HAS THE ABILITY TO SECURELY DELEGATE ADMIN TASKS USING RBAC, IT IS VERY ATTRACTIVE FOR US.” — IT DIRECTOR, HEALTHCARE ORGANIZATION

Additional conversations at the booth revolved around the needs for segmenting a single Office 365 tenant into different partitions, or sub-tenants. Most customers wanted that capability to help distribute the monitoring and management of their different business units to the IT groups and Help Desks who already support their other desktop software.

OFFICE 365 USAGE FINDINGS

The final section of this survey results white paper will cover the statistics from the questions related to general usage of Office 365. As reported in the Executive Summary, the surveys showed excellent expansion of different products beyond the common e-mail usage of Outlook.

What was interesting from the interviews of the survey respondents was that they are now comfortable with sharing documents using OneDrive and SharePoint instead of sending them as file attachments in Outlook. But the heavy winner in the discussion was the expansion of Skype for Business as an every-day communication tool.

During the booth discussions around the survey questions the respondents made it seem commonplace and natural to be using OneDrive to share documents regularly, and using Skype for Business to make phone calls. Although, given that the MS-Ignite event is attended by more technical savvy users and IT folks, the responses to these survey questions must be weighted towards power users.

Chart 6: Besides Outlook, what Office 365 products to you use most often?

Another interesting item we found out during the survey was related to the expansion of SharePoint usage. The question about sharing documents within the organization was heavily in favor of SharePoint. Of course, some users, 29% to be exact, still listed Outlook as their preferred method of sharing documents with colleagues, the two other methods, namely SharePoint and OneDrive, came out ahead as a preferred method.

Chart 7: What is the most popular method at your company for sharing documents?

INFORMATION ABOUT COREVIEW

If you are interested in learning more about the CoreView solution and how it can help streamline your administration and management of Office 365, then please use the links below to access more information and watch videos of the solution in action.