Microsoft Ignite – Day Two: Microsoft Endpoint Manager, Multi-tenants and Yammer
As we close out the second day at Ignite 2019 it’s safe to say the running theme of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming a key underpinning capability across the entire Microsoft 365 service stack.
With the advent of natural language searches in Outlook and during Excel Queries right through to log analytics providing deep insight to user experience reporting – it’s clear that Microsoft have some pretty smart new functionalities still to come as we move into 2020.
Microsoft Endpoint Manager
Microsoft has announced that it is combining its System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) and Microsoft Intune services. This now allows enterprise organisations to manage their corporate desktops, laptops and mobile devices they provide to employees, under Microsoft Endpoint Manager (MEM) with Cloud intelligence at its core.
Our take on this move by Microsoft is that this is more than a simple rebranding of device management toolsets. The new Microsoft Endpoint Manager will include a new Device Management Admin Center (DMAC) and fairly comprehensive Desktop Analytics solution as well. As part of this move, Microsoft are also launching a number of tools and recommendations which will help organisations modernise their device deployment strategies across the board.
Those already using Microsoft Configuration Manager will now also get a license to Intune to allow them to move those devices to cloud-based management.
This means that they will be able to get a single view of their deployments with the Microsoft Endpoint Manager. Satya Nadella (Microsoft CEO) described this as “one of the most important announcements of the event”.
Essentially this toolset is providing existing Configuration Manager users an easy path to move to cloud-based device management with the Intune license.
As part of the new Endpoint Manager service user experience reporting will be able to identify how device health affects users. By using the signals captured in the Microsoft Graph, Endpoint Manager will be able to report on details such as boot time and storage performance on individual devices. Both examples have the potential to allow for better procurement decisions to be made when purchasing devices in the future. Win, win.
Further Endpoint Manager enhancements simplify Intune Configuration with Policy Sets, Guided Scenarios, Endpoint Security and device Baselines all going towards easing admin overhead which we have already experienced with a number of enterprise clients we have been working with.
Lastly, it will now be possible to create configuration items for certain mobile device providers who will be able to publish device configuration templates as OEM configurations increasing the ability to bring a wider selection of brands under MDM across the enterprise.
Multiple tenant support
There’s been a number of sessions this year around support for multiple tenants. Microsoft’s stance continues to be “one tenant” and to try and limit where multiple tenants are used. However, work on native cross tenant migrations and consolidations are underway with private previews becoming available to work with Microsoft on evolving this next year. This will initially support user mailbox migrations, with shared mailboxes and archives coming later on along with other Microsoft 365 data workloads.
The key ability here will be to share a company’s public namespace across tenants without the need for complicated 3rd party mail routing services or on-premises Exchange Header re-writing on day one of a company merger for example.
This is still a longer-term feature and not likely to be available for another 12 months. The solution will require Active Directory Synchronization Service (ADSS) to provide a consolidated directory and Exchange GAL, however detail on this is not readily available.
At the moment, most of this is limited to user mailbox migrations using existing Exchange mailbox MRS move capabilities, with day one concerns being focused on initially such exec support and cross tenant branding.
Exchange Online Admin Center updates and enhancements
And they say email is dead.
Another great example of the enhancements that have been announced at Microsoft Ignite over the course of the conference are those made within the Exchange Admin Center (EAC). Day-to-day we spend a fair bit of time in the EAC, so it was great to finally see that the UI will get a new look and feel.
And, by Microsoft’s own admission the current version has a ‘well-worn look and feel’. Although some might say, retro.
This new version can be tested out with limited features at https://admin.exchange.microsoft.com.
New Features of the Exchange Online Admin Center include:
- Simple mailbox management
- Personalised dashboard and reports for Exchange admin
- Improved Migration
As well as the EAC Interface, a number of new PowerShell CMD-LETS are now available which use the REST API making them faster and more reliable.
New Yammer features, updates and functionality
Its safe to say for many, Yammer has been a bone of contention within the Microsoft stack. Its fair to say that the platform probably hasn’t had as much attention as it should have done over the course of the past few years.
That said, this year we have new Yammer features, functionality and a completely refreshed UI to look forward to.
Interesting, Microsoft have announced that they are investing heavily in creating a mobile first experience for the Yammer application. All new features will now be available concurrently or ahead of the web experience.
Yammer has been rebuilt from the ground up. It’s also important to note here that this is the first application we have seen from Microsoft that fully encompasses their new Fluent Design systems.
The results don’t just deliver a new look, but we now have a fast, modern UI built for the modern age. Over the coming year, we’ll also start to see dozens of new features that will help organisations share, communicate, interact and discover content better than ever before.
Microsoft have announced that the new Yammer will be rolled out in 2020. There will be direct ties into both Microsoft Teams and Outlook and, it was also announced that eDiscovery will deploy to Yammer December 2019.
This will allow for eDiscovery searches to include Yammer conversations, communities, and files providing new capabilities for organizations that require greater compliance controls.
eDiscovery will support both per message and full conversation views, allowing admins to search, discover, and place legal holds on all messages and files in your network.
The Microsoft Edge Chromium browser will finally come out of development
Having been a keen user of the New Chromium Edge Browser, it was great to see it front and centre being pushed as almost ready for prime time with general availability planned for Q1 2020 – 15th January 2020 is the targeted date.
The new Microsoft Edge is being built on Chromium OS, the same open-source project that powers Google Chrome. We’ll also see sync support for passwords, favourites and histories across Windows, Android – and for our friends in the marketing department – macOS and iOS.
One of the key updates in the new Edge browser include an enterprise new tab page which Jared Spataro (Microsoft CVP) advised as “where you’ll have direct access to your Microsoft 365 files, sites, and intranet search, making every tab you open a portal to productivity”. This is a cool feature and ties nicely into the wider Microsoft Search developments that are also happening.
Oh. It also has a pretty slick new logo as well.
We are only a couple of days in with many more sessions to see and much more to discover however, I suspect the Microsoft AI will be pushing some recommended sessions down again this evening now it has gathered some data on the sessions I have attended so far, by capturing my signals and analysing them in Graph.
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Technical Consultant, Content and Code
Passionate about cloud computing and new technologies, Paul is a Technical Consultant at Content and Code. His responsibilities primarily involve the specifics related to deploying Office 365 services including Exchange, Teams, Office Pro Plus and OneDrive. He has three years of experience expanding his knowledge in Microsoft Cloud Services and Microsoft Collaboration technologies.
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