SharePoint administrators for on-premise farms and admins on Office 365 have a lot of crossover responsibilities. However, on-premises admins have more on their plates - they’re responsible for managing the platform from the initial configuration, to set up, and eventually, maintenance.
On the other hand, SharePoint admins working on an Office 365 stack don’t have to worry about maintaining the servers in the farm, installing SharePoint and other infrastructure related issues.
Despite the reduced workload in Office 365, there are still a lot of things admins have to do - like managing users, managing the Search Schema, administering Site Collections and monitoring the storage quota for each. In this post, we will look at five key focuses for a SharePoint Admin who wants to manage Office 365.
Whether it’s SharePoint on-premises or online, managing users will always be a key responsibility of the SharePoint admin. Organizations naturally want users to get the most out of their SharePoint infrastructure, so it’s important for admins to keep these key points in mind:
- The number of users – Each user should have a license for Office 365. It’s, therefore, essential that admins take care of the licensing accordingly. Admins are also mandated with reassigning unused licenses in the Office 365 Admin Center, which saves time, costs and effort.
- Who are the target end users – Admins should have a good knowledge of the target end users who are going to use the platform. This will help them configure Office 365 properly while keeping everyone in mind.
- Know what staff use SharePoint for - If end users are going to use SharePoint for document management and project timelines, an admin should create a project site for the team. This is about aligning the technology with real needs.
Office 365 SharePoint allows a lot of flexibility in controlling what users are allowed to do with different sites and pages. In fact, there's so much flexibility that management and maintenance can easily become over complicated. It’s better to outline one golden rule for our SharePoint administration: Keep it simple!
- Use a fixed set of permission levels and reuse them wherever necessary.
- Subsites should inherit the permission from the parent unless there's a good reason not to do so.
- Avoid breaking item-level permissions.
- Use Security Groups to manage users with the appropriate permission levels.
Although it’s possible to assign permission levels to individual users, an Admin should not overuse this option as it makes the managing and tracking of user permissions very difficult. It's far more practical to assign users to SharePoint groups associated with the permission level they need. You can watch a quick video on how Sharegate can help you manage security on Office 365.
SharePoint is a collaboration tool which has evolved dramatically over the years, yet its basic purpose will be always centered on managing content. It’s therefore very important that admins manage content effectively. Choosing appropriate site templates to manage the content is a first step towards creation of a SharePoint site.
There are various site templates provided as out of the box by Office 365. For example, admins can create a site collection with the Blog template for the CEO of the organization for when he/she decides to create a personal blog.
With Office 365, SharePoint has shifted its emphasis from Web Parts to ‘Apps’, which provide similar benefits to web parts but which can run outside the SharePoint environment and are browser based. This makes it easier to add and remove third party or custom components.
Typical examples here are Yammer and OneDrive. Admin can add social networking capabilities by integrating the Yammer app into SharePoint and users can seamlessly access the social features of Yammer right from SharePoint, making it easy for the organization to reduce the overhead of implementing and managing its own social network.
Once initial installation and setup is complete, the task of the SharePoint Admin has only just begun. You want make sure you are properly enforcing your security policies and that your environment is compliant with your business standards through out its whole lifecycle.
Good governance ensures business value and continuous improvement. Find out more about effective governance, I invite you to read our blog series on the subject.
Efforts paying in the long run
The task of a SharePoint admin is not at all easy. There's the constant checking after users and what they do, the potential security leaks left unattended, or the usual day-to-day maintenance to keep performances top notch. But if we stay focused on these key points, we can keep it organized and well planned.
Of course, almost all the actions resulting from theses points can be accomplished with the out of the box features of SharePoint. It'll be time consuming, inefficient, and frustrating at time, but it can be done! A good thing could be using a third party tool (like Sharegate!) to perform these tasks to manage Office 365 and SharePoint more easily.
What is in your weekly administration routine and could apply to other organizations?