Life for a managed services provider (MSP) is seldom straightforward. Support staff in the service center have long had to juggle between screens as they log in and out of numerous applications from different vendors in the course of their day-to-day remote management operations. Over the years advances in technology have created ever more diverse technical environments for them to manage. Nowadays it's commonplace for customers to have a mix of traditional on-premise IT along with mobile devices and the latest cloud-based applications. The number of management screens just keeps on multiplying - all the while pushing up the time and costs of administration.
The Microsoft® Office 365™ cloud-based collaboration, communications and productivity software platform is a good example. Its combination of Exchange e-mail, SharePoint online, Lync VoIP and conferencing online, web hosting via SharePoint and the Office Web Apps has proved extremely popular with businesses of all sizes. Indeed Microsoft's own executives have described it as the fastest growing business in its history. Little surprise, then, that it has also gained a strong channel following with more than 60 percent of top MSPs seeking to wrap their services around one of the market's current best sellers.
Yet managing this along with a multitude of other applications is no picnic. Our MSP partners have been telling us that they would like a more convenient way to administer hybrid physical and online environments so that they can add value for customers with the Office 365 cloud platform. In view of the large numbers of MSPs using Office 365, developing a solution to help our customers support and obtain recurring revenue streams from supporting Office 365 with ease and simplicity has been a priority.
The Microsoft Office 365 service module for AVG Managed Workplace®, just released, goes some way towards addressing this issue. It allows our channel partners to provide management services such as user password resets and mailbox policies - which Microsoft typically will not do — via a single screen through AVG Managed Workplace. In fact the module allows MSPs to remotely perform five of the most popular management tasks. Apart from the two already mentioned you can also set license expiration alerts, receive service down notifications and managing users without using Windows PowerShell®. Other administrative tasks can be accessed without any additional logins.
Allowing administrators to view all the essential information they need about cloud-based and on-premise applications together within the same screen in this way gives IT services providers the best of both worlds. In so doing it neatly solves problem of multiple logins for partners and helps them to run their operations more efficiently.
Our simplification of Office 365 management for services providers is a clear demonstration of our commitment to our channel partners. We will continue to add modules to AVG Managed Workplace that allow IT service providers reap productivity benefits and deliver long-term value to their customers.
In summary, the Office 365 service module represents a first step in developing easy ways to manage cloud data within AVG Managed Workplace — something that appears destined to become commonplace as more everyday objects and devices are IP-connected to form the Internet of Things. It also further enhances the wide range of productivity benefits already available to MSPs who use AVG Managed Workplace to remotely manage the IT of their entire customer-base through the same, single pane of glass.
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