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Today, we are happy to announce the General Availability (GA) of the new Inventory in the Microsoft 365 Apps admin center; a new experience specifically tailored to provide admins instant answers on the state of Microsoft 365 Apps in the enterprise environment.
Using the new dashboards, you as an admin can quickly identify potential issues. By getting a view of the build spread in your organization, you evaluate if you need to consolidate and update devices running unsupported Office app versions. You can see detailed information about add-ins installed on devices across the organization. You also have access to the raw Inventory, so you can drill through the device-level details and use filters to create views based on your requirements.
We also are happy to release the Security Update Status feature to GA. Based on inventory data, you as an IT pro can get an overview of how many devices are already running the latest security updates. You can slice and dice the data per channel or drill down to a list of devices missing security updates for the Microsoft 365 Apps. The report can be customized by setting your own goals for security currency and get a near-real time view of how close you are to these goals, such as having 90% of all devices running the latest security update within five days.
Both features are true cloud services providing you, as an admin, unparalleled insight into channels, releases, security and support status. Paired with the fact that both features span all Microsoft 365 Apps instances activated by your tenant, regardless of the management or directory domain of the device, this gives admins a more complete picture.
As mentioned, the Inventory in the Microsoft 365 Apps admin center is loaded with detailed reports and insights which are specifically built for the Microsoft 365 Apps. Onboarding is simple. Just visit Inventory on config.office.com and click, “Get started.” This enables devices to register to the service, and admins can get a full overview of their devices with Microsoft 365 Apps installed within a few hours. The landing page highlights key insights, flagging how many different releases are deployed, which update channels are in use, what the architecture split looks like, and what the most installed add-ins are:
Each insight has rich data behind it, which you can explore in greater detail by navigating into the different sections. You can get a full breakdown of all releases down to the device level. Or, see additional information about a given device and its Microsoft 365 Apps installation:
Maybe you are interested in getting a better understanding of which Component Object Model (COM)-based add-ins are installed in your environment or how many installs of different versions are out there:
Based on the same near-real time data from devices powering Inventory, you can also assess your security stance using the Security Update Status page:
On a high level, you get an immediate insight into the share of devices which are already running the latest security update. You then can drill through this data by breaking the status down per channel or getting a full list of devices missing important security updates.
As mentioned before, this not only includes managed devices, but all devices which have a Microsoft 365 Apps installation that has been activated and used by an Azure Active Directory (AAD) user from your tenant. This way, you could also identify Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD), which would pose a risk to your tenant by missing important security updates.
From our early adopters
Since Ignite 2020, when these features were released into preview, our engineering and Microsoft 365 Apps Ranger teams have partnered with customers around the world, ranging in size from 10,000 to 300,000 seats across the enterprise and education spaces. While we shaped and improved the service during the preview phase, we consistently heard the following feedback from those early adopters:
Putting the new Inventory as well as the Security Update Status feature to work is as easy as can be. As true cloud services, there is no need to set up on-premises infrastructure, deploy software agents or policies to devices. Within minutes after the activation, admins were able to see the inventory populate automatically. Leveraging the unified integration into the Office product, it can be run side-by-side with other inventory solutions. For example, a device can report to Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager while the Microsoft 365 Apps installation reports its inventory directly to the Microsoft 365 Apps admin center.
The second important aspect was that Inventory, as well as the Security Update Status page, are specifically tailored to the Microsoft 365 Apps and are available in one place. Instead of having to build custom reports in a management solution which might be operated and owned by another team, the admin team owning the Microsoft 365 Apps get pre-build reports which they can access at any time.
Finally, customers valued the deep insights into which add-ins and versions are installed on devices. Often, add-ins can influence the user experience dramatically when it comes to performance and stability of the Microsoft 365 Apps. Several customers used this data to consolidate a wide version spread for an add-in or kicked off uninstall campaigns for add-ins which are out of support and should no longer be used.
Get started today
We encourage you to start evaluating the Inventory and the Security Update Status page. It only takes a few minutes to enable the new feature. It does not block other management solutions and the registration into Inventory is silent to the user. Just navigate to the Inventory overview page, enable the feature and see devices trickle in within minutes. To learn more, check out our documentation or watch the video from Ignite.
This is just the starting point
Today, there are more than 18 million devices registered into Inventory. We’ve gotten overwhelmingly positive feedback on today’s capabilities, but we’re not stopping anytime soon . We are working on even more features built on top of Inventory, like security vulnerability reporting, historical uptake trends for the Security Update Status, insights into add-in usage as well as cross-update channel comparisons, to name a few.
Brought to you by Dr. Ware, Microsoft Office 365 Silver Partner, Charleston SC.