Introduction to the IT Roadmap Planning Tool for Microsoft 365
Microsoft introduced at Microsoft Ignite 2017 a new Planning Tool designed to help organizations to make a more proper and effective use of Microsoft 365 services and applications. The tool, still in preview, allows you to build custom deployment and configuration plans for Microsoft Office 365 services and applications based on current deployment status and the next level(s) the organization wants to meet. In this article, I will make an overview of the IT Roadmap Planning Tool for Microsoft 365.
Say Goodbye to Traditional PC Lifecycle Management
Traditional IT tools, including Microsoft SCCM, Ghost Solution Suite, and KACE, often require considerable custom configurations by T3 technicians (an expensive and often elusive IT resource) to enable management of a hybrid onsite + remote workforce. In many cases, even with the best resources, organizations are finding that these on-premise tools simply cannot support remote endpoints consistently and reliably due to infrastructure limitations.
Getting Started with the IT Roadmap Planning Tool for Microsoft 365
First thing you should do is just access the light edition of the tool. Note that If you are a Microsoft Partner, you can access a more complete version of the tool through the Microsoft Business Value Programs.
On the welcome page, just click the “Start Assessment” button, so you can see the tool in action.
Figure 1 — IT Roadmap for Microsoft 365 Home Page
The next step is to select Microsoft 365 services we want to use to start defining the IT Roadmap. As you can see in the services selection page, Microsoft recommends choosing no more than 4 services as the starting point. Once you have selected the desired services, just click on “Get Started”.
Figure 2 — Services Selection to Start Building the IT Roadmap
In my case, I have selected the following services:
- Group collaboration services
- Intranet and search services
For each service selected, you have a service assessment organized by categories and for each category, you have up to 4 possible configuration levels:
- For instance, for “Group collaboration services” we have the following categories: Messaging, File Sharing, Teamwork, and Broad collaboration.
- For each category, we always have a level 1 as your starting evaluation point and you can go up to a level 4 depending on the maturity level you have got in regards to service category configurations. As you can see, for each category level, the tool defines a set of actions that should be implemented to be compliant with that level and have the possibility to move to the next level. For each level, available actions can be checked as completed (green checkmark), not applicable (gray checkmark), or not completed (red checkmark). The more actions are checked in green in each service assessment category, the less configuration work needs to be done in the services to be compliant with the corresponding category level.
Figure 3 — Example of a Service Assessment Category and Related Category Levels
Getting Evaluated in Regards to Microsoft 365 Services Settings
Once you have checked all the settings already in place in our Microsoft 365 services (green checkmark), the real tool assessment starts by clicking on the “Assessment Summary” button:
- You get a global optimization score value indicating, on a scale of 4, our current global level in regards to services configuration.
- For each individual service, you also get a service configuration level and the next level you can reach as soon as you implement suggested configuration tasks.
Figure 4 — Service Optimization Scores
From the “Assessment Summary” page, you will be able to perform the following actions:
- An overview of all the actions you should implement to raise your service optimization score. For each measure, you will see information about the expected user impact, the effort required to implement the measure, and if there is FastTrack support/guidance. Of course, for each measure, you also have links to Microsoft official documentation that can help you to set it up.
Figure 5 — Overview of the Actions Suggested to Raise a Service Optimization Score
- Go back to the starting assessment to add new services or modify existing ones.
- Generate a Roadmap document that will include all the measures to be implemented to raise the services optimization score for your Microsoft 365 deployment. Of course, you can modify this document to add your custom content to it.
Figure 6 — Generated IT Roadmap Sample
The IT Roadmap Planning Tool for Microsoft 365 is just another good example of Microsoft commitment to help organizations of any size and sector to measure not only the maturity level in the use of Microsoft 365 services but also what actions could be done to increase the services optimization score.