Microsoft improves Office 365 communications tools and announces new Service Communications API

Brad Stephenson

Microsoft improves Office 365 communications tools and announces new Service Communications API

In a recent post on the official Office Blogs, Microsoft reiterates their promise to maintain a 99.9% uptime with their Office 365 service and also provides some insight into steps they’ve taken to improve the user experience and alert users to any service issues that may occur.

The Service Health Dashboard, which shows an up-to-date view of Office 365 services availability, has been improved to send service alerts to users 60 percent times faster than previously and more actionable information is now provided on the Dashboard such as the possible user experience, workaround suggestions, estimated time to restoration and analysis of the initial root cause of the error.

New intelligent error messages have also been implemented to reduce the need for users to reach out to an admin or help desk during an incident by providing more details on an incident and information on whether staff are already aware of the issue. A similar notification system will also inform admin of potential risks such as users having out-of-date software on their computer.

A convenient way for administrators to manage Office 365 is the official Office 365 Admin app for Windows Phone, iOS and Android devices. This app has now been updated with new service incident push notifications that alert the user to service incidents in addition to displaying possible actions that can be taken as well as overall service health.

Finally, a public preview of the Office 365 Service Communications API has been officially announced and is already being used by several providers of service monitoring and management solutions such as BetterCloud, ENow, Cogmotive and Exoprise. The API provides programmatic access to Office 365 service incident communications and grants the ability to surface critical Office 365 service communications directly within the help desk and service management tools. A video was provided by Exoprise as an example of how the API can be used.

Microsoft appears to be genuinely interested in user feedback on their services and will be hosting a YamJam on Tuesday, June 30th 9:00-10:00 a.m. PDT on the Office 365 Network to hear feedback and suggestions. Are you an Office 365 user? How would you like to see the service improve?