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Who in the IT Organization Owns Office 365?

Author: Perry Underdown | 4 min read | March 25, 2020

There have been many changes to the Microsoft Ecosystem over the last five years. Where previously IT departments only had to concern themselves with the administration of Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft SharePoint, the introduction of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem has introduced a number of new questions to IT leadership. Primarily who owns what?


The new Microsoft 365 application eco-system no longer consists of just Exchange and SharePoint, but rather 14 individual applications that integrate across the M365 framework.

And of course, this does not include the Microsoft Office Suite of:

  • Outlook
  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • Access


So, all in, that is 19 applications requiring support, training, and implementation across the organization. Plus, there are the issues of administration, security and governance to address.

Organize Based on Teams

In our experience we have found that when organizing a M365 implementation, it is best to group the applications, features and services into three separate teams. This will provide the best support across your organization and will help better define the “who owns what?” question. The three groupings we recommend are:

The Administration and Support Team

Administration and support falls along the traditional infrastructure and support framework, that most organizations are familiar with. Even though all applications reside in the cloud, there is still support and care required to maintain a healthy Office 365 environment. According to Gartner, “Microsoft averages around two updates to Office 365 per business day.”

The Application Empowerment Team

With the rise of SaaS, your employees have a choice when it comes to collaboration tools. The number of inexpensive public cloud solutions on the market enable employees to purchase tools outside of enterprise IT’s control. According to Gartner: “lack of alignment with business needs, culture and organizational structure encourages this behavior. The result can introduce risk and a disjointed set of tools that inhibit collaboration”. An application empowerment team can help mitigate this risk and ensure a smooth rollout across your organization.

Custom Development and Tools

Microsoft has created a new intuitive and visual development platform for M365 called Power Tools which is accompanied by an automated Workflow solution call Power Automate. This in conjunction with Power BI is called the Power platform. It is designed to allow individuals to rapidly design, integrate, automate and test new custom solutions.

Though an integral part of the Office 365 platform, it is best to treat the Power Apps suite like a standard set of development tools and organize accordingly, leveraging development methodologies such as Agile.

Where to Turn If You Need Help

With the numerous services and capabilities offered through the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, it’s imperative for the IT organization to effectively roadmap based not only on internal requirements but also on the strengths, weaknesses and maturity levels of the M365 suite of offerings. The rate at which this suite is changing requires an agile IT team able to keep up with the rapid pace of updates from Microsoft and the shifting needs of internal users. We’ve seen that a long-term programmatic approach leads to the most successful implementations and end user adoption rates.

We’re a Gold Microsoft Partner with extensive Office 365 implementation and management experience. Our flexible service delivery model gives your organization the support, administration and advisory services needed to maximize end user adoption and mitigate implementation roadblocks. Contact us with your implementation questions and we’d be happy to put you in touch with an expert who’s been in your shoes before.

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