Here’s to another year of practical advice on all things Microsoft! Practical 365 is wrapping up the year with a whopping 200+ articles, focusing on topics such as PowerShell, Exchange, Azure AD, Teams, and much more. We understand that that is a lot of articles to read in one year, and you may not have had the time to catch them all.
Therefore, we wanted to share this short list of must-read articles from 2022 to enjoy over the holiday season.
It’s the Graph, Always the Graph…
I spent a lot of time writing about two major topics in 2022: using the Microsoft Graph and Azure Automation with PowerShell. There’s no doubt that Microsoft devotes enormous programming effort to the Graph APIs. Microsoft will phase out older APIs like EWS and older PowerShell modules, which is what will happen to the Azure AD and MSOL modules in June 2023. It seems to me that the sooner you embrace the Graph for automation, the better.
The upshot is that I wrote a lot about using the Graph with PowerShell via either the base APIs or the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK. Aligned with that, I wrote several articles about using Azure Automation. Some don’t like that they must pay to run scripts with Azure Automation, but the cost is minimal, and Azure Automation is so much more powerful than scheduling scripts with the Windows Scheduler. In any case, I think that any tenant that runs PowerShell jobs to report different aspects of Microsoft 365 should consider using Azure Automation.
One last thought: Graph APIs are very powerful, so the advent of RBAC for Applications is very welcome. Make sure that you know how to use it as you develop scripts in 2023.
More Tenant Migrations & More Opportunities for You and Microsoft 365 to shine
A tough outlook ahead means the chance to use Microsoft 365 to improve your business’s bottom line & hone your skills.
The last two years have been busy for people performing tenant migrations, with many large acquisitions keeping IT folks and their colleagues very busy. However, we should expect less heavily leveraged large acquisitions due to financial conditions; but that doesn’t mean tenant migrations will be on a hiatus. Instead, expect smaller migrations as companies double down on the markets they operate in and snap up weaker competitors. For IT admins and consultants alike, this might be a relief. Big mergers between two heavily utilized Microsoft 365 tenants are difficult and take a long time. Smaller acquisitions, however, lend themselves towards automation – or a rinse-and-repeat approach. If tenant migrations are your thing – expect to have it down to a fine art by the end of 2023.
Even if budgets tighten in 2023, you shouldn’t have too much cause for concern. The last few years have shown that digital transformation is a crucial key to success. However, if you’ve been afforded decent budgets but little scrutiny, expect that to change. You should be prepared to illustrate how Microsoft 365 is helping your employer improve the bottom line.
To do this, investigate the included services inside Microsoft 365 E3 and E5 that can replace existing technologies – like Defender for Endpoint, Intune, or even Microsoft Places, when it arrives. And look for solutions you can deploy or rapidly build in Microsoft 365 that either replace old costly applications or simplify real-world processes and provide the business with valuable capabilities.
This could be built-in Teams apps you aren’t using yet, or Power Platform capabilities. Whilst it’s unlikely Intelligent Automation will be mainstream in 2023, it is important to learn about tools like AI Builder to help employees get their jobs done at a time when your employer might not be recruiting staff to cope with demand.
The Future’s so Bright
The huge popularity of Spotify’s Wrapped feature should come as no surprise—at the end of each calendar year, people’s thoughts naturally turn back toward the events and trends of the year just passed. Rather than do that, I wanted to talk about 3 trends that I think will be important and interesting for Microsoft 365 administrators in 2023 and beyond.
Let’s start with security. (Big surprise, right?) The overall theme of security awareness is just going to get bigger in 2023. If you’re not actively working to learn, experiment, and teach in this field, now’s a terrific time to get started. Microsoft has tons of free online training that explain their security products, of course, but there’s so much good free material out there, ranging from blogs to training courses to hands-on labs, that it has never been easier to get your security knowledge and skillset up to par… and as attackers get smarter and more numerous, I’m afraid you might need it.
Second is the move away from hybrid. It may seem like watching paint dry, but there is a noticeable movement away from on-prem assets like domain controllers and even workstations to the cloud. Microsoft is being increasingly loud in promoting Windows 365 and Azure Active Directory, and we’re already seeing signs that more organizations are shifting to them. It’s a good idea to ask yourself whether the amount of hybrid stuff you have today is the correct amount, and/or the amount you’d like to have in a year or two, and then plan accordingly.
Third, is the merging of IT admin life and what most of us think of as classical DevOps. Infrastructure-as-code (IaC) tools like Bicep mean that we can express things like Azure network rules as code, then use that code to quickly build, change, and deploy the exact environments we want. If you’ve ever written a PowerShell script to change on-premises or tenant settings, then congratulations! You’re already doing ITops. If not, the tools for IaC are improving at a rapid pace. Coding something once and then being able to reuse it over the long term is a huge saving in time and hassle, and a valuable addition to your toolbox.
Here we Come, 2023
We hope that you enjoyed these nine articles and that you go into 2023 with more insight into each of the topics mentioned above. Be on the lookout for more content in the new year, and happy holidays from the Practical 365 Team!