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HomeOffice 365Who Owns Office 365? The Question That Launched A Thousand Tweets

Who Owns Office 365? The Question That Launched A Thousand Tweets

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With many organizations establishing Office 365 as their cloud platform of choice, you might think that most if not all have solid management structure in place. Unfortunately, that’s not typically the case.

In his latest article on Petri.com, AvePoint Solutions Engineer Hunter Willis weighed in on why the process of digital transformation has been a struggle for organizations across industries–and then suggested a possible solution.

The result of this was some great discourse over Twitter between highly respected players in the Office 365 space. We’ve compiled some of the most interesting responses and thoughts here for your convenience.

How it Started

Things began innocently enough with Hunter tweeting out his article and asking for responses:

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Though it garnered some decent traction, things really picked up when AvePoint CMO and Microsoft MVP Dux Raymond Sy quote tweeted Hunter and challenged his assertion that Exchange administrators should be in charge of an organization’s Office 365 deployment:

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Hunter had justified his push for Exchange admins in the article, positing that they are generally “already experienced with responsibilities spread across IT teams” and are typically “deeply involved in access to services, licenses, and application integration in Microsoft environments.”

SharePoint Admins

However, Dux wasn’t the only one who advocated for SharePoint admins to manage Office 365. Both Daniel Anderson and Office Apps and Services MVP Trevor Seward showed their support of the idea:

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SharePoint serves as the file storage and management engine for many of the applications in Office 365. As a result, much of the content-level security of the entire Office 365 platform relies on SharePoint permissions, something SharePoint admins would naturally be quite familiar with.

Collaboration is Key

Despite there being good cases for both Exchange and SharePoint admins each solely taking charge of Office 365, the vast majority of influencers in the thread argued that managing an Office 365 deployment should be a collaborative task.

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There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to Office 365, so the thought of it being controlled by a single person/small group of people was strongly contested:

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Specifically, the combination of SharePoint and Exchange admins was highlighted as a potential dream team.

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Office 365 admin Rob Bowman even shared how his company has tackled this joint effort:

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In an ideal world, a team of Exchange and SharePoint admins would be an excellent match for the role. However, they would have to work especially well together when it comes to strategy and planning in order to get anything accomplished.

Office 365 Admins

Of course, another possible route would be to simply establish an Office 365 admin role or team that takes on governance tasks full-time. This was suggested by several people:

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The thing is, for many organizations a single “Office 365 admin” that owns all the applications would be hard-pressed to understand each application to the point that they could effectively strategies and lead a team. In addition, it’s likely that this Office 365 admin will have a background in managing one of the applications within the platform. This begs the question: Which traditional admin role would be best to fill the new Office 365 Admin role?

In the end, key influencers simply suggested that the CIO has ultimate Office 365 management responsibilities:

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Of course, in most cases an organization’s CIO should have the final say regarding any major Office 365 changes or decisions. But, depending on the size of the company, it’s unlikely that he/she will have the time to actually manage it on a daily basis. In addition, many CIOs are disconnected from the day-to-day processes, and teams are typically given little to no operational guidance. This can be great for teams that already work well together, but can conversely create chaos in teams that are still trying to figure out how to work with the solutions.

The Final Word

To further the conversation, Dux gathered a few of the participants into a Microsoft Teams call later that day for a more in-depth discussion.

Participants included:

  • Dux Raymond Sy, @meetdux
  • Hunter Willis, @HW_enduser
  • Fred Yano,@Fredyano
  • Bruno Fonseca, @brunosITworld
  • Craig Jahnke, @techJahnke

Watch the full conversation here:

A few days later Dux got the gang back together to discuss. Participants included:

  • Dux Raymond Sy, @meetdux
  • Hunter Willis, @HW_enduser
  • Fred Yano,@Fredyano
  • Bruno Fonseca, @brunosITworld
  • Martina Grom, @magrom
  • Tony Redmond, @12knocksinaa
  • Jeff Guillet, @expta
  • Duane Alleman, @duanealleman

As it turns out, there are plenty of options when it comes to ownership of Office 365! Who do you think should own it? Let us know in the comments below!

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Brent Middleton
Brent Middleton
As the former Content Marketing Specialist for AvePoint, Brent led the strategy and direction of all AvePoint's blog properties.


  1. We have a Cloud Services Tenancy Manager for Office 365 who is responsible for overseeing the whole suite and driving the adoption and use. By virtue of a “virtual team” comprising Exchange Admins, SharePoint Admins and AD admins, the services are managed and run jointly (we are transitioning to a DevOps engineer model where staff members are trained across technology stacks and capable to do multiple jobs depending on workload, etc) under the watchful eye of the Tenancy Manager.

    The tenancy manager is seen as the “go to” person for all things Office 365 although he then delegates out the tasks accordingly to the relevant qualified admins for work to be carried out.

    In addition to the admins above we also rely heavily on our Identity and Access Management group to run the identity and licensing provisioning piece.

    • This is a great example of how a team can be managed for Office 365! Do you know the past admin experience of this Cloud Services Tenancy Manager (what kind of admin they were)?

      Do you feel like the Tenancy Manager is doing a good job of staying on top of updates and changes to Office 365/how do you all stay on top of changes?

  2. Anyone/group with corporate governance authority should “own” Office 365. But as anyone defined what “owning” an IT service means?

    Owners don’t need to have all the necessary technical or soft skills to own a technology or service. No. What they absolutely need is to be the decision authority of such service. That is what they absolutely need. They need to be the link between the business and the IT. To make proper organizational/corporate decisions for the company’s benefit and NOT for the technology benefits. They need to have management skills to “manage” the technical experts behind these technologies and make sure any technical decisions made is in accordance to what the organizations needs and requests to improve business efficiency. In other words, control technical power trips, eliminate technological silos and make sure everyone works in harmony. Furthermore, the owner needs to have final approval and be identified as the final decision authority (business orientations). Based on organization size, it is all possible… The owner could be one lone individual or can lead a team of experts. At the end of the day, the owner needs to make/take the final decision brought up by the technical experts arguments/debates. Call it whatever, Collaboration Services, Cloud Services Team, Business Governance Bureau, etc, but that is what a service owner definition should be and, ultimately, own Office 365.

    • Thanks for sharing this perspective Miguel. There’s a ton that goes into “owning” Office 365, and this is a fantastic look at the qualities that person/team needs to have.


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