So one of my roles at Catapult is being the Office 365 Technical Evangelist. With this role I help educate my peers about Office 365 and ensure we as a company are moving forward with Office 365 as a service line. One of the newer service lines that Catapult offers is Managed Services for SharePoint. This has been gaining momentum and lead us to start managed services around SQL server and Lync Server. All these managed services offerings are around on-premises installations of these products/services. So this got me thinking about how we could offer managed services around Office 365?

The majority of our managed services offering for SharePoint revolve around the patching, monitoring and tuning of the SharePoint on-premises servers. This does not convert well to Office 365 as that is one of the primary benefits of moving to Office 365 for an organization, they no longer need to worry about the day-to-day management of the servers providing the Office 365 services, Microsoft handles that. So the same model that we have for on-premises managed services would not benefit an Office 365 company.

My initial thinking is that managed services for Office 365 would be more directed at user management. This would be also be more relevant for an Office 365 client that had Online Accounts versus a client that has ADFS in place that enables the on-premises Active Directory as the authoritative Directory Services for Office 365. I could still envision benefits to an Office 365 client with ADFS but as a reduced role versus a client, and most likely a small business client, with a pure online account Office 365 implementation without ADFS.

With Exchange Online I see managed services, outside of primary user management, providing services around mailbox management via Retention Policies, Legal Hold, and Transport Rules. Lync Online as well could offer federation management and user access to federation and Public IM access. SharePoint Online Management could fall along the lines of site collection creation, access management, branding and public website management.

So I would like your feedback. Do you think managed services for Office 365 is needed? What would you like to see in a managed services offering for Office 365? Would you be willing to enable a managed services provider handle the full user management even if you had ADFS installed and allows the provider access to your local AD for user creation, change. deletion?

Please let me know you thoughts, I would greatly appreciate you input and feedback!