Sample chapter: Managing User Profiles in Microsoft SharePoint Online for Office 365

In this chapter from Microsoft SharePoint Online for Office 365: Administering and configuring for the cloud, Bill English introduces the management of user profiles and discusses the usefulness of these profiles for finding experience and expertise within your organization. He looks at how to create new user profiles and why you might want to create user subtypes to make unique profiles or different profile types in your environment. He also discusses organization profiles and how to set up My Sites.

  • Introduction to user profiles, audiences, and My Sites
  • People
  • Organizations
  • My Site settings
  • OneDrive for Business
  • Summary

In this chapter, we’re going to dive into the management of user profiles and I’ll explain why user profiles are important to larger organizations that use Microsoft Office 365 and SharePoint Online. User profiles can be the bane of your existence or one of the big wins for your organization. Much of how you and your users experience user profiles in SharePoint Online is directly related to how well you manage this part and then present it to your organization.

As with most software platforms, it doesn’t do much good to turn on platform features if they get in the way of how people work, the processes under which they are most comfortable working, and the inputs and outputs of their daily routines. Just because SharePoint Online an do something for your organization doesn’t mean that it should.

Yet I am hard-pressed to explain, except in the smallest of environments, how a robust use of user profiles will cause damage or slow processes down. Indeed, I believe the opposite is the reality. User profiles organize expertise and experience—two elements that reside inside people and that cannot be easily codified. So making your users organize their experience such that their core value to the organization can be found, leveraged, and easily used—it seems to me—makes huge sense.

The SharePoint Online version does not include any of the synchronization administrative activities that you’ll find in an on-premises deployment. Compare Figures 2-1 and 2-2 and you’ll see that I won’t be covering any synchronization topics that you might normally expect to see in a SharePoint administration book, because those tasks have been deprecated in SharePoint Online for the Information Technology professional (IT pro).

Figure 2-1

Figure 2-1 SharePoint Online User Profiles administration interface

Figure 2-2

Figure 2-2 SharePoint On-Premises User Profile Services administrative interface

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