Unite is a product from ConnectWise that allows for automatic and easy management of services such as Office 365, Cisco Meraki, Umbrella, Azure, Webex and much more. It also allows for the management of these services such as updating usernames, resetting passwords and automated ticketing. In this post, we’re going to describe the features based around Office 365 as this is included in the Standard tier of Manage at no extra cost.
Before we start, I’d like to point you to some official documentation from ConnectWise, I’ll be touching on the most important parts but if you wish to delve further into the product, check these out:
If you don’t already have Unite, you can purchase it or look at the above licensing link to check out the different product tiers. Unite is included for Office 365 billing as a replacement to the old CloudConsole for Standard and Premium plans. You need to supply a credit card to get started, but you’ll only be billed if you use any of the additional services.
Log into the Unite Portal and browse to Settings and select Microsoft Office 365 and follow through with the guided setup. You will need to enter the credentials for your partner account. Be sure to check out our other guide ‘Microsoft Partner Security Requirements‘ and ensure that your accounts all have 2FA enabled to prevent issues. Once you have authenticated with Office 365, we can proceed. I’d also recommend checking out the article on switching your SSO (Single Sign-On) from using ConnectWise to using your Office 365 for ease and 2FA.
Firstly, we’re going to need an Agreement in ConnectWise Manage to sync our additions to. I would suggest creating a new agreement for each client and ensuring that the prorate option is selected to allow the licenses to automatically calculate their prices throughout the month. You can also bundle this agreement as a child into another agreement if necessary. You can use existing agreements if you wish to lump them all into one, but for visibility, I find it easier to create a new one per client.
Unite will pull almost every type of Office 365 alert/health status into Manage as a ticket. If you wish to utilize this, I’d suggest creating a new Board with no client emails as it can get very noisy. You also get alerts with notifications like ‘Exchange server down, email functionality lost’ when the client hasn’t actually lost email functionality, causing unnecessary panic.
Under System > Office 365 > Monitoring you can select which services you wish to create tickets for. I’ve removed all of the services except Exchange Online and Exchange Online Protection in most cases.
Firstly, we’re going to create all of the billable licenses that we’re selling in Office 365 as products within our Product Catalogue in Manage. Then we can go into Unite > Billing > SKU Policy and map these products. The SKU policy tab will only show SKUs that have been detected by your clients within your partner portal. Avoid things like the FLOW_FREE products etc. You can select Simple, Tiered or Volume licenses for each product mapping.
Now go into each client within the Companies tab and open the menu Billing > Overview. I’ve supplied a screenshot of the general settings that you’ll want to use here. These need to be selected on a per-client basis and RSI tends to kick in around the halfway mark.
Take note of the Initial Catchup if you’re wanting to bill a client for a full month of licenses and not prorate them on the initial sync.
You can edit subscriptions on a per-client basis to allow for bespoke billing. For example, if you’ve just taken a new client on and one of their subscriptions doesn’t expire for X months, you can disable billing here for this until the renewal.
With the Manage integration, you can update Office 365 details, reset passwords, change display names and even procure new licenses without even leaving your ticket. Let’s get things set up.
In Unite, go to Companies > Configured Products > Office 365 > Dashboard and you should be prompted with an option to create a service user. This creates a email@example.com
You will need to provide your colleagues with access to Unite. In order to do this, browse to Settings > General > Members and add the users with the relevant security permissions. Something worth noting is that somebody who is not an administrator has a list of Included and Excluded companies. If a company is added by an administrator, by default these users need to be granted permission to these additional companies.
Now within Manage, open a ticket and select the Cog at the top right. Ensure that Unite is selected to be shown and drag it to a reasonable place within your menu. Clicking into Unite from within here will automatically take you to this customer and you can then update passwords, names and procure licenses.
Currently, there are only 3 certified procurement integrations with Unite and I don’t use one of them. I can only provide you with the information I have based on these, however if you are using them I suspect the setup is easy enough.
Browse to Settings > Office 365 > Procurement and select +
Currently, there are Tech Data, Arrow and Synnex that provide integration. This will allow you and your users to add additional licenses to a client’s agreement from within Unite once this functionality is set up.
Some of the other benefits of Unite are:
Sync Office 365 Users to Manage – Browse to Companies > Configured Products > Contact Sync and enabled it. This will sync each user in Office 365 and bring them in as Manage contacts. This is great when first acquiring a client to ensure your team is able to create tickets for them.
Export CSV – Quite a standard feature, but you can export a CSV from Manage with a list of all the users and their settings. I prefer this to the Office 365 portal as it provides the licenses the user has, tells you if DirSync is enabled and lets you know if the ‘password never expires’ option is selected for certain users.