Why is #Microsoft 365 so painful? I switched my little #startup’s accounts to Microsoft 365 for the balance of features and because it wasn’t Google.

Over this last week, I needed to allow email forwarding for our help desk tickets.

So I set up email forwarding following Microsoft’s guidance, using Outlook Web, or the Exchange admin panel (notably not the admin panel). But it doesn’t work. Some research shows I have to create or amend a policy (I’m now three admin panels deep) and it says it works but then says wait 24+ hours because amending policies requires time to authorise, they’ll do it for me says the message. So I waited 48 and it doesn’t work because a) they don’t do it for you and b) I have to go into Exchange Powershell and do something something.

No thank you.

I’ll just migrate our accounts off the platform, it’ll literally be easier than forwarding this one address. And, I now think, if this is hard, so too will many other things be. I note, whilst somewhere in the catacombs of admin panels, that Microsoft is busy migrating twenty-something admin panels from one place to another, and it’s all so unclear they’ve provided me a hidden dashboard about it all. That the team responsible didn’t pause at this point to consider whether they made a mistake is mind boggling.

Whats more, this is the straw on top of straws. Teams doesn’t integrate with Sharepoint properly, nor OneDrive. The vision was simplicity, organisation, power. In practice, partitioning user and project files actually requires lots of patience too, which requires use of at least two more admin panels. You’ll end up with at least a few projects, teams, orgs, SharePoints and more that aren’t really the ones you needed and can’t delete either. Oh, you want your team members to find the files for the project’s they’re assigned to? That’s amusing. No, that’s a setting to be enabled, a news announcement on a hidden SharePoint page, and even then they’ll never just see it in their OneDrive or Teams, it’ll be many layers deep or hidden altogether unless they happen to have the magic link.

I mean I’m more than capable. It’s just all too hard, too time consuming. I can see why IT teams are always so busy now, and on the verge of tears. “You want me to reset your password? You think I just log in, click your name, and press reset? No, you see, it all starts by tapping the special orb three times, not too hard mind…”. I start to wonder whether Microsoft have a successful future in running online escape rooms.

Will using #Zoom, #Dropbox and #Fastmail be easier? Shall I check out #Hey.com finally (only allows one business domain though)? #Basecamp has proven far more useful than Sharepoint and Teams combined, because it actually understands what we’re trying to do, and makes it all very discoverable without any config.

We need to share files, send and receive emails (do we?), chat, sometimes video call (not really much though) and stay organised (Basecamp seems to have that covered). So maybe we don’t need to share files, we just need a few small buckets for things like branding, and a working folder each to work on draft versions before they end up on Basecamp. The local desktop might be ok for the latter.

Any other advice for an #indie startup? Any great tools out there that aren’t getting enough light shone on them? What do you do?

ps. I’d rather pay smaller businesses than mega corporations where possible. And I really just need it to be simple when complicated was optional. pps. If Basecamp had Seafile built-in, and Hey! allowed multiple domains, I think that’d be gold.