Deploying Office 365 using SCCM

The deployment of Office 365 applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, etc..) just became much easier. Beginning with SCCM version 1702, from the Office 365 Client Management dashboard, the Office 365 application Installer can be automated.

From this console the following can be performed:
• Office 365 installation settings can be configured
• Files from Office Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) can be downloaded
• Office 365 can be deployed as an application

What is the Office 365 Client Installer?

The Office 365 client installer is the SCCM installation wizard for the Office 365 client applications installer. This wizard will automate the deployment of the Office 365 applications to client devices like Windows 10, Windows 8.1 and Windows 7.

The Office 365 Client Installation Wizard

The Office 365 client installation wizard is started from with the SCCM console. Navigate to

\Software Library\Overview\Office 365 Client Management

and click on the title. The Office 365 dashboard will launch. Click on the “+ Office 365 Installer” to launch the Office 365 installation Wizard.

Application Settings: This is the initial window. The wizard will prompt for the Name of the deployment, a Description, and the Content Location.

The Office 365 client installation files will be downloaded to the location specified in the wizard if they do not already exist.

NOTE: In order to proceed, either SCCM must be connected to the Internet or the Office 365 installation must have already been downloaded offline and placed in the selected directory.

Import Client Settings: This window offers a choice to Manually specify the Office 365 client settings or Import Office 365 client settings from a configuration file.
Choosing the Import option will automatically configure all the settings for the Office applications.

A Sample configuration.xml file can be found here: Download

If you choose to manually specify the Office 365 client settings, continue to the Client Products window.

Client Products: In this window, the initial option is to select the Office Suite.

Primarily, there are two office suites available as part of the installation wizard.
• Office 365 ProPlus
• Office 365 Business

NOTE: Microsoft may offer pre-release versions such as Office Professional Plus 2019 in the dropdown. This may also become the standard method of deploying Office in future versions.

Below the Suite dropdown list, a frame is shown where you can select the Office 365 applications installed for this deployment.In the example above, “OneDrive (Groove)” is not selected to be installed since it is obsolete. All other standard applications are selected.

Additional Office Products: There are additional dropdowns for Visio and Project.

For this deployment, Visio Pro for Office 365 and None have been selected. The default options are:
Visio Pro for Office 365
Project Online Desktop Client

NOTE: For those two products, they are licensed based on the associated Office 365 licensing.

Specify Settings for Office 365 Clients

Client Settings: In this window, there are options to specify settings for the Office 365 Clients.

At the top, there is a radio button to select the Architecture which can be either 32-bit or 64-bit.

In the Channel selection dropdown, there are four update channels listed. Recently, these choices have changed.

Currently the choices are:
Monthly Channel (formerly Current Channel)
Monthly Channel (Targeted)
Semi-Annual Channel (Differed Channel)
Semi-Annual Targeted (formerly First Release for Deferred Channel)

Below this is the Version dropdown. This will populate with numerous choices for each channel. Currently, the latest build in the Semi-Annual channel is 1803 Build 9126.2282.

There is an “Add/Remove…” button that is used to select additional languages. The default is English (United States).

At the bottom are options to configure Properties.

The four properties are:
Accept EULA
Pin Icons to the taskbar (Win 7/8.x only)
Autoactivate
Shared computer activation

NOTE: Microsoft still recommends the 32-Bit version of Office. More information on why can be found here.

Deploying the Office 365 Client

Deployment: The next window is for deployment. It has a single question, “Do you want to deploy the application now?

If you choose “Yes”, the standard SCCM Deployment scheduling options are built into the wizard. There are windows for General (select the collection), Content (Distribution Points), Deployment Settings (Install, Required, etc.), Scheduling, User Experience, and Alerts.

If you choose “No”, the next window presented will be the Summary.

Clicking next will bring up Progress and ultimately Completion. At this point a new Office 365 application is available and ready to be deployed, or will be deployed on the schedule created in Scheduling.

Office 365 Client Management

After the wizard completes, SCCM will return back to the Office 365 Client Management window. From here, there is a graphical display showing all of the installed versions across the environment.

There are now new options on the right side of the window which include: Create an ADR and Create Client Settings.

This area of SCCM functionality continues to be upgraded and improved with each new release.

In Conclusion

This walkthrough is only the beginning of Office 365 management utilizing SCCM.

Mike Doneson
Senior Consultant
Critical Design Associates