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Full Shared Mailbox Support, Especially in Mobile (if not, give me extra licenses!)

I am an entrepreneur with highly trained employees that need to be able to wear multiple hats with equal importance for each. The shared mailbox model that Microsoft has setup does not enable my employees sufficiently and although advances have been made, these shared mailboxes are second class citizens. I argued with a Microsoft technical representative for a long time and finally got him to admit that they were. The shared mailboxes have incredibly weak mobile support and support for full functionality in Outlook does not come out-of-the-box with automapping and is tricky to configure by disconnecting the mailboxes through powershell. One of the features that causes the most headaches for my employees are signatures. The Microsoft prescribed method to get shared mailboxes in mobile is to make a shared mailbox a shared folder in the main mailbox in the "Outlook Web App" Application in iOS or Android. There is no way to add the shared mailboxes to the full Microsoft Outlook app because of protocol issues. The only way to get full functionality would be to buy another Exchange license that will cost over $50 / year / mailbox / employee. With employees that have 3-4 mailboxes, this is cost prohibitive. Microsoft figured out that with O365 that the need to give people 5 licenses for Office. This works perfectly for our business that does research and has multiple laboratory computers. Why can't they do the same and give me 5 full exchange mailboxes per subscription each with their own signature. If we have to be stuck with the shared mailbox model (which I currently deplore), then they need to be fully functional everywhere and come with full support including signatures, etc. If your technical support staff recognize the short comings, then give me more licenses until you sort it out. I think the $4 / month Exchange license should buy an additional 5 emails if they are needed. For me, that is the correct value for additional mailboxes. I have bought full E4 subscriptions for each of my employees because they are highly paid and need the best IT support and I don't think the number of email boxes should be a limiting factor in the cloud model. For me, this tells me that Microsoft does not yet fully understand small business. Fix the shared mailboxes or give me more licenses, but don't leave me stranded with no solution except paying exhorbant additional costs on top of the most expensive licensing tier!

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    Scott Greenway shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

    25 comments

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      • Andrew Donaldson commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        JR, thank you for this advice, I manage the technical side of the British Counties Campaign and we use O365, our individual emails are OK but until now the shared campaign@ inbox wasn't supported on the mobile app according to GoDaddy, I just followed your instructions and made tests and I am delighted to report it works. Andrew.

      • Brad PFEFFER commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I used to agree with this suggestion but have now accepted that Office 365 Groups are a much better solution than a Shared Mailbox.

        Shared Mailboxes are somewhat obsolete. If you need a support@mycompany.com or info@mycompany.com shared mailbox, an Office 365 group will work and will likely offer more overall value. Consider creating a Microsoft Team named 'info' or 'support' (you can give it a nicer name after you create it, the initial name from the Teams App is also used as the Alias. If you use PowerShell to create the Team you can specify the Alias and Names separately. Point being, though, you will bring all the details around this topic into a single place. Your support email and support documents can all be stored nicely together in the same group. The Group resources like Calendar are there too.

        Groups are accessible from Outlook on Mobile or the Groups app.

        I think Microsoft should fully commit to replacing Shared Mailboxes with Groups and allow Groups to work in the same way.

        Right now, there's an extra step, which requires significant user discipline to use this feature...

        You must manually replace the 'from' address, which is not even shown by default, when sending to external users 'As' or 'On Behalf of' a group. This field is not available in Outlook on Mobile at all, users on mobile will need to use OWA which requires an extra step each time to show, and then remove, the From address.

        Training users to do this is difficult and they frequently forget.

        In our organisation we have locked this down using Transport Rules which reject mail sent outside the organisation using user addresses instead of group addresses, but this is by no means ideal.

        Microsoft should enable us to force all external mail sent using the group to be send either 'As' or 'On Behalf of' the group. Then the Office 365 Group can fully replace the Shared Mailbox concept.

      • Ben commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Personally I do think Microsoft has to reconsider the whole model since the plans not fit to the need of many uses. F1 is a plan for work force that has low need for It. these are just the people who need more remote support and skype as in the license is basix, STUPID. you can do nothing and still have to give them the essential.
        shared mailboxes and group are still underdeveloped and not suite the need people actually have all is just of what it can be and then you need to develop the rest.

        better analyses of what is needed and work done by people.
        beside make products that respect the local setting of the user.

        microsoft want to serve the world, only the developer used still think in in inches am pm and other non world standards

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I absolutely agree. Hope so we got this feature!

        From Microsoft perspective they of course don't want to give multiple users with login function, they want to give permissions to use system with buying one account for one real user (person). If they just give multiple accounts the whole business idea collapses.

        I think best Idea is to give same functions as normal users to all shared mailbox, but drop out login function. Of course there need to be some small limitation, but mostly I recommend to have same features as normal accounts. Then users could use shared mailboxes with O365 web version, mobile app and IMAP. The main problem I think is the mobile app (desktop app work fine and IMAP also).

        There are also small limitations (if we got full account features for shared email boxes be got also solution for these): you can't add profile picture to shared mailbox. Hope so we got also fix for this. Also if I want to get two shared email accounts with same front part: for example support@company.com and support@company2.com you need to create normal mailbox and then convert it to shared mailbox. This is very problematic: you need to have all the time one extra Exchange license...

        If you want also send email from multiple addresses you need to have many separate shared email boxes. It would be great if there is possibility to send emails also using alias emails... This could partly fix the problems about shared mailboxes (users don't need then so many of them). If you need 10 shared mailboxes compared to one box with 9 aliases it would be much better and don't cause load to Microsoft systems... I don't understand why Microsoft haven't done this yet.

      • TK commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I can register a shared mailbox to Outlook for Android, the (shared) mails show up there and are synced as normal. BUT when you want to reply to an e-mail sent to a shared mailbox you'll get a normal "sent successful" message but the mail never arrives and disappears completely. Had to re-sent dozens of mails until I noticed. The only workaround is to access the shared mailbox by IMAP e. g. using Gmail.

        However, I just found the "nine"-mail app for Android. There you can finally (!) reply to e-mails arriving in a shared box and the e-mails arrive with the correct sender-address (the shared one). Sadly you cannot send new mails from the shared mailbox, these disappear as with Outlook mobile.

      • Roy Sharp commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Why oh why are we still having to ask Microsoft to show shared mailboxes and calendars on mobile devices. In my case - a windows 10 phone!!

      • Ron O. commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        The lack of the outlook mobile applications’ ability to view/edit shared mailboxes and calendars is slowing the adoption of an anywhere workplace model. Windows Mobile/iOS/Android all in use, but having to open a full windows experience or a wait on a browser just to check a calendar or mailbox in a timely manner is slowing momentum.

      • Bavo Bostoen commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Fully agree: different 'owned' domains, connected to your 'tenant' (e.g. I own 2 small businesses so have 2 personas) should be much better supported across all the Office 365 services. I recently tried to change primary domains, and it's an incredible hassle. All the more reason to implement full multi-domain support in all O365 services, so you can pick one domain or the other as circumstances demand. And not pay (a lot of) extra for the privilege. After all it's still only me conducting my business.

        Remark: they could probably implement this more easily if they became a full domain registrar so they can automatically populate the correct DNS entries in their DNS servers (but still leave control for customers to add DNS records where needed, eg for an externally hosted website)

      • Mark B commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        We are a small/medium business. This, the inability to rename your instance after creation, and the inability to use vanity DNS with Sharepoint, are the primary reasons driving our decision to hold off on migrating to 365. That said, this ranks highest out of the three. I imagine that we are not the only potential customers Microsoft has lost because of this.

        I can appreciate why such a limitation exists, but it is incumbent on Microsoft to not simply restrict functionality that it does not know how to control. In fact, I struggle to understand why shared inboxes are free. I believe that it would benefit both Microsoft, and its customers, if additional storage costs were imposed on shared inboxes at a reduced rate. This would be to recognize that the account is simply for imcoming mail, and not entitled to OneDrive, web/desktop application access, etc.

      • Eric Smith commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        We have discovered too that shared mailboxes are not supported well on mobile devices. In fact, in OWA for iOS and Android, the shared inboxes do not sync until the user selects a different folder and then returns to the inbox, closes/re-opens the app, or restarts the phone. The normal "pull down" action does not refresh the shared inbox. But the best approach would be that Outlook for iOS and Android support the shared mailbox model.

      • john commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        completely agree, if groups and shared mailboxes available on OWA and outlook, same functionality required on mobile device, can understand why its not available on IOS etc, but on windows mobile devices where MS has control - don't understand at all.

      • Piotr. commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Fully agree with Scott. Nowadays process orientated organisation is a standard. We have exactly the same problem. I am looking to see MS fixed the problem.

      • Josh commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I concur with all the other users. Seems everyone is experiencing similar frustrations. I too can not connect to a shared mailbox from a mobile device. Used to be able to connect from iOS mail client, now can't even connect using the shared folder option in the OWA app as the "From" email address for the shared mailbox will not populate. So now, the OWA app isn't even a solution. Microsoft needs to fix this issue ASAP.

      • Sam Whitehead commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This is an idea which simply HAS to be implemented. I have my own email address but then have access to admin@ enquiries@ . I really need to access these mailboxes on my mobile device but I can't do this. So frustrating!!

      • mike palmer commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Add me to the list of supporters: We purchased this plan through godaddy and it's patently unfair that we got sucked into the purchase and spent countless hours on the setup with the promise that we could use shared mailboxes for our business. Now, who in the present day world does not need to receive emails on a mobile device? No one. Now, instead of saving money, as promised, we are going to have to spend a lot more than was originally thought which would have probably brought us to a different decision on the purchase.

      • Bernd commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I absolutely agree. Microsoft lures customers with functionality but this working functionality is removed and they call it "improvement".
        This has become ridiculous especially if your whole Business structure is depending on it.
        Also the wrongful advertisement "available" on any device" is a complete lie in this case, btw. under FTC rules wrongful advertisement is forbidden by law but Microsoft is still doing it.

      • Glenn Ostrander commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        As another Office 365 customer with need for equivalent Outlook shared mailbox support across desktop and mobile platforms, I am surprised and disappointed that Microsoft has taken the position that "it’s not feasible to let the shared mailbox show up on the Outlook for Android/iOS app" (Office 365 Community Forum). Certainly it is "possible" to implement this capability so Microsoft's position must be based on its decision to limit, for its own business reasons, Outlook functionality for mobile devices. Had I known this I would not have purchased and implemented Office 365 for my organization. At a minimum Microsoft should provide a complete list of Outlook desktop functions and features that will not be supported by Outlook for Android/iOS and an alternative solution (e.g., additional no-charge Office 365 licenses) for those customers who have been misled by Microsoft's implied commitment to full Outlook support for mobile devices.

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