WHAT’S NEW IN OFFICE 365 (SEPTEMBER 2018)

Time flies when you’re having fun and that means Ignite will be here before we know it.  As expected Microsoft has already started to lay the ground work for some of the talking points at Ignite with their feature and enhancement announcements in August and will likely continue that trend through September.

Office 365 Roadmap Transitioning to Microsoft 365 Roadmap

When Microsoft first rolled out the Microsoft 365 package (Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility & Security) there was a lot of confusion around what the differences were between Microsoft 365 and Office 365.  In fact, we still get questions about this regularly and with this latest change that trend is likely to tick upward.  In mid-September 2018 Microsoft will be moving the Office 365 Roadmap to a new location on the web and adding Microsoft 365 features. 

They are adding in redirects and deep linking so any of your existing bookmarks for the roadmap will take you to the new site.  Six months after the launch date of the new site the “previously released” category will become the “launched” category. Launched features will remain in the “launched” category for six months after going live. Completely understand wanting to include the Microsoft 365 features in the roadmap so folks can be aware of upcoming features and enhancements related to that package (Windows 10 and EMS) but it’s starting to feel like 2019 is going to the year of Microsoft 365 in the way the 2018 has been the year of MS Teams.  Only time will tell…

_Office365Roadmap

 

Add a SharePoint Online page, news or list as a tab in Microsoft Teams

Speaking of MS Teams, one of the biggest complaints we got from power users of SharePoint regarding MS Teams was due to the fact there was not a clean way to integrate SharePoint pages and lists into MS Teams via tabs. Microsoft is listening and has a change rolling out to take care of this issue. Once rolled out, when you ‘add a tab’ in Teams using the ‘SharePoint’ tab app, you will be able to choose between available lists, pages and news items to quickly bring them into Microsoft Teams.

If your organization is on Targeted Release you may have already seen that you can add SharePoint News and Pages as Tabs from the SharePoint tab. Expect lists to take a bit longer to deploy and General Availability for this functionality is anticipated by the end of September 2018. There are a few caveats related to this update to be aware of:

  1. You are only able to access the content that is connected to the MS Team so you won’t be able to pull in a News article from your intranet into your MS Team using this method
    1. In this scenario users can use the Website tab to pull in the page
  2. You will not be able to Edit the pages via the MS Teams tab however you will be able to navigate to the page just like you can with the Website tabs
  3. This is likely not going to work with “Classic SharePoint” lists and not all types of lists have Modern Views
    1. Some of the more commonly used Apps aka lists that don’t have a modern experience by default yet are: Tasks, Surveys and Discussion Boards

_AddSharePointNewsTeams

Guided Workflow for Deleting Users

Remember the comment above regarding the confusion surrounding Microsoft 365 and Office 365…surprise, it’s back.  Last month we got a notice in the message center about a “Guided workflow for deleting users”.  In the message body it refers to both Office 365 and Microsoft 365 but the last sentence in the body caused some confusion as it states: “This guided workflow is now available to all Microsoft 365 organizations.”.  Internally we do not have the Microsoft 365 package, but we do have this guided workflow so it’s available to organizations with Office 365 only as well😉.

As far as the updated feature is concerned, every organization must deal with the offboarding process and the first step is usually disabling the user’s account. After that occurs what happens next is up to the organization.  There are employee specific details in Office 365 that must be dealt with regardless such as their licensing for Office 365, OneDrive files and emails. This feature allows administrators to have a more intuitive/automated process to manage those activities but doesn’t account for things such as data loss prevention or retention policies.  Let’s just say it’s a step in the right direction.

_GuidedWorkflowForUserDeletion

Prevent Forwarding of Meeting Invites in Outlook (Sort of, kind of but not really)

When creating or updating meetings users will be able to set an option on the meeting to prevent forwarding.  However, there are significant number of caveats to this.  We are not including this update in here to promote its usage, it’s more of a “fore” on the golf course.  Users are going to see this option and attempt to use it then wonder why it’s not working. List of caveats below:

  • Existing meetings will not change due to this update
  • Newly created meetings will also maintain the existing behavior and forwarding will be allowed by default
  • Attendees using Outlook for iOS, Android, and Mac will not have the option to prevent forwarding of meeting invites
  • If an attendee is using a third-party client or an older version of the Outlook client, they will be able to attempt to forward the meeting invite but the forward will be prevented then the attendee will receive a non-deliverable (NDR) message indicating that the forward was prevented
    • This NDR intercept is effective for any attendee whose mailbox is in Office 365, Exchange Server 2016, or Exchange Server 2019
  • Attendees on older versions of Exchange Server or third-party services will not be prevented from forwarding if they’re using older client versions

What each of those bullet points really means: You can control things internally, so this might be beneficial for meetings where the attendees are only within the organization. However, you have zero control over what systems and applications your partners, customers or other outside contacts use.  If you are responsible for your IT Support we would highly recommend reviewing the Additional Information link associated with this message to be prepared as this will be rolled out by the end of September 2018.

SharePoint Mobile App Updates – AI to the front!

As Microsoft continues to move forward with AI, it only makes sense to see it continue to be emphasized in the SharePoint mobile application as well.  On 8/28 Mark Kashman from Microsoft posted the article SharePoint mobile app updates – find and discover people, content and answers while on the go to the Tech Community SharePoint Blog.  Once this update is rolled out the user experience will change from the launch screen based on user feedback.

Rather than having 5 “buttons” for News, Links, Sites, People and Me things will be trimmed down to News, Find and Me.  Essentially the Find functionality will replace the Sites, Links and People buttons which does make sense as it’s a similar search-based experience as we see in the SharePoint portal itself.  While using intelligent search takes some getting used to for folks that are used to the “hunt and peck/point and click” method of finding content it is becoming the norm so it’s probably best to familiarize yourself with it now, especially if you are using the SharePoint mobile app as Microsoft intends to have the rollout completed by mid-September 2018😉.

As always, please check in on the Rolling Out and In Development sections of the Office 365 Roadmap (while it’s still called the Office 365 Roadmap) regularly to get an idea of what new features, updates and enhancements are in the pipeline😊. Should you have any questions, comments or concerns related to Office 365 please feel free to connect with us.

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