What’s New In Office 365 (August 2019)

After receiving numerous requests, we are bringing back the what’s new in Office 365 series.  If you were not aware Microsoft has been running a bi-weekly podcast called The Intrazone that sort of “stole our thunder” a bit when they added the “Roadmap Pitstop” segment.  The pitstop usually covers much of the same content we provided in this series. However, we have had quite a few requests to bring the series back as many folks that were exclusively using SharePoint are starting to use more Office 365 applications. As Microsoft continues to expand its offerings and functionality more organizations are adopting these technologies which is a good thing, we hope😉.

Outlook on the Web Feature Updates

If you are only using the desktop version of Outlook, you may be missing out on some nifty features and if you are already using Outlook on the Web change is brewing.

Outlook on the Web Cloud Document Sharing Changes

I’m sure everyone that reads this is always using the OneDrive/SharePoint sharing menu to share files but just in case you’re still copying/pasting links or possibly even attaching documents to emails still Microsoft has an update for you.  Now if you copy/paste a link to a OneDrive or SharePoint file in a message it will replace the link with the name of the file and the file icon as well as allow you manage permissions using a new sharing menu as pictured below:

OWA Doc Sharing

Usually when Microsoft makes updates to the web-based version of a product that indicates the functionality may be making its way to the desktop client…we shall see.  This functionality is available to organizations on Target Release today and anticipated to be Generally Available to all tenants by the end of September 2019. For more information on this feature and other Outlook on the Web file sharing options please reference the Attach files in Outlook on the web Office Support article.

Outlook on the web – New experience roll out

If you are actively using Outlook on the web and haven’t noticed the prompt to “Try the new experience” you may want to go ahead and check things out now…the rollout out to Standard Release customers starts on August 5th.  There are still some kinks being worked out and Microsoft even acknowledged as much in their Office 365 Message Center announcement by stating:

“We want to acknowledge that some features are not yet available in the opt-in experience, but they will be there before August 5th when the new experience will come to Standard Release customers.”

Normally we would caution folks about reading comments on any internet page but checking out the comments on the “The New Outlook on the web is here” post in Tech Community might be a good idea if you or the folks in your organization rely on specific functionality that may be left out in the new experience. Even though there are a ton of improvements and additional functionality in the new interface it sure sounds like Microsoft is “moving some people’s cheese”.

Outlook on the web – New 3rd party storage providers

Exchange/Office 365 Admins…read this por favor!  Microsoft is updating how 3rd party storage providers work in Outlook on the web and as part of that they are retiring two parameters and replacing them with a single parameter. The ThirdPartyFileProvidedrsEnabled and OneDriveAttachmentsEnabled parameters are being removed and replaced with the new AdditionalStorageProvidersAvailable parameter. The AdditionalStorageProvidersAvailable parameter will be available for you to change in late July, and the change in the availability of 3rd party storage providers will be gradually rolling out to Targeted Release customers on August 15, and to Standard Release customers on August 30.

Please review the “What do I need to do to prepare for this change” from the Message Center announcement below for more details:

If you don’t want your users to have access to 3rd party storage providers in Outlook on the web that are not part of your Office 365 commercial subscription, then:

  1. If you are in Targeted Release – Before August 15 you will need to make a change in the set-OwaMailboxPolicy cmdlet using PowerShell.
  2. If you are in Standard Release – Before August 30, you will need to make a change in the set-OwaMailboxPolicy cmdlet using PowerShell.

Please, read the additional information link to learn what parameters you need to change from $true to $false in set-OwaMailboxPolicy.

Additional information

Quick Tip on Sharing Availability Using Outlook Mobile

Often times we don’t need to share our calendar with folks but we do need to share our availability over the course of a couple weeks to coordinate meetings and while we can do this via Outlook and Outlook on the web it creates a bit more work to “clean things up” than it’s usually worth.  Outlook Mobile to the rescue.  There is a nifty little feature that not everyone is aware of that allows you to easily share your availability with anyone via email. Check out this brief YouTube video from Microsoft Office 365 for the details.  The mobile version works much better than the desktop version in our opinion as it only puts your free times in the email and removes all the additional content that the Calendar option adds within the desktop application.  I’ve personally saved drafts from my cell phone then opened in Outlook to finish up and send off.

Save Files for Later

On to some non-Outlook related stuff…although we typically don’t include things that we cannot test out in our environment in these articles this one is useful enough to point out.  If you have used the Save for later feature of News you will love this, provided you use the OneDrive for Business on the Web experience that is.  In August Microsoft will start rolling out a Save for Later feature to OneDrive for Business on the Web that will allow to bookmark documents for future viewing within your own OneDrive for Business or Shared Libraries (SharePoint libraries).

It may not make it to your tenant until September, but this is awesome news for those of use that are consistently multitasking.  While the announcement only indicates this feature will be added to OneDrive for Business on the Web it’s probably a safe bet that you can expect to see this feature in SharePoint libraries in the future…

Save files for Later

Skype for Business Online is retiring

In an announcement that should surprise no one, Microsoft announced that Skype for Business Online will be retiring on July 31st, 2021.  We are only really surprised by the length of time we are getting to “Prepare for Change”.  The “You will use MS Teams” writing has been on the wall for quite some time and Microsoft has made a mountain of resources available to help organizations make the transition to MS Teams. There is even a whole section of the Fast Track program dedicated to making the transition from Skype to Teams.

As always remember to keep an eye on the Microsoft 365 Roadmap and your Message Center to stay on top of the latest, greatest updates. If you don’t have access to the Message Center but would like to contact your Office 365 Global Administrator and have them add you to the Message Center reader role…it’s easier than ever to do that so don’t let them tell you otherwise😉.

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