WHAT’S NEW IN OFFICE 365 (DECEMBER 2019)

Ignite has come and gone but all that really means is we have more features getting rolled out in than usual😉.  There are plenty of noteworthy posts regarding Ignite announcements and sessions on the Tech Community blogs that are worth checking out however most of the content for this month’s post is coming directly from the Office 365 Message center.  I guess that is a benefit of the “post-conference rollout” of features. 

Service Health Dashboard Email Notifications GA

We are finally going to be getting the ability to subscribe for alerts when incidents occur in our tenants…about time.  To be fair we typically recommend that Admins download the Office 365 Admin app and it will provide push notifications to your cell phone.  This basically provides the same functionality however it just makes sense to be able to subscribe to alerts in the same manner as you do in Teams, SharePoint and OneDrive.

Sign up for email notifications using the new Service health preferences menu from within the Microsoft 365 admin center. Note that changes to preferences, including the initial opt-in, will take effect within 8 hours.

  1. To use the new feature, click on the “Edit Preferences” button on the main tab of your Service health dashboard.
  2. Select the services for which you want notifications.
  3. Then specify up to two email addresses to receive the notification.

SHAlerts1

SHAlerts2

Ok, this isn’t really a new feature but given the “rebranding” of Flow to Power Automate caused quite a few headaches for folks, us included this one is worth noting.  Under Admin Centers, the link entitled “Device Management” will be renamed “Endpoint Management” to align with the Microsoft Endpoint Manager re-branding of https://devicemanagement.microsoft.com.

DeviceManagementUpdate

Preparing for Self-Service Purchase Capabilities for Microsoft Power Platform Products in Your Organization

As noted in our previous month’s post there was quite the to-do in the IT Pro community regarding Microsoft rolling out the Self-Service capabilities for the Power Platform (Power Apps, Power Automate nee Flow and Power BI).  Thankfully Microsoft has provided some more options and delayed the roll out of this feature to allow organizations to get things situated.  Please note that the self-service purchase capabilities will become available for Microsoft Power Platform products on January 14th, starting with Power BI so we don’t have a ton of time, but we can turn it off😉. An organization can turn-off self-service purchase on a per product basis using PowerShell.

Multiple Updates to The SharePoint Admin Center

As is usually the case after a “big” Microsoft conference there are multiple features being rolled out or enhanced in the SharePoint Admin center.

New capabilities

  1. Replace root site – You can replace your root site with another site from the SharePoint admin center. The original root site is moved to a different URL and can be restored, if necessary. This feature will only be available for limited customers. For more information, refer to Message Center post MC189866.
  2. Permissions panel – You can now see the site Owners, Members, and Visitors. If it’s an Office 365 group-connected site, you can see the group owners, and add or remove additional site admins if needed.
  3. People card – Hovering over the name of a user (on the Active sites list or in the details panel) lets you see details about the user.
  4. Additional site-level sharing settings – For all sites, you can now limit sharing by domain, set the default sharing link type, and set default sharing link permission, (Previously, you could only do these tasks for classic sites on the classic site collections page.) You can also make “Anyone” links expire. Additionally, the External sharing column is now included when you export your site list as a .csv file.
  5. Navigation pane – The navigation pane is customizable. You can hide items you don’t use or collapse the navigation menu to see more content on the page.
  6. More features page – The “Classic features” page has been renamed to “More features,” and all classic features are shown on the page so that you don’t need to click “More classic features” to see them.

Design updates

  1. Details panels have been widened, to provide space for future enhancements and match the design of other Microsoft 365 admin centers.
  2. The Settings page has been redesigned as a list that lets you see the current value for each setting.

SharePoint Home Sites

When this was announced then demonstrated at the SharePoint Conference early this year, I was chomping at the bit to check it out.  After finally getting a taste of it in our target release tenant this week I can certainly see the benefit of the feature and will likely implement in our environment as well as a few customers environments but it’s not quite the “shock and awe” I was hoping for.

A Home site is the top landing page for your organization’s intranet. You can designate any communication site to be the home site with a simple PowerShell cmdlet. By making a communication site the home site, it will be more discoverable from both the SharePoint start page and the SharePoint mobile app. In addition, it will serve as a source of authoritative news for your organization and be automatically be set up for organization-wide search.

SPHomeSite

SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business Record Versioning Using Retention Labels

Not sure how I feel about this one. On one hand, this is a collaboration offering and part of that is being able to modify files. On the other hand, isn’t this defeating the purpose of considering an item a record?  This is probably one of those updates that is going to be very divisive in terms of it’s rollout and folks will fall into 3 distinct categories: “Don’t care because we don’t use it”, “This is great” or “This is stupid”.

If you have retention labels which declare items as records in use within SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business, your users will now see a new toggle named “Record Status” under the properties of the item.

This toggle will let users “unlock” the record to continue collaborating on the document while preserving the original declared record in the Preservation Hold library. Once a version of the document needs to be declared as a record again, users can “lock” the “Record Status”.

Expand/Collapse Button in Lists

File this as another modern feature that is putting modern a little closer to classic feature parity.  This looks and acts much like the old “Focus on Content”.  A new “Expand” button will appear in the toolbar inside lists and libraries. Users can click this button to make the contents of the list or library take up more of the screen by hiding the site’s navigation. To make the site’s navigation re-appear, users can click the corresponding “Collapse” button.

ExpandList

Microsoft Teams Is Introducing Presenter and Attendee Roles in Meetings

Meeting organizers will now have an option to define presenter and attendee roles for meeting participants. Presenters will have full permissions in the meeting, whereas attendees cannot share content, take control, mute or remove other participants, admit people waiting in the lobby, or start/stop recording.

Before or during the meeting, organizers can specify who is an attendee or a presenter through the meeting options panel. The available choices are as follows:

  • Everyone (default; everyone joins as a presenter and has full permissions)
  • People in my organization (federated and anonymous users join as attendees)
  • Specific people (allows the organizer to set specific people from their organization as presenters)
  • Only me (everybody apart from the organizer joins as an attendee)

TeamsMeetings

To access the Meeting options panel:

  • In Teams, go to Calendar, select a meeting, and then select Meeting options.
  • In a meeting invitation, select Meeting options.

The organizer and presenters will also be able to change the role of any individual participant (“Make an attendee” or “Make a presenter”) during the meeting.

Tags in Microsoft Teams

I am going to hold off judgement on this one until I get the chance to tinker with it and see how it’s implemented but I have a feeling this is one of those features that is going to be a pain for IT but very useful for users as the announcement indicates Tags will be on by default.

Using tags, team owners can organize users based on a common attribute, such as role, project, skill, training, or location. After team members have tags, the team owner or a tagged team member can create a channel post, @tagName, that notifies only the users who have that tag (in this case @tagName). Tags are team-based; you have to a be a member of a team in order to use an associated tag.

For example, you could send a message to all cashiers in a store or all nurses in a specific hospital ward.

TeamsTags1

Admins can restrict tagging to team owners or allow any team member to add tags to other team members. Team owners may limit tagging for their team.

TeamsTags2

When an admin allows team members to create tags (by selecting On for team members), the team owner can override that setting and disable tag creation by team members.

TeamsTags3

 

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.

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