What’s Happening in Office 365 May 2020
In this month’s update we have a little rant on Microsoft’s consistently inconsistent history of renaming things and even touch on a couple of them in our update. We also note a feature that many of the Power Users, IT Pros and developers still supporting Classic SharePoint Content Query Web Parts really need to be aware of along with a quite a few Yammer, Teams and SharePoint feature updates of note.
Rant on Rebranding
In the past month we had announcements on 4 “renamed experiences” in the Office 365 space:
- Office 365 personal subscriptions are being renamed to Microsoft 365
- Office 365 Business Licenses are being renamed to Microsoft 365
- Yammer in Teams now has the Communities App
- Planner in Teams is going to be Tasks
There is a “running joke” in the community about consultants need a PHD to understand the various licensing options associated with Microsoft 365 at any given time but it’s getting to the point where you need a PHD to know what an application should be called. Completely understand the want/need to rebrand things to keep them fresh but at what point does the confusion caused by this become counter productive for Microsoft? Hopefully this slows down because we’re still having trouble telling folks “You can use Power Automate, we used to call it Flow, to create a Flow for that”😉.
Beyond the Communities App being introduced to Microsoft Teams there are a couple other Yammer experiences being rolled out soon as well worth noting.
If you’re using the Yammer Conversations Web Part in your SharePoint Online sites it may be a good idea to give your users a “heads up” that their experience will be changing. Also, it’s probably time to update any documentation/training materials your organization has created regarding usage as there will be new functionality showing up between mid-May and mid-June in a tenant near you.
Modern SharePoint sites and pages that use the Yammer Conversations web part will begin displaying the new Yammer Conversations web part experience which includes:
- Users will be able to create any type of Yammer post directly in SharePoint
- Users will be able to upload images and files into Yammer conversations directly in SharePoint
- Users will be able to start a conversation in any community
Originally noted in the message center in August 2019, Microsoft is updating how Yammer uses Office profiles. User profiles in Yammer will now use the Office profile rather than the standalone Yammer profile. This has already begun to rollout and should be completed by July. Below are relevant details but the gist of it is: If your users are using Yammer Profiles the information populated that isn’t pulled in from Azure AD is going to be going away i.e. custom profile pictures, links to social accounts etc.
Currently, if a Yammer user has a corresponding Office identity, their profile information is synced from Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) upon their first sign-in on Yammer or if their AAD profile changes. However, Yammer allows users to modify profile information. This can result in situations where information is out of date or scenarios where a user can change their name and photo and then impersonate someone in Yammer.
- If a Yammer user does not have a corresponding Office identity, they will not be affected by this feature.
- For Yammer users who do have a corresponding Office identity, we will perform a sync so that Yammer and Office profiles match. Going forward, Yammer users will need to contact their IT administrator, as with other Office 365 apps, in order to change their profile information.
Any Yammer profile fields that cannot be synced with an Office profile, such as a link to a Facebook profile, will be removed during the sync process.
Please see Update your Office 365 profile to learn more.
Given the current situation it’s no surprise to see quite a few updates in this space coming however there were numerous messages in the past month that really could have fallen into this category. As such we’ve “rolled them up” below:
- Background effects in Teams meetings
- Rolling out beginning in mid-April
- Change your background for a Teams meeting (Supported)
- Microsoft Teams rolls out Background Effects. Here’s how you can set a custom background using it (Hack to use your own)
- New experience for launching instant channel meetings
- Rolling out starting in late April
- Meet Now buttons in Teams channels will have a new home. You will soon find them in the Channel header where you can easily find and launch the meeting.
- Improved Teams meeting join launcher experience
- Rolling out starting in late April
- Users who click on a Teams meeting join link will now see an optimize and improved join experience. Users will be prompted with an option to join on the web, download the Teams client, or join with the native teams’ client. This will result in faster & more confident meeting join.
- Easily access meeting options from within a Teams meeting in progress
- Rolling out at the end of April
- We are making it easier for meeting organizers to quickly and easily change their presenter and lobby settings once a Teams meeting starts by providing an easy to access link directly in the participants pane. This new functionality will be present for both scheduled and “Meet Now” meetings.
- Download a participant report in a Teams meeting
- Rolling out early May
- Meeting organizers, especially teachers, often need to know who joined their Teams meetings. Soon you will be able to download a participant report, found in the roster view that includes join and leave times for participants. Available in the roster view, meeting organizers can download the report that includes those users who joined while the organizer was present. This feature is only available within the meeting while the meeting is active. Available on desktop (Windows and Mac) and the web.
- Audio playing on presenter device will be shared in the live event
- With share system audio in live events, your live event attendees will be able to hear the audio of the content that you are sharing on your screen. This feature works just like share system audio in Teams Meetings. Once enabled, any audio that is playing on the user’s machine will be shared in the live event for participants to hear. Note: This feature will only be available for Presenters/Producers in a live event joining from the Windows Desktop Teams client. We will be rolling this out starting in late April and rollout will complete within a week from the initial rollout date, with feature support in GCC, GCCH, and DoD environments following within 30 days.
- Screen Share from Chat
- Rolling out early May
- Screen share from chat allows you to immediately start sharing your screen in a 1-1 chat or group chat. This entry point was previously governed by the AllowPrivateCalling policy. If this policy was disabled, users couldn’t screen share from chat. The option to start a screen share from chat will now be governed by the ScreenSharingMode policy.
- Participants View aka “Brady Bunch View”
- We are pleased to announce that the number of participants that can be viewed simultaneously during a Teams meeting will increase from 4 to 9.
- Expect to be rolled out by end of May
- Raise Hand feature
- Gradually rolling this out in mid-April
- The new raise hand feature in Teams allows meeting attendees to identify that they wish to speak by toggling the hand icon in the meeting control bar, making it easier to actively participate in meetings. Raise hand will be available initially for PC, Mac, and web-based clients.
- Multi-Window Chat
- Users will be able to pop out individual Teams chat conversations into a separate window, to help them streamline their workflow and more easily move between ongoing conversations.
- Your Teams and Skype for consumers users will soon be able to chat and make Voice over IP (VoIP) calls to one another.
- Rollout should be completed by the time this is posted…Additional information
Yammer and Teams were not the only applications in Office 365, sorry, Microsoft 365 that have a lot of updates coming. SharePoint Online has quite a few welcome updates/features rolling out as well.
- Users will soon have access to a new rich-text editor (RTE) on multi-line text fields with when editing a SharePoint list or library.
- Expect rollout to be complete in August
- Content Query Web Part Performance Banner
- For those still using this web part in Classic SharePoint this may be a blessing or a curse. Content Query Web Parts allow folks to do some pretty powerful things but in many cases, they were abused which caused performance problems on the pages.
- This banner is essentially Microsoft’s way of saying “Not our fault…you need to fix this yourself” and will be rolled out by the end of May
- The Term Store is finally going Modern
- This was one of the few experiences in the SharePoint Admin center that was still lingering on Classic SharePoint’s look and feel so it’s nice to see it getting a facelift
- Also getting a modern content type gallery which will hopefully improve the usability and functionality but we won’t really know until late June until it’s fully rolled out…fingers crossed though😉.
- Blog post on the announcement here
- Create a list from an Excel table
- Making it easy for users to create a SharePoint list by importing an Excel table.
- The rollout will be completed by early July 2020 but I’m curious to see how many folks will use this feature as Excel Online is a more familiar experience for most.
- SharePoint Spaces Preview
- Announced at last years SP Conference SharePoint spaces is a web-based, immersive platform which allows your users to create and share mixed reality experiences.
- It’s in target release tenants right now with no ETA on general availability but it’s a nice feature that will be a big hit with content creators once it gets into the wild.
- Explore SharePoint Spaces
Updates to My Apps and My Account Experiences
Leaving this one exactly as it is in the message center as it’s impactful but requires IT involvement every step of the way and will likely be impacting every user in your tenants.
We will be updating the current Azure AD Apps and Profile experiences on July 20th 2020. This means that on July 20th all users will be automatically switched over to the updated My Apps and My Account experiences. We recommend you migrate your users to the new experiences prior to the July date to allow them to try the new interface as soon as possible. Please note that the updated My Apps and My Account offer the same functionality as the current experiences, but with an improved user interface on top of new capabilities to enable your users to be productive.
How does this affect me?
If your organization’s users are using the current Apps experience for app launching or Profile for account management, you should notify them of the upcoming change. Additionally, we recommend you turn on the new My Apps experience in the Azure portal as soon as possible to give users the opportunity to try out the updated user interface. Turning on the new My Apps experience will allow your users to access the new My Account experience from My Apps.
On July 20th 2020, users will no longer be able to access the current Apps or Profile experiences and will be automatically redirected to the updated My Apps and My Account experiences.
Previous Apps experience:
New Apps experience:
Previous Profile experience:
New Profile experience:
What do I need to do to prepare for this change?
We recommend you migrate your users to the updated experiences prior to the July date. Please note that you can do so via staged rollout by allowing a certain group of users to access the updated experiences prior to migrating all users. If you’d like to provide additional guidance to your users about this update, we hope you find the following resources helpful.
For turning on the new My Apps experience:
For communicating the update to your users: