What’s New In Microsoft 365 (June 2021)

As we step a bit closer to summer here in the northern hemisphere things are heating up.  Microsoft Build just wrapped the virtual event last week and had a ton of great sessions you can view as recordings here.  Important to note that Microsoft Build is primarily targeted at a “Developer Audience” but there is still some content for the non-developers out there around the Microsoft 365 Power Platform and Microsoft Teams worth taking in.

On to the business at hand…if you were watching your message center this month you may have noticed quite a few (Updated) messages that were feature updates/enhancements being delayed.  If you are waiting for a specific feature that was targeted for release in May or June, make sure you do a quick check on its status.  We lead off our post this month with a couple of those updated posts then run the gamut of Microsoft 365 applications with the remainder of our message center announcement call outs.   

(Updated) Organizers can lock meetings

MC251564

Not going to lie, we were somewhat glad this got pushed back a bit so we could make a big deal about here and with our customers as well.  We can see a use-case for this feature however as the saying goes “With great power comes great responsibility”.  As we have yet to see this in our targeted release tenant, we are unsure how to feel about it other than ensuring it gets communicated to folks that are regularly running meetings is important.  Really looking to see if you can “unlock” the meeting after you lock it…would assume so but you know what they say about assuming.

Message Summary

Updated May 11, 2021: We have updated the rollout timeline below. Thank you for your patience.

Within the desktop app in-meeting experience, organizers can choose to lock their meetings to prevent subsequent unwanted join attempts.

Users attempting to join a locked meeting by any means (e.g. from web, desktop, mobile, PSTN, and devices) will not be able to do so. There will be a message to say that the meeting is locked.

This message is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 80669

When this will happen

We will begin rolling out at the end of May (previously mid-May) and expect to complete by mid-June (previously end of May).

How this will affect your organization

When the change has rolled out meeting organizers will have the option to Lock the meeting:

What you need to do to prepare

You may consider updating your training and documentation as appropriate.

(Updated) Microsoft Graph connectors for on-prem data sources now generally available

MC252333

This is a somewhat selfish one to include in our post as it is really geared towards developers, but it is an important one, nonetheless.  Microsoft Graph essentially gives developers a single endpoint for solution development within the context of Microsoft 365 or using Microsoft 365 data in your application.  As it is now extending into the on-premises side of the world the potential solutions we can implement became much larger with not as much overhead which is always a good thing. 

Message Summary

Updated May 21, 2021: We have updated this post to include the Graph connector for on-prem Microsoft SQL Server which will be available in early June. Thank you for your patience.

This is an update to our previous communication in MC248003. Graph connectors for four on-premises data sources (Windows file shareMSSQLOracle DBEnterprise websites) are released to all the tenants in general availability. You can now create connections to these data sources in Standard Release.

This message is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 67139

When will this happen:

What you need to do to prepare:

If you are an existing user of any of the three on-premises graph connectors under Targeted Release, it is recommended that you upgrade to the latest version of the Graph connector agent. This will ensure a seamless experience in production with latest updates incorporated during the preview period.

Reminder, as communicated in MC250954, existing users of the graph connectors will need to ensure they have enough quota for the currently indexed items or items planned to be indexed. It is recommended to review the licensing details to determine the impact this will have on your organization. For more information on licensing and pricing details see also License requirements and pricing.

Recommended Files in Office: Excel for Microsoft 365, Word for Microsoft 365, PowerPoint for Microsoft 365

MC255074

There is a lot of value in machine learning, and we have been using as well as recommending this feature in various ways for quite some time in Microsoft 365, so it is nice to see it coming to Office on Windows.  Somewhat surprisingly we have seen quite a few instances of business users freaking out about this type of functionality as they do not understand how the system is learning these things or they really do not want their work tracked to that level. We strongly suggest getting out in front of this one from a communications standpoint with the business to ensure a level of comfort with what is happening here.

Message Summary

Microsoft Office displays a list of recommended files on the File tab, or start page, of Word, Excel, or PowerPoint on Windows. This list allows you to keep track of work around you and quickly access files with activity you value most such as edits, mentions, comments by people you interact with.

This feature uses machine learning to predict which files you’re most likely to want to work on next and presents those as a set of cards you can choose from. Only files that you have access to in OneDrive or SharePoint are suggested.

Recommended files in Office has been available on Office.com and Office for Mac and is now coming to Office on Windows.

Note: This feature is currently available on Windows to Office Insiders on business or enterprise subscriptions.

Key points:

  • Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 72233
  • Timing: begin rolling out in early June and complete by mid-September.
  • Action: review and assess impact for your organization.

How this will affect your organization:

Recommended for you allows you to keep track of work around you and choose files with activity that matters most to you. On the home page in PowerPoint, Excel and Word you will see files recommended for you.

Each card shows the name of the file and who made changes or shared it and why it was recommended like @mentions, recent edits or comments.

What you need to do to prepare:

You may consider updating your training and documentation as appropriate.

Review the Additional Information for more details about Recommended files in Office.

Additional information

Public preview: OneDrive Sync admin reports in the Microsoft 365 Apps Admin center

MC253597

We do not usually advocate for our customers to join public previews, but this is going to be an exception to the rule. One of the most common things we get support calls for nowadays is an issue with the OneDrive Sync Client. Rarely is the issue with the tool itself.  Typically, the issue is a lack of understanding the tool, its limits, or in some cases just very poor internet connectivity. These support calls have always been reactive as we did not have the ability to easily identify users experiencing sync issues and this feature will enable to us to begin proactively monitoring which is a huge win.  The setup process as of this moment is fairly involved and will take some time but if your organization has folks reporting sync issues with regularity you should do this as soon as possible. 

Message Summary

We are releasing in public preview a new dashboard for IT administrators to check OneDrive sync app versions, sync status, sync errors on individual devices, and to monitor deployment progress of Known Folder Move.

This message is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 65909.

When this will happen

We will begin rolling this out in early May and expect to complete rollout early June.

How this will affect your organization

Admins managing deployment and adoption of OneDrive Sync client can get access to this pre-released dashboard to check Sync app versions, sync status, sync errors on individual devices, and to monitor deployment progress of Known Folder Move.

This new dashboard will allow admins to check the sync status and client version of individual devices, monitor Known Folder Move roll out, and track sync errors. The insights range from a high-level executive summary to a drill-down of sync status per-device, to be used in a variety of administrative scenarios.

Available in the Microsoft 365 Apps Admin center.

What you need to do to prepare

This preview feature is admin-facing and opt-in only. There is nothing you need to do to prepare for this change.

Additional information

Blog

Microsoft Teams: Profile menu update, relocating profile menu links to a new menu in the title bar

MC254084 

This is a classic “Who moved my cheese?” announcement. Logically, this context separation makes sense. However, as we all know change is hard.  By the time you are reading this the feature will likely already be in your tenant and if we were betting folks, we would wager a support ticket or two will be raised in the upcoming months regarding the location of Zoom Controls and Keyboard Shortcuts information in Microsoft Teams.

Message Summary

The Me Menu updates were originally announced in MC228368 (Dec ’20). To ensure the feature was ready, the rollout was delayed and we are now ready to proceed.

Access to Settings, Zoom Controls, Keyboard Shortcuts, About, and Check for Updates is moving from the Me Menu to a new menu in the title bar. The Me Menu will be focused on account management, where users can switch to another account or tenant through the first level of the Me Menu. The following links will be moved out of the Me Menu into a new menu in the title bar:

  • Zoom Controls
  • Keyboard Shortcuts
  • About
  • Check for updates

When this will happen

  • Rollout to Standard release will begin in late May and complete by early June.
  • Rollout to GCC will begin in mid-June and complete by early July.

How this will affect your organization:

The Me Menu will be focused on account management, with account and tenant switching moved to level one of the menu.

Settings, Zoom Controls, Keyboard Shortcuts, About, and Check for Updates is moving from the Me Menu to a new menu in the title bar.

What you need to do to prepare:

You may consider updating training and documentation as appropriate.

Export Lists to CSV

MC254423

We really like the ability to export list data directly to a CSV as it makes working with data locally via scripting and importing into other systems much easier. However, when this rolled out to our target release tenant, we noticed something a bit funky, you could export document libraries to csv files.  Not in a true sense but the option was there, and the properties associated could be exported.  That did not seem right and fortunately it was not…they are rolling it out of the Document Libraries right now😉.

Message Summary

So you are aware: We have recently rolled out the capability to export Microsoft Lists to CSV files to all environments.

When this will happen

This feature rolled out during the second half of April, 2021 and is now fully available in all environments. We apologize for not announcing this feature in advance.

How this will affect your organization

On Windows machines, the Export to Excel button has been changed to say Export, with two options underneath;

  • Excel Workbooks, which is the previously-existing export feature
  • CSV, which is new

On Macs, only the Export to CSV option is available.

This feature is only supported inside Lists, and not inside Document Libraries.


Note: Unfortunately, when the feature was rolled out, the changes were visible in both document libraries and lists and we are working to correct this issue by late May, and only show the new CSV option inside lists.

What you need to do to prepare You might want to notify your users about this new capability and update your training and documentation as appropriate.

Sharing Links for Microsoft Lists is now available!

MC256837

Filing this one as a “double-edged sword” …it addresses one of the more common complaints about the user experience for sharing lists but opens a can of worms from an administration standpoint.  Prior to this implementation there was a bit of a process to grant permissions to a specific list. For those well versed in SharePoint you are probably all too familiar with Gear Icon à List Settings à Permissions for this list à Stop Inheriting Permissions à Grant Permissions then deciding whether to give them direct permissions or dump them in a SharePoint Group.  That process can now be accomplished by clicking Share in the ribbon row:

While this a tremendous improvement for user experience it also makes it much easier to break permissions inheritance on the list.  As folks that are responsible for auditing and maintaining permissions for various customers, we know first-hand we see people get a bit crazy with sharing things then want to pull things back.  Then when we reset permissions at the request of the content owners we are in the middle of the “Why did you remove my permissions?” debacle…good times.  As noted with the ability to lock meetings…with great power, comes great responsibility.

Message Summary

This release will allow users to now share Microsoft Lists using the same sharing links that they have been using for files and folders.

This message is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 81965 

When this will happen

We will begin rolling this out in mid-May and expect to complete rollout late June.

How this will affect your organization

Users can now share entire lists using sharing links. The experience is identical to the sharing links experiences that are supported for files and folders. The same admin controls that apply to sharing files and folders will also apply to lists and list items.

What you need to do to prepare

You might want to notify your users about this new capability and update your training and documentation as appropriate.

Additional information

Please reach out to us on MicrosoftGraphConnectorsFeedback@service.microsoft.com if you have any questions or feedback.

As always, there are a lot of things happening in Microsoft 365, so be sure to check out the Tech Community Blogs and the Microsoft 365 Roadmap for more of what’s new.  

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