As Microsoft has transitioned from a company that releases products every three years to a Devices and Services company that releases features and updates on a regular basis, it is becoming more important for Partners to stay on top of what is available in the current release of Office 365.
To help stay on top of the latest releases, the Partner Technical Services team will be releasing a monthly recap of the features that were released in the previous month. The first video is embedded below, and a link to the announcements follows.
“But Sean!” (I hear you thinking)… “you are releasing the “New Features for October” video at the end of November!”. You are correct… it took longer than planned to connect the dots and make this happen. Future updates will be more timely.
Note: If you want to skip the introduction where we discuss the release history and cadence, the feature update starts at 5:50 in the video below.
To stay completely up-to-date on the latest announcements, make sure to visit the Office 365 Message Center. This is where tenant-specific announcements or items requiring administrative action will be posted. The following blogs are where the product teams will release announcements about new features:
- Exchange Team Blog
- Office Web Apps Blog
- SharePoint Blog
- Project Blog
- Visio Blog
- Word Blog
- Excel Blog
- PowerPoint Blog
- Outlook Blog
- Access Blog
- OneNote Blog
October Announcement Recap
While signing-up for Office 365, customers now have an option to either sign-up & purchase new domain via Go-Daddy from within Office 365 or change their MX records in Go Daddy – all from within the Office 365 admin page. While customers require login credentials of Go Daddy they can use a much simpler interface from within Office 365 to sign-in and purchase/change their domain information.
The update for OneNote for Android is now available as of October 2013.
The size of user mailboxes Exchange Online and Office 365 multi-tenant service plans are doubling. This means that the current standard 25 GB user mailbox will now include 50 GB of mailbox storage. Shared Mailboxes and Resources Mailboxes are both more than doubling those to 10 GB each. Kiosk user mailboxes will increase from 1 GB to 2 GB. Site Mailboxes remain unchanged, as do all Office 365 dedicated mailboxes.
You can now configure folder and calendar permissions in Outlook Web App to give delegates access to your inbox, calendar, and other folders. This is particularly useful if you need someone like an admin to manage your inbox or calendar while you’re out of the office.
Members of a site can share documents and the site itself without having to approve them through the site collection owner. When the site owner allows members to share on the site, anyone with at least Editor permissions on a document will be able to share the document, and any user in the default Members Group for the site will be able to share the site. (Office.com video)
Microsoft is adding two new capabilities to the existing SkyDrive Pro for iOS app:
- Integration with the Office Mobile for iPhone app (on iPhone) and Office Web Apps (on iPad) for editing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents while maintaining file integrity in-place in SharePoint Online.
- Integration with the OneNote app for viewing and editing notebooks. OneNote apps, as of this month, support Office 365. This new feature enables mobile editing of OneNote files stored in SkyDrive Pro
It is now possible to enable a core web part previously only available on-premises – for dynamic publishing to showcase specific content based on a predefined search query.
The Content Search Web Part (CSWP) uses SharePoint enterprise search technology to display dynamic results on a page. When you browse to a page that contains a CSWP, you're actually issuing a query. What’s different with CSWPs is that instead of you entering query terms in a search box, the query is contained within the web part itself. This means that when you browse to a page that contains a CSWP, a query is automatically issued.
The Lync team has released some new exciting features for Windows Phone and iOS Lync Mobile clients:
- Join a meeting even if you don’t have a Lync account – Anonymous Join
- Support for certification and passive authentication
- View more information about meeting participants
- Pin a contact to your home screen for quick communication (only for WP)
- Easily start a conversation with a group (IM and Video)
- Ability to start a document conversation from any SP document library in Yammer (new "POST" button next to EDIT & SHARE)
- New "Search on Yammer" link in the SP search center will pass the query string in Yammer
At WPC we publically disclosed a new offering – Power BI for Office 365. Power BI provides users with a complete Self Service BI solution for all users through the familiar and intuitive BI capabilities in Excel and ease of deployment through Office 365. This new BI offering will enable users to:
Discover, Analyze, and Visualize with Excel
Collaborate and Stay Connected – share insights, find answers, and stay connected from anywhere and on any device. Power BI for Office 365 enables users to quickly create Power BI Sites, BI workspaces for users to share and view larger workbooks of up to 250MB, refresh report data, maintain data views for others and track who is accessing them, and easily find the answers they need with natural language query. Users can also stay connected to their reports in Office 365 from any device with HTML5 support for Power View reports and through a new Power BI mobile app for Windows.
In the Cloud, on Your Terms – extend your existing systems with a turn-key BI solution running in Microsoft’s cloud, enterprise grade and secure. Power BI for Office 365 enables new capabilities for IT to help enable users and ensuring a smooth running system. First, through the Data Management Gateway, IT can enable on-premises data access for all reports published into Power BI so that users have the latest data. IT can also enable enterprise data search across their organization, making it easier for users to discover the data they need. The system also monitors data usage across the organization, providing IT with the information they need to understand manage the system overall.
A new visualization app for Office that will help visualize graphs and data residing in an Excel workbook is now available in the Windows Store. The user will be able to navigate through the data with multiple views and ability to zoom in and out at different levels. This app will be first available for Windows 8, Windows RT, and Surface devices through the Windows Store and specifically for those customers using the Power BI for Office 365 Preview. It will provide touch optimized access to BI reports and models stored in Office 365.
Enhancements to Apps for Office Seller Dashboard – enabling subscription pricing for Apps for Office & SharePoint.
Whew! That’s a lot! The links above will take you to the blog post announcing the future. If you’d like to see a short 5-10 minute video on how to plan for and configure any of the above features, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org (substitute my actual first and last name) and I’ll add that topic to our queue of videos to release.
As always, if you are a Microsoft Partner and need technical assistance in planning for, selling, or deploying Microsoft technologies, visit us at https://mspartner.microsoft.com/en/us/Pages/Support/technical-presales-and-advisory-services.aspx