Welcome to the May 21 – 27, 2017 edition of the Office 365 Weekly Digest. Please see below for a reminder on a change regarding the inclusion of Message Center notification details in these weekly posts.
One new event is included in this week’s post – an Ask Microsoft Anything (AMA) session with the Office 365 Adoption Content Pack in Power BI product team on June 7, 2017. Also note that available June sessions are now posted for Azure Active Directory, FastTrack adoption and Microsoft Teams.
Last week’s major announcement was the public preview of the Office 365 Adoption Content Pack in Power BI. In other news, two new connectors (OneDrive for Business & Teams) for Microsoft Flow were announced, as well as updates to Microsoft Forms and the latest post in the Modern Service Management for Office 365 blog series focused on Evergreen Management.
Noteworthy highlights this week include updates to custom policies in Skype for Business Online, new SharePoint hybrid updates, and a deep dive on Exchange hybrid authentication.
As Office 365 increases the relevance of change communications to be more tenant-specific, a broad publication of this information becomes less useful and potentially inaccurate. Please be sure to check the Message Center in your Office 365 tenant for details on changes for awareness or that may require admin attention. Additional resources are included below:
- Stay on top of Office 365 changes
- Message Center in Office 365
- Manage messages in Message Center
- Turn on language translation for Message Center posts
Note: A Message Center weekly digest email is currently available for Office 365 admins set to First Release.
When: Wednesday, June 7, 2017 at 9:00am PT | Please join the Office 365 Adoption Content Pack in Power BI product team for an “Ask Microsoft Anything” (AMA) on Wednesday, June 7, 2017 from 9am to 10am PST. An AMA is a live online event similar to a “YamJam” on Yammer or an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit. This AMA gives you the opportunity to connect with the FastTrack team who will be on hand to answer your questions and listen to feedback regarding the recent announcement of the public preview availability. Add the event to your calendar and join us in the Office 365 Adoption Content Pack in Power BI AMA group. We hope to see you there!
When: Multiple sessions currently scheduled June 6 – June 15, 2017 | Sessions include Azure AD Connect Health, Getting Ready for Azure AD, Securing Your Identities with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), Accessing Your Organization’s Internal Applications via Azure AD App Proxy and more. Each 1-hour or 75-minute webinar is designed to support IT Pros in quickly rolling out Azure Active Directory features to their organization. All webinars are free of cost and will include an anonymous Q&A session with our Engineering Team. So, come with your questions! Capacity is limited. Sign up for one or all of the sessions today! Note: There are also some sessions available on-demand.
When: Wednesdays May 31, 2017 through June 21, 2017 at 10am PT & 12pm PT | Today’s fast-paced workplace requires you to transition between tasks seamlessly and find things quickly. As work and collaboration evolve to become more web-based and complex, changing professional styles call for tools that provide agility across the full span of a workday. Instead of wasting time searching for your most-used features and content, you need technology that allows you to transition from email to collaboration to project work and back again with ease. Microsoft is now offering hands-on live sessions where you’ll have the opportunity to test drive Windows 10, Office 365 and our hottest new collaboration tool: Microsoft Teams. During these small-group sessions, you’ll have the opportunity to apply these tools to your own business scenarios and see how they work for you. Each 90-minute session starts with an online business roundtable, discussing your biggest business challenges with a trained facilitator, and then transitions into a live environment in the cloud. You will receive a link to connect your own device to a remote desktop loaded with our latest technology, so you can experience first-hand how Microsoft tools can solve your challenges.
FastTrack Webinars: Learn how to do more, together
When: Multiple sessions currently scheduled through May 26, 2017 | Ask questions, learn shortcuts and find out how Office 365 can make you and your team more productive. Each webinar is a live, instructor-led session offered at multiple dates and times. Facilitated discussion follows each session, with opportunities to ask questions and discuss specific scenarios to you. Direct registration links for each webinar are provided below.
- Use Office 365 to achieve more: Discover how to get work done more efficiently with Office 365 | Video
- Your files anywhere: Discover new ways to achieve more by getting work done with your documents from anywhere | Video
- Make meetings matter: Discover how Office 365 can help you get the right people achieving more together by connecting online through Skype for Business | Video
- Bring your team together with Yammer: Discover how to successfully launch a Yammer Network within your organization | Video
- Get it done from anywhere: Discover how to access Outlook from anywhere and share your files to get things done in real time | Video
- Key roles in making Office 365 successful: Discover how different roles work together to execute a successful launch | Video
- Build awareness: Foster adoption of Office 365 in ways that matter to end users; understanding training resources and develop champions | Video
Since March 2016, the usage reports in the Office 365 admin center have been providing admins with insights about how users adopt and use the various services in Office 365. We’re pleased to announce the public preview of the Office 365 adoption content pack in Power BI, which enables customers to get more out of Office 365. The content pack combines the intelligence of the usage reports with the interactive analysis capabilities of Power BI, providing rich usage and adoption insights. With these insights, admins can drive more targeted user training and communication that helps them transform how their organizations communicate and collaborate, enabling a truly modern workplace. The new Office 365 adoption content pack gives you a cross-product view of how users communicate and collaborate to help IT admins provide more targeted user communication. When you better understand how employees use the various services within Office 365, it is easy to decide where to prioritize training and communication efforts. The content pack lets admins further visualize and analyze their Office 365 usage data, create custom reports, share insights and understand how specific regions or departments use Office 365. | Additional Resources: Enable the Office 365 adoption content pack | Troubleshoot the Office 365 adoption content pack | Adoption content pack overview and FAQs | Microsoft Mechanics: Overview of the adoption content pack in Power BI (Video, 9 minutes)
Last week, Microsoft announced the availability of Surface Studio, Laptop and HoloLens in China along with the new Surface Pro and Surface Pen coming next month. At our event in Shanghai, Panos Panay showcased new inking capabilities in Office apps that are coming first to Windows and brought to life on Surface. These advances make your digital pen faster, more fluid and more personalized, helping you express yourself with rich, creative content. This post also highlights recent updates for Office 365 commercial customers such as the Office 365 adoption content pack in Power BI, SharePoint communication sites, OneDrive Files On-Demand, a new unified sharing experience for OneDrive, SharePoint and Microsoft PowerApps integration and more. Learn more about what’s new for Office 365 subscribers this month at: Office 2016 | Office for Mac | Office Mobile for Windows | Office for iPhone and iPad | Office on Android Phones and Tablets.
Microsoft Flow enables users to create automated workflows between your favorite apps like OneDrive. We’re announcing the ability to launch Flow directly from OneDrive for our First Release customers and coming to all tenants over the next few months. Microsoft Flow allows you to create automated workflows between your favorite apps and services to get notifications, synchronize files, collect data and more. You can turn repetitive tasks into multistep workflows. You can even make decisions in your workflow, like running an action only when specific conditions are met. Let’s suppose you have a new document and you want to get members of your team to read it and update the document. Our new integration empowers you to build a Flow to inform your team and capture their input directly.
We’re excited to announce the Microsoft Teams connector for Flow. Microsoft Teams is a chat-based workspace in Office 365 that bring together people, conversations and content – along with the tools that teams need, so they can easily collaborate to achieve more. The Teams connector enables you to alert your team of any new activity by posting messages to an existing Teams channel. Using the Teams connector in Flow, you can create workflows to automate complex processes while keeping your team in the loop about what’s happening. For example – you can build flows to monitor all activity on social media forums and alert your team about events that are unexpected or require action.
We’re back with another edition of the Modern Service Management for Office 365 blog series! We have covered a lot of ground so far in this series from monitoring to sample code to the evolution of IT Pros and the IT Organization. Now, it is time to tackle “Evergreen Management.” In this article, we review the evergreen cloud paradigm and considerations for an agile IT organization. For the purpose of this blog post, we are going to avoid any confusion and discuss “Evergreen Management” instead of “Change Management.” We are defining “Evergreen Management” as the act of managing continuous evolution of features and functionality in the cloud to achieve business benefit while avoiding any adverse side effects. The goal is to help you spend most of your time on the business benefits while wrapping a lightweight process around the adverse-avoidance discussion.
We’re introducing several updates to Microsoft Forms, including improvements to the Forms portal, more languages and right-to-left reading support. We are introducing significant improvements to the Forms portal page. With the new design, users will see a snapshot of each form, which includes the form title, background image and number of responses. The new search box, on the upper right corner, will help users quickly find a form either by its title or owner’s name. With this update, we’re introducing 26 new languages to Forms—bringing the total to 68 languages. We are also enabling RTL (right-to-left) reading support for Hebrew and Arabic users, so users can create and respond to forms, as well as view forms results. Also, educators can easily create a new form or quiz, add questions, customize settings, share their forms and check on the results.
Network and migration planning is a crucial step prior to migrating to Office 365 to allow you to verify and test the estimated bandwidth. But even after deploying, it’s important to continue to monitor the amount of bandwidth available on the network and estimate if the existing capacity could handle high volume days. This post has links to resources such as the Exchange Client, Skype for Business and Teams bandwidth calculators, as well as a Microsoft Ignite session that walks through different methods for calculating bandwidth. | Additional Resources: Microsoft Tech Community – Tuning Your Network Performance
As discussed in our previous blog article Custom Policies in Skype for Business Online, Skype for Business Online allows Skype administrators to create custom policies. We are now expanding with additional policies and parameters that can be configured. The additional functionality configured with customer policies to Skype for Business Online, include: (1) Ability to block a point to point (P2P) file transfer to Federated users only, and (2) Ability to create custom External Access policies.
As part of the May 3, 2017 Power BI Premium announcement, Microsoft communicated changes to the free Power BI service effective June 1,2017. These changes include extending access to all data sources, higher workspace storage limits, and higher refresh and streaming rates to the Free service, making it equivalent to Power BI Pro. Also announced was that sharing and collaboration features will be exclusive to Power BI Pro users, including peer-to-peer dashboard sharing, group workspaces (now called app workspaces), export to PowerPoint and analyze in Excel with Power BI apps. Beginning June 1, 2017 existing users of the Free service who have been active within the past year (on or before May 2, 2017) will be eligible for a free, 12-month extended trial of Power BI Pro. The offer will let users take advantage of the full capabilities of Power BI Pro for the next year as a sign of appreciation to the community and to provide users with time to adjust to the changes.
The cloud has become mainstream and services such as Office 365 are an attractive alternative to on-premises business solutions with SharePoint. However, for a variety of reasons, you might want to or need to deploy specific solutions in the cloud while still maintaining your on-premises investments. Hybrid scenarios with Office 365 and SharePoint on-premises allow you to bring the cloud to your business while bringing the business to the cloud. From on-premises to the cloud and back—your information is where and when you want, at your pace, using the investments you already have. In November we announced preview availability of two new hybrid scenarios coinciding with Feature Pack 2 for SharePoint Server 2016 – hybrid auditing and hybrid taxonomy. We’re pleased to announce hybrid taxonomy is generally available. Hybrid auditing will become generally available later this calendar year.
A hybrid deployment offers organizations the ability to extend the feature-rich experience and administrative control they have with their existing on-premises Microsoft Exchange organization to the cloud. A hybrid deployment provides the seamless look and feel of a single Exchange organization between an on-premises Exchange organization and Exchange Online in Microsoft Office 365. In addition, a hybrid deployment can serve as an intermediate step to moving completely to an Exchange Online organization. But one of the challenges some customers are concerned about is that this type of deployment requires that some communication take place between Exchange Online and Exchange on-premises. This communication takes place over the Internet and so this traffic must pass through the on-premises company firewall to reach Exchange on-premises. The aim of this post is to explain in more detail how this server to server communication works, and to help the reader understand what risks this poses, how these connections are secured and authenticated, and what network controls can be used to restrict or monitor this traffic.
The European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) takes effect on May 25, 2018. While some companies have started working towards GDPR compliance, Gartner believes that less than 50 percent of all organizations will fully comply with the GDPR when it goes into effect. We know that the cloud can help dramatically increase that compliance rate, and we are dedicated to helping our customers on this journey. With roughly 160 GDPR requirements ranging from how you collect, store and use personal information, to mandating a 72-hour notification for personal data breaches, it’s clear that using cloud technology can help accelerate the path to compliance for most organizations. In February of this year, we announced that Microsoft cloud services will comply with GDPR by May 25, 2018, across Office 365, Dynamics 365, Azure, including Azure data services, Enterprise Mobility + Security, and Windows 10. We’ve backed this up with our contractual commitments to customers. The Microsoft Cloud also has a range of compliance controls, audited by third parties. Through these investments, we will also help you validate that when you are using the Microsoft Cloud, you are using services compliant with the GDPR. | Related: How Microsoft EMS can support you in your journey to EU GDPR compliance | Microsoft Trust Center: Privacy – GDPR