Welcome to the October 22 - 28, 2017 edition of the Office 365 Weekly Digest.
Upcoming events include new customer immersion experiences for Office 365, Teams, Windows 10 and Security. The monthly Azure Active Directory webinars have also returned for a November run. Details on all events can be found below.
The biggest news from last week was the announcement / release of the Skype for Business Online to Teams roadmap. Details on some new features for OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online were also posted, including updates to sharing emails in OneDrive for Business, idle session timeout capabilities in SharePoint and OneDrive for Business, as well as silent sync and bandwidth throttling configuration options. In addition, there are also posts related to using Planner as a Change Management solution for Office 365 and a review of tools to prepare and execute an awareness campaign for Microsoft Teams in your organization.
A new Project Online Content Pack for Power BI, updates to Sway, a recap of important security-focused Ignite 2017 sessions, and important new features for Azure Active Directory wrap up the noteworthy items from last week.
OFFICE 365 ROADMAP
With the release of the Skype for Business to Teams roadmap on October 24th, the natural result is a significant update to the Office 365 Roadmap, with 82 items added over the last week. So in an effort to keep the weekly digest post from being extraordinarily long, I have uploaded an Excel spreadsheet (O365-Roadmap-2017-43) that has all the details.
When: Wednesday, November 1st / 8th / 15th at 1pm ET | This 90-minute hands-on experience will give you the opportunity to test drive Windows 10, Office 365 and Dynamics 365. A trained facilitator will guide you as you apply these tools to your own business scenarios and see how they work for you. During this interactive session, you will: (1) Discover how you can keep your information more secure without inhibiting your workflow, (2) Learn how to visualize and analyze complex data, quickly zeroing in on the insights you need, (3) See how multiple team members can access, edit and review documents simultaneously, and (4) Gain skills that will save you time and simplify your workflow immediately. Each session is limited to 12 participants, reserve your seat now.
When: Tuesday, November 7th / 14th, 2017 at 12pm ET | During this session, you will have the opportunity to experience Windows 10, Office 365 and Microsoft’s newest collaboration tool: Microsoft Teams. A trained facilitator will guide you as you apply these tools to your own business scenarios and see how they work for you. During this interactive session, you will explore how to use Microsoft Teams and Office 365 to: (1) Create a hub for team work that works together with your other Office 365 apps, (2) Build customized options for each team, (3) Keep everyone on your team engaged, (4) Coauthor and share content quickly, and (5) Gain skills that will save you time and simplify your workflow immediately. Each session is limited to 12 participants, reserve your seat now.
When: Multiple sessions currently scheduled from November 7 - 16, 2017 | Sessions include Azure AD Connect Health, Getting Ready for Azure AD, Securing Your Identities with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), Azure AD Identity Protection and Privileged Access Management, 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: Thursday, November 9, 2017 at 3pm ET | This 2-hour hands-on session will give you the opportunity to try Microsoft technology that secures your digital transformation with a comprehensive platform, unique intelligence, and partnerships. A trained facilitator will guide you as you apply these tools to your own business scenarios and see how they work for you. During this interactive session, you will: (1) Detect and protect against external threats by monitoring, reporting and analyzing activity to react promptly to provide organization security, (2) Protect your information and reduce the risk of data loss, (3) Provide peace of mind with controls and visibility for industry-verified conformity with global standards in compliance, (4) Protect your users and their accounts, and (5) Support your organization with enhanced privacy and compliance to meet the General Data Protection Regulation. Each session is limited to 12 participants, reserve your seat now.
Last month at Microsoft Ignite we introduced a new vision for intelligent communications, which includes Microsoft Teams becoming the primary client for communication and collaboration in Office 365. Now, we are sharing more detail on our planned roadmap for adding Microsoft Skype for Business capabilities to Teams, so you can plan your onboarding. Beyond bringing existing Skype for Business core capabilities to Teams, we are excited about new intelligent communications coming to Teams. As shown at the Ignite Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business General Session, customers will be able to record a meeting and store it in Teams, have transcription added, and be able to search the meeting for key terms. These features will begin rolling out at the end of Q2-2018. As part of our vision for intelligent communications, we are also taking the opportunity to simplify the naming of our premium communication offerings. PSTN Conferencing will now be known as “Audio Conferencing;” Cloud PBX will now be known as “Phone System;” and PSTN Calling will now be known as “Calling Plan.” We want these names to be more intuitive to both IT and end users as we further integrate communications with collaboration. We encourage all customers who have not yet done so to start using Teams today, either stand alone or side-by-side with Skype for Business.
- Office 365 Public Roadmap (filtered on Teams)
- Downloadable Roadmap (PDF)
- Intelligent Communications FastTrack Portal
- Microsoft Teams AMA Summary – October 2017
- Certified Skype for Business Online Phones and what this means for Microsoft Teams
Some of our Project and Planner customers have challenges in keeping up with changes in Office 365 – particularly when they are not the Global Admin or service administrator and are not able to see the Message Center – and when their Global Admin isn’t always seeing the relevance or importance of the messages posted – so here is a potential solution! How about an automated way that reads the messages and posts them to Planner – automatically placing the ones you are interested in to their own bucket and assigning to the person who owns that work stream. | Related: Change Management for Office 365 – Having the conversation in Teams and Planner | Office 365 Message Center to Planner: PowerShell Walk-Through Part 1
We’re updating how sharing mails are sent from SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business. We made a change earlier this year to send sharing mails from the sharing user's Exchange Online mailbox. At that time, we also stopped CC'ing the sender as the mails will now appear in that user's Sent Items folder. We received feedback from customers that many of their users did not have Exchange Online and relied upon the CC field as part of their workflow. We have therefore resumed CC'ing sharing mails when the sharing user does not have an Exchange mailbox. We'll be gradually rolling this out to customers and will complete our rollout in October.
There’s a new culture of work; one that is increasingly diverse, geographically distributed, and mobile. Connectivity is ubiquitous and the ability to work remotely has become an ingrained part of the work practice. People have come to expect to be able to access email and documents from anywhere on any device - and for that experience to be seamless, among these trends includes the increasing use of shared systems, such as kiosks to access and work with corporate data. In order to help safeguard your information on these systems, we’re introducing new idle session timeout policies rolling out as preview on November 6, 2017 and changes to the “Keep me signed in” experience with Office 365. Idle session timeout provides an Office 365 administrator to configure a threshold at which a user is warned and subsequently signed out of SharePoint or OneDrive after a period of inactivity.
At Ignite, we announced two new features for IT Administrators and both are now in preview. The first was Silent Sync Account Configuration for OneDrive which will allow you to silently configure OneDrive using Windows 10 or domain credentials for Windows 7 and Windows 8 on the first run. If you enable this setting, OneDrive.exe will attempt to sign in to the work or school account using these credentials. It will check the available disk space before syncing, and if it is large, OneDrive will prompt the user to choose their folders. The threshold for which the user is prompted can be configured using DiskSpaceCheckThresholdMB. OneDrive will attempt to sign in on every account on the computer and once successful, that account will no longer attempt silent configuration. The second was the ability to let you set the maximum download throughput rate for computers running the OneDrive sync client. By default, the download throughput rate is unlimited and can be configured by the user directly in the sync client. If you enable this setting, computers affected by this policy will use the maximum download throughput rate that you specify, and the users will not be able to change the download rate in sync client settings themselves. Note, that OneDrive.exe must be restarted on users’ devices to apply the configuration specified in this setting. If you disable this setting, users can configure the maximum download rate for their computer by opening sync client settings and clicking the Network tab. We recommend that you use this setting in cases where Files On-Demand is NOT enabled and where strict traffic restrictions are required, such as when you initially deploy the sync client in your organization or enable syncing of team sites. We don't recommend that you use this setting on an ongoing basis because it will decrease sync client performance and negatively impact the user experience.
There are some excellent resources available to aid you in rolling out Microsoft Teams, such as www.successwithteams.com and having a plan will help you in your journey to getting to a successful adoption of the product and ultimately going "viral". As part of the success plan, you will require an awareness campaign (and perhaps multiple) prior to the roll-out to help educate users that Microsoft Teams is on the way, where to go to learn more and even some resources for how to prepare. During and after the roll-out these awareness campaigns can also be used to help with building up adoption and keeping the momentum going. The Microsoft Teams Customer Success Kit is an important tool that can be used to assist with creating these campaigns. This kit contains email, poster, quick reference cards and other templates that are intended for organizations to modify with their logo and other custom verbiage, so they can save time in not having to re-invent the wheel when it comes to creating marketing materials for the campaign. The intended audience are IT professionals, administrators, trainers and general users. It's up to you on how you would like to use these in your organization, but it's always good to become familiar with what tools are available that can help to make the deployment easier for you.
As of Oct 31, 2017, RPC over HTTP will no longer be a supported protocol for accessing mail data from Exchange Online. Microsoft will no longer provide support or updates for Outlook clients that connect through RPC over HTTP, and the quality of the mail experience will decrease over time. RPC over HTTP is being replaced by MAPI over HTTP, a modern protocol that was launched in May 2014. This change affects you if you're running Outlook 2007 because Outlook 2007 won't work with MAPI over HTTP. To avoid being in an unsupported state, Outlook 2007 customers have to update to a newer version of Outlook or use Outlook on the web. This change may also affect you if you're running Outlook 2016, Outlook 2013, or Outlook 2010 because you must regularly check that the latest cumulative update for the version of Office that you have is installed. | Resources: Ignite 2017 - Roadmap for Office 365 client requirements and service connectivity – Video / Slides (#15 - #19 specifically)
We are pleased to announce the release of a new Project Online Content Pack for Power BI. Starting October 26, 2017, Project Online users will be able to download the new content pack directly from AppSource. Comprising of 13 visually rich report pages, the new content pack is designed to support the management needs of project managers, portfolio managers and resource managers, by retrieving planning and execution data from Project Online and arranging the data to support timely decision making. The new content pack report includes reports in three key perspectives: Individual Projects, Portfolio of projects and the organization’s resources.
The latest release of Sway for Windows 10, available in the Windows Store, now matches the full richness of the Sway.com web experience. We built Sway for Windows 10 to automatically get the all the latest features and capabilities from Sway.com—ensuring that it is always up-to-date. New features in this release include: (1) Embeds for Office 365 accounts, (2) Branding, (3) Audio recording, (4) Print and Export, (5) Save as Template, (6) New templates and featured Sways, and (7) View counts.
Cybersecurity continues to be an important topic in IT circles—and Microsoft Ignite has it covered. We’ve pulled together this quick review of cybersecurity coverage, sessions, and tips and would like to know your thoughts. Did you prioritize security when you picked sessions to watch or attend? Our roundup is provided below, including security sessions on demand, the announcement of new EMS capabilities, and finally some things to think about.
In the cloud world, keeping up with change can be tough. Content management is amid an evolution from traditional document warehousing and ECM to the growing world of Content Services. Historically, many organizations have a heritage with classic on premises document warehouses, or unmanaged cloud storage. As more and more organizations join our content cloud, we thought it would help to detail our capabilities across the board. Our new white paper, “Modernizing Enterprise Content Management with Microsoft Content Services” explains the difference and shows how you can adopt Microsoft Content Services, powered by SharePoint, to help achieve digital transformation in your organization. This white paper showcases the enhanced and tightly integrated capabilities of SharePoint and OneDrive that empower individuals, teams, and organizations to intelligently and securely discover, share, and collaborate—transforming how enterprise organizations interact with and manage growing volumes of content. | Content Services Resource Center
If you are federating a separate identity system with your Azure Active Directory tenant, such as Active Directory Federation Server (ADFS), this blog post is for you! We’re totally committed to maximizing Azure Active Directory service availability. As part of that commitment we’re adding more resilience features over the coming months. For most users, especially those who authenticate directly with Azure Active Directory, these benefits are completely transparent and just automatically deliver more reliability. However, organizations that use another identity system federated to Azure Active Directory for user authentication will need to make some configuration changes to see the benefits. This post will provide you with the information you need to make the necessary changes and take full advantage of these enhancements. The new Azure Active Directory features will enable an additional layer of failover, which will require your federation server to be configured to accept requests from additional URLs. If these URLs are not configured there is no impact compared with today, but the users of the federated system won’t see the additional resilience benefits.
A ton of you have let us know that it’s critically important you get information around new Azure AD feature releases and plan-for-change communications so you can better plan and maintain your IT infrastructure. We’ve never had a good system in the past to do that as we’ve optimized our systems for maximum agility and innovation and release notes take time and central coordination. But we know you REALLY need these detailed notes, so we’re really happy to share that we’ve come up with a model for publishing detailed release notes (What’s new), and our first set has just gone live this week. We’ll be covering all type of releases in these notes, including: New features, Changed features, Plan-for-change updates (including deprecations, changes to your environment, UX changes, and more), and Bug fixes. To begin with, we’ll be publishing release notes monthly while we work the kinks out of the system. Plan-for-change communications or any known issues will be published out of cycle. Once we have the process ironed out, our goal will be to publish release notes once every two weeks. You can find all release notes at https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/active-directory/whats-new.