Updates and Top Announcements from Microsoft Ignite 2017
__________________________________________________________________________Teams is overlapping Skype for Business! Teams has gone from strength to strength in the last year, becoming a core communications client for Microsoft. Because of this, Teams will be rolling out new features to slowly migrate Skype for Business users, over to Teams. Features include call transferring, calling to and from existing external phone numbers, along with the ability to leave and receive voicemail messages. Skype for Business will still be supported, with a new upgrade scheduled for next year. However, organisations are being encouraged to assess the functionality available in Microsoft Teams.
__________________________________________________________________________While SharePoint’s biggest announcement was that SharePoint 2019 will be releasing within the next year or two, there have also been some exciting updates that will make it work more efficiently. The first is that new web parts have been released: Planner – you will now be able to bring planner tasks into your SharePoint site meaning that you can communicate, arrange and delegate tasks through SharePoint rather than through the separate Planner app. File Viewer – you can now preview files without having to open them in a separate app. SharePoint (and all other Office 365 apps) can preview almost 300 different file types! Connector – if you are looking to integrate external apps and services into SharePoint, you will now be able to do that with the Connector web part. With insights and usage reports, you will also be able to view what other people are working on at any one time, as well as viewing who has accessed the files you have shared. Searching for an item has got a whole a lot easier with new search capabilities. Before typing a character into the search bar, search personalisation will automatically bring up recent data that is relevant to you. The results page will show searched items in content groups displayed on cards which are easier on the eye. The search results will also include a live view of documents – which, as mentioned previously, can accommodate nearly 300 different file types. Another new feature is an image search tool that allows you to search for an image by the text it contains, without having to enter image meta-data. As well as all of this, Microsoft is also releasing a SharePoint native mobile app which is designed to fit any mobile device (not just iOS, but now Windows and Android phones too) and allows you to view all of your SharePoint sites in one place. In this app, news feeds can be customised to show relevant news, and, if you find a page that you do not have time to read, you can also bookmark this into your ‘me tab’ to read at a later, more convenient time. One final exciting update for SharePoint, is that SharePoint Hub will be coming in the first half of 2018! With SharePoint Hub, you will be able to group sites together in one location (Hub) where you can see an overview of each site. The idea being that it is a place where you can share knowledge. According to Microsoft, SharePoint is a place to “tell your story, share your work and showcase your product across the organisation.”
Microsoft Graph will now enable users to search for sites, files, docs, emails and people. The main focus of this being that Microsoft want business users to be able to search from wherever they are. Senior Project Manager for SharePoint, OneDrive and Yammer – Naomi Moneypenny – stated that ‘the vision for enterprise search is personal, contextual and boundary-less.’ If users are in SharePoint, search will be enabled directly from there, if users are on the web, they can use Bing for business etc.
__________________________________________________________________________Microsoft put together bundle packages for different types of business, and at Microsoft Ignite, two more bundles were added to the list. 365 Education and 365 F1. Microsoft Office 365 F1 (formerly known as K1 for kiosk workers) is a package put together for ‘firstline’ support and customer service workers. This package consists of Windows 10, Office 365 F1, enterprise mobility and security and Microsoft StaffHub which helps workers manage and schedule their shifts and time. New Office 365 Education is a simple solution built for schools and education. It provides students and staff with safe and secure tools to create and collaborate. 365 Education includes both OS and Office software packages that includes Minecraft: Education Edition – a popular teaching tool in which pupils gain skills such as assessing and reflecting, for the 21st century. Office education will also include Windows 10 and enterprise mobility and security.
__________________________________________________________________________Business Process Service Integration If you are a first release tester, Microsoft will be releasing a varied range of capabilities in October, to further integrate SharePoint and OneDrive with its business process services – PowerApps, Flow, etc. Some of these capabilities include:
- Custom forms using PowerApps
- Ability to launch Flows in OneDrive
- A new Flow “launch panel” to prompt users for input
- A Flow-based “custom approval action” for libraries that requires “formal check-in and approval”
- WebParts for Power BI and Microsoft Forms
- Column formatting in SharePoint Lists and Libraries
- A Flow capability to prompt for document reviews
- A WebPart to add PowerApps to a SharePoint page