Office 365 Weekly Digest | 2020-12

Welcome to the March 15 – 21, 2020 edition of the Office 365 Weekly Digest.

There were six additions to the Office 365 Roadmap last week, including OneDrive, Outlook, Search, SharePoint, and Teams.

Several Teams-focused event series have added even more sessions based on the current shift to remote work. This week’s spotlight event is the Microsoft Health Care and Life Sciences Team’s “What Do You Need Wednesday?” Modern Workplace AMA session on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at 9am Pacific.

Highlights from last week’s blogs include the latest content on remote work, online meetings, and what’s new in Microsoft Teams on its third anniversary.

Noteworthy items include a Microsoft Mechanics video on Information Governance and Mitigation of Compliance Risks in Microsoft 365, a significant update to the Exchange Hybrid Configuration Wizard, a preview for the Microsoft Call Quality Power BI Connector, and a revised end of service date for Windows 10, version 1709.


OFFICE 365 ROADMAP

Below are the items added to the Office 365 Roadmap last week…

Note: The Estimated Release dates listed below are subject to change. The direct link provided for each item can be used to determine if the estimated release date has been updated since the time of publication.

DescriptionFeature IDEstimated ReleaseDetails
SharePoint and OneDrive: Navigation update for narrow screens62448March CY2020Added: 16 March 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: OneDrive, SharePoint
In SharePoint and OneDrive we are making a change for narrow screens to the location of the navigation hamburger menu. You will now find the hamburger menu in the header area for your site and command bar for files instead of in the suite bar.
Outlook for iOS: actionable contact search answers53121April CY2020Added: 18 March 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: Outlook – iOS
Outlook will show actionable results for specific contact information such as “Megan’s phone” so no need to open the contact card to get the information you’re looking for.
Outlook for Android: Actionable contact search answers59022April CY2020Added: 18 March 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: Outlook – Android
Outlook will show actionable results for specific contact information such as “Megan’s phone” so no need to open the contact card to get the information you’re looking for.
Windows Virtual Desktop support for Microsoft Teams60622Q3 CY2020Added: 18 March 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: Teams
Windows Virtual Desktop supports A/V redirection for Microsoft Teams, including P2P technology to improve performance.
Microsoft Teams – Multi-Window Chat57292April CY2020Added: 20 March 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: Teams
Users will be able to pop out individual Teams chat conversations into a separate window, to help them streamline their workflow and more easily move between ongoing conversations.
Admin Feedback in Microsoft Search62558Q3 CY2020Added: 20 March 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: Search
New improvements to Microsoft Search administration in Microsoft 365 will provide the ability for employees to submit feedback to their administrator for the search experience in Office 365 with Microsoft Search.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Discover everything you need to facilitate a successful upgrade to Teams. By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to: (1) Understand why a formal plan is crucial for upgrade success, (2) Identify the steps to the upgrade success framework, (3) Recognize common attributes of successful customers, and (4) Create and implement their own upgrade plan. The audience for this session is All (Business Sponsors, IT Admins, User Readiness/Change Manager, Project Lead).

Determine the most suitable approach based on your current Skype for Business implementation and upgrade goals. By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to: (1) Understand common scenarios and upgrade approaches, (2) Visualize the user experience for each approach, and (3) Determine the optimal upgrade approach for your organization.  IT Admins are the primary audience for this session.

Many organizations are empowering their entire workforce with best-in-class tools that enable them to deliver superior customer experience and optimize operational productivity. In this session, we’ll explore how Teams can help you unlock the full potential of your Firstline Workforce and connect your entire organization. Featuring examples from manufacturing, retail, hospitality, and transportation industries, we’ll discuss how Microsoft Teams provides a single experience for productive conversations, smooth flow of information, simplified schedule management in a compliant and secure environment. Join us to learn how to expand your enterprise in ways you never thought possible by integrating technology into every aspect of your business.

Designed for those who are already familiar with Microsoft Teams, our Tips & Tricks sessions offer insights and best practices. Learn how Teams can help organize your workday and make it easier to stay connected with colleagues. In Part 1 – Effective Workspaces, you will explore ways to determine the best approach for creating workspaces for projects and workgroups. After this session, you will be able to: (1) Decide if your team is best served by a team and channels or a group chat and meetings, (2) Create a workspace for your team to provide the best collaboration experience, (3) Use a personal team to simplify your productivity, and (4) Determine best practices for Teams. You can access the recorded version of this session on-demand here.

Design a user readiness strategy to help your users love and adopt Teams. By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to: (1) Recognize factors that influence user acceptance and adoption, (2) Define core value messaging for Teams in your organization, and (3) Outline your awareness, training and support activities. The audience for this session is: User Readiness/Change Manager.

Have you spent significant time and resources to prepare for a meeting and still felt it wasn’t productive? Have you attended a meeting only to leave feeling like not much was accomplished? Join this class to learn how to make your meetings engaging, productive and effective. Microsoft Teams can help make your meetings worth showing up for. After this session, you will be able to: (1) Use Teams for your entire meeting experience, (2) Record your meeting, making it easy for those who couldn’t attend to get caught up, (3) Keep important meetings at your fingertips by pinning them for easy access, and (4) Assess which audio and video devices are best for your meeting needs. You can access the recorded version of this session on-demand here.

When: Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at 9:00am PT | Help us help you! Presently many organizations find themselves grappling with new remote worker paradigms, how to connect virtually with patients, managing messaging, communications, and more. Here at Microsoft Health Care and Life Sciences we want to help and to that end we are holding a 90 minute AMA (Ask Me Anything) around the Microsoft Modern Workplace. In particular we want to focus our field of questions around Microsoft tools and services for Business Continuity, Crisis Management, Remote Worker Scenarios, and Crisis Communications. If you have questions around the Microsoft tools for enabling the above scenarios, not sure what Microsoft has to offer to assist your organization…. whatever questions you might have around the Modern Workplace, add the event to your calendar and please join us!

Execute your defined upgrade approach as part of your formal upgrade plan. By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to: (1) Recognize the upgrade settings in your O365 tenant admin portal, (2) Understand technical tips and considerations for a successful upgrade, and (3) Apply the appropriate settings in the Portal to execute your upgrade. The primary audience for this session is IT Admins.

Designed for those who are already familiar with Microsoft Teams, our Tips & Tricks sessions offer insights and best practices. Learn how Teams can help organize your workday and make it easier to stay connected with colleagues. In Part 2 – Get More from Teams, you will learn tips and tricks for managing and organizing work and communications in Teams. After this session, you will be able to: (1) Implement strategies to manage and organize your work, (2) Leverage formatting best practices to help get your messages noticed (and responded to), (3) Easily find files, chats and projects, and (4) Simplify your workday. You can access the recorded version of this session on-demand here.

Working from home offers the opportunity to maintain your workflow while allowing flexibility in how and where you get your work done. Shifting to a remote worker status can be an adjustment as you look for ways to balance home and work life, maintain focus and be fully productive. Microsoft Teams can help you stay connected to your team while providing access to all of the tools and resources you need to get your work done. Join us to learn tips that can help set you up for success as you transition into a ‘work from home’ scenario. During this session, we’ll share: (1) Guidance for setting up your home environment for work, (2) Best practices for maintaining your workflow while working at home, (3) Tips for staying connected to your team while remote, and (4) Insights for effectively supporting a remote team.

This session introduces you to the key activities needed to get started with adding applications, bots and connectors in Microsoft Teams today. Through a series of live demonstrations and best practices, you’ll leave this session with everything you need to start using apps in Teams. After this session, you will be able to: (1) See how applications, bots and connectors can help you be more efficient while working in Teams, (2) Select an application, bot or connector for your workspace, (3) Install an application, bot or connector, and (4) Use an application, bot or connector in your workspace.

This 60-minute session introduces you to the key activities needed to get started with Microsoft Teams today. From setting your profile, to running a meeting, users will leave this session with the foundation needed to use Teams with confidence. The session is also available on demand.

Please join us for the Azure AD Webinar Series. Our engineering team is hosting these (free) sessions on deploying and configuring Azure Active Directory.  In this webinar, we will introduce tools to govern the lifecycle of your user and guest identities in your Azure AD and Office 365 deployment.

When: Thursday, April 2, 2020 at 8:00am PT | Join us for an in-depth look at the latest innovations across Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power Platform with James Phillips, President of the Business Applications Group, and other Microsoft leaders. In this free online event, you’ll learn how to put these new features, capabilities, and applications to work to help drive your business’s digital transformation, get answers to common customer questions, and see how they’ll help you: (1) Optimize your operations to save time and costs, (2) Uncover actionable insights for fast and informed decisions, (3) Proactively engage your customers across all channels, (4) Accelerate business transformation with leading AI capabilities, and (5) Solve business challenges by easily creating custom experiences on a secure and scalable platform.

Please join us for the Azure AD Webinar Series. Our engineering team is hosting these (free) sessions on deploying and configuring Azure Active Directory.  In this webinar, you will learn how to interpret Azure AD logs, integrate with your SIEM tools, and gather insights about your Azure AD service.

Identity is at the center of security: don’t compromise when it comes to your company’s valuable information. Join us to explore how to use secure authentication, govern access, get comprehensive protection and set the right identity foundation. During this 2-hour interactive session, you will explore how to: (1) Enable password protection, (2) Bring multi-factor authentication to your Windows 10 users, (3) Protect your users and data through Office 365 multi-factor authentication, and (4) Use conditional access to protect across devices, locations and apps. Each session is limited to 12 participants, reserve your seat now.

How do you bring various stakeholders together across multiple teams to achieve your goal? Do you wish you could reduce the number of meetings or e-mails while still being able to solicit feedback, keep everyone informed, and get consensus? Join us to explore how to bring everything together in a shared workspace with Microsoft Teams. Learn how to chat, meet, share files, and work with other business applications to effectively engage others. This interactive 2-hour session will give you the opportunity to try it for yourself and test drive Microsoft Teams in a live cloud environment. A trained facilitator will guide you as you apply these tools to your own business scenarios and experience how they can work for you. Each session is limited to 12 participants, reserve your seat now.

Please join us for the Azure AD Webinar Series. Our engineering team is hosting these (free) sessions on deploying and configuring Azure Active Directory.  In this webinar, you will learn how to assess and implement a modern approach to secure your organization identities with Azure AD.

Your business needs to control how sensitive data is managed. Join us and explore how to assess your compliance risk, protect sensitive and business critical data, and respond efficiently to data discovery requests. During this 2-hour interactive session, you will explore how to: (1) Simplify assessment of compliance risk, (2) Integrate protection and governance of data, and (3) Intelligently respond to data discovery requests. Each session is limited to 12 participants, reserve your seat now.

When: Tuesday, April 21, 2020 at 9:00am PT | We are very excited to announce a Microsoft 365 ‘Ask Microsoft Anything’ (AMA). 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 members of the product engineering teams who will be on hand to answer your questions and listen to feedback. Join in the Microsoft 365 AMA space, and be sure to add the event to your calendar. We look forward to seeing you there!

Are you still sending an e-mail with an attachment to your teammates when you want to collaborate on a file? How fast do they respond? How do you know if they are working on the file? How do you manage version control? With Microsoft 365 tools for teamwork, you can seamlessly collaborate on files with your team members. Using Microsoft Teams, you can invite your teammates into an environment where they can effectively collaborate and engage in a persistent conversation. Join us for this session and explore how to avoid productivity sinkholes and increase productivity. This interactive 2-hour session will give you the opportunity to test drive Microsoft Teams in a live cloud environment. A trained facilitator will guide you as you apply these tools to your own business scenarios and experience how they can work for you. Each session is limited to 12 participants, reserve your seat now.

Data needs to be protected wherever it’s stored and whenever it travels, and you need the tools to monitor policy violations and risky behavior. Join us to explore how to implement a comprehensive and integrated approach across devices, apps, cloud services, and on-premises. During this 2-hour interactive session, you will explore how to: (1) Identify, monitor and automatically protect sensitive information across Office 365, (2) Help classify and protect documents and email, and (3) Use policies to enable BYOD scenarios by protecting data at the app level. Each session is limited to 12 participants, reserve your seat now.

Today’s workforce can work from anywhere, on any device, and on any app. Security teams need to understand threat signals from disconnected products and optimize security with minimal complexity. During this 2-hour interactive session, you will explore how to: (1) Safeguard users from malware attacks such as phishing and spoofing with Office 365, (2) Use the Windows Defender ecosystem to proactively monitor and protect your users, (3) Utilize Office 365 ATP to help protect users from bad links and attachments, and (4) Let machine learning and automation protect users from threats. Each session is limited to 12 participants, reserve your seat now.


BLOG ROUNDUP

At a moment when organizations across the world are adjusting to remote work, we’re all learning new ways to keep our employees, customers, and business partners connected and informed. Without being able to get together in person, we need new approaches to everything from customer meetings and employee training calls to large events like CEO town halls and global sales conferences. Many of our customers have asked us: How can we make these gatherings as effective online as in person? Microsoft Teams Meetings, Microsoft 365 live events, LinkedIn Live, and—coming soon—PowerPoint Live are all designed to help you create engaging, effective virtual gatherings. And we want to help you make the most of them. Here I’ll walk you through each of these tools and capabilities, and let you know which type of meetings they’re best suited to.

Related:

Microsoft Teams turns 3 this week, and we’re inspired by all the stories you’ve shared of how your teams are using it to chat, call, meet and collaborate. There are lots of great features coming to Teams, including: (1) Great audio quality even under networks with high packet loss, (2) Bookings App in Teams, (3) “Raise hands”, (4) Noise suppression, (5) New capabilities in Shifts, (6) Pop out chats into multiple windows, (7) Include up to 10,000 users in an individual team, (8) Group chat with up to 250 people, (9) Teams & Skype Consumer chat and calling interoperability, and more!

Related:

Enabling a remote workforce is no trivial challenge in the best of times, and it can seem especially daunting when rolling out during a global crisis. Luckily, there are some easy ways to start, so your employees can continue working as close as possible to how they worked back in the office. The goal is to minimize the learning curve, so people can stay productive when dealing with so many other changes. It is very important to avoid local storage of data so that any changes made during this extraordinary time are readily available when work shifts back to the office and work-based devices. Once you take care of the immediate needs of your users, we can recommend some ways you can prepare the organization with a more comprehensive remote work infrastructure for the future. If your organization uses Microsoft 365 or EMS E3 and above licenses, you may already have the technology needed to implement these recommendations. In this article, we’ll look at some easy wins that can be achieved with simple configuration changes from IT and minimal change in behavior of your workforce. In a future article, we will discuss a few more comprehensive changes to your remote work infrastructure.

Keeping our team productive is key to making our services work for our customers. As so much work goes online, we’re mobilizing to continue to be able to respond quickly and effectively. Here, we’ll share some of the ways the Office Experience Organization Engineering Team is working to make this as seamless as possible, including early learnings on how the switch to remote work has impacted our productivity so far. Software development is a team sport, in which engineers need to work together to solve complex problems. At Microsoft, that usually means working together in collaborative environments. When we work remotely, we lose the ability to pop over to someone’s desk, walk the halls, and gather for group lunches. This makes it all too easy for team members to become disconnected. To retain a collaborative team environment, we have established several team practices…


NOTEWORTHY

Format: Video (11 mins) | Watch and see how to establish an intelligent information governance approach for your data in Microsoft 365 and outside resources. You’ll see the latest capabilities for governing and mitigating your compliance risks starting with understanding the internal and external data in your organization, central management of policies that trigger automatic data retention, and deletion. You’ll see the ability to use AI through trainable classifiers to automatically find the data so that policies can be applied at scale. And you’ll see how you can evolve your policies and processes over time.

Insider risk management is a solution in Microsoft 365 that helps minimize internal risks by enabling you to detect, investigate, and take action on risky activities in your organization. Communication compliance is part of the new insider risk solution set in Microsoft 365 that helps minimize communication risks by helping you detect, capture, and take remediation actions for inappropriate messages in your organization. The webinar was presented on Tuesday, March 10, 2020. This post has a link to the recording, a PDF copy of the presentation, and a FAQ document that summarizes the questions and answers that came up over the course of both webinars.

We wanted to let you know that we are releasing what we consider a significant update to Exchange Hybrid Configuration Wizard (HCW). Along with a handful of small bug fixes, there are four major changes coming that we wanted to share with you: (1) HCW will no longer enable Federation Trust by default for all installations, (2) Fix for “null reference” error when uninstalling the hybrid agent and switching to Classic in the HCW, (3) OAuth is now enabled via a Graph API under the context of the Tenant Admin, and (4) Removed fallback mechanism for DNS verification. Because this is a major version update, the build begins with 17.x vs 16.x. Because of the web-based distribution nature HCW uses and this version is a brand new package, you will get all this goodness simply by installing the new HCW from here. The current builds of HCW (16.x) will not automatically update to 17.x build, in fact – you could run the two side-by-side.

For many years, our IT Admins have asked us to enable them to build their own reports.  We are happy to share that you are now empowered to build your own reports. The process for installing a custom connector and adjusting security to enable use of the connector is described in detail in the Power BI documentation. Once setup is complete, you should see the names of several hundred dimensions and measures load in the Fields pane. Constructing actual queries from here is simple, just select the dimensions and measures you want for your query, then drag and drop them onto the page. Drill through in Power BI allows you to create focused reports that you can quickly filter using the values of other reports as context. Once you know how to create your first query with the Microsoft Call Quality Power BI Connector, creating a drill through is even simpler. Despite making use of Power BI, not all Power BI functionality is support by the Microsoft Call Quality Power BI Connector, either as a result of limitations on CQD data model (such as non-existent data) or on DirectQuery connectors in general. This post includes some of the Connector’s more noteworthy limitations, but this list should not be considered exhaustive.

Right now, we have a lot of concerns. For our families and colleagues. For our businesses and our customers. Many of us are now working remotely, and all of us have had our day-to-day lives impacted in unique ways. At Microsoft, our top priority is the health and safety of our employees, customers, partners, and communities. We have been evaluating the public health situation, and we understand the impact this is having on you, our valued customers. To ease one of the many burdens you are currently facing, and based on customer feedback, we have decided to delay the scheduled end of service date for the Enterprise, Education, and IoT Enterprise editions of Windows 10, version 1709. This means devices will receive monthly security updates only from May to October. The final security update for these editions of Windows 10, version 1709 will be released on October 13, 2020 instead of April 14, 2020. Security updates for Windows 10, version 1709 will be available via our regular servicing channels: Windows Update, Windows Server Update Services, and the Microsoft Update Catalog. You will not need to alter your current update management workflows. For example, all supported versions of Microsoft Configuration Manager (current branch) will continue to support Windows 10, version 1709 until October 13, 2020.

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