Office 365 Weekly Digest | 2020-37

Welcome to the September 6 – 12, 2020 edition of the Office 365 Weekly Digest.

There were twelve additions to the Office 365 Roadmap last week, including updates for Teams, Lists, Planner, Outlook (Windows, iOS), Forms, and Search.

Information for Microsoft Ignite and new dates for existing meeting series have been added. And speaking of Microsoft Ignite, this week’s spotlight event is the “Enabling Remote Work with Microsoft Teams: Microsoft Ignite 2020 Pre-Show” on Tuesday, September 15th at 9am Pacific.

Blog posts in last week’s roundup include the announcement of GitHub integration with Microsoft Teams (Preview), a list of Ignite 2020 sessions for Microsoft Search and Yammer, as well as upcoming changes for “Hybrid Voice” connectivity and Cloud Connector Edition.

Noteworthy item highlights include the September 2020 feature updates for Workplace Analytics, details on new discounts on meeting and calling experiences in Microsoft Teams, and another reminder regarding Office 2013 client connectivity to Office 365 services.


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
Outlook for Windows: Text Predictions60340September CY2020Added: 09 September 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: Outlook – Windows
Outlook will provide you with suggested ways to complete the text in your email messages. Just tab to accept and finish emails faster, with less typing.
Outlook for iOS: Sync contact sub folders as category labels69139October CY2020Added: 09 September 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: Outlook – iOS
Your Outlook contacts and subfolders in Outlook for Windows or on the web will labeled with a contact category based on the name of your contact sub folder and synced to Outlook for iOS.
Outlook for Windows: intelligent based translations69305December CY2020Added: 09 September 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: Outlook – Windows
Communicate across languages with new translation features, which allow you to translate full messages or specific words and phrases.
Microsoft Teams: Templates for creation of a new Team67110September CY2020Added: 09 September 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: Teams
With Templates in Teams, users can choose from a variety of customizable templates when creating a new team, helping them get started quickly. IT professionals can also create new custom templates for their organization, allowing them to standardize team structures, surface relevant apps, and scale best practices.
Microsoft compliance center: Records Management in Microsoft 365 available in Government cloud63063October CY2020Added: 10 September 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: M365 Compliance, Gov
Records Management in Microsoft 365 enables government customers to manage recordkeeping obligations intelligently. This update restructures capabilities that were previously part of the Advanced Data Governance solution and provides you with a dedicated and specialized solution for records management, with new features including proof of disposal, record versioning, and enhanced record immutability.
Office 365 Advanced threat Protection: Attack Simulation Training68925January CY2021Added: 10 September 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: Office 365 ATP
Attack Simulation training helps customers detect, assess, and remediate phishing risk across users through integrated simulations and targeted training campaigns that change user behavior.
Microsoft Lists: updated Yes/No column experiences – powered by SharePoint67119September CY2020Added: 10 September 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: Microsoft Lists
List items with a Yes/No column, in and out of Quick Edit mode, will appear using the new experience design format – making it easier to create and more accessible to consume.
Microsoft Forms: Progress Bar for multipage Forms and Quizzes67120September CY2020Added: 10 September 2020
Status: Rolling out
App / Service: Forms
Microsoft Forms now provides a setting on multi-page (multi-section) Forms/Quizzes which, when enabled, will show responders a progress bar. The progress bar is a visual indicator telling the responder how far they are through the survey, e.g. “Page 1 of 3”. Note: this feature is off by default on new forms and quizzes. Form owner should choose to enable this setting if they want to use it. However, forms/quizzes already existing at rollout time will have the progress bar setting checked. This Progress bar feature still is only shown on multi-page forms, and can be easily disabled by the Form owner in the settings pane for that form/quiz.
Microsoft Teams: Manage your meeting options in-meeting67121October CY2020Added: 10 September 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: Teams
Meetings organizers can now view and update meeting options within the meeting making it easier and faster to manage your meeting options during a meeting.
Microsoft Teams: End-of-meeting notifications67122September CY2020Added: 10 September 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: Teams
Microsoft Teams will automatically issue a 5-minute warning when the meeting is nearing a close – it will be triggered for all scheduled private, and channel meetings.
Planner: Use Dark Mode in Planner Mobile68083November CY2020Added: 11 September 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: Planner
Use your system’s dark settings or enable Planner’s dark settings to view Planner Mobile in dark mode.
Microsoft Search: New image vertical67117November CY2020Added: 11 September 2020
Status: In development
App / Service: Microsoft Search
A new image vertical is coming to Microsoft Search to provide better search capabilities for images in your organization. The new image vertical will initially be available for search results in SharePoint and Office.com, and will come to Bing.com later in the year.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Whether you are switching from Skype for Business or brand new, join us to learn the basics of how to use Teams to chat with your colleagues and collaborate on projects. Through a series of live demonstrations and best practices, you’ll leave this session with everything you need to start using Teams. After this session, you will be able to: (1) Set up your profile and notifications in Microsoft Teams, (2) Use chat and calling for 1:1 and group conversations, sharing and collaboration in Microsoft Teams, (3) Schedule and conduct meetings in Microsoft Teams, and (4) Align your team and teamwork in Microsoft Teams.

With the dramatic shift to remote work, we all continue to seek creative ways to stay connected and productive in our jobs. How do we recreate those meetings, calls, and large events that previously brought us together and helped us achieve our business goals? Do we have the right tools and devices to do so? And how do we do all of this while keeping security top of mind? These aren’t easy questions to answer. This one-hour session will give you the opportunity to test drive Microsoft Teams, Yammer, and Power BI in a live cloud environment. A facilitator will guide you as you create a virtual company-wide meeting and explore how to: (1) Build a communication and collaboration hub, (2) Engage employees through chat and polls, (3) Set up automated meeting captioning, translation, and transcripts, and (4) Use analytical tools to make sense of data, categorize it, and make it easier to visualize.

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.

Designed for those who are already familiar with Microsoft Teams, our ‘Go Deeper’ sessions offer insights and best practices. Learn how Teams can help organize your workday and make it easier to stay connected with colleagues. Learn tips and tricks for managing and organizing work and communications in Teams. After this session, you will be able to: (1) Leverage formatting best practices to help get your messages noticed (and responded to), (2) Easily find files, chats and projects, (3) Implement strategies to manage and organize your work, and (4) Simplify your workday. Note: This session was previously called ‘Learn tips for taking Microsoft Teams to the next level – Part 2’.

When: Tuesday, September 15, 2020 at 8:00am PT | Bring conversations, content, assignments, and apps together in one place with Microsoft Teams. Build collaborative classrooms, connect in professional learning communities, and connect with colleagues — all from a single Office 365 Education experience. Learn how IT can enable these capabilities for users while maintaining the necessary configurations to align with required organizational business and security requirements. Join us for this webinar to learn: (1) Administration capabilities to enable and govern Microsoft Teams, (2) Allow for frictionless user Teams creation while enforcing business rules and addressing IT concerns, (3) Understand the Teams lifecycle and recommended practices for long term management of the environment, and (4) Security and compliance capabilities for Teams integrated in the Office 365 tools you are already using today. Note: You can also find this session, and more, on-demand here.

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).

Join Microsoft Teams experts as we review how you can deploy commonly-used applications directly within Teams, enabling your users to work more efficiently and effectively by accessing everything they need in a single interface. This foundational workshop covers basic capabilities across app management and security. With over 400 out-of-the-box applications available (and growing), you’re sure to find an app, or two, that your team can begin using today in Teams. After this session, you will be able to: (1) Identify suitable apps to meet the needs for your organization, (2) Recognize common attributes of successful app deployment, (3) Navigate security and compliance considerations for Teams’ apps, and (4) Determine the next steps to deploy an app to your environment.

When: Tuesday, September 15, 2020 at 9:00am PT | The recent shift to remote, hybrid and on-premise work has IT professionals across every industry looking for more solutions and support for deploying Microsoft Teams. That’s why we’re excited to launch this new live webcast series. In this special episode, you’ll get a preview of what’s coming up at Microsoft Ignite. Hear about upcoming sessions you don’t want to miss, as well as new resources that will help you make the most of your experience. Be sure to add this event to your calendar!

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.

We designed Microsoft Teams to be a virtual office you can take anywhere you go. Work seamlessly and transparently with your remote team and discover greater collaboration and productivity. Join us for this session and explore how to avoid communication sinkholes and do more together, no matter where you are. Each session is limited to 12 participants, reserve your seat now.

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.

Do you want to get more done in Teams? Receive targeted and timely updates? Access services directly through Teams? Apps let you complete tasks, receive updates and communicate. 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.

Designed for those who are already familiar with Microsoft Teams, our ‘Go Deeper’ sessions offer insights and best practices. Learn how Teams can help organize your workday and make it easier to stay connected with colleagues. Explore ways to determine the best approach for creating workspaces for projects and workgroups. After this session, you will be able to: (1) Determine the best approach for your collaboration needs (chat versus teams & channels), (2) Create workspaces for your team to provide the best teamwork experience​, and (3) Determine best practices in Microsoft Teams​ to enhance productivity. Note: This session was previously called ‘Learn tips for taking Microsoft Teams to the next level – Part 1’.

Are you looking to ensure users have optimal experiences with meetings and voice capabilities in Teams? During this session, we’ll discuss tools, reporting and best practices to help you manage service quality — from establishing a proactive  strategy to resolving common quality issues as they arise. We’ll build upon best practices from Teams experts and make it real with examples of common scenarios that may arise as your organization embraces meetings and voice capabilities in Teams. Join us for an expert-led workshop for guidance on key resources and actionable insights to manage audio and video quality with Microsoft Teams. Your users will thank you for it! After this session, you will be able to: (1) Define key service metrics and user experience factors for quality, (2) Recognize concepts and metrics in core tools and resources that help you assess usage and quality, (3) Identify key indicators of poor experience in common scenarios and relevant actions to address, and (4) Establish a proactive quality management strategy to ensure optimal user experience.

Are you ready to add PSTN calling capabilities to Microsoft Teams? Join Microsoft Teams Engineering subject-matter-experts as they demystify the options for adding PSTN calling to Teams, provide you with best practices for configuring calling options and show you how to monitor call quality. After this session, you will be able to: (1) Understand the history of voice services in Microsoft products, (2) Identify what calling options in Microsoft Teams are right for you, (3) Configure your calling options in the Teams admin portal, and (4) Monitor and use call quality tools in Teams.

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.

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.

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.

When: Tuesday, September 22, 2020 – Thursday, September 24, 2020 | Because the world is in unchartered territory with COVID-19, Microsoft Ignite will be launched as a complimentary digital event experience this year. Please join us to learn innovative ways to build solutions, migrate and manage your infrastructure, and connect with Microsoft experts and other technology professionals from around the globe. Registration is required. The session catalog and agenda builder are now available.

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.

When: Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 9:00am PT | The recent shift to remote, hybrid and on-premise work has IT professionals across every industry looking for more solutions and support for deploying Microsoft Teams. That’s why we’re excited to launch this new live webcast series. Join us for a wrap-up of day 1 at Microsoft Ignite. You’ll hear all the highlights and we’ll talk about what’s coming up on day 2. Be sure to add this event to your calendar!

Are you ready to start enabling Microsoft Teams as a single experience for productive conversations, smooth flow of information, simplified schedule management in a compliant and secure environment? This interactive workshop is designed to help you prioritize your starting scenario and develop a plan for a pilot for the tailored experience to suit the needs for your firstline co-workers. We’ll build upon best practices from Teams experts and make it real with examples from manufacturing, retail, hospitality, and transportation industries. Join us for an expert-led workshop for guidance on key decision points and implementation steps for digitally enabling your firstline workers with Microsoft Teams. In this workshop, you will learn: (1) How to identify scenarios that matter to your firstline workers and the best approach to implementing Teams from pilot to scale across your entire organization, (2) How to map scenarios to Microsoft Teams use cases, and (3) How to craft the right experience for your firstline workers in Teams by configuring apps and policies.

When: Friday, September 25, 2020 at 9:00am PT | The recent shift to remote, hybrid and on-premise work has IT professionals across every industry looking for more solutions and support for deploying Microsoft Teams. That’s why we’re excited to launch this new live webcast series. Join us for a complete wrap-up of day 1 and 2 at Microsoft Ignite. You’ll hear all the highlights and talk with product experts. Be sure to add this event to your calendar!

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.

When: Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 9:00am PT | The recent shift to remote, hybrid and on-premise work has IT professionals across every industry looking for more solutions and support for deploying Microsoft Teams. That’s why we’re excited to launch this new live webcast series. The events industry transformed overnight, and Microsoft Teams played a big part in this transition. In Episode 7, we’ll sit down with members of the Microsoft Teams product group and learn how they are building the future of high-scale communication with Microsoft Teams. Be sure to add this event to your calendar!

When: Thursday, October 22, 2020 at 9:00am PT | The recent shift to remote, hybrid and on-premise work has IT professionals across every industry looking for more solutions and support for deploying Microsoft Teams. That’s why we’re excited to launch this new live webcast series. In Episode 8, learn about new Teams deep dive help videos for administrators as well as other resources to get your support teams and help desk up to speed. Be sure to add this event to your calendar!

When: Thursday, November 5, 2020 at 9:00am PT | The recent shift to remote, hybrid and on-premise work has IT professionals across every industry looking for more solutions and support for deploying Microsoft Teams. That’s why we’re excited to launch this new live webcast series. In Episode 9, which is one of the most requested episodes, we’ll feature tips, tricks and gotchas on managing guest access in Microsoft Teams. Be sure to add this event to your calendar!


BLOG ROUNDUP

Developers use GitHub together with a number of other platforms, to communicate with each other on issues, pull requests, deployment statuses, and other updates. We want to integrate GitHub with other platforms to make it easier for developers and teams to collaborate around their projects from whatever context they work in. We are excited to announce a new GitHub + Microsoft Teams integration, now available in public beta. To get access to this new integration, head over to the Microsoft Teams app store and install GitHub (Preview), or directly install from here. There’s a lot to be excited about with this integration, including the ability to close/reopen issues and comment on issues/pull requests right in Teams. | Resource: GitHub + Microsoft Teams Integration (Public Preview) Documentation

Microsoft Ignite 2020 is a complimentary digital experience, happening on September 22 – 24, 2020. Our Microsoft Search speakers are firing on all cylinders to finalize their sessions for this year’s conference. And while the Ignite session catalog is live at https://myignite.microsoft.com, choosing from hundreds of sessions can take some time even for the veteran attendee. But have no fear, we are here to help! If you’re passionate about Microsoft Search this post has the recommended sessions to get you started.

Microsoft Ignite 2020 is quickly approaching. The world has changed a lot since the new Yammer was announced last November and this year’s event will be entirely digital, making it available to attendees instantly around the globe. The new Yammer is now generally available, which means we’ve got a lot to share about what’s new and how you can use Yammer to drive community and employee experience. You can find the entire Microsoft Ignite session catalog at https://myignite.microsoft.com, but here is a list of our dedicated sessions if you’re looking to learn more about Yammer and employee engagement.

Last year we announced the July 31, 2021 retirement of Skype for Business Online. In addition to the discontinuation of Skype for Business Online, other “Hybrid Voice” configurations that depend on the service will require changes as well. The first is for organizations with hybrid Skype for Business configurations for on-premises Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) connectivity and online Phone System capabilities. Some organizations have split users between homed on-premises for PSTN connectivity and homed online for Phone System capabilities. Once access to Skype for Business Online ends, organizations will need to transition online users to Microsoft Teams and connect their on-premises telephony network to Teams through Direct Routing. The second is for Skype for Business Online customers using Cloud Connector Edition to integrate Phone System services from the Microsoft cloud with their existing on-premises configuration (PBX, call centers, devices, etc.) and PSTN connectivity. As Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition (CCE) was designed as a virtual on-premises deployment to bridge Skype for Business Online with a customer’s on-premises setup and PSTN connectivity, CCE will also retire July 31, 2021 along with the Skype for Business Online service. Once an organization has transitioned from Skype for Business Online to Teams Only, they can connect their on-premises telephony network to Teams through Direct Routing.


NOTEWORTHY

The Workplace Analytics team is excited to announce our feature updates for September 2020. This post describes the following new features: (1) Inform your return to worksites plan – we have released the Return to Worksites Power BI template and supporting playbook, (2) Customize the definition of meeting attendance – until now, having accepted a meeting invitation was equivalent to attending, and (3) Teams metrics are now available – Teams chat and call data is now included in Workplace Analytics metrics.

As previously announced, Office 2013 clients’ connections to commercial Office 365 services will not be supported after October 13, 2020. After this date, ongoing investments in the Office 365 cloud services – including Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and OneDrive for Business – will proceed based on post-Office 2013 requirements. We recommend that organizations with Office 2013 clients consider migrating to Office 365 ProPlus. Support for Office 2016 and Office 2019 connections to Office 365 cloud services will continue until October 2023. Up to date information on current system requirements can be found under on the Office system requirements page, with related timelines available in the Office system requirements matrix.

Over the past 6 months, organizations around the world have adjusted to remote and hybrid work, pioneering new methods of collaboration, and transforming communication systems to stay connected and productive. By working closely with our customers, we’ve identified key requirements that define how you are using meeting and calling solutions and rethinking your costs to achieve long-term resiliency. As we’ve shared, your organization’s communication needs likely span a spectrum—from the most basic 1:1 meetings and calls to group meetings to large virtual events and conferences. During the pandemic, organizations transformed rapidly moving meetings online and created hybrid workplaces. This environment confirmed the need for multiple ways to join online meetings. For example, participants who do not have reliable internet access to join Microsoft Teams meetings can use Audio Conferencing to join via a dial-in number. Our customers increasingly need to host large scale virtual events ranging from internal town halls to customer events, and Teams can help with these, too. The new Advanced Communications add-on enables large scale events, but also provides structure and admin control to achieve more professional, seamless, and compliant meeting experiences. To help our customers enable these scenarios and experience the best of what Microsoft Teams can offer in meetings and voice, we’re announcing new promotional offers that deliver these experiences with significant cost savings.

Microsoft has tied STRONTIUM to a newly uncovered pattern of Office365 credential harvesting activity aimed at US and UK organizations directly involved in political elections. Analysts from Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) and Microsoft Identity Security have been tracking this new activity since April 2020. Credential harvesting is a known tactic used by STRONTIUM to obtain valid credentials that enable future surveillance or intrusion operations. Subsequent analysis revealed that between September 2019 and June 2020, STRONTIUM launched credential harvesting attacks against tens of thousands of accounts at more than 200 organizations. In the two weeks between August 18 and September 3, the same attacks targeted 6,912 accounts belonging to 28 organizations. None of these accounts were successfully compromised. Not all the targeted organizations were election-related. However, we felt it important to highlight a potential emerging threat to the 2020 US Presidential Election and future electoral contests in the UK. Microsoft CVP Customer Security and Trust, Tom Burt provided some additional details on this campaign in his recent On The Issues blog post. The purpose of this post is to provide defenders in any organization, but especially those directly or indirectly affiliated with electoral systems, insight into the technical nature of this activity. By providing these details, we hope to enable better defense against future attacks and share best practices for securing cloud environments against this type of activity.

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