Office 365 Weekly Digest | 2020-38

Welcome to the September 13 – 19, 2020 edition of the Office 365 Weekly Digest.

There were twenty-six additions to the Office 365 Roadmap last week, including updates for Teams, Microsoft 365 Compliance, Yammer, Visio, and Outlook. Due to the large number of items, all of the roadmap items are in a separate post this week, Office 365 Roadmap Update | 2020-38.

There are a couple of new events listed in this week’s post. The “Teams Chalk Talk: Get to Teams – Zero to Production” only has an on-demand session available for now. The Office 365 network connectivity team will hold office hours on Wednesday, September 23rd from 8am – 12pm Pacific. The spotlight event of the week is Microsoft Ignite, which runs from Tuesday, September 22nd – Thursday, September 24th.

Highlights from last week’s blogs include information on how to enable a seamless remote work experience for your users, a summary of the OneDrive roadmap updates for August 2020, the introduction of reactions in Yammer, the availability of the Microsoft Virtual Event Playbook, and lots of guides to Ignite 2020 for various services including Teams, Exchange, SharePoint, OneDrive, Planner, Stream, Outlook, Microsoft 365 Admin, Power Platform, and more.

Noteworthy items from last week include diagramming updates for Visio for the web, a friendly reminder regarding Office 2013 client connectivity to Office 365 services, a Microsoft IT Showcase on Teams governance, updates for Planner on the web and mobile app, and some best practices for simplifying governance for employee access across applications, groups and teams.


OFFICE 365 ROADMAP

Twenty-six features were added to the Microsoft 365 Roadmap last week, so for this week the roadmap updates are detailed in a separate post, Office 365 Roadmap Update | 2020-38.


UPCOMING EVENTS

Microsoft Teams can help your employees stay connected and collaborate with each other, especially in the current unprecedented time where remote work is a reality of employees around the world. Being able to chat, do video meetings and collaborate on Office documents within Teams can help companies stay productive. Whether you are a small business, a non-profit or a large organization, you can get started with Teams within Microsoft 365 or Office 365 suite – even before deploying any other Office app or service. Join Microsoft Teams experts as we review Teams implementation for collaboration, chat and meetings. We’ll share key configurations, considerations, best practices, and resources to get your users up and running quickly. After this session, you will be able to: (1) Recognize key success factors for technical and user readiness, (2) Identify pre-requisites and tenant setup for your environment, (3) Install the Teams clients appropriate for your organization, (4) Configure policies that enable your preferred user experiences, and (5) Leverage collaboration features to enhance remote work scenarios.

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.

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’.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

When: Wednesday, September 23, 2020 from 8:00am – 12:00pm PT | On Wednesday September 23 from 8am to 12noon PST the Office 365 network connectivity team will be online to take your questions. Set yourself a meeting request and come back here on Wednesday morning when this post will have been updated with a Teams link to connect. You can talk about our features, new Ignite announcements, or about our tooling for improving Office 365 network connectivity.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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’.

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.

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. Join us for this session and leave this with everything you need to start using Teams. During this 2-hour interactive session, you will explore how 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.

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!

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.

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!

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. Join us for this session and leave this with everything you need to start using Teams. During this 2-hour interactive session, you will explore how 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.

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

For many companies, providing remote work options was already a rapidly growing movement (+173% since 2005 according to Global Workplace Analytics). That was before the COVID-19 crisis, which has massively accelerated that trend and highlighted a number of remote work problems that require immediate remediation. The need to maintain security without sacrificing performance has generated unprecedented demands on enterprise IT to support work-from-anywhere productivity at a massive scale. Microsoft 365 is well positioned to help customers fulfill that demand, but high concurrency of users working from home generates a large volume of Microsoft 365 traffic which, if routed through forced tunnel VPN and on-premises network perimeters, causes rapid saturation and runs VPN infrastructure out of capacity. In this new reality, using VPN to access Microsoft 365 is no longer just a performance impediment, but a hard wall that not only impacts Microsoft 365 but critical business operations that still have to rely on the VPN to operate. For customers who connect their remote worker devices to the corporate network or cloud infrastructure over VPN, Microsoft recommends that key Microsoft 365 scenarios including Microsoft Teams, SharePoint Online, and Exchange Online are routed over a VPN split tunnel configuration. This VPN split tunnel guidance is in alignment with the Microsoft 365 Network Connectivity principles, which are designed to work efficiently for remote users whilst still allowing an organization to maintain security and control over their connectivity. These connectivity principles can also be implemented for remote users very quickly with limited work yet achieve a significant positive impact on the problems outlined above. | Related: Microsoft 365 network connectivity test tool now with report sharing is released to preview

We hope all of you are taking care of yourselves and staying safe. Here are the latest functionalities that rolled out to production in the month of August 2020, including: (1) Tasks in Word and Excel, (2) Update to comment notifications, (3) Mute comment notifications, and (4) OneDrive app for Surface Duo. | Related: OneDrive helps connect teachers and students in the new world of remote learning

People come to Yammer to have meaningful conversations, to share knowledge, and to build communities. Conversations on Yammer can inform you about a colleague’s personal milestone, help you seek information from a colleague who is more than one degree away in your organization and help you recognize the amazing accomplishments of your team. You may need more than a ‘like’ to express yourself on these conversations. That is why we are rolling out reactions for every conversation or reply in the new Yammer. You can now express yourself through gratitude and celebration, laughter, and sadness-just like in real life. This gives you more ways to respond or express your feelings in the conversations you care most about, while gaining insight about how others feel about your content and conversations.

Over the course of recent months, we have all embraced virtual events as an essential way to communicate and connect. Executive townhalls, employee training, digital conferences and customer engagements are just a few examples of popular scenarios. To simplify and accelerate your usage of Microsoft 365 for these scenarios we are delivering to you the Virtual Event Playbook. This comprehensive guidance provides you with information and tools to deliver seamless events easily and quickly for your audiences. This initial playbook covers the most common scenarios that we have seen and the guidance within it has been gathered from product engineering, field consultants, MVP’s, Microsoft Partners and others across our company. It is the comprehensive and official guidance from Microsoft for these services. We are currently working on additional modules for large scale custom events, device integration and industry specialties. We will be rapidly updating this content as new features become available.

This will be the first ever digital Microsoft Ignite, and Microsoft Teams is bringing you an amazing lineup of content all-digital event experience. Given we’re doing things a little bit differently this year, we want to walk you through what your journey will look like. We’ve created over 40 sessions that span the breadth of Teams so you can hear about the newest product capabilities, get your questions answered, and learn how to create a resilient, inclusive, and connected workplace with Microsoft Teams. For a full list of sessions, check out the Teams digital brochure embedded at the bottom of this blog and bookmark this brochure link for future reference.

Related:


NOTEWORTHY

Over the past few months, we’ve addressed several major asks from our Visio for the web users. We’re announcing some of these for this first time, like hyperlinks and copy diagrams across files, and recapping others that were released earlier this year, like export as image and multipage operations. Each of these is available for licensed users, although certain limited capabilities are available for Visio Viewer and unlicensed users. Read on for a quick overview of each feature.

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.

When Microsoft moved to Microsoft Teams for all communications, it needed a good plan. More than 250,000 employees and licensed vendors would be affected by the shift, as would 600,000 guests that the company collaborates with on a regular basis. Too much was at stake to allow anything to go wrong. “Our foundation for Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams governance within Microsoft is tied to how we manage and govern Microsoft 365 Groups inside the company,” Johnson says. “Groups are the common layer under Teams, SharePoint team sites, Yammer Communities, Outlook groups, and a lot more.” Governance refers to the policies, roles, responsibilities, and processes that a company like Microsoft uses to help ensure their IT resources are being effectively deployed and managed, and that data security and compliance standards are in place while still allowing employees get their work done. An effective governance framework can streamline deploying solutions like Microsoft Teams, ensure all systems are secure and compliant, and generally make sure its technology does what it’s supposed to do. Put simply, governance is setting things up so people can be their most productive selves.

To tide you over until Ignite 2020, we’ve got a pair of feature enhancements to announce that improve the Planner web and mobile experiences. The first is the Filter by Progress (Completed) option for Planner web. As you know, completed tasks in Planner get moved to the bottom of your plan board and hidden under a disclosure widget—the official name of that twisty triangle. But those same completed tasks disappeared entirely from the Schedule view, and you couldn’t filter on them in the Charts view. We’ve now addressed both issues by adding completed tasks as a Progress filter option in both the Schedule and Charts view. In the Schedule view, completed tasks appear as a green bar; in the Charts view, you’ll see them in green in both the pie and bar chart. You can filter completed tasks alongside not started and in progress tasks, too, to see how your team is tracking against deadlines. You can also filter by completed tasks in the Board view. The second is the Copy links feature for Planner mobile. This feature works exactly like its name implies: in the Planner mobile app, you can copy a plan or task link and paste it anywhere else. This makes sharing your plans and tasks much easier, especially if you need input from others who aren’t actively members of your plan.

In the modern workforce, the emergence of hybrid cloud deployments and collaborative applications make it easy for employees to share information, data, and files with other internal as well as external users, helping them collaborate easily with vendors, business partners, contractors and customers. Managing all the access across different resources – Office groups, Teams, SharePoint sites, as well as your own applications and SaaS applications – is challenging. As requirements change with new applications being added, or users needing additional access rights, IT staff may not know who should have access or to which applications. To succeed at scale, an identity governance process must enable all users’ access to be able to change with their needs, without burdening IT staff to be involved in each access request. Azure AD entitlement management, a feature of Azure AD identity governance, helps organizations manage their access lifecycle at scale by automating request workflows, assignments, reviews, and expiration. You can empower users to request access to the resources they need. These requests and the resulting access can be approved and regularly reviewed by people across the organization who know whether someone should still have access.

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