Office 365 Weekly Digest | 2021-05

Welcome to the February 1 – 7, 2021 edition of the Office 365 Weekly Digest.

There were twenty-five additions to the Office 365 Roadmap last week, including updates for Teams, OneDrive, SharePoint, Microsoft 365 Compliance Center, Outlook (Web, iOS), Word and Microsoft Defender for Office 365.

The customer immersion experience sessions for Microsoft 365 and for Teams are back with new dates. Registration for the Microsoft Ignite (digital) experience is now open – the conference is scheduled for March 2 – 4, 2021. This week’s spotlight event is the “Ask Microsoft Anything” (AMA) for Microsoft Lists on Thursday, February 11th at 9am Pacific.

Blog posts in last week’s roundup include lots of information on Microsoft Viva, details on an upcoming change to the default setting for Guest access in Microsoft Teams, a look at what rolled out for SharePoint in January 2021, and the announcement of Windows 10 in cloud configuration.

Noteworthy item highlights include information on Microsoft Edge Legacy and the April 2021 Windows Update release, an update on the timeline for disabling Basic Authentication in Exchange Online, a reminder that Skype for Business Online retires on July 31, 2021 with available assistance/resources, and details on the ability to edit Microsoft Lists in grid view.


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 iOS: Conversational AI with Cortana79865February CY2021Added: 01 February 2021
Status: In development
App / Service: Outlook – iOS
Ask Cortana to provide assistant to schedule meetings, compose short email messages, and find files, emails, and people that are relevant to you, all using your voice and natural language.
Outlook for iOS: Expandable new message and event buttons79866February CY2021Added: 01 February 2021
Status: In development
App / Service: Outlook – iOS
The button for new event and message buttons on your Calendar and Inbox hat will expand to provide quick actions that are available in Outlook. By long pressing these new buttons, you’ll have easy access to commonly needed email and calendaring capabilities.
Office 365: Office is now available on iPad60685February CY2021Added: 03 February 2021
Status: In development
App / Service: Office 365
With this release, we are bringing the Microsoft Office app to the iPad, combining the Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps you know, plus additional tools to keep you more productive than ever. Optimized for iPadOS, use your keyboard, mouse, and trackpad to create and collaborate on Office documents, or create using your camera, sign PDFs, jot down notes, and more.
Office 365: Intelligent Suggestions70597March CY2021Added: 03 February 2021
Status: In development
App / Service: Office 365
Intelligent Suggestions will help you quickly find, work on, and collaborate on the files that matter most to you.
Microsoft Defender for Office 365: Hunting for Impersonated domains and users70613February CY2021Added: 03 February 2021
Status: In development
App / Service: Microsoft Defender for Office 365
We are adding new filters called Impersonated user and Impersonated domain to enable Security Operations teams to explicitly hunt for specific users or domains within their organization that are targets of impersonation attacks. This additional information related to Impersonated domain(s) and Impersonated user(s) will surface in existing Impersonation insight pages and our new Email Entity page.
Microsoft Defender for Office 365: Updates to post-delivery detections and investigations70614February CY2021Added: 03 February 2021
Status: In development
App / Service: Microsoft Defender for Office 365
We are rolling out updates to alerts and investigations including new alert policies and post-delivery detections related to Zero-hour auto purge (ZAP). There will also be updates and improvements to the AIR playbooks for the post-delivery detections to capture the state of the emails and entities that are being investigated.
Outlook: on the web – React to an email message70615March CY2021Added: 03 February 2021
Status: In development
App / Service: Outlook – Web
Compliance Manager is the next generation of the existing Compliance Manager and Compliance Score solutions, which have been in commercial public preview since November 2019.
Microsoft Project: API Support for extensibility70618June CY2021Added: 03 February 2021
Status: In development
App / Service: Project
API support to create, update and delete Projects, Tasks, Task Dependencies, Resource Assignments, Team Members and Project Buckets.
OneDrive: Updates to the sync app on Mac available in .pkg format70693March CY2021Added: 03 February 2021
Status: In development
App / Service: OneDrive – Mac
Updates to the sync app on Mac will be available in the .pkg format which allows for faster updates and better security.
Word: Better collaboration with modern comments for Mac76166May CY2021Added: 03 February 2021
Status: In development
App / Service: Word – Mac
Share your comments with co-authors only once they’re complete, enjoy improved @mention notifications, and be more productive with a consistent commenting experience between Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
Word: Better collaboration with modern comments76186March CY2021Added: 03 February 2021
Status: In development
App / Service: Word
Share your comments with co-authors only once they’re complete, enjoy improved @mention notifications, and be more productive with a consistent commenting experience between Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
Microsoft Teams: Branded Lobby79957March CY2021Added: 03 February 2021
Status: In development
App / Service: Teams
Admins will now be able to add a custom logo to the Teams experience, for display in the lobby and meeting pre-join experience. The logo will be displayed for meetings where the organizer has the Advanced Comms SKU.
Microsoft Search: reports in modern sites70616June CY2021Added: 04 February 2021
Status: In development
App / Service: Search
Microsoft Search reports in modern sites will allow for site administrators to view usage analytics related to Microsoft Search in modern sites in SharePoint Online.
Microsoft 365 Compliance Center: Communication Compliance can now leverage optical character recognition to extract and evaluate messages70622March CY2021Added: 04 February 2021
Status: In development
App / Service: M365 Compliance
Introducing the ability to extract printed or handwritten text from images using Azure’s Computer Vision Optical Character Recognition (OCR). Text extracted will then be evaluated against Communication Compliance policies conditions.
Microsoft 365 Compliance Center: Communication Compliance now support 7 languages for the Threat, Targeted Harassment and Profanities classifiers70623March CY2021Added: 04 February 2021
Status: In development
App / Service: M365 Compliance
Communication Compliance can now detect threat, targeted harassment, and profanities in the following languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Italian, Japanese, and Chinese.
Microsoft Teams: Together mode for DoD70625March CY2021Added: 04 February 2021
Status: In development
App / Service: Teams, DoD
Together mode uses AI segmentation technology in meetings to digitally place participants in a shared background, making it feel like you’re sitting in the same room with everyone else.
Microsoft 365 compliance center: Audit retention dashboard for government clouds70627March CY2021Added: 04 February 2021
Status: In development
App / Service: M365 Compliance
Create and manage audit log retention policies within the new Audit retention dashboard in the Microsoft 365 compliance center.
Forms: New Forms Start Page in GCC, GCC-High and DoD80044March CY2021Added: 04 February 2021
Status: In development
App / Service: Forms, Gov
This update replaces the existing Forms Portal page with a new Forms Start page on Office.com (Office.com – Forms). Users who access forms via Office.com will get this experience first, then users accessing forms via the Forms website will get the experience soon after.
Azure Active Directory: Authenticator Code Match for MFA70617March CY2021Added: 05 February 2021
Status: In development
App / Service: Azure Active Directory
Admins will be able to turn on code match for MFA notifications in Authenticator and apply the behavior by user/group.
Microsoft Teams: New file sharing experience70629February CY2021Added: 05 February 2021
Status: In development
App / Service: Teams
Streamline sharing with Microsoft Teams. You can now create a shareable link for any file stored in Teams and directly set the appropriate permissions. Additionally, you can also set permissions for files stored in SharePoint or OneDrive while composing a private chat or starting a channel conversation.
Microsoft 365 compliance center: “Watch-the-watchers” audit trail for Insider Risk Management68921March CY2021Added: 06 February 2021
Status: In development
App / Service: M365 Compliance
Audit and review activities of IRM Analyst, IRM Investigator, and IRM Admin roles within the Microsoft 365 Insider Risk Management solution. The audit trail will be available for a new role (IRM Auditor) to maintain integrity of an independent audit control.
Microsoft Teams: Integrated CART Captioning in Meetings70588July CY2021Added: 06 February 2021
Status: In development
App / Service: Teams
Users will now be able to view captions coming from a CART provider (real-time captioning) within the Microsoft Teams meeting window. Meeting organizers and participants will be able to ask their captioning providers to stream captions to Microsoft Teams.
SharePoint: Company-Branded Auto News Digest70606March CY2021Added: 06 February 2021
Status: In development
App / Service: SharePoint
For SharePoint news users, we are launching an update to the Auto-News Digest feature. Now users will receive a company branded Auto-News Digest.
Microsoft Defender for Office 365: Potential Nation State Activity Alerts70624February CY2021Added: 06 February 2021
Status: In development
App / Service: Microsoft Defender for Office 365
Nation state threats are defined as cyber threat activity that originates in a particular country with the apparent intent of furthering national interests. These attacks represent some of the most advanced and persistent threat activity Microsoft tracks. The Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center follows these threats, builds comprehensive profiles of the activity, and works closely with all Microsoft security teams to implement detections and mitigations to protect our customers. We’re adding an alert to the security portal to alert customers when suspected nation-state activity is detected in the tenant.
Outlook: on the web – New location for Outlook modules70628March CY2021Added: 06 February 2021
Status: In development
App / Service: Outlook – Web
We are changing the way you access Mail, Calendar, People, To Do, and other Outlook experiences. We are adding a way to easily access additional Microsoft 365 applications that are available to you.

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.

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.

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.

Join Microsoft Teams experts as we review high-value scenarios including incident management (help desk), employee engagement, and productivity that can be enhanced through simple integrations in Teams. We focus on popular enterprise applications your users may already be using every day. Come see how easy it is to connect your systems, increase automation, and deliver improved experiences by bringing the apps your organization relies on into Teams. After this session, you will be able to: (1) Understand common app integrations for Teams across multiple scenarios and user personas, and (2) Understand third-party apps available for key scenarios.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

In this training, you will learn how to protect your organization’s identities, data, applications, and devices across on-premises, cloud, and mobile – end to-end using the latest tools and guidance. This event covers intermediate to advanced content (level 200-300) and includes the following technologies: Threat Protection, Information Protection, Identify and Access Management, Security Management. In this workshop you will: (1) Increase level of understanding on how Microsoft delivers security across Microsoft 365, (2) Increase knowledge of security features and solutions, and (3) Connect with local technical experts and FastTrack resources.

When: Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 9:00am PT | Please join us for an ‘Ask Microsoft Anything’ (AMA) on Microsoft Lists – Your smart information tracking app in Microsoft 365 – has several new updates and resources to help you track information, organize work and get things done. An AMA is a one-hour online forum similar to “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit. This AMA gives you the opportunity to connect with members of the product engineering team who will be on hand to answer your questions and listen to feedback. Post any questions or feedback you have about Microsoft Lists for this event in the Microsoft 365 AMA space. The Microsoft Lists experts will be available during the hour to respond. Be sure to add this event to your calendar!

Remote work requires smarter workflows. Microsoft 365 Virtual Training Day: Building Microsoft Teams Integrations and Workflows shows you how the Microsoft Teams developer platform makes it easy to integrate your apps and services to improve productivity, make decisions faster and create collaboration around existing content and workflows. Join us to learn how to build apps for Teams and create integrated, people-centered solutions that can transform productivity in your organization, whether you’re on-site or working remotely. During this two-part training event, you will explore how to: (1) Build modern enterprise-grade collaboration solutions with Microsoft Teams, (2) Transform everyday business processes with Microsoft 365 platform integrations for Power Platform, SharePoint and Microsoft Office, and (3) Use the wealth of data in Microsoft Graph to extend Microsoft 365 experiences and build unique intelligent applications.

When: Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 9:00am PT | We’re so excited to announce our first-ever Ask Microsoft Anything (AMA) for Office Scripts! The AMA will take place on Tuesday, February 16, 2021, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. PT in the Excel AMA space. Add the event to your calendar and view it in your time zone here. During this AMA, you will have the opportunity to share your questions and feedback about Office Scripts and receive responses directly from our product team. Facing trouble with automating on Excel for web? Have an idea that would make our feature better? Let us know- we’re eager to hear and learn from you! Looking forward to seeing you at the AMA.

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.

Leverage the intelligent and integrated Microsoft solutions to help your organization achieve its compliance goals by joining the Microsoft 365 Virtual Training Day: Meeting Organizational Compliance Requirements free one day online training session. Level 200-300 (Intermediate to Advanced) content. Technology covered: Data classification, labeling, governance, policy violation remediation, eDiscovery, audit, risk assessment. In this session you will: (1) Learn to use intelligence to identify, protect and govern your important data, (2) Learn to intelligently identify and remediate critical insider threats and risks, (3) Learn how to use the latest eDiscovery and audit capabilities to find relevant data and respond efficiently, and (4) Learn how to simplify and automate IT risk assessment.

To support your efforts to deliver and deploy updates to the Windows 10 devices being used by remote, onsite, and hybrid workers across your organization, and manage those devices effectively, we are continuing our series of weekly “office hours” for IT professionals here on Tech Community. During office hours, we will have a broad group of product experts, servicing experts, and engineers representing Windows, Microsoft Endpoint Manager (Microsoft Intune, Configuration Manager), security, FastTrack, and more. They will be monitoring the Windows 10 servicing space and standing by to provide guidance, discuss strategies and tactics, and, of course, answer any specific questions you may have. Office hours are text-based; there is no audio or virtual meeting component. To post a question, you just need to be a member of the Tech Community. Simply visit the Windows 10 servicing space and click Start a new conversation. At the start of office hours, we’ll pin a post outlining the individuals on hand, and their areas of expertise. Can’t attend at the designated time? Again, no problem. Post a question in the Windows 10 servicing space up to 24 hours in advance and we’ll make sure we review it during office hours.

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 15 participants, reserve your seat now.

To be productive in a remote environment, your employees need to be able to safely collaborate from anywhere. Microsoft 365 Virtual Training Day: Enabling Remote Work with Microsoft Teams helps you provide a remote workforce with the tools, resources and solutions they need to stay connected and productive. Join us to learn how to get the most out of Microsoft Teams online meetings, calling, video and chat, and empower your workforce to work from any location on any device. During this two-part training event, you will explore how to: (1) Enable your people to meet and collaborate from home, (2) Make productivity applications available on any device, and (3) Deliver the best remote user experience.

When: Tuesday, March 2, 2021 – Thursday, March 4, 2021 | Join our digital experience on March 2–4, 2021 to learn, connect, and explore new tech that’s ready to implement. All skill levels welcome. Save the date! Registration is now open.

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. Each session is limited to 15 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 15 participants, reserve your seat now.

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. Each session is limited to 15 participants, reserve your seat now.

The workforce relies on Microsoft Teams to chat, meet, and collaborate. But that’s just the beginning. Microsoft Teams can bring the applications and tools you’re already using, into one universal hub your workforce needs to get things done. During this interactive session, you will explore how to: (1) Integrate ready-to-use apps into the Teams experience, (2) Maintain control over which apps are accessible for your organization, (3) Create an App that embeds modern SharePoint pages in Teams using App Studio, (4) Manage permission and set up policies through the Admin Center, and (5) Scale business critical apps to your organization. Each session is limited to 15 participants, reserve your seat now.

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 15 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. Each session is limited to 15 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 15 participants, reserve your seat now.


BLOG ROUNDUP

Today, organizations spend over $300 billion a year on employee experience. That number includes employee development and training, benefits and wellbeing, and a whole host of employee experience technologies. But too often, these technologies are fragmented, hard to find, and disruptive to the flow of work. As digital tools become more crucial to a great employee experience, business leaders across every industry are embracing the opportunity to learn, and they’re re-evaluating both their spending and their approach. We believe what’s needed is a new approach and a new category of technology solutions called employee experience platforms (EXP). We’re introducing Microsoft Viva, the first EXP built for the digital era. Microsoft Viva brings together communications, knowledge, learning, resources, and insights into an integrated experience that empowers people and teams to be their best, from anywhere. Powered by the full breadth and depth of Microsoft 365, it is experienced through Microsoft Teams and other Microsoft 365 apps that people use every day.

Related:

We want to make everyone aware of an upcoming change to the default setting for Guests in Microsoft Teams. With the large increase in organizations looking to use Teams to expand collaboration beyond the boundaries of their tenant, we want to make it easier for customers to get started. This has also been announced in Message Center post MC234252. As a result, starting on February 8th we are turning on Guest access in Microsoft Teams by default for any customers who have not already configured this setting. This will bring the control for Teams Guest capability into alignment with the rest of the suite, where the setting is already on by default. When this change is implemented, if you have not already configured Guest access capability in Microsoft Teams, that capability will be enabled in your tenant. With guest access enabled, you can provide access to teams and other resources to people outside your organization while maintaining control over your corporate data. Prior to this change taking effect beginning on February 8th, if you want Guest access to remain disabled for your organization, you will need to confirm that the Guest access setting is set to “Off” instead of “Service default”. Instructions for how to configure the Teams guest access settings can be found here: Teams guest access settings.

Related:

This post includes all the SharePoint and related tech updates that rolled out in January 2021. This is the all-inclusive roadmap release recap for all things SharePoint and related technology. To start the year, January 2021 brought many new offerings: Yammer notifications in Teams, inclusive Yammer reactions, OneDrive settings in SharePoint admin center, 250GB file uploads, Microsoft Lists app for iOS, Lists rules, Lists forms customization, task publishing, and more. All the features listed began rolling out to Targeted Release customers in Office 365 as of January 2021 (possibly early February 2021). | Related: Designing SharePoint sites with beautiful headers

Every day, Windows helps millions of people around the world get their work done. Now, more than ever, Windows is critical to keeping business moving, as organizations look to empower their people by enabling them to work from anywhere. It’s clear that customers need to equip people with devices that enable everyone, across every role in the organization, to do their best work. To do that, we need to empower them to deploy and update from a single dashboard, deliver essential apps to every user, provide secure access to corporate networks and resources, and get the necessary data storage to make it easy for users to access their data from any device. And given their many competing demands, customers need this solution to be cost-effective, secure, and simple to deploy. They need it to work seamlessly with Windows and other tools and experiences—including Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Edge, and OneDrive for Business—that people know and want. And they need it today. That’s why we developed Windows 10 in cloud configuration. Cloud config is a set of recommended configurations that uses the technology infrastructure you already have—Microsoft Endpoint Manager, Windows 10, and apps—to save you time and money while getting your people the right device to get their work done. With cloud config, your users get a familiar Windows interface and productivity apps while your admins get a familiar management experience. All it takes is a Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise PC, Endpoint Manager, and to apply the cloud configuration apps and settings. And in addition to Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Edge, and OneDrive for Business, cloud config gives you the flexibility to securely deploy Win32 and critical line-of-business (LOB) apps either directly to the device or via virtualization.


NOTEWORTHY

In August 2020, we announced that support for the Microsoft Edge Legacy desktop application ends on March 9, 2021. After this date, Microsoft Edge Legacy will no longer receive security updates. To replace this out of support application, we are announcing that the new Microsoft Edge will be available as part of the Windows 10 cumulative monthly security update–otherwise referred to as the Update Tuesday (or “B”) release–on April 13, 2021. When you apply this update to your devices, the out of support Microsoft Edge Legacy desktop application will be removed and the new Microsoft Edge will be installed.

We previously announced we would begin to disable Basic Auth for five Exchange Online protocols in the second half of 2021. Due to the pandemic and the effect it has on priorities and work patterns, we are announcing some important changes to our plan to disable Basic Auth in Exchange Online. Please read this post carefully, as there’s a lot of detail. The first change is that until further notice, we will not be disabling Basic Auth for any protocols that your tenant is using. When we resume this program, we will provide a minimum of twelve months notice before we block the use of Basic Auth on any protocol being used in your tenant. We will continue with our plan to disable Basic Auth for protocols that your tenant is not using. The next change to the previously announced plan is that we are adding MAPI, RPC, and Offline Address Book (OAB) to the protocols included in this effort to further enhance data protection. | Related: Application Access Policy Support in EWS

Eighteen months ago, we announced the July 31, 2021 retirement of Skype for Business Online. With six months until the service ends, we’re focused on helping each of our customers upgrade to Microsoft Teams and enabling more ways to come together and get things done. Skype for Business Online has been a critical communications tool for millions of organizations across the globe. Once customers experience the way Teams brings together chat, calling, meetings and more, they realize the amazing potential to collaborate seamlessly and simplify work in a secure and compliant way. Regardless of where you are on the journey from Skype for Business to Teams, this is an important checkpoint to make sure your organization is on track to upgrade to Teams before Skype for Business Online retires and access to the service ends.

The new Microsoft Lists grid view is now available worldwide, including SharePoint lists and libraries that share the same technology platform in Microsoft 365. With simple, inline experiences, you can quickly update your information or add new items easily. Features like drag to fill, undo/redo, new field editors (text, date, people, yes/no, choice), and copy/paste make grid view the best place to get your information, quickly and organized. We’ll cover all new features and capabilities in this post – including screenshots and links to learn more, starting with an in-depth demo video to showcase all the goodness our Lists engineers have been working on and refining.

What’s the one essential you’d go back home for if forgotten? Maybe it’s your mask. But also, your mobile phone, right? Your personal organizer, your digital wallet, your instant camera—your mobile device has become the most essential tool you use to stay connected to the people and things that are important at home, at the office, and everywhere in between. It has evolved from being a companion to your desktop computer to being your personal, daily companion. We’ve explored the evolving needs of people’s mobility and connectivity and we are announcing a number of new Microsoft 365 mobile-first capabilities that help people bring balance to their day. This includes organizing and transforming their physical world such as documents, photos, and live-action video into digital assets, and offer secure ways to help protect sensitive information. | Related: Start a conversation with your personal productivity assistant in Outlook with Cortana

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