Ignite 2018 Announcements: SharePoint, Office 365, OneDrive, and Microsoft 365

At this year’s Ignite, Microsoft has focused their enhancements on combining the power of SharePoint and Microsoft 365, delivering to employees across the organization targeted digital content that pertains to their needs. Displayed visually, targeted for teams, and easily accessible, files can be accessed for live team collaboration.

Engaging Employees

The purpose of SharePoint is to share digital content across the organization, promoting collaboration amongst team members. SharePoint is already effective for sharing information for collaboration, but with audience targeting, knowledge, news, services, and corporate visions can now be delivered to the appropriate teams and their members. External articles can now be shared as news with news links, another great new feature. Visually, there are new page designs and new, powerful web parts, both which will help create stunning pages. Visual tags can be used to accent and highlight Organizational News.

Video Streaming

What better way than to engage your employees with video? Everyone loves to watch video, and with video becoming the preferred method of creating compelling news that captivates the audience, not only is Microsoft Stream the intelligent video service in Microsoft 365, but it is the driving force for video experiences in SharePoint sites and for live and on-demand events for Yammer, Microsoft Teams, and Stream. The mobile app, Microsoft Stream, features offline viewing when in areas of limited or no internet connection. Videos that you can engage in can be found across the organization on Microsoft Stream mobile.

Modern Portals

The digital experience for your employee can be fast, dynamic, natively mobile sites and pages, personalized, beautiful, social, and most importantly, actionable. There will be over a dozen new features that will give you the tools to make your sites and pages look amazing. The new portal web part will help create these experiences, including the ability to personalize views of recent sites, recent documents, and personalized news. For SharePoint portals, the new mega-menu and site footer are game changers. The new Yammer conversations web part will engage and build a community site that brings conversation and content together, encouraging learning and open sharing amongst your audience.

Hub Sites, Your Intranet, and Modern SharePoint

Hub sites is a great way to organize your intranet. With the roll-up events feed and hub join approvals, not only can you deliver information targeted to each team but managing hub sites can be done effectively and simply through SharePoint Admin Centre. In preparation of transitioning and replacing classic publishing sites and portals, the number of hub sites in a tenant has now been increased to 100. By migrating to modern SharePoint, your teams can now experience the new digital content in SharePoint.

Microsoft Teams and SharePoint

Microsoft Teams will be experiencing a new makeover as it morphs to encompass full capabilities of SharePoint document libraries. Create custom views, gain insights into file activities add and format custom columns, and pin files to the top are all capabilities that will be available. With the familiar files command bar, syncing files from Microsoft Teams to your PC or Mac is another added new experience.
With diverse needs, Teams must be able to create solutions to solve their needs. Building composite apps that can also be surfaced in Teams with modern SharePoint pages part-to-part communications. Data and custom-built SharePoint Framework web parts solutions can be shared by adding a SharePoint list as a tab in Teams. Additionally, one will be able to add Teams apps to SharePoint sites, bringing many more apps to your intranet.
Collaborating in a SharePoint team site, a new visual indicator of channel folders will provide information regarding the folders that are associated with channels in Teams. The new link to Teams in the site navigation will navigate you quickly to Teams.
Connect any SharePoint team site to Teams. With your site connected to an Office 365 group, and from your site, create your team with one additional click.
As you can see Teams and SharePoint are coming closer together, providing a platform where your Microsoft Teams and groups can collaborate without compromise on the intranet.

Collaboration – Office 365

Only with Office 365 and with files in the cloud, collaborators can work together and co-author in real-time across mobile, web, and desktop versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Add Comments – OneDrive
Coming soon will be the ability to add comments with @mentions to all file types, including photos, CAD drawings, PDFs and more, in OneDrive. If permission is required to the document, an email notification with a link to the file to join in will be automatically be sent.

OneDrive – Files On-Demand
OneDrive connects you to all your files (personal and shared) in Office 365 whether you are on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, or web. OneDrive Files-On Demand in Windows 10 allows you to view and open files inside File Explorer, including files from Microsoft Teams and SharePoint. By opening up inside File Explorer, no storage space is used on your device. The files remain in the cloud and can be accessed, edited, and shared as if locally stored. If you choose to download and store locally, the file can be used. Once you connect back to the internet, your edits will be automatically uploaded to OneDrive. The power of OneDrive is enormous, and based on requests from UserVoice, OneDrive has now crossed platforms to Mac. OneDrive Files On-Demand for Mac is now available for consumer and commercial customers.

AI and Content Collaboration
Machine-learning and AI can aid in increasing productivity, making informed decisions, and keeping files more secure, and by combining AI with content stored in SharePoint and OneDrive for Business, these goals are achieved. In addition, video and audio transcription services will be coming soon to SharePoint and OneDrive along with scan and metadata capture with the OneDrive mobile app.

The new SharePoint Admin Centre will allow you to manage all sites, including group connected team sites, hub sites, and communication sites. Deploy with confidence.

Personal files are protected from malicious attacks and file corruption with Files Restore for OneDrive which provides the capability to move a user’s Desktop, Documents, and Pictures folders from their Windows device into OneDrive.
This same protection is now available for shared files in SharePoint. A self-service recovery solution, administrators can restore files from any point in time from the last 30 days with File Restore for SharePoint.

SharePoint On-Prem

For SharePoint On-Prem customers, SharePoint Server 2019 will be available in October this year and will offer modern user experiences, support for SharePoint Framework, OneDrive Files On-Demand, and improved hybrid integration with Office 365. The SharePoint Migration Tool is free and highly recommended for moving complete on-premises SharePoint sites, including data from libraries, lists, and file shares.

Ignite 2018: OneDrive Announcements

It was an exciting day for sure yesterday with many announcements about OneDrive. Here is my take on the OneDrive road map.

Connecting you from any device, Office 365 provides access to personal and shared files for team collaboration. Incorporating artificial intelligence will not only increase productivity, but real-time collaboration can take place across all platforms and operating systems. Security is on the forefront as new security and compliance capabilities are being implemented to keep your data safe from threats and attacks.

With new enhancements to Office 365, OneDrive Files On-Demand for Windows has cross-platformed to Mac: OneDrive Files On-Demand for Mac. Office Insiders are the first ones that this has been released to.

OneDrive Files On-Demand for Mac

Storage space is always a consideration, but with OneDrive Files On-Demand for Mac, this is minimized with the ability to locally store the files that you need while having access to all your files. All files can be found in Finder, and they work like all other files on your device. There is no need to change the way you work. OneDrive Files On-Demand for Mac is available for consumer and commercial OneDrive customers, and like One-Drive Files On-Demand for Windows, it operates across all personal, work, and shared files in Office 365.

Accessing OneDrive On-Demand for Mac

Accessing your folders in OneDrive On-Demand for Mac begins by choosing the OneDrive folder in Finder. Note that this folder occupies 0 bytes of storage on the disk. All documents in this folder are stored in the cloud.

How do I know if my document is stored locally or in OneDrive? New status icons in Finder provides quick visual cues as to where the file is stored. Folders and files in OneDrive On-Demand are stored in the cloud until you download and save locally. Why store locally? Perhaps at times, you will need to access the file when you cannot connect to the internet. In preparation for this event, choose the file or files that you would like to download locally. Right-click your selection and then choose Always keep on this device. Your file or files are now stored locally, ready to be accessed without an internet connection.

To access and work on your OneDrive On-Demand files, double-click on the file in Finder. You can also open the file from within an app. The file will automatically download and become locally available but will not be stored locally unless you chose to do so, thereby saving storage space.

End-user training is simplified as OneDrive On-Demand for PC and OneDrive On-Demand for Mac functions and works the same across both platforms. Those users who have had experience with PC will find it to be a natural transition to Mac.

IT Admin Controls

Not only has end-user experience been greatly enhanced with OneDrive On-Demand for Mac, IT admins and the organization will also benefit. Previously, a change in a file in a shared library on SharePoint on Mac automatically synced to all devices that were connected to that library, even if the collaborator was not active. With OneDrive On-Demand for Mac, continuous syncing with non-active collaborators is eliminated with the management options available to IT admins when deploying. By eliminating continuous syncing, network bandwidth is reduced. Management options include enabling Files On-Demand by default, select folders or files to always be locally available, and block apps from downloading files. As exciting as this is, Files On-Demand for Mac is currently available only for Office Insiders on MacOS Mojave or by running a simple script. For the public, it will be rolled out in the coming months.

Dark Mode for OneDrive

Another new and exciting OneDrive feature for MacOS Mojave is Dark Mode. Fully supported for OneDrive, Dark Mode works cohesively with the built-in apps for Mac. When Dark Mode is enabled, OneDrive will change to a dark theme across all user interfaces, including Finder and the OneDrive Activity Centre.

Files On-Demand Storage Sense Integration

Being released with the new Windows 10 in October, Files On-Demand will be integrated with Storage Sense. With the integration of Storage Sense into Files On-Demand, disk space can be automatically freed up by making older, unused, and local OneDrive files online-only. Your files will be safely stored in OneDrive while your files will be represented as placeholders on your device, a process known as dehydration. Once you have an internet connection again, the online-only files can be used just like any other file.

Collaboration, sharing, and accessing files has never been more powerful with the cross-platform compatibility of Office 365 and Files On-Demand for PC and Mac. Local storage space is freed up with storage in OneDrive but the ability to store locally on your device ensures that files you need to access without an internet connection are still accessible. And with Storage Sense integrated with OneDrive, local storage space is automatically freed up while making local OneDrive files online-only. OneDrive and Files On-Demand continue to strengthen Microsoft’s vision of collaboration on all devices and platforms.

Ignite 2018 Announcements

I am here  in Orlando attending Microsoft Ignite with 30,000 other friends enjoying connecting with good friends, the new announcements, the weather and of course the parties. But the better part of this, is blogging about the announcements and sharing my views on them throughout the week. So here is a first of few posts about Ignite 2018.

Microsoft announced many new and exciting features for SharePoint and Office 365. Even more exciting is the continued development of AI and its integration into many of the new key features.

Microsoft Teams vs. Slack

As the competitor to Slack, Microsoft Teams is alluring more organizations in joining its platform. Microsoft Teams is the “hub for teamwork” and now has over 329,000 organizations utilizing it. To continue growing its customer base, Microsoft Teams will be targeting specific groups of potential customers by adding tools that are specific to these groups. The first targeted group of workers is those who do not sit at a desk or computer all day. Instead, they have direct contact either with customers or with equipment and are defined as firstline workers by Microsoft. Firstline workers will have the capability to manage their schedules. Not only will they be able to create and share schedules, but they will be able to submit requests for time off, perform shift swapping, and access important announcements. These features are expected to roll out in October.

Healthcare is another specialized organization that Microsoft Teams will be targeting. Highly regulated, Microsoft has developed a new patient care coordination tool which meets the Health Information Privacy Access Act (HIPPA), making it HIPPA compliant. This tool will integrate with electronic health records systems, making it more secure than standard chat functions. This feature is currently in private preview.
Microsoft Teams is now leveraging AI-powered capabilities, which are generally available. In its ongoing commitment to transform business meetings, a new feature, Background Blur, blurs your background during video meetings through facial recognition.
Another integration with AI is Meeting Recording which provides speech-to-text transcription. The generated transcript is searchable and automatically applies captions to the recorder.

Office 365 and LinkedIn

At $26.2B, Microsoft’s 2016 acquisition of LinkedIn was one of the biggest purchases in the company’s history. LinkedIn is one of Microsoft’s fastest-growing businesses and continues to roll out integrations for the combined companies. The newest, and deepest, integration will provide LinkedIn users the ability to co-author documents in Office 365 with their business social network contacts. Office 365 programs that will be included are Word, Excel, and PowerPoint while Outlook provides allow users the ability to email their LinkedIn contacts. As exciting as this is, there is no announced
date of the rollout for these features, but it was announced that they will be coming soon in a staged rollout.

Safety in the Cloud

Every day, organizations focus on keeping their data safe from unknown cyber threats and data breaches. Microsoft announced that IT will be empowered with tools to unlock the security capabilities of the intelligent cloud. Focusing on three things, the cyberwar will continue to tip in favour of breach prevention. These three focal points are security operations on a global scale for both Microsoft and its customers, enterprise-class technology, and broad cybersecurity partnerships.
On the enterprise-class security technology, Microsoft is using the cloud to secure organizations broadly with new security features in products that will protect against a range of threats, securing the network, and protect sensitive information. These features include Microsoft Threat Protection for Microsoft 365.
Microsoft Threat Protection uses human research and AI to speed up investigations, thereby eliminating threats faster. It is a comprehensive solution that protects, detects, and remediate cyber threats. This protection and auto-remediation is a single integrated experience in Microsoft 365 as it protects across email, PCs, identities, and infrastructure.

Investing in Our Future with AI for Good Program

Microsoft announced the third and latest program which will utilize its vast artificial intelligence resources for the humanitarian crisis. Pledging $40 million over five years, the new AI for Humanitarian Action initiative will focus on four aid areas: children’s needs, disaster recovery, protecting refugees and displaced people, and human rights. The vision is to leverage artificial intelligence, technology, and cloud technology so that frontline relief, such as global relief organizations, can proactively anticipate, predict, and target response efforts. By integrating and being proactive, then more lives can be saved, suffering can be alleviated, and human dignity can be restored. Technology and artificial intelligence, integrated together, can change humanitarian efforts.
As part of the AI for Good program, AI for Humanitarian Action is only one of three launched pillars. The AI for Good program has pledged a total of $115 million where $50 million was allotted for AI for Earth which launched in July 2017, and $25 million for AI for Accessibility which was launched in May 2018.
The AI for Good Program is one of the most vigorous and philanthropic programs. Microsoft is on the bleeding edge of not only technology but also on contributing back to the communities. Well done, Microsoft. Well done.