There are so many great announcements at the SharePoint Conference 2019 (SPC2019)! The vision of Microsoft encompasses three pillars in building an intelligent workplace: teamwork and business process, employee engagement and communications, and search and content intelligence. By connecting these three pillars, with SharePoint underpinning as the connecting foundation, employees within your organization and those external that are teamed with them, become powerful through content management and collaboration across Microsoft 365 and Office 365.
Collaboration starts with individuals and through fostering inclusion and engagement, teams are built. Through engagement, collaboration becomes successful. Microsoft Teams provides the space for your teams, while engagement through learning, teaching, and sharing is provided through Yammer. Combining core applications like Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, Yammer, Microsoft Search, OneDrive, Stream, and AI, you now have a powerful tool that provides your employees and teams the ability to collaborate in several mediums, on the go, on any device, and across platforms and applications.
Organizational attributes in sites, such as project, department, division, or region, are organized and connected through SharePoint hub sites. The unified navigation experience is provided with hubs. Sites can be created for a specific function and these sites can be added to the hub. All sites in the hub can roll up content to the top. If you click down to a different site, all the branding and design is automatically applied. Just like adding, sites can be moved from one hub to another.
Keeping your data secure is one of the forefront priorities with Microsoft, and with Classification Labels, this process is now more streamlined and simplified. There are two types of Classification Labels: Retention Labels for applying retention policies on all data; and, Sensitivity Labels for applying consistent security and access policies to all data. This includes content marking, group privacy, controlling level of access on unmanaged devices and restricting access to specific users in your organization. Additionally, anonymous sharing of sensitive files can be blocked through the creation of a DLP policy. And, an audit can be run with your DLP policy for accessed denied requests.
Not only are documents secured, but site access by an external user can be set through a tenant wide limit that defines how long an external user can access content on a shared site. Once the limit is met, the external user will automatically lose access. Requests for an extension can be granted by the Admin in the Admin Centre under User Expiration. Likewise, the Admin can terminate the access immediately.
Managing the Classic experience and the Modern experience is now made easier as the full features in the Admin Centre in the Classic experience is now in the Modern experience. Sites can now be managed with just one-click with bulk actions.
The ability to change the URL of a site is one of the coolest and handiest features (in my opinion). This can be accomplished by going into the Admin Centre, then choosing “Change site address”. Next, type in the new URL in the popup. At the same time, the opportunity to change the name of the site is offered. Once you accept, links will be updated plus a check is made to ensure all links are valid. Old links pointing to an old site are handled with Automatic Redirect. With this running automatically, the user is redirected to the new site, eliminating the need for you to copy content from the old site to the new site.
Collaboration, in real-time with multiple users, is the goal, and with Fluid Framework, this is now possible. Fluid Framework provides the platform for the collaboration of multiple co-authors to work on the same document and at the same time while edits and additions appear almost instantaneously for real-time collaboration.
Microsoft Search combines the power of AI and Microsoft Graph to produce search results not only from files, conversations, and insights but can find people, tasks, or even take you to the spot where you left off in a document. Microsoft Search connects your users with relevant content and people across several platforms and applications, including SharePoint, OneDrive, Yammer, Microsoft Teams, Office, Outlook, Windows, and Bing. One powerful search engine across all Microsoft applications. One feel, and best of all, it brings your design, your branding, your company voice across all MS products.
These are just a few of the applications, and with so many applications, the Admin Centre has been redesigned. The newly redesigned Admin Centre allows the configuration of Microsoft Search settings across all apps and services. Using a third-party? No worries – with search connectors, third party and line-of-business application information will be connected and searchable.
The power of Microsoft Search in SharePoint is prominently featured in the header, like it is in all Microsoft apps and services, on the SharePoint Home Site. It is available when you are, wherever you are. Catching up on announcements and news or continuing where you left off in a shared document or finding sites that are relevant to you without endlessly scrolling through feeds or bookmarks, is made effortless with Microsoft Search in SharePoint.
One key feature is zero intent queries. Simply click on the new search box, and contextually relevant information pops up! What’s contextually relevant? Documents that you recently used, recent suggestions, and people (skills, projects, and interests are all searchable) are ranked based on insights from documents, sites, and people you work with. Matches with rich previews, from over 270 different file types, will display as a live site preview on the search results page, visually making it easy to identify the content you want. For people, a people card will appear that lists their basic information, who they report to, projects they are members of, and teams that they belong to. To help you decide on what content you want to open, and to highlight company endorsed content, Administrator curated answers with markers will appear in the appropriate space on your home page.
A key feature of Microsoft Search in SharePoint is the Megamenu. With the megamenu, not only content on your Home Site is accessible, but content across the entire estate is now at your fingertips.
Interestingly, traditional search engines are based off an inverted structure. However, Microsoft Search leverages machine learning to build optimal models that are refined based on the click thru rate, search results, and the use of documents by users in organizations. Microsoft Search is now the consistent search engine across all platforms and applications. The uniqueness of Microsoft Search is that it is an open source repository where teams across an organization build it cooperatively through collaboration and with AI, creating a repository that is the most relevant to the users.
With one click on the top left Apps Launch button, you can quickly navigate between apps like OneDrive, SharePoint, Outlook, Yammer, and more while corporate branding and navigation flow through. Being natively mobile, all content and conversations are available on the go. An excellent feature is the News Digest Summary which summarizes what you need to know, and with one click, it takes you to the specific article. On the go or no time currently to read it? Simply save it for viewing and reading later.
Even with all these new, enhanced and exciting features, there is more to come! Based on community feedback, Microsoft continues to listen carefully and develop SharePoint, Office 365, Microsoft 365 and its applications to provide the best tools to its customers. Announced for the future will be the capability to unlock text in images that are stored as PDFs, find conversations in Teams and Yammer across all applications, having these listed in a dedicated vertical search area, search videos in Stream, OneDrive, and SharePoint in a dedicated vertical search area, utilize custom connectors with adaptive cards for the search results page (you can customize how it looks and take action from that card), and develop your apps with endpoint for MS Search in MS Graph API (currently available in private preview).
These are just a few of the upcoming enhancements, but Microsoft has and will be delivering many new features to SharePoint, Office 365, Microsoft 365, OneDrive, Yammer, Stream, Outlook, and many more of their applications. Combining their powerful individual capabilities together, and coupling it with AI, these applications provide your employees with the tools to use to support, engage, and redefine how collaboration between them is performed.
At the SharePoint Conference (SPC2019) held in Las Vegas this spring, many new announcements were shared that will impact SharePoint, OneDrive, Microsoft Teams, Yammer, PowerApps, Microsoft Flow and several other applications within Office 365 and Microsoft 365.
The internet connects the world while an intranet connects the people and content in the workplace. But, an intranet does more than just connect people and content. A properly organized intranet will cause collaboration between people, whether in teams or in siloes, through the sharing of knowledge, the harnessing of this collective knowledge to create solutions and the provisioning of a platform for communication. SharePoint has been the powerhouse behind intranets for more than a decade and can be found in every industry and geography. As a leader, SharePoint continues to set the bar higher and higher, meeting the needs and goals of organizations and its people with intelligent solutions.
SharePoint Home Sites
A SharePoint communication site, but amped up, SharePoint Home Sites is the landing page for your organization and the new home view on the SharePoint mobile app. SharePoint Home Sites, with personalized content, information, and navigation, not only engages through conversation but also through video that is powered by Yammer and Microsoft Stream. It neatly organizes and curates the organization’s news, with official news being marked visually and is available for all users with access to the home site. Relevant content and news are shared based on the role of the person as well as their role while Microsoft Search serves as the main connector of content within the organization.
A key focus with all of SharePoint’s enhancements is the time-to-value for customers. With the improved navigation and activity insights across sites, and coupling these features with views of your documents to get back to work quickly, work processes are greatly streamlined, underscoring the valuable time-to-value gained.
As we all experience, we may come across content that we would like to read, but at that moment, cannot. With SharePoint Home Sites, news and content can be flagged for review at a later time. This feature, enhanced saved for later view, will be an extremely useful and well-used feature.
SharePoint Home Sites are easily deployed – within minutes – straight out of the box with no coding! Customizations to reflect company branding and design are easily done through web parts, navigation, and site design – all straight out of the box.
Being the leader as the powerful platform for delivering applications on the intranet, many SharePoint partners are onboard with integrating their intranet offerings closely to the SharePoint intelligent intranet. Additionally, solutions built with SharePoint Framework by your developers or by SharePoint partners can be embedded.
Yammer and Microsoft Stream
Both Yammer and Microsoft Stream are featured out of the box for SharePoint Home Sites. With Yammer and Microsoft Stream, engaging employees in communication and learning has never been easier.
Yammer provides the platform for employees to engage in open conversations that can drive cultural transformations and cause organizational alignment. Every employee across an organization is empowered to express their opinions, ideas, and feedback and now, with the new Question and Answer feature, you or a group admin can mark the best answer, making this knowledge easy to find, share, and reuse. Taking it one step further, a group can feature bot-like, intelligent answers to questions that are frequently asked.
There are some major changes for customers using Yammer groups connected to Office 365 groups. For these groups, e-Discovery for Yammer will be available for them. Recognizing the unique data residency requirements for European customers, in-geo data storage for Yammer in the EU is now available for new Yammer networks in the EU. Yammer messages and files attached to these will be stored at-rest in Microsoft EU datacentres.
Video is becoming more popular, and is quite often the first choice, for learning, engaging, and communicating. Microsoft 365’s video capability is powered by Microsoft Stream, a powerful engine that provides users the ability to securely record, upload, and share videos from the iOS or Android mobile apps. By incorporating Microsoft Forms into Microsoft Stream, polls, surveys or quizzes can easily be inserted into the videos.
A natural extension of video is 3D and virtual reality. SharePoint Spaces has been in development since 2018, and at Ignite 2019, expect to see what SharePoint Spaces is in its early stages.
OneDrive is the Office 365 files application that stores all your individual and shared files across platforms, across browsers, and across devices and is accessible on mobile or on desktop. With so many files stored, accessing has become more streamlined and simple with Microsoft Search in OneDrive as the powering search engine. Personalized recommendations are provided with the new AI-powered experiences. Activity, file insights, and lifecycle signals such as DLP policies are shown on OneDrive’s enhanced file hover cards. Another great feature is the save for later which allows you to flag a file that you can return to later to read.
With the OneDrive web application, you can now work with metadata columns, custom views, sync files to your PC or Mac, and preview more than 320 file types, including 360-degree images and AutoCAD .DWG files. This can all be done with the new, full-fidelity files experience for shared libraries. And, with the comments on non-Office files, comments and be added to any of the 320+ file types, including PDFs, CAD drawings, and images.
Sharing policies set by your organization can now be done directly from OneDrive, making it that much easier to collaborate through file sharing with internal and external collaborators with the create a shared library with a streamlined experience backed by an Office 365 group. With this, you can specify the people you want to share with. Files can also be shared in Teams, which is the hub for teamwork, with the new file sharing control in Teams chat. This allows you to either upload a copy of the file or share a link, and the access provided by the link is configurable. The new sharing control to Outlook will also be implemented.
A new request files capability is being introduced which allows you to select a folder and invite people to add files. Everyone can upload folders to the file, but the only files they see will be theirs. With each file added, you will receive a notification. With request files, you are able to collect files from multiple individuals while preventing individuals from seeing other peoples’ files.
These are few of the highlights announced and shared at this year’s SharePoint Conference. All are very exciting and will help your organization’s employees collaborate with greater efficiency and productivity while encouraging learning through enhanced media platforms.