Microsoft Ignite 2019 Announcements: The Intelligent Intranet: Part 1
As technology evolves, so have the platforms and offerings from Microsoft. Office 365 is now a part of Microsoft 365, and Microsoft has been announcing major enhancements to Microsoft 365. Microsoft Teams has, and is, seeing many new enhancements, and we can expect that SharePoint will also be receiving new features that are directly related to Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams.
For the majority of us, we know that SharePoint is known to be the cloud storage component of Office 365 and has been the cornerstone of the business intranet within an enterprise. As SharePoint moves with Office 365 to Microsoft 365, some significant changes are taking place. Fun fact: there are over 100 million active users of SharePoint in the cloud
SharePoint Home Sites
Powered by AI, SharePoint Home Sites is the landing page for an organization’s users that is customized based on the user’s role. Super intelligent, SharePoint Home Sites provide a customized view of relevant information for the user based on the information that they search, require, and interact with based on their roles and the teams that they belong with. Collaboration tools like Yammer and Stream are pulled into SharePoint Home Sites, making access easy and streamlining the processes for collaboration. Other features include:
1. Targeted Navigation: a mega menu appears on the Home Sites. Recognizing that large enterprises span different countries with many offices, the mega menu can be configured with the advanced navigation capabilities to target sites that are role and site-specific;
2. Web Feed: based on the Graph, the web feed can be personalized to preview relevant conversations, news articles, and videos from within the organization but also include news articles from the internet that are being discussed within the teams. Videos can be created with Microsoft stream, and with noise cancellation driven by AI technology, videos play sharp and clear; and
3. Integration of the New Yammer: integrated for communities inside your SharePoint intranet, Yammer provides one of the social platforms for collaborative discussions and the sharing of news.
Branding is vital to the instant recognition of an organization through visual association with the product or service that it delivers. SharePoint provides consistent, visual, and text branding to its customers, and now, it has added more features to ensure device-wide organization branding across the intelligent intranet and sites. These new abilities include:
1. SharePoint Mobile App Co-Branding: an organization’s branding can easily be added and featured in the SharePoint Mobile app. No longer will the organization name be SharePoint at the top;
2. SharePoint Mobile App and an Organization’s Custom Branding: an organization’s custom branding is now supported in the SharePoint Mobile app with a logo image, text, app theme colours (top navigation bar), and accent colours for a co-branded experience for the organization’s employees;
3. Expanded Footer: located at bottom of the Page, as a requirement, the customizable footer is applied to all Pages of the organization’s intelligent intranet. Background colour choices are supported along with the ability to organize links in the footer;
4. Shy Header and Options: a Shy Header allows the size of the site header to be reduced. Additional options include the ability to hide the site title and add a site logo thumbnail for the sites;
5. Microsoft Fluent Design System: customer needs are delivered across platforms through the utilization of innovative technology;
6. SharePoint Teal Default Theme: the SharePoint brand colors will be converted from the existing blue default theme to the new Teal theme for new and existing modern and classic communication team sites and for non-group connected team sites; and
7. Classic Sites with Modern Communication Sites Experience: classic team sites that are not modern group connected can now have a modern communication site experience. Classic team sites that have the classic publishing feature will also be able to experience the modern communication site.
New Hub Capabilities
Providing a point of organization for content across SharePoint sites, hubs can be used to organize content, teams, divisions or resources throughout the organization based on attributes such as region, division, department, and project. Hubs were first announced in Ignite 2017, and at Ignite 2019, new features and enhancements are being announced for hubs. These include:
1. Hub Permissions: centralizing the management of access to associated sites;
2. Hub Analytics: providing hub-wide usage insights including total visitors, popular content, page views, and other useful analytical data;
3. Associated Hubs: enabling discovery and search experiences across hubs with easy navigation between them; and
4. Audience Targeting: navigating hubs based on specific criteria such as office location and user role as defined in an organization’s Azure Active Directory group. Targeted navigation is one of the new enhancements for SharePoint Home Sites.
There have been numerous mind-blowing announcements ranging from Project Cortex to the flexibility and collaborative nature of Microsoft Teams to the new and improved intelligent intranet. Believe it or not, but this is not the end of the new features for the intelligent intranet. Our next article will discuss the SharePoint Lookbook and the new page authoring and publishing features.