Focused Inbox - Delayed Deployment

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Regular Contributor

My PSA for the day.....The FI team will be updating their blog post by early next week with the new expected deployment dates since their deployment had hit some bumps on the road.  It sounds like they will be re-running the new and improved conversion process via First Release again.

Some of our users who were converted to FI seem to have been rolled back now.

 

As mentioned in the other thread, apparently one of the issues they hit was a deprecated feature in exchange that Outlook was relying on to enable the FI view.

There was also the other issue related that hit us on the mobile side - the movement from AWS to Azure for Outlook mobile services broke customers who were using Intune and Conditional Access.

21 Replies
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Thanks for the update @Adrian Hyde, I'll look out for the blog update and hopefully a post via the message center as well.

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And if we get lucky, maybe someone from the PG can post here too like we used to see in the Yammer days.
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Now that you mention it, the FI "card" popped up in one of my FR tenants earlier today. I dont usually pay attention to it as I'm a rule user myself...

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We're here.  And a blog post even! :)

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Fair play, this is what I am talking about, nice clear open communications and now we can go off and adjust our adoption plans accordingly.  Just for anyone that doesn't visit the blog, here are the revised timelines:

 

Outlook on the Web (OWA) and Mac (version 15.26+):

 

First Release: Rollout started already to be completed by April

Standard Users: Rollout begins April to be completed by around June

 

Outlook 2016 for Windows: To Be Confirmed, update that supports Focused Inbox still being worked on.

 

Check the blog for further details!

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I dont really understand. If my user have a mobile app and the windows desktop app when will the feature arrive? When will Clutter turn off? I appreciate that there is client support required, but isn't the master switch server side?

 

If Clutter turns off before Windows client is ready so we lose the feature?

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I agree there is still some details to revealed especially if users get Focused Inbox via the web before its available in Outlook 2016.  So a user enables Focused Inbox in OWA, now Clutter is deactivated (according to below) but their Outlook 2016 client isn't Focused Inbox aware, so they are caught in between the two features if that is right.

 

2017-01-21 16_14_26-Focused Inbox for Outlook - Office Support.png

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It is my understanding that if a user enables Focused Inbox in OWA (and therefore Clutter gets deactivated), then their Outlook 2016 client, since isn't Focused Inbox aware, will simply show all the incoming messages in the Inbox (except those that are already in the Clutter folder, that will stay there indefinitely).

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Yes I think you are right, that makes sense though it's not ideal as users get two different experiences for a time. Ideally they will be delivered together or only with a small gap in between. Not sure how that will tally with a a new deferred channel next month and no new features afterwards until around June:

"While we have completed the Focused Inbox feature, we still have some work to complete to deliver the update to Outlook 2016 for Windows. We will update this blog again when we have an updated launch date."

Anyway, I'm sure we will know soon enough.
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Many users are already experiencing this kind of "split personality", between Outlook 2016 desktop and Outlook for IOS. The latter is FI aware, while the former isn't.

The result is indeed that messages appearing separately in the Outlook for IOS FI, appear instead mixed with all "other" messages in the ordinary Outlook 2016 desktop Inbox.

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This is true - Outlook/Accompli has had a Focused and Other view for a long time.

However, the danger we have now is that people will disable this view because it doesn't match what they see on their primary mail app (Outlook desktop for most people).

In the new Focused Inbox world, when you disable it on Mobile, Web or Desktop, it'll disable it for all of them.

I like this, since it is a unified experience, however for this period of time we may find a lot of people disabling it, and then when it does show up for the desktop it may never get re-enabled (since many people don't like to change the way they work).

Time will tell.....

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Totally agree.

I have already spoken about the features of FI with my most "advanced" customers and they have all said that they will use FI only when they will see it in all the clients (and in particular in Outlook desktop!).

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I don't think it's the same. Although Outlook on iOS and Android has a focused and other view this doesn't disable the Clutter feature. In my experience my 'Other' message view on mobile catches very little as Clutter has already had it.

If the Focused Inbox isn't in the Current Branch by Feb it will miss being in the next FRCBB. That would then mean it could be in the June FR and reach CBB in October.
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Once your mailbox has been FI enabled, then disabling FI on the desktop, web or mobile will become a unified experience.  (At least that was the original plan).  It's all part of the Outlooks unified experience goals.

 

And from what I learnt recently, it sounds like the fixes for the desktop actually need to come from the exchange side.  They were relying on a feature in exchange that was deprecated.  I guess they could ultimately decide to fix whatever happened with some code updates on Outlook....but now I am just speculating.

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Hey all - jumping in here. I see you already saw the updated blog details. The Office blog is where we shared the end user story. If you want more admin-level details you can find them here: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/exchange/2016/10/14/managing-focused-inbox-in-office-365-and-out...

To confirm, Cian and Salvatore are correct. Once you enable FI in the web, your mailbox will no longer have Clutter working. So if you do that before the release on Windows desktop, you will then see emails that previously went to Clutter going to your inbox. We don't expect many users will go that route, since the numbers of people who move between Web/Windows/Mac is very small.
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Hi Allen, it doesn't seem that small to me, according to the Email App Usage report I have 7,500 windows users, 468 Mac users and 4184 OWA users. This is from 8200 users who are active.

I can also see that when Windows falls at weekends the use of OWA and mobile stays quite flat, indicating people using personal devices for email.

That would seem to be at least a few thousand who switch, and so likely to cause us a big support headache.
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Hey @Allen Filush - good to hear from you.

In my opinion it would be much better to bite the bullet and halt FI migrations until the Outlook for Desktop issues are resolved. 

Right now, trying to explain the FI story to our users is really difficult.  If you turn it on, then your experience will get worse (all your Clutter will show up in your Inbox) - and then at some unknown date it will get better.  Most of our users wont have the patience for this and just wont understand the client nuances.

We've been gearing up some promotional material within our company to get people to sign up for FI, but its become very convoluted in how it will be executed.  I'd prefer you guys go back to the original plan and release it when all the clients are ready simultaneously.

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Hey all - just wanted to provide an update here that we are making come changes to avoid the "Focused Inbox on in Outlook on the web but off in Outlook 2016 for Windows" scenario. Thanks all for the helpful feedback here.

 

Note - for anyone who has a user who has got themselves into this situation, here is what you can do:

 

Steps to re-enable Clutter (for admin)

As an Office 365 admin, you can re-enable Clutter using Exchange PowerShell. Once this is done, Focused Inbox will be turned off and Clutter will be active again.

 

Turn Clutter on using Exchange PowerShell

  1. You can enable Clutter manually for a mailbox by running the Set-Clutter cmdlet. You can also view Clutter settings for mailboxes in your organization by running the Get-Clutter cmdlet.
  2. Example: Turn on Clutter for a single user named Allie Bellew:   Set-Clutter -Identity “Allie Bellew” -Enable $true