Latest Updates to Microsoft 365 Experiences
Published Mar 11 2021 06:27 AM 1,103 Views
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With more of us working remotely, we’re reliant on being able to securely work on files and content.

Microsoft 365 VP, Omar Shahine, joins Jeremy Chapman to share how the newest Microsoft 365 updates help people and organizations to stay connected and secure.


Updates to Microsoft 365 Experience.png 

Shared Channels in Teams:

Be part of multiple organizations without having to switch between accounts. Keep existing team structures, and create new chair channels within those teams.



Define custom lists and manage which templates are available to people based on their job role. Hit milestones on time and automate alerts using rules in Teams. Make editing more efficient with rich text editing capabilities.


OneDrive & SharePoint:

Store all your files in a location everyone can access. New team members automatically gain or lose access when they join or leave. Stream video player: All your meeting recordings in one place. Catch up quickly on calls you missed by searching the transcript.


Microsoft Viva:

Search results come to you: Hover over a word or click on it to get more info on a topic page. Viva Topics: Questions are answered automatically. The more it learns, the richer the content gets on the topic page. Viva Connections: Unique experiences with personalized news and announcements tailored to your role and location.


For Admins:

Unified SharePoint and OneDrive means more consistency with shared controls and reports. Better reporting for file sync. Connect common issues and efficiently reach out to your users.



Quick links to video:

01:17 — Shared Channels in Teams

04:52 — Lists

07:07 — OneDrive & SharePoint

09:51 — Microsoft Viva

12:40 — New for admins

13:49 — Wrap up


Link References:

For more information about Microsoft Viva, go to


Unfamiliar with Microsoft Mechanics?

We are Microsoft’s official video series for IT. You can watch and share valuable content and demos of current and upcoming tech from the people who build it at Microsoft.



Video Transcript:

- Coming up on this special edition of Microsoft Mechanics, we’re joined by a Microsoft 365 VP Omar Shahine for a tour of all the recent upcoming updates in Microsoft 365 including the brand new employee experience platform Microsoft Viva. So, thanks again for joining us, Omar.

- Thanks Jeremy. It’s great to be here.

- And it’s really a privilege to have you on. So, your team is pretty much the cornerstone in terms of everything that we do within corporate’s content experiences in Microsoft 365. Now, this includes Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, OneDrive and also aspects of the brand new Viva platform, but with so much of what we do day to day, especially with more of us working remotely, we’re all really reliant on being able to securely work on files and content. So, what can people look forward to then with the latest round of updates?

- Yeah, that’s a broad question. There’s a ton to cover of course. There are a number of cool updates that we’re bringing to you with new files experiences across OneDrive and Microsoft 365 as well as new admin controls. That said, there’s a lot that I’m excited about to share around the work with how we’re doing to help people and organizations to stay connected and work together.

- And, there’s a lot of intelligence really infused into those experiences. So, this is gonna be be an action packed show. But, can we take a look some of the stuff?

- Sure, so let’s start with an early look at shared channels and Teams. This last year has really highlighted the importance of remote work. So it can be a challenge connecting and sharing securely beyond an organization’s boundaries. Now, just to underscore the significance of what we’re solving for with shared channels, let me show you the current experience. As a user, we’ve had the ability for a while to be part of multiple organizations under teams. In the past, you’d need to log out of your primary user account and log into guest accounts. For example, here, I’m part of the Contoso organization and I’m in a team with Fabricio Johns who is a guest user from Fabrikam. So, he’d have to be logged into that account to see my message. And if I flip over to Fabricio’s experience, I’ll log him in using guest account and that gives me a view of just the Contoso team he’s in and he can see my message and respond, but he’s taken out of his flow in his own Fabrikam environment.

- How do things change then with shared channels?

- So let me flip back over to my account and I’ll show you the shared channel experience. With shared channels, you can stay in your primary account, but still chat and work on shared files as a full-fledged member of that team. So, let me create a new channel, and show you how I can bring in external team members from Fabrikam into my team at Contoso. This is really important. You can keep your existing team structures and create new shared channels in those teams. You don’t need to create a separate team anymore. Just like any other channel, it starts by clicking on the ellipsis, then add channel. I’ll give it a name and call it Partner Work. Under privacy, this is where I select shared. Then I’ll hit next. Now, I need to invite people to the channel. I’ll add Fabricio from Fabrikam. And notice it says external, not guests. So, this is from Fabrikam’s directory service, not Contoso’s. Then I’ll hit share and finally done. And, you can see the Partner Work channel within our Contoso marketing team. And, notice the shared channel icon next to it. Now, when I start a conversation, you’ll see another notice that the channel is shared with members from other orgs. If I mention Fabricio, his account at Fabrikam resolves. So, I’ll type a message. “Are you seeing this?” Now, let me split my screen and show you the experience from both the internal and external users perspective. On the left is my account logged into Contoso and on the right is Fabricio at Fabrikam. You’ll see the notification that I shared in a channel with him. If I expand Fabricio’s team on the left, you’ll see the marketing team at Contoso with just a shared channel with Fabricio, which you’ll also see his Fabrikam teams. So, his is normal primary accounts. So I’ll go ahead to respond and say, “yes, Omar I’m in.” And you’ll see, it shows up both in teams on the left and Fabricio’s on the right. So that’s chat in the channel. And this also works with files. I’ll go into the files tab. Now I’ll drag a PowerPoint file as me to share it with members of the channel. I’ll go back to Fabricio’s side on the right and open the files tab. You’ll see a pop-up on Fabricio’s side. Now, I’ll open up the file Fabricio and I can edit the file from Fabricio’s account even though it’s stored in Contoso’s tenants.

- Another thing worth noting here is that for shared channels to work, we’re actually doing a lot of integration under the hood between Teams and Azure Active Directory. But, I want to switch gears though and go through some of the enhancements that your team is building really with core user experiences in Microsoft 365. And, why don’t we start with Lists?

- Yeah. List is one of my favorite new experiences that we’ve built from the ground up to modernize how you track and organize work. Today, we have several ready-made List templates designed to make it easy to get started tracking and managing information like events, issues, and requests. Now, let me give a first look at something we are adding which is the ability for organizations to define custom List templates. I’ll create a new List using Northwind Traders customer recruitment template. All I have to do is give it a name and it’s ready for use. And note, you’ll be able to manage which templates are available to which people based on their job role.

- Now, one of the great things about Lists as well as the native integration with Microsoft Teams, especially as you work together on information.

- That’s right and we’re making the team’s experience even better. Here, I’m in teams with our spring 2021 recruitment List. I’ll click on schedule and open the calendar view. This is great for when you’re working on hitting milestones on time. And here under automate, all create a rule in teams. So in this case, when a recruiting status is set to offer sent, it notifies the interviewer automatically. Now I’ll jump into one of our candidates Aaron, and @mention Mona in the comments area. @mentions are another powerful way to get someone’s attention. And Mona will automatically receive an email notification. As you can see here. Now I’ll jump back into the List web app and show you something we’ve done to make editing more efficient using the grid view. I’ll click into the field and you’ll see rich text editing capabilities. Now, I can easily change the status in my List fields and grid view lets me get this done quickly. And soon List will work whether you’re connected to the internet or not, because we’re also adding offline support to Microsoft Lists. Additionally, List is also available on iOS as you can see here. It’s a full featured app to create and edit lists quickly on the go. And, we’re also working on iPad support in the near term and a version for Android later this year.

- All right, so across web and mobile List is really a great way to track information and organize work. And, I really personally love how easy it is to automate alerts using rules. But, why don’t we move on to managing files in OneDrive and SharePoint? So what’s new there?

- We’re always improving the OneDrive and SharePoint files experience. And this is a service that backs up files experience and teams. And now, even the video platform and Microsoft stream. In January, we announced the increased file size limit to 250 gigabytes. And here you can see I have a file cleverly named 250 GB file as an example. And while I’m here, you’ll see that we’ve enabled dark mode. My favorite feature ever in OneDrive. On the web as well. And you can set this in settings menu here and toggle between the two. Also within OneDrive, you can create a shared library now. Shared libraries allow you and your team to store all your files in a location that everyone can access so that when a new team member joins or leaves, they automatically gain and lose access. All you have to do is click create shared library. Given it a name, Mechanics Lib and assign members or groups, I’ll add Adele and Nestor. But I could also add a group if I wanted to. Now I’ll click create and I have a shared library to store my group files in. I can add this folder as a shortcut within my OneDrive so that it roams everywhere. I’m using OneDrive on a phone, Mac, PC or browser. In fact, you can see here, the ones I have denoted by the link icon and the sharing column shows which people or groups these are shared with. I’m gonna tab over to the shared library with a few folders and files already in it. Shared libraries have a special ability. And that includes, organizing files using metadata. And so I can do things like filter files based on metadata that we’ve added to the shared library. Here, I’ll click into status and filter by approved, then apply it. And, you’ll see everything with an approved status. And before I leave OneDrive, I have to show you the new stream video player. I’ll jump into my recordings folder. As you can see here, it’s super handy to have all your meeting recordings in one place. I’ll hit play on this team’s meeting, recording video. You can see it’s fast on playback. And as I mentioned, stream will be using the new SharePoint service to store its files. In the coming months, you’ll be able to see and search the transcript for meeting recordings allowing you to catch up quickly on calls you missed. And by the way, we’ll be adding additional enhancements this year for video experiences and Microsoft 365 like chapters and transcripts. We’ll also bring viewer analytics. As you can see here, and in the new stream web app you’ll be able to create upload and find videos. And the entire experience along with search is now tightly integrated with the rest of office.

- So last month we announced a brand new product that’s called Microsoft Viva, and it’s really a new way to deliver a tailored employee experiences. So Omar, you and your team have really been behind a lot of the capabilities there that feed into Viva. So, can you explain how this adds to the Microsoft 365 experience?

- It’s really exciting to be part of this new product launch. It’s based on a lot of great customer feedback since the pandemic started. With Viva, we’ve taken a fresh look at how we tailor our products and add new capabilities. One thing new here is that you’ll see… is that we are also working to bring search results directly to you. Here, you can see an acronym SOAR and instead of needing to go search for it, the information comes to you. I can hover over it and see what it is. What people connected to it. And some suggested resources. If I click in, it’ll take me to a topic page with even more information. And these are built automatically using AI, and are editable by the experts. And of course, what you see aligns to the permissions you have. So all of your governance controls that you set in Microsoft 365 are respected here. What’s also great here is that when you ask a question, they will call in an expert. And if that question is asked again, Viva topics can also answer it automatically. As it learns more, the richer the content gets on the topic page.

- And that’s super impressive. And really something related to that, though, you might need to catch up on things like organizational news or find other resources. And I know that you’ve done a lot of work in that area as well.

- That’s where Viva connections comes in. Navigating all the news and updates your need to be up to speed on, can be a challenge. So what we want to do is modernize that experience to stay engaged and informed wherever you are whatever device you’re using. Here I am on my company branded Employee App in Microsoft Teams. And you’ll see the connection shows me all the relevant news announcements, videos, and conversations for me. This is all tailored based on my role and location. So someone on the marketing team would have a unique experience compared to someone on the retail or factory frontline. And if I show you the experience on a phone, you’ll see, first, a feed with personalized news and announcements, as well as a dashboard, tailored to you with links to answers to common questions and tasks like requesting time off. And like I mentioned, this is tailored to your role and location. So what you’re seeing on the right now is the experience for a frontline worker. In fact, with Viva connections you can get started quickly today with a SharePoint home site and Teams.

- And just to be clear, what you just showed with topics and connections, those are a subset of Microsoft Viva. And, if you didn’t catch that announcement, you can find out more information at Now, before we end and as a bonus, given all the SharePoint and OneDrive admins that are watching, can you share what’s new then for our admins?

- Yes, absolutely. This is another area we’ve made good progress on. In fact, based on your feedback we’re consolidating the SharePoint and OneDrive admin centers into a unified experience. Part of the modernization effort across Microsoft 365 is to increase the centralized control that you have as an admin over the content across your organization. By unifying the SharePoint and OneDrive admin experiences, you’ll see more consistency with shared controls and reports, as you can see here. And beyond that, something else, a lot of admins have asked for is better reporting for file sync. With so many devices, now using Known Folder Move and syncing folders and libraries, you can now see things like the number of healthy devices and the number of machines with Known Folder Move enabled. And these are just a few examples. Using this information will help you centrally correct common issues and efficiently reach out to your users if you need to.

- Awesome stuff.

- And it’s really nice to conclude on these updates for my favorite audience, the admins. And this has really been a great end-to-end tour of all the major Microsoft 365 updates from your team. But, what’s the best way then to experience everything that you’ve shown today?

- A lot of what I’ve shown today is either rolled out or should be coming to your Microsoft 365 environment real soon. So try it out and let us know what you think.

- Thank you so much for joining us today Omar and thank you for watching. Of course, the latest updates across Microsoft keep streaming Microsoft mechanics. Subscribe, if you haven’t already yet and we’ll see you next time.

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