It’s hot in many parts of the world these days. We hit a sweltering 108° Fahrenheit here in the Pacific Northwest of the US. And the action isn’t cooling down for SharePoint and related technology in Microsoft 365. Grab a cool glass of water, June was a busy month.
Yes, June 2021 brought great new offerings: SharePoint Auto News Digest updates, SharePoint admin center updates (dashboard and new site information columns), Microsoft Lists - @mentions in comments, Power Apps can now display images from Microsoft Lists, Delete from within page details, Headspace mindfulness content comes to Microsoft Viva Insights, and more. Details and screenshots below, including our audible companion: The Intrazone Roadmap Pitstop: June 2021 podcast episode – all to help answer, "What's rolling out now for SharePoint and related technologies into Microsoft 365?" Note: you might also hear a sea shanty tune from the OneDrive team in the mix - baton down the hatches and have ye a listen!
In the podcast episode, I chat with Rk Menon (LinkedIn), program manager on the SharePoint team focused on the SharePoint admin center experience and capabilities in Microsoft 365. We chat about the overall design goals of the SharePoint admin center, what new capabilities are rolling out for SharePoint admins, and how things align over time to ensure consistency across all admin user interfaces across Microsoft 365.
All features listed below began rolling out to Targeted Release customers in Microsoft 365 as of June 2021 (possibly early July 2021).
Inform and engage with dynamic employee experiences
Build your intelligent intranet on SharePoint in Microsoft 365 and get the benefits of investing in business outcomes – reducing IT and development costs, increasing business speed and agility, and up-leveling the dynamic, personalized, and welcoming nature of your intranet.
SharePoint Auto News Digest updates
Time to up your game when keeping everyone informed. This feature just keeps getting better, making it more efficient to convert news-to-views while requiring less manual effort.
You can now brand your news digest with your organization’s theme colors and logo. If your organization site is already branded, that branding will automatically be applied to automatic news digests. The news digest uses built-in Intelligent ranking so that users see the news most relevant to them. The news digest is sent on a weekly basis, displaying only published news posts. If there are no news posts that are relevant for the user then no email gets sent to the user.
If users want to opt-out of receiving the automatic digest, they can click the unsubscribe button at the bottom of the email.
SharePoint admin center - new information columns on Active sites page
It’s time to see more information about your sites and be able to troubleshoot easier.
In the SharePoint admin center, the Active sites page will provide new informational columns. The “Created from” column will show the apps that were used to create sites. And the “Teams” column will show which sites are connected to Microsoft Teams. The “Created from” and “Teams” information will also be available in the details panel when you select an individual site.
Both new columns help narrow down troubleshooting and highlight actions admins might prescribe to their own customer base.
SharePoint admin center: new homepage insights dashboard
Take an administration-at-a-glance approach with actionable charts and insights as cards on the SharePoint admin center homepage. And it's customizable—you can add, remove, and rearrange cards to suit your needs.
As a SharePoint or Global admin, you can choose to see and use new cards such as:
You can also add relevant cards from the Microsoft 365 admin center, such as:
Last, you'll find recommendations tailored to each organization to guide you through improvement tasks that you may not know about - to help better manage and control your SharePoint environment in Microsoft 365 without require deep analysis or clicking to too many places to get the information.
A reminder: Prepare your SharePoint and OneDrive environment for end of support for Internet Explorer 11
Microsoft 365 apps and services will no longer support Internet Explorer 11 (IE 11) after August 17, 2021. This means SharePoint and OneDrive will not be supported on IE 11. After this date, customers will have a degraded experience or will be unable to connect to Microsoft 365 apps and services on IE 11.
While we know this change may be difficult for some, we believe that they will get the most out of Microsoft 365 apps when using the Microsoft Edge browser. Microsoft 365 users will be well served with this change through faster and more responsive web access to greater sets of features in everyday toolsets.
Teamwork updates across SharePoint team sites, OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams
Microsoft 365 is a universal toolkit for teamwork – to give you the right tools for the right task, along with common services to help you seamlessly work across applications. SharePoint is the intelligent content service that powers teamwork – to better collaborate on proposals, projects, and campaigns throughout your organization – with integration across Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, Yammer, Stream, Planner and much more.
Microsoft Lists - @mentions in comments
“Mention” people you work with while adding a new comment to a list Item. As a result, the person will receive an email notification with a direct link to the list item. It's a terrific way to notify, share and collaborate directly from within the list itself.
Power Apps can now display images from Microsoft Lists
This is an improved experience so that images stored in Image columns in Microsoft Lists can be displayed when designing custom forms in the Power Apps design canvas. You can choose to display the images in four sizes: small, medium, large, or full.
Delete from within page details
This is a simple one, and one that's been met with a lot of joy from my purview - mainly due to the time-to-click ratio for performing this action. Instead of going several clicks in beyond the site contents page and into the Pages library, now you can click the Page details button at the top of the page or news article and delete in one click from within the page details pane.
Headspace mindfulness content comes to Microsoft Viva Insights
You'll start to see a curated set of guided meditations and focus music from Headspace. The goal is to help disconnect from work in the evening, relax your mind before a big meeting, or find focus before starting an important project. In just a few minutes a day, meditation and mindfulness with Headspace can help users lower stress, increase focus and ease teamwork.
Headspace integration with Viva Insights is rolling out default on and, unless disabled by admin, the curated set of Headspace mindfulness content will be available to any user with the Viva Insights app installed.
Create trackable tasks from your ad hoc Teams messages
Tasks happen everywhere - in an email threads, working on files, or within team chats. And before you forget to make a note of a task, simply click in, and create tasks from Microsoft Teams messages on desktop and web. Like you've seen for emails in Outlook and comments in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint docs.
Note: This update is native to the Teams experience - no longer requiring custom work with Power Automate.
Microsoft Whiteboard updates within Microsoft Teams to support hybrid work
The new Whiteboard is now integrated into more areas across Microsoft 365 - now available in Teams channels and chats. Start a collaborative whiteboard for everyone in the meeting with just one click. You can also pre-prep or reuse whiteboards across multiple Teams meetings.
This update brings a lot of great user interface capabilities: improved real-time collaboration to make it easier to follow along with what others are doing, new interactive content with sticky notes, fluid components, and insert images and documents via new sharing controls connected to OneDrive. Plus, a lot more.
Ink in your ideas, together, during your next team meeting.
July 2021 teasers
Psst, still here? Still scrolling the page looking for more roadmap goodness? If so, here is a few teasers of what’s to come to production next month…
… shhh, tell everyone.
Helpful, ongoing change management resources
Thanks for tuning in and/or reading this episode/blog of the Intrazone Roadmap Pitstop – June 2021 (blog/podcast). We are open to your feedback in comments below to hear how both the Roadmap Pitstop podcast episodes and blogs can be improved over time.
Engage with us. Ask those questions that haunt you. Push us where you want and need to get the best information and insights. We are here to put both our and your best change management foot forward.
Stay safe out there on the road’map, and thanks for listening and reading.
Avast ye mateys,
Cap'n Mark "Arrrr" Kashman – senior product manager (SharePoint/Lists) | Microsoft)
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