The intelligent intranet powered by Microsoft 365 – Microsoft Ignite 2019 announcements

Published Nov 04 2019 06:00 AM 53.9K Views

Over the past three years ago, SharePoint has been on a journey to reinvent the intelligent intranet across browsers, devices and in the mobile app, to allow organizations to work across teams and siloes to harness collective knowledge.  Along this journey we have been excited to learn from customers both how they are moving to the cloud with SharePoint and also to hear how we can continue to innovate to deliver new value.  Our focus has been on responding to that feedback and many of the announcement we are making are based on that.


One customer that has been on that journey with us is Arla Foods, an international dairy cooperative employing over 19,000 people across 105 countries.


Arla Foods needed the tools to support their diverse workforce. The solution needed to be mobile ready and focuses on self-service to foster collaboration among employees, streamline the co-op’s operations, and position the company for the future.


After learning more about Microsoft 365 and SharePoint last year at Ignite, Arla Foods made the decision to build an intelligent intranet.  Torben Fabrin, Senior Vice President and CIO at Arla Foods said about their efforts, “we’ve empowered our employees to find news and services on an intelligent intranet, accessible on all devices, while reducing our operational costs.”


It was my pleasure to host Arla Foods on stage at Microsoft Ignite this year and it’s stories like theirs that inspire us to continue to press forward in our mission to empower everyone to reach their full potential.


Let’s dive in the announcements we have made it Microsoft Ignite 2019 that you helped inspire.  These enhancements will roll out at various times in the months ahead.  You can follow the public roadmap for more details on specific items.


SharePoint home sites rolling out

SharePoint home sites give you an intelligent, integrated employee experience—a landing page—for your organization.  We’ve gotten great feedback from you about home sites since we previewed them at the SharePoint Conference this year and we have been working closely with early adopter customers.  We are happy to share that we are beginning the global rollout of SharePoint home sites.


SharePoint home sites–a personalized landing experience for your organization.SharePoint home sites–a personalized landing experience for your organization.

New hub capabilities 

Hubs connect and organize sites based on organizational attributes such as project, department, division, or region. Based on your feedback we are enhancing hubs in these key areas:


  • Hub permissions enable you to centralize the management of access to associated sites.
  • Hub analytics provides rich, hub-wide usage insights spanning total visitors, page views, popular content and more.
  • Associated hubs enable search and discovery experiences across hubs and makes it easier to curate navigation between them.
  • Audience targeting on hub navigation allows targeting navigation items based on a persons Azure Active Directory groups, such as job role or office location.


Additional branding abilities

You want your intranet to reflect your companies’ brand. SharePoint empowers you to do that today, but we are farther enhancing your ability to brand your intranet and sites.


  • SharePoint mobile app co-branding so that you can easily add your organization’s branding which will be featured in the SharePoint Mobile app.
  • SharePoint mobile app to support organization’s custom branding through logo image, app theme colors for top navigation bar, text and accent color etc. for a co-branded mobile Intranet app experience for employees.

    SP mobile1.png
  • Additional site footer capabilities with a new extended layout option that supports background color choices and ability to organize a footer links.
  • Additional header options including a new Shy header that provides you the ability to reduce
    the size of the site header, the ability to hide the site title, and the option to add a site logo thumbnail for your sites.
  • Microsoft Fluent Design System which brings the fundamentals of principled design, innovation in technology, and customer needs together as one, and delivers simplicity and coherence through a shared, open design system across platforms.
  • SharePoint Teal default theme converts the existing blue default theme to Teal to complete the transition to the new SharePoint brand colors on new and existing classic and modern communication and non-group connected team sites.
  • Make any classic site, a modern communication site. Classic team sites that are not modern group connected or have the classic publishing feature enabled, can now get a communication site experience. More details here.

Updated SharePoint look book

We are humbled by the response to the SharePoint look book since we released it last year. It has been gratifying to hear your stories of how it inspired you and helped create beautiful sites in your organization. We have released a new look book, at, with even more samples. Best of all, if you are a site admin, you can now add the design you are looking to your tenant with one click.


Visit today to get inspired.Visit today to get inspired.

Audience Targeting for Navigation

We have heard the excitement from you for the new audience targeting features coming in SharePoint to target news and other information to relevant people. We will take this farther to allow you to audience target navigation items, such as in the mega menu, based on the same Azure Active Directory groups.

Updates to page, news, and web parts

Customers, like Arla Foods, the VELUX Group, or Klockner & Co, have told us of their success at removing custom code from their intranet by using the modern, out of box capabilities of SharePoint.  We continue to focus on enhancements to let you do more natively.


  • Image resizing which gives you the ability to adjust the sizes of images your add to your pages and news posts.
  • Page difference visualization and version history for pages and news posts which enables content authors to visually see what changes have been made across different versions.
  • News filtering across sites with managed metadata.
  • Yammer conversations web part (v2) which gives people the ability to ask questions, mark and discover best answers, and compose with rich text and post praises. It’s also has improved performance and is updated with a new Yammer design that is rolling out. 
  • ‘My feed’ web part that intelligently brings together relevant documents, news, activities and other content that is personalized for you.
  • New stock images feature which will provide several thousand high quality, high resolution images, royalty free for page and news authoring, with an inventory of images that will grow over time.

News and Page scheduling

As customers have been adopting SharePoint news for official company news, we have heard from you that you need the ability to author news posts and pages in advance and have them go live at a later time. We are now announcing the ability to easily schedule news posts and pages to be published at a future day and time.


Multilingual capabilities

Global organizations need to enable content across different languages and so we are delivering multilingual site capabilities. This will enable you to create content and sites in multiple languages.


People will be able to view content in their preferred language, or easily switch to other available languages. Content translators will receive notification of changes. We are also delivering a new version history capability that will enable translators to visualize the differences between any two versions of a page in order to easily translate content as needed.


Multilingual publishing.Multilingual publishing.

Difference tracking helps translators focus only on what changed.Difference tracking helps translators focus only on what changed.

We look forward to sharing me with you over time in the blog and through the public roadmap.  Please keep your feedback coming.

Valued Contributor

Just wow! 8):grinning_face:

Awesome! Out of the box capabilities are a true added value!

Regular Visitor

What about cross site audience targeting from site a subsite 1 doc library to site b?  Is that on the roadmap or functionality on the way? 

Occasional Contributor
This one made my day: News and Page scheduling! Thank you!
Occasional Visitor
I'm positively surprised and curious. Is this synonymous with SharePoint onPremise?
New Contributor

What's the differencies between this new SharePoint home site and the SharePoint Home (site,

Occasional Contributor

Awesome! We wait for this update. I hope to enjoy SP further too.

We bothered about multi-language feather previous days, now it happens. :happyface::happyface:


Thanks for sharing.

Regular Visitor
Sounds great, just - news scheduling and language switch were available before too, so if there is a difference between the old and new solution, it would be good to read about the difference. I have used news scheduling since SharePoint 2010 (or even since MOSS I think) and it was always very reliable. Also regarding image resizing - what is the difference between image resizing that already exists since SharePoint 2013 and the one that is mentioned in this article? Looking forward to further details:-)
Occasional Contributor
@Ana_Nedic The difference is that although all of these features may have been available in the classic experience, MS have gone back to base and started again with the modern experience. As a result, the majority of the previously available features are (or were) not available as they had to be recreated and this is announcing their return. It does feel a bit like Disney recreating their well-beloved films into live-action ones though. It's the same, just newer and :D

Replying to @Christopher Barber:

>> What about cross site audience targeting from site a subsite 1 doc library to site b?  Is that on the roadmap or functionality on the way? 


If I am understanding your question properly, you are asking about a scenario like this:
1) Site A is a subsite of another site, say Site A-Parent
2) Site B is a communication site that has a highlighted content web part on it, that uses Site A as a source, and uses type "document library"
You are asking if the web part on Site B will show targeted documents so long as they are tagged appropriately in Site A?  
If so, yes, this is the expected behavior.  You should be able to use audience targeting across sites with this feature.  Please be aware that there may be a slight lag before you see the results in the web part.
Occasional Contributor

When can we expect the SharePoint Mobile App Branding Options

Occasional Contributor

There are many useful and much awaited features announced here. Thanks a lot! 


@Brad McCabe, I couldn't find some of the new features you mentioned on the M365 roadmap, yet (Nov 17, 2019):

  • News filtering across sites with managed metadata
  • News and Page scheduling

When approx. do you expect to get them launched?


Any idea when the stock images will be available (the royalty free ones)?

Occasional Contributor

This is great.

New Contributor

When are the royalty free stock images rolling out?  I'm unable to find any information anywhere.

New Contributor

SharePoint: Stock Images

In development 02/2020

Valued Contributor

I haven't seen News and Page Scheduling arrive on the Microsoft 365 Roadmap yet. Any update Brad please?

The new intelligent intranet is looking more beautiful than ever. Congrats to Microsoft for going in this direction. I'm seeing a lot less classic pages these days and can't say that I missed them either :smile:


The question that comes up in my mind is:
Now that Microsoft is producing wonderful looking intranets out of the box, where does that leave the intranet-in-a-box partners?


What additional benefits do the partners provide on top of this that is worth spending money on...?

Occasional Contributor

Nothing to see about Associated Hubs in the Microsoft 365 Roadmap...any updates?

Occasional Contributor

Hi @Brad McCabe and @Mark Kashman,


Can we please get an update or at least a roadmap entry for 'News and Page scheduling'?

Senior Member

@Brad McCabe - Is there an update on the timeline for Associated Hubs? Rebuilding our intranet now and thinking about our architecture.

Occasional Visitor

@Brad McCabe@Tejas Mehta Could we please get an update about Associated Hubs. I searched M365 roadmap but it is not captured anywhere. We are planning for modern intranet sites and very much want to use 'Associated Hubs'


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