January M365 Monthly Update

Whether you only enjoyed the public holidays, or took some well deserved time off over Christmas, acclimatising to the new year in January is a struggle. Fortunately for you, keeping up to date with the latest and greatest from Microsoft is something we can help with, as our monthly M365 updates continue to hit your inboxes every month. This month’s update is a goodie, so make a cuppa and enjoy your January M365 monthly update.

1. Connected Templates

What’s new?

Microsoft are announcing the upcoming release of Connected Templates with Microsoft Teams and SharePoint. The connected templates will offer a new way of combining Microsoft Teams templates with SharePoint templates. Prior to this integration, clients needed to deploy Microsoft Teams or SharePoint-specific templates.

Why is this important?

  • Today, when you create a team through “create a team from templates’ you get an automatically created SharePoint site that supports that template. We are adding SharePoint assets to the team you have just created with this new integration. In essence, all SharePoint applications that are associated with the new template will be automatically added, pinned, and displayed in this new team template.
  • When you create a new team using a default template – for example, the “Manage a Project” template, the project management channels and apps, and the connected SharePoint template will get applied automatically. Now, the pages, lists, and Power Platform integrations from SharePoint will be automatically pinned as tabs in Teams and you can edit these pages and lists directly in Teams.

When is it coming?

We will begin rolling this out in mid-January and expect to complete rollout early February.

2. Microsoft Lists: Board View

What’s new:

This new feature, Microsoft Lists: Board View, will allow users to work with list data in a board format. This view is ideal when users want to track items as they move forward in a process or workflow.

Moving items through stages is as easy as dragging and dropping. Users will be able to configure which columns from the list are displayed in the cards and in what order.

Why is this important?

You will now see “Board” as an option during creation of new views for a list. Additionally, there will be a dropdown to choose a column to organize the board by. Presently, the board can be organized by any choice or Boolean column that exists in the list.

When is it coming?

We will begin rolling this out in mid-January and expect to complete rollout in early February.

3. Shared focus plan in Viva Insights

What’s new:

Viva insights is releasing new capabilities to help teams protect time for focused work. The shared focus plan will enable managers and team leads with a Microsoft Viva Insights license to foster mutual productivity norms and drive a positive team culture by inviting teams to coordinate focus time for uninterrupted work.

Why is this important?

Licensed managers and team leads will be able to access the shared focus plan on the My Team tab within the Microsoft Viva Insights app in Microsoft Teams. This is an opt-in plan, and Shared focus plan participants do not need to be licensed.

When is it coming?

Standard Release will begin rolling out in early February 2022 and we expect the rollout to be complete by mid-March 2022.

4. Walkie Talkie on iOS General Availability

What’s new:

With Walkie Talkie in Teams, employees can now securely communicate with a familiar push-to-talk (PTT) experience without needing to carry bulky radios. This native built-in app in Teams turns employee or company-owned iOS smartphones and tablets into a walkie-talkie, reducing the number of devices employees must carry and lowering costs for IT.

Why is this important?

Customers with frontline workers may want the ability to speak and receive Walkie Talkie calls even when their phones are locked. With general availability, this experience is now possible using purpose-built bluetooth headsets from Blueparrott which include a dedicated PTT button for Walkie Talkie. Walkie Talkie is not pre-installed. To enable this feature for users in your organisation, use the Teams Admin Center to include Walkie Talkie in the App Setup Policy assigned for users.

When is it coming?

Now available on the latest build in the Apple App Store.

5. Microsoft Viva Topics – Search to add files/pages in Topic Page

What’s new:

With this update, topic editors can now pin files/pages to a topic page by searching for it in the resource picker.

Why is this important?

With this feature, editors can use search to add files/pages within a topic page. This means you can expect to see more files/pages that will be pinned to a topic.

When is it coming?

This rollout to begin in late January and expect the rollout to be completed by early February.

6. Pin a chat message

What’s new:

This new feature will enable users to pin a specific message and provide chat members with quick access to critical content whenever it’s needed.

Why is this important?

Any member of a chat will be able to pin/unpin any specific chat message to the top of the chat header, for all members to see. Users can click on the pinned message to go to the original message in the chat thread. Currently, only a single message can be pinned at a time.

When is it coming?

We will begin rolling this out in mid-February and expect to complete rollout late February.

7. Microsoft Stream: Comment on a video or audio file in SharePoint and OneDrive

What’s new:

This feature allows you to have threaded conversations on a video or audio filed saved in OneDrive for Business or SharePoint Online through a cohesive and familiar commenting experienced like the one used in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Why is this important?

Users will see a Comments button in the upper right-hand corner of any video or audio file stored in OneDrive for Business or SharePoint Online. Selecting this button expands a panel where users will be able to have threaded conversations through comments, for which file owners have full edit permissions over. The backend used for this feature is the same as the existing backend for comments found in the details pane of some files saved in OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online

When is it coming?

This updates will start rolling out for general availability in early February and expect that rollout to be completed by late February.

8. Microsoft Teams tab actions are moving

What’s new:

Microsoft Teams tab actions are moving out of the tab header bar and into the tab dropdown to help declutter the user experience. This impacts all first-party and third-party application tabs in chats, channels and meetings, such as Assignments, Grades, Planner or the Website tab. These tab actions will be found by clicking on the tab name to show a dropdown menu. These actions include:

  • Reload tab
  • Go to website
  • Copy link to tab
  • Pop-out tab
  • About this tab

Why is this important?

Users that have come to rely on these tab actions being available in the tab header bar may have difficulty finding these common actions. A one-time educational coachmark bubble will be provided to educate users about the change.

When is it coming?

The standard rollout should begin in mid-November and expect that rollout to be fully completed in mid-January (previously early December).

9. Create Videos on Office Mobile

What’s new:

Office Mobile is a content hub which houses a bunch of content types – from your favorite Word, Excel, PowerPoint to Lens, Forms, PDFs, and now very recently, Videos.

Why is this important?

With Video creation feature, enterprise users (those connected with OneDrive for Business accounts) will start seeing a ‘Video’ entry point on the app. Users can tap on it and start recording short video bytes up to 90s, and enrich it with text, annotations, ink etc. and trim and share it with the people on their network.

When is it coming?

This rollout will begin mid-January (previously late December) and expect the rollout to be completed in late February (previously mid-February).

10. New Content Scenarios for My Feed Web Part on SharePoint

What’s new:

My Feed Web Part on SharePoint is updating. The following content scenarios will be added:

  • Suggested Task

These are tasks or actions you have requested by or of you. They also may be tasks or actions you promise to do. These tasks are pulled from your email conversations.

  • People Highlights

These comprise of Birthdays, Work Anniversaries and Change of roles for people who you work with. The information is only visible for those who have chosen to share it on LinkedIn.

  • Meetings out of routine

These are meetings scheduled on Teams or Outlook and are out of your usual working hours. This allows your users to either request for a reschedule or act on the meetings as appropriate.

Why is this important?

The updated Feed Web Part will enable your users to have access to more content types and engage them in what is happening around them. They will be able to see updates on different file collaboration activities, stay up to speed on what actions to take, view upcoming meetings and recordings and be up to date with events around their colleagues’ work life events.

When is it coming?

Mid-January and expect the rollout to be completed by late January 2022.

We release a monthly Microsoft 365 updates blog at the end of each month. Read last month’s blog written by Jack Hendy, Senior Change Consultant, here.

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