M365 Monthly Update: August

We know it’s hard to keep on top of all the new updates to Microsoft 365, and it can be tricky for us too. The surprise of waking up, logging on and everything has changed is a frightening one.

But fear not, we are here to help. We’ve rounded up the latest updates from August we think you should know about, why you need to know about it and when it’s coming.

1. Tasks in Microsoft Teams

What’s new:

It’s finally here! Microsoft tasks has begun rolling out globally. The new Tasks experience brings together tasks in Planner and To Do into Teams. Tasks is available as an app and as a tab in a channel. Keep in mind that the app comprises both individual tasks from To Do and team tasks from Planner whereas the tab shows only team tasks.

Why is this important:

Most people are pretty busy. Juggling priorities, actions and tasks effectively is hard as they can originate from anywhere at any time. Tasks empowers users to achieve more, by streamlining task management and connecting apps and services you use most into a coherent, integrated, and intelligent experience.

Learn more about Tasks on Teams here

When is it coming:

Starting: Now

Completing: end of September

2. 20,000 limit for Teams Meetings

What’s new:

Microsoft Teams now supports up to 20,000 people in view-only meetings.

Up to 1,000 people are now supported in interactive meetings. This is capped to ensure optimal meeting experience.

Upcoming changes will let you set up a “branded” meeting lobby.

Why is this important:

Virtual experiences are now the currency of our daily lives. They are evolving beyond the traditional boundaries of a meeting as we try to land on a new normal. We therefore need our technology to rapidly adapt and remove barriers to exploration. This update paves uncharted ground in meeting experience and scale.

Find out about the new Teams features here.

When is it coming:

Starting: Over the next few weeks

3. Project Oakdale (Dataflex) – replaces CDS

What’s new:

Microsoft has announced Dataflex with formally known as Common Data Service. It may soon be called something else so watch this space. It’s a new Platform to build low-code apps, workflows, and bots, inside Teams. It manages everything from data to deployment inside Teams, with more Teams-specific advantages and it’s own data storage (e.g. no need to use SharePoint, SQL, etc.). 

Why is this important:

Dataflex puts solutions first. It allows citizen developers and often self-taught enthusiasts to access everything they need to create a low code solution for real business problems in one place. Users can now: Create Power Apps directly in Teams with responsive layouts and Teams-specific context, create and share custom templates, launch a Flow directly from Teams to create a Teams actions (including new meetings), @mentioning users and Team creation.

Find out more about low code solutions for Teams here.

When is it coming:

Starting: Mid August

4. New pre-meeting experience

What’s new:

The new pre-join experience makes it easier for users to select audio and video sources before joining a Teams meeting. The video toggle underneath the preview window adds quick and clear access to background filters. All the available Audio options are now clearly detailed to the right of the preview window with the option to configure mic status, speaker volume, devices and ability to add a Teams meeting room.

Why is this important:

Make sure you start your meeting the right way. Bin the virtual meeting script of ‘can you hear me now’ ‘can you see me now’ and get straight to business.

When is it coming:

Starting: late April,

Completing: end of July

5. Modern Collaboration Architecture (MOCA)

What’s new:

Help to paint the bigger picture for your stakeholders with the Modern Collaboration Architecture (MOCA). The overarching ‘which tool when’ helps to articulate the role of the individual, team, community and organisation in the context of Microsoft 365.

Why is this important:

The MOCA architecture can help to drive digital and cultural change across your organisation, equipping you and your teams with an understanding of how the Microsoft 365 services are built to help you own the way you work and collaborate.

It’s a great place to start to generate conversations around digital strategies, roadmaps and M365’s part to play. Download the whitepaper here

When is it coming:

Released now

6. Teams notifications made easy

What’s new:

Users will soon be able to configure and customize their Teams notification settings through a newly designed notifications settings section for the Teams desktop app and Teams online.

Why is this important:

Your end users will be able to configure notification settings through a simplified global notification settings page. They will also be able to choose from any two teams and channel notification pre-sets or they can customize their channel notification settings.

When is it coming:

Starting: early September

Completing: mid September

7. Save time with Transcription for word

What’s new:

Now more than ever, we’re all very busy—juggling family, work, friends, and whatever else life throws our way. New enhancements in Office leverage the Azure Cognitive Services AI platform so you can harness the power of your voice to spend less time and energy creating your best work and focus on what matters most. Using Transcribe on Word on the web you can capture conversations and turn them into text instantly. Record directly in Word or upload any of these file types: .mp3, .wav, .m4a, or .mp4. 

Why is this important:

Stay focused on the task at hand, work is demanding enough without handing to multi-task. Focus on having engaging conversations and let the technology capture all the information and write it up for you. It even knows when a different speaker is talking and separates them for you.  

When is it coming:

Out now on Word online

8. Add shortcuts to Shared folders

What’s new:

When someone shares a folder in Microsoft OneDrive, SharePoint, or Teams, you can add a shortcut to the shared folder in your OneDrive to easily find and work with the files. These shortcuts appear in OneDrive on the web, Windows File Explorer, Mac Finder, Teams, and in the OneDrive mobile apps.

Why is this important:

There are lots of places files can live on M365. And it can be hard to consolidate important and highly used folders and files in one place. But now you can with Shared Files shortcuts. Everyone loves a shortcut. Everyone.

When is it coming:

Starting: early September

Completing: end of October

9. New file sharing experience in Teams

What’s new:

Finally we will start to see some parity of the file sharing experience that we know and love come to Teams. Currently you are pretty limited when you want to share a document or copy a link for a colleague in Teams. But with this update users will have the same experience when in SharePoint or OneDrive and will be able to create sharing links for: anyone, people within your organisation, people with existing access or specific people, including those in a 1:1 chat, group chat, or channels.

Why is this important:

This is huge as it helps to prevent the dreaded ‘access denied’ message that kills confidence and adoption in tools like Teams. Users will now be notified if recipients don’t have permission to view the file before its sent. The user can then change the permissions there and then before they share. These updates are thoughtful, user-centric and solution focused.  

When is it coming:

Starting: early September

Completing: end of October

10. Teams meeting lobby policy option

What’s new:

In May, Microsoft introduced a new user setting, Only me, that meeting organisers could select when configuring the “Who can bypass lobby?” setting for a Teams meeting. Now Microsoft have made it possible for you to set Teams meeting defaults in your organisation so that only meeting organisers can bypass the lobby.

Why is this important:

Currently, the tenant-level default setting for “Automatically admit people?” is Everyone in your organisation. The other two options are Everyone in your organisation and federated organisations or Everyone (no restriction). Although individuals can limit direct meeting access to the meeting organiser, you cannot currently make that a default setting for a given user or set of users.

With this change, you will have a fourth option. You will be able to set “Automatically admit people” to Organiser only (most restrictive). 

When is it coming:

Starting: end August,

Completing: early September

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