M365 Monthly Update: March

You’ve probably been bamboozled by Ignite 2021 updates over the last few weeks. We covered a number of them from the great additions to the interactive meeting experience across Teams to the focus on employee experience with the Viva unveiling. So for this update, we wanted to cover some of the smaller changes to M365 that don’t grab the headlines but are every bit just as valuable.

1. Teams: Transfer calls between device

What’s new:

This new Teams release will expand support and allow calling participants to transfer an ongoing VoIP, PSTN or Group call between Teams devices. Users will be able to transfer a call from one device to another or even add a second device to the same call. 

Why is this important:

After joining a Teams call on one device, users will be able to join the same call on a second device. For example, going from desktop to a mobile device or even to another desktop. They will also be able to transfer a call from one device to a second device, in the same call, if there is a need to share content from the second device. 

When is it coming: This feature will start rolling out in late March 2021

2. Viva Connections for Microsoft Teams desktop clients

What’s new:

Viva Connections for Teams enables users to discover and search intranet content, sites, and news from across the organisation in Microsoft Teams (desktop and web).  

Read our blog for more.

Why is this important:

Viva Connections (as the name alludes) connects multiple sources of content into one place for easy streamlined consumption. It will enable organisations to incorporate brand and identity directly into Teams and makes it easier for their users to collaborate on shared resources. 

To enable to this experience, obtain the PowerShell script from Microsoft download centre which will be available on March 31, 2021. Future versions of Viva Connections for Teams will be available automatically through Teams admin centre. 

 

When is it coming:

The feature will be available at the end of March 2021 

3. Microsoft Forms: update in sharing with collaborators and recipients 

What’s new:

Microsoft is making it easier to share a form with a collaborator or with respondents by separating the sharing process. The Share button has changed to a Send button, making it clear that this is how the forms owner distributes the form to its intended audience. 

Why is this important:

Now this might seem like a relatively benign update but many of my clients and teams member internally have tripped up on recipient vs collaborator links. You can look a little red in the face sending the wrong link to hundreds of users. Sharing a form with its target audience is quite different from sharing one with a collaborator. Previously these two options were accessed from the same Share button, which was confusing to some. 

When is it coming:

Rollout will be completed end of March

4. New personal wellbeing insights coming to Insights app in Teams

What’s new:

The Insights app in Teams will introduce a new homepage that provides time-relevant suggestions and access to new wellbeing focused experiences, such as: 

– Virtual commute
– Praise
– Reflect

Why is this important:

New personal insights to help you balance productivity and wellbeing are coming to the Insights app in Teams. Users will be able to tap into breathing breaks, send praise to collaborators, pause and reflect anytime during the workday, as well as mindfully close out the workday with a virtual commute. 

When is it coming:

Completing rollout by end of June 2021

5. Customizable website tabs in Teams Templates 

What’s new:

End users will no longer need to set up website tabs with URLs in Teams. Admins can now do this at scale with customizable website tabs that are present to the specified site for end-users who create teams from templates.

Why is this important:

This small but high value change can help to increase the speed of adoption for end users just starting out on the Teams platform. By automatically adding in useful and relevant links into Teams you can connect end users with the content they need, quickly.

When is it coming:

Complete rollout by early April

6. SharePoint Events web part will display event images

What’s new:

The Events web part on SharePoint pages and news posts will have an option to show images. Existing Event web parts will not be updated. However, new web parts added to pages and news will default to show images.  

Why is this important:

Make your events engaging with the new SharePoint events web parts including images. SharePoint page authors who use the Events web part can enable an option to show event images within the web part. When enabled, each Event shown in the web part will display the image used in the title area of the Event page. 

When is it coming:

Complete for Standard release in late June

7. Updates to meeting chat membership

What’s new:

Meeting participant’s access to meeting chat is changing:

Who can see the chat for a single meeting?

– People who are invited to the meeting or forwarded the meeting invitation after it is scheduled have access to the chat before, during, and after the meeting (up to the 1000-person limit).

– People who are added to a meeting after it starts using the Invite someone field on the Participants pane will have access to the chat from the time they join to the time the meeting ends. They will not be able to see chat that takes place after the meeting ends.

Who can see the meeting chat for a recurring meeting series?

People who are invited to the full series have access to the chat before, during, and after the meeting (up to the 1000-person limit).

People who are forwarded the invite of a single occurrence of the series or added to a meeting after it starts using the Invite someone field on the Participants pane have access to the chat from the time they join to the time that meeting instance ends. They will not be able to see chat that takes place after the meeting ends.

Why is this important:

This is a huge update for Teams meetings and helps to keep the conversations and content that you share for intended audiences only. Previously many organisations reported issues of guest participants reviewing sensitive information in an expired meeting chat window. Ensure to communicate this update to your end-users and teams.

When is it coming:

Complete by the end of April

8. Focus mode for modern SharePoint pages

What’s new:

SharePoint page authors and viewers can now focus on a greater amount of page content by hiding the site header, site navigation, and global navigation bar with one click. 

Why is this important:

Its hard to stay focused these days but no fear SharePoint is here. Your SharePoint page authors and viewers will now be able to clean their field of vision and focus on page content by clicking the Expand content button on the command bar to hide the site header, site navigation, and global navigation bar.   

This larger content viewing pane in Focus mode will continue as viewers navigate and select other links to open pages within the same site. 

When is it coming:

Rollout begins with targeted release in late March and will be complete in late April. 

GA begins rolling out in early May and will be complete by late May. 

9. SharePoint: Simplified editing of user interface elements in multilingual communication sites

What’s new:

With the rollout out of multilingual communication site feature last year. A user with appropriate edit permissions can update selected multilingual user interface (MUI) elements in all the languages enabled in a multilingual communication site in the same editing session.  

MUI elements enable users to see and use SharePoint site interfaces in the language they prefer, instead of the default language that was selected when the site was created. 

Why is this important:

Prior to this update, a SharePoint site owner/editor could update the translation for an MUI element one language at a time. With this update, they will be able to update all enabled language translations in a single session. 

When is it coming:

Rollout complete by late May 2021

10. Microsoft Teams: meeting recordings saved to OneDrive and SharePoint

What’s new:

Microsoft are changing the storage for new Teams meeting recordings to be stored on, and served from, OneDrive and SharePoint (ODSP) – instead of Microsoft Stream (Classic). Customers can opt in, opt out, or take no action. 

Why is this important:

This is a fundamental change to how meeting recordings are managed in M365. Instead of sitting outside of the M365 ecosystem in Stream, videos and recording with now start to live in OneDrive and SharePoint making it easier to manage permissions, access and storage. Ensure that you communicate this change prior to the default cut over of meeting recordings on the 7th of July.

When is it coming:

Rolling out incrementally starting July 7th, 2021 

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