March M365 Monthly Updates

Only three months into 2022, and we have some great new feature and major updates that have been, or will be, implemented across organisations. With changes across the entire Microsoft 365 suite, the March M365 monthly updates are sure to improve your user and admin experiences!

M365 March summary

Across March so far, we have seen overall of 66 updates or changes to the M365 stack, 3 major updates, 39 of which affected admins and 39 affected users.

1. Temporary Whiteboard collaboration for external and shared device accounts

What’s new?

If you are using Whiteboard on OneDrive for Business, this new feature is for you! Any guests, external or anonymous users in a Teams meeting can view and collaborate on the whiteboard during the meeting.

Why is this important?

Unlock your creativity to collaborate with externals now! Whiteboard is now my ‘go to’ workshop application as it’s great at capturing the free flowing and fluid content that often flows out of workshop. However until now you could not share externally. This new update is enabled by default, the new capability acts as a virtual bridge between you and your colleagues or clients and allows for temporary collaboration during a Teams meeting. After the meeting ends, external users will not have continued access to the whiteboard.

This update respects any external sharing permissions that you have already set as it only gives externals access to the Whiteboard whilst they are online (a bit like meeting chat messages).

When is it coming?

General availability: March 2022

2. Co-authoring on Microsoft Information Protection encrypted documents is in public preview on mobile devices

What’s new?

Microsoft Information Protection (MIP) offers powerful capabilities to classify and secure sensitive information. Co-authoring on MIP encrypted documents has been generally available since late 2021. This update allows editors of documents to continue real-time collaboration with their colleagues from their Android and/or iOS mobile device.

Why is this important?

Don’t compromise between security and productivity on mobile devices whilst you’re on the go.

When is it coming?

Available in public preview so make sure you’ve signed up!

3. Upcoming API Retirements in Exchange Web Services for Exchange Online

What’s new?

Originally announced in early 2021, Microsoft has provided a rough timeline for the support retirement of the 25 least used APIs in Exchange Web Services (EWS).

Why is this important?

If you have EWS APIs marked for retirement, you are strongly urged to consider migrating them to Exchange Online to reduce future maintenance and security risks. See if your API in EWS will be retired here.

When is it coming?

Support retirement will be fully phased out by end of March 2022. If you need assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us.

4. Microsoft Viva: Topics discovery analytics

What’s new?

If you are using Viva Topics, this update is for you. The Insights dashboard for Viva Topics will soon be rolling out in the Microsoft 365 admin centre to help organisations support ROI and understand the progress of topic discovery.

Why is this important?

This update allows transparency through analytics on topic discovery and allows organisations to see topics, people and content important to your employees. Global or SharePoint administrators will have the ability to see a visible topics count and breakdown of the topics discovered, created by users, hidden by settings and removed. Processed files will be counted and administrators can also see topics that are discovered from those files.

When is it coming?

Rollout begins mid-March 2022 and expected to be completed by late March 2022.

5. Microsoft 365 support integration with ServiceNow

What’s new?

Integrate your ServiceNow instances with Microsoft 365 help, support, and service health via Microsoft 365 support integration.

Why is this important?

Organisations are now battling with a diverse and ever expanding digital landscape. Tracking and reporting incidents across so many platforms is tricky and time consuming. Any integration like this that can consolidate and simplify support processes are a welcome addition. By using the Microsoft 365 support integration app in your ServiceNow instance, you will gain direct access to Microsoft support features.

When is it coming?

Available now in the ServiceNow Store. Simply search for “Microsoft 365 support integration” and request now.

6. Organisation Fonts on PowerPoint for the web

What’s new?

Organisations with an E3 or E5 license will soon have the ability to upload their custom fonts.

Why is this important?

A seemingly unimportant update but a big win for brand ambassadors and marketeers alike! Typography is important and updates like this help to protect culture and company image. Tenant admins will be able to upload their organisation custom font files as an organisation asset library via SharePoint. These fonts will show in the font picker dropdown and will render properly on PowerPoint for the web when editing and presenting. Note that custom organisation fonts will populate in 24 hours.

When is it coming?

Rollout is expect to commence late March and be completed by early April.

7. Teams user/device usage report and Graph API data source change

What’s new?

An improvement to the underlying data source that powers the Teams User usage report and Teams Device usage report in the Microsoft 365 Admin Centre will be undertaken.

Why is this important?

With the Microsoft 365 Admin Centre data source changing first, this improvement is part of Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to offer reliable and accurate reporting for product usage. Note that during the rollout timeframe, reports across the Teams and Microsoft 365 Admin Centre will not match but will sync post-rollout.

When is it coming?

Rollout commences mid-March 2022 with an expected completion date by end of April 2022.

8. People-centric search in SharePoint and Office.com

What’s new?

Originally announced in late 2020, Microsoft has confirmed the rollout timeline. People-centric search is a pattern that lets you zoom in on a person to view, explore, and search the enterprise graph around them. This has the dual purpose of enabling you to find content through people, and to understand people through their content. When you pick a person, you will be able to search through their work; however, this will only include items that you already have permissions to view or modify.

Why is this important?

This update will allow employees in your organisation to easily find the relevant content through people and understand people through their content. Users will only need to click on people suggestions in the search box. From there, a results page will take them to a people-centric view, where they can add query terms to further refine their search.

When is it coming?

Targeted release begins mid-March 2022 whilst Standard release rolls out early April 2022.

9. Bonus: Introducing Power Platform Admin Centre Homepage

What’s new?

The Power Platform Admin Centre will have a new look and feel!

Why is this important?

Though not strictly part of the Microsoft 365 suite, this new feature will allow for a seamless and integrated user experience as it aligns with the similar admin experiences across the other Microsoft services.

When is it coming?

Regional basis rollouts commence March 17, 2022, with expected rollout completion by April 8, 2022.

10. Bonus: Important Information about your Microsoft Power Platform service

What’s new?

At the beginning of 2022, a regression was applied to your Power Platform environment which applied a misconfiguration that created a new developer environment each time users would sign into the Power Platform admin centre (PPAC) or the Power Apps Maker portal. Developer environments by design are linked to your user details and are created when users with a community plan sign-in, however when the developer environment was deleted, it failed to update user details and didn’t remove the developer environment assigned to them, causing multiple environments to show up. A hotfix was created to correct and update the user details with the newly generated environment and deployed it earlier this month.

Why is this important?

It is important and good practice to minimise the number of environments that are no longer utilised in your tenant. As you are now able to delete the duplicate environments without new additional duplicates being created, please delete any duplicate environments created prior that are not being utilised. If you delete all the developer environments created prior, you will see a new developer environment get created by design as the user has a community plan. To be able to remove that last developer environment, users will need to remove the community user plan.

When is it coming?

Issue is now fixed. If you have too many environments to delete, please open a ticket on Power Platform Environment Lifecycle, reference ticket ICM289585363, and provide the following information:

  • Environment Id of the environment they want to keep
  • Tenant Id
  • Object Id of the user linked to the developer environment

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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