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With so much of what we do day to day, especially with more of us working remotely, we’re all really reliant on being able to securely work on files and content. So what can people look forward to with the latest round of updates in Microsoft365? There are a number of great updates with new files experiences across OneDrive and SharePoint, the introduction of Stream video player as well as new admin controls.

Shared Channels and Teams – Working with 3rd parties

The last year has really highlighted the importance of remote work – it can be a challenge connecting and sharing securely beyond an organisation’s boundaries. Just to underscore the significance of what’s being solved with shared channels, let me talk about the current experience. As a user, we’ve had the ability for a while to be part of multiple organisations and their teams. In the past, you’d need to log out of your primary user account and log into guest accounts. So how do things change with shared channels? With shared channels you can stay in your primary account but still chat and work on shared files as a full-fledged member of that team. You can keep your existing team structures and create new shared channels in those teams. You don’t need to create a separate team anymore.

When you start a conversation, you’ll see a notice that the channel is shared with members from other organisations.

For shared channels to work there’s actually a lot of integration under the hood between Teams and Azure Active Directory.

Lists

Lists modernises how you track and organise work. There are various list templates, designed to make it easy to get started tracking and managing information like events, issues and requests. Organisations have the ability to define custom list templates – you’ll be able to manage which templates are available to which people based on their job role. One of the great things about lists is the native integration with Microsoft Teams, especially as you work together on information.

In the Lists web app, editing is made more efficient using the grid view with rich text editing capabilities. Soon Lists will work whether you’re connected to the internet or not because offline support is also being added to Microsoft Lists. Lists is also available on iOS – it’s a full-featured app to create and edit lists quickly on the go. So across web and mobile, Lists are a great way to track information and organise work.

Managing files in OneDrive and SharePoint

The OneDrive and SharePoint files experience is always improving. This is a service that backs the files experience in Teams, and now even the video platform Microsoft Stream. In January, the file size limit increased to 250 GB. They’ve also enabled dark mode functionality.
Also within OneDrive you can now create a shared library. Shared libraries allow you and your team to store all your files in a location that everyone can access so that when a new team member joins or leaves they automatically gain and lose access. You can add library folders as a shortcut within your OneDrive so that it roams everywhere when using OneDrive; on a phone, Mac, PC or browser.
Shared libraries have a special ability and that includes organising files using metadata. So you can do things like filter files based on metadata that you’ve added to the shared library.

Also new to OneDrive is the new Stream video player. Its super handy to have all your meeting recordings in one place. If you hit play on a Teams meeting recording video, you’ll see its fast on playback. Stream will be using the new SharePoint service to store its files.

In the coming months, you’ll be able to see and search the transcripts for meeting recordings, allowing you to catch up quickly on calls you missed. Microsoft will be adding additional enhancements this year for video experiences in Microsoft365, like chapters and transcripts. They’ll also introduce viewer analytics. And in the new Stream web app you’ll be able to create, upload and find videos and the entire experience along with search is now tightly integrated with the rest of Office.

Microsoft Viva

One new thing being worked on is bringing search results directly to you. When you see an acronym in Teams, instead of needing to search for it, the information comes to you. If you hover over it, you’ll see what it is, the people connected to it and some suggested resources. If you click in, it’ll take you to a topic page with even more information – these are built automatically using AI and are editable by the experts. And of course, what you see aligns with the permissions you have – so all of your governance controls that you set in Microsoft365 are respected here. What’s also great is that when you ask a question it will call in an expert. And if that question is asked again, Viva Topics can answer it automatically. As it learns more, the richer the content gets on the Topic page.

Viva Connections

Navigating all the news and updates you need to be up to speed on can be a challenge. Connections shows you all the relevant news, announcement, videos, and conversations for you. This is all tailored on your role and location. So someone on the Marketing Team would have a unique experience compared to someone on the retail or factory frontline. The experience on a phone, shows first a feed with personalised news and announcements, as well as a dashboard tailored to you with links to answers to common questions and tasks, like requesting time off. This is all tailored to your role and location. With Viva Connections you can get started quickly today with a SharePoint home site and Teams.

Navigating all the news and updates you need to be up to speed on can be a challenge. Connections shows you all the relevant news, announcement, videos, and conversations for you. This is all tailored on your role and location. So someone on the Marketing Team would have a unique experience compared to someone on the retail or factory frontline. The experience on a phone, shows first a feed with personalised news and announcements, as well as a dashboard tailored to you with links to answers to common questions and tasks, like requesting time off. This is all tailored to your role and location. With Viva Connections you can get started quickly today with a SharePoint home site and Teams.

For Admins

Based on feedback, admin centres for SharePoint and OneDrive are being consolidated into a unified experience. Part of the modernisation effort across Microsoft 365 is to increase the centralised control that you have as an admin over the content across your organisation. By unifying the SharePoint and OneDrive admin experiences, you’ll see more consistency with shared controls and reports. And beyond that, something else a lot of admins have asked for, is better reporting for file sync. With so many devices now using Known Folder Move and syncing folders and libraries, you can now see things like the number of healthy devices and the number of machines with Known Folder Move enabled.
Using this information will help you centrally correct common issues and efficiently reach out to your users if you need to.

If you would like to discuss how your business could implement and make the most of Microsoft 365, or have any other questions please feel free to get in touch with us here at aFinite. You can arrange a meeting with one of our team here, just choose the time that best suits you below.

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