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M365 what’s new – calendar week 15/2021

Calendar week 15 is over, let me show you what has happened in Microsoft 365 this week. There were mostly updated timelines. I only focus on the new announcements in this article.

As far as possible, roadmap links are included as well as timelines – and last but not least: my opinion about the features, that include some tips or thoughts from the field. The categories in this article:

Microsoft 365 General

Microsoft 365 Apps

SharePoint Online & OneDrive for Business

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft 365 General

Microsoft Forms: Word Cloud for open text questions

Microsoft loves AI and they found a new point to integrate it: by using a Word Cloud in Forms. You will be able to access it when reviewing answers. AI will extract the key phrases and provide them as word cloud to the reviewer. So he or she will get a quick overview about the most important or most answered text fragments.

Roadmap ID: 81840

Rollout: late April to mid May

My opinion: I haven't seen such a big Forms survey that I whished I had a word cloud, but okay, why not.

New policy to control user feedback

Microsoft recently said that they stop working with UserVoice and implement other ways for valuable customer feedback. This can be e.g. in-product feedback. Now a company should be able to control better, what/how users can provide feedback.

Currently there is a GPO for user feedback that counts towards Windows and Mac Office products. This will be extended to respect Azure AD groups and to target all platforms. Some policies will be turned on by default and some off.

Turned on by default:

  • Allow users to submit feedback to Microsoft
  • Allow users to receive and respond in-product surveys from Microsoft

Read more about it here.

Turned off by default:

  • Allow users to include screenshots and attachments when they submit feedback to Microsoft
  • Allow Microsoft to follow up on feedback submitted by users
  • Allow users to include log files and content samples when feedback is submitted to Microsoft

Read more about it here.

All can be configured on (when you sign in as Global Administrator). Simply search “feedback” and you will see the policies. If you prefer GPO, you need the latest template (version 5146.1000). The feedback policies con be found under User Configuration -> Policies -> Administrative Templates -> Microsoft Office 2016 -> Privacy ->Trust Center.

Roadmap ID: 72199

My opinion: UserVoice was good, it is sad, that Microsoft moves away. But if they really implement feedback channels like promised, they will be a good replacement (and easy to find and use for the users). So the policy configuration makes absolute sense.

Translator Services in Service Health Dashboard

The service health dashboard (the board where you can see how healthy all services are and if there are incidents) will get a translation toggle to make oit easier for you to read the service health in a language of your choice. If you have configured your admin center experience to another language than English, the translator will provide the items in your language. Items included:

  • Title
  • User impact
  • Latests posts

Turning the toggle off will turn back to English.

My opinion: I read every MS article in English, because in the past automatic translation was crap.

New design for Yammer digests

The Yammer digest will be extended to support reactions to daily community digests and weekly discovery. So, the Yammer emails are no more static but contain more dynamic content. Users can react, share and rely directly from email (directly in Outlook).

Roadmap ID: 66695

Rollout: late May to late June

My opinion: interesting feature, but it will not increase the (low) usage of Yammer.

Microsoft 365 Apps

Outlook mobile is about to support access to delegate mailboxes

Most people have some kind of delegate access to another mailbox. To access this, they need to use a client like OWA or Outlook. On mobile they are fucked, it is not possible. This is very annoying and very wanted (by nearly every user) since Outlook mobile was released. Now time has come – Outlook mobile will support accessing delegate mailboxes! You will be able to add these mailboxes inside the app:

Roadmap ID: 67273 & 67274

Rollout: late April to early May

My opinion: This is a tiny feature but so much wanted by so many users since so many years - I wonder which dumb processes at Microsoft prevent such important features to be released for so long time.. But finally: it will come and it will make many people very happy (including me).

Exchange Online

Quarantine portal deep link in EOP digest

The EOP digest will be updated with a link to the quarantine page, so users do not have to bookmark it any more:

Rollout: early May to late may

My opinion: thank you. Just thank you. Several years and community feedback to add a link.

Auto-labeling patterns updated

With Auto-labeling you can automatically classify Exchange Online mails based on their content. Currently the autp-labeling was available for specific content, e.g. credit card numbers. Now the ability is extended widely by supporting certain header information:

  • sender address / domain (word match or pattern match)
  • recipient address pattern match
  • recipient membership
  • header pattern match
  • subject pattern match

Of course, you can also make use of exceptions. Keep in mind, that Exchange Online admin is not sufficient to configure that. You need at least either Compliance Administrator or Security Admin to take control about this feature.

Roadmap ID: 72225

Rollout: late April to late May

My opinion: Wow. Really. Being able to query headers is extremely powerful! Imagine of a default label that is sent to a specific customer without the user to take care about it. I love that feature!

Microsoft Teams

“Tasks by Planner and ToDo” renamed to “Tasks”

Microsoft did it a little confusing the last months by renaming and consolidating and again renaming the app. The idea is to create a cockpit in Teams where all tasks (from Planner and ToDo) are listed centrally. This app is currently named Tasks by Planner and ToDo and will now get a simpler name: Tasks. Thats it.

Rollout: early May to mid-May.

My opinion: confusing...

Create tasks from Teams chats or channel posts

We all chat a lot each day. This regularly ends up in discussing Tasks and ToDos. Wouldn’t it make sense to have a menu in the chat when you right-click a text to add a task? Exactly that is what is coming now. It removes the necessity to add another window or tab and manually add the task there:

This action adds a planner task that you can track directly from the chat with your chat partner:

Roadmap ID: 68696

Rollout: early May to late May.

My opinion: I always hoped this will come - I am happy because that is a time saver for organizing my tasks. I am curious to see how / where they will be integrated in Teams Tasks / Planner.

Teams webinar capabilities

Microsoft provided a preview at Ignite, now the features are officially announced and coming:

  • Registration page for webinars (including email confirmation)
  • Reporting for registration and attendance

As a Teams user, you can setup a webinar directly from your calendar:

In the settings of the calendar items you can configure registration (on by default for everyone).

Webinars respect all meeting policies, that means in reality:

  • if you are not allowed to schedule private meetings, you cannot invite to webinars
  • when anonymous join is disabled in a tenant, creation will work, but join may fail
  • creation of Microsoft Lists is mandatory for webinar setup

Additionally there will be a new policy WhoCanRegister. With this policy, you can control, who can host a webinar that requires registration for everyone. This policy is available in the Teams admin center.

The registration feature can be controlled one of these ways:

  • turn off for the whole tenant
  • turn off for external attendees
  • turn the feature on for selective internals – so that they can setup a webinar that allows externals

All the above described features will work with Office 365 E3/E5/A3/A5/Business Standard/Business Premium.

Roadmap IDs: 80099, 65952, 66459 & 66586

Rollout: end of April to end of May

My opinion: Wow. Great. I cannot wait to try it out! That will save a lot of money for other 3rd party solutions (that are really expensive).

Published by Andreas

Founder of M365 Evangelists Cloud-Architect, Strategy Consultant, Consultant for Microsoft technologies, Graph API enthusiast, PowerShell enthusiast