Looking for a Microsoft Ignite 2018 recap?
At the end of September, I once again attended Microsoft Ignite in Orlando. If you’re not familiar with Ignite, it’s a week-long conference focused on Microsoft’s enterprise products – Windows, Azure, Exchange, SQL, Office, SharePoint, Office 365, and the Microsoft cloud. As a long-time Office 365 and SharePoint systems integrator, I was especially interested in learning where Microsoft is taking SharePoint Communication Sites, Teams, and PowerApps and Flow in Office 365 and in understanding the roadmap for SharePoint Server 2019 (more to come on that in my next post). The Microsoft product teams did a great job providing insight into current and future capabilities of these Office 365 products – here are the highlights I brought back to our sales and implementation teams.
Microsoft is positioning Teams as the new hub for collaboration in Office 365
Released less than two years ago, Microsoft Teams is the fastest growing business app in Microsoft history. Teams brings together Office 365 group security, Skype for Business chat and online meetings and SharePoint content management and collaboration into a unified interface accessed from the web, desktop and mobile clients. A variety of enhancements are rolling out or in the works to consolidate team collaboration functionality, including:
- Online meeting features like background blur, recording and transcription,
- Front line worker features like Shifts (and the replacement of StaffHub),
- Support for SharePoint Framework customizations and modern list and library views,
- Data loss prevention for chat and channel conversations,
- Support for team templates and a new Teams admin experience and security role, including functions to transition users
from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams
Learn more on What’s new in Teams – Microsoft Ignite Edition
Using Skype for Business on-premises? Microsoft Teams is a cloud-only offering. Skype for Business Server 2019 will be generally available by the end of year.
The future of business apps with PowerApps and Flow
Microsoft has continued to build functionality into their PowerApps and Flow platforms, positioning them as the best option for extending Office 365 and Dynamics 365 functionality. PowerApps and Flow have matured to the point that they are a true replacement for InfoPath Forms Services and SharePoint Designer Workflows in SharePoint Online hosted solutions.
Just getting started with the Power Platform (PowerApps, Flow and Power BI)? Check out the tools and features in the new Power Platform portal.
Microsoft is releasing new administrator focused tools for managing and monitoring the usage of PowerApps and Flow within the tenant and has released a governance white paper PowerApps and Microsoft Flow Governance and Deployment.
New power builder features are rolling out monthly. View the ones on the horizon for October.
SharePoint Communication Sites
Microsoft released the Communication Site template as part of the modern SharePoint experience a little over a year ago, allowing us to create beautiful, responsive, informative intranet and topical portals on the Office 365 platform. Since then they’ve released a number of features allowing us to customize the look, feel and layout of communication sites and more is on the way:
- Scripted site provisioning and configuration
- Custom color themes which can be applied immediately or included in a gallery for your site owners to choose from
- More advanced site navigation structures with Hub sites (creating a global navigation for multiple site collections) and
mega menus (creating a larger canvas for grouping and highlighting navigation links)
- Site header and footer options
- Section background colors for breaking up long pages
- Expanded collection of web parts for adding dynamic, interactive content to pages
Hope you find this information useful. Let us know if you are interested in learning more about how Teams, PowerApps and Flow or SharePoint Communication Sites may benefit your organization, or to discuss any Office 365/SharePoint efforts we may be able to assist you with.