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March was a month that brought more Viva goodness, refined SharePoint and Lists experiences, and a few gems for your content migrations. Blink and it’s April, but first, let’s review March.
March 2021 brought some great new offerings: Microsoft Viva Connections, SharePoint app bar, Focus mode for SharePoint pages and news, images in SharePoint Events web part, SharePoint page analytics, Integrate menu for Microsoft Lists, Graph-based people picker for Person columns, Box migration into Microsoft 365, guest access in Yammer, and more. Details and screenshots below, including our audible, “groundhog, shadow-casted” companion: The Intrazone Roadmap Pitstop: March 2021 podcast episode – all to help answer, “What’s rolling out now for SharePoint and related technologies into Microsoft 365?”
In the podcast episode, I chat with Melissa Torres (LinkedIn | Twitter), principal program manager at Microsoft focused on all things SharePoint hub sites and intelligent intranet. This month we chat with Melissa beyond hubs about the new SharePoint app bar, what it is and its new role in Microsoft Viva Connections.
All features listed below began rolling out to Targeted Release customers in Microsoft 365 as of March 2021 (possibly early April 2021).
Inform and engage with dynamic employee experiences
Build your intelligent intranet on SharePoint in Microsoft 365 and get the benefits of investing in business outcomes – reducing IT and development costs, increasing business speed and agility, and up-leveling the dynamic, personalized, and welcoming nature of your intranet.
Microsoft Viva Connections for Microsoft Teams (desktop and web)
This enables people to discover and search intranet content, sites, and news from across the organization right in Microsoft Teams (both desktop and web). Viva Connections for Teams, formerly known as the Home site app, brings communications, knowledge, learning, resources, and insights together into a new, integrated experience.
For Viva Connections deployment, we recommend you configure a SharePoint home site with global navigation in the SharePoint app bar (we’ll talk about that item next). To do this, you can grab the PowerShell script from the Microsoft download center.
- Roadmap ID: 66584
- Learn more:
- Add Viva Connections for Microsoft Teams desktop
- Microsoft Viva Connections to start rollout to general availability
- Microsoft Viva Connections resources
- Microsoft Teams PowerShell Overview
SharePoint app bar that features global navigation
Your SharePoint modern communication and team sites will soon feature the SharePoint app bar which provides quick access to customizable global navigation as well as other intranet resources – all accessible for users wherever they might be in SharePoint.
- Roadmap ID: 70576
- Learn more:
- Customizing the global navigation tab requires that you have an organization home site.
- Learn how to set up a home site. You can set up a home site just for global navigation.
- Introduction to the SharePoint app bar
- Introduction to SharePoint information architecture
- Use the SharePoint app bar
- Learn how to modernize classic SharePoint sites and pages
Focus mode for modern SharePoint pages
We’re excited to share this one. It enables SharePoint page authors and viewers to focus on a greater amount of page content by hiding the site header, site navigation, and global navigation bar with one click. Another click brings back all when you ready to un-focus and move on.
- Roadmap ID: 70800
SharePoint Events web part will display event images
SharePoint page authors who use the Events web part can enable an image to show per event. The image is derived from the image used in the title area of the Event page.
Note: Existing Event web parts will not be updated. However, new web parts added to pages and news will default to show images.
- Roadmap ID: 70791
SharePoint Page Analytics updates
It’s always important to know more about your readers – to refine how and what you post in the future. We’re introducing analytics for SharePoint pages and news articles. You’ll be able to see the number of viewers, in addition to seeing information about how users interact with your page or news.
In all, page analytics provide insights on:
- Page viewers
- Page views
- And the average time spent per user
Teamwork updates across SharePoint team sites, OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams
Microsoft 365 is designed to be a universal toolkit for teamwork – to give you the right tools for the right task, along with common services to help you seamlessly work across applications. SharePoint is the intelligent content service that powers teamwork – to better collaborate on proposals, projects, and campaigns throughout your organization – with integration across Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, Yammer, Stream, Planner and much more.
Microsoft Lists | New Integrate drop-down menu
As part of updating the command bar at the top of Microsoft Lists, we are introducing a new top-level menu item labeled Integrate. This is the home for features that help extend list experiences. The existing command buttons for Power Apps and Power Automate will move into this new top-level drop-down menu.
Once the new experience is available, the Power Apps menu option will disappear. People will need to navigate to the Integrate menu option to access both Power Apps and Power Automate, and coming in the future, the newly announced Power BI integration (Microsoft Lists: Visualize with Power BI) ID: 72175.
- Roadmap ID: 64869
Improved Person columns in Microsoft Lists
This is a great one to see the tangible benefits from Microsoft Graph. We are improving the behavior of Person columns in lists by making the suggestions that appear when you type more relevant. When you type in the people picker, the autofill suggestions come from Microsoft Graph. This makes the people picking experience more personalized based on who you work with most often.
Migrate content from Box to Microsoft 365
This new feature gives SharePoint and Microsoft 365 admins streamlined support to migrate content from Box into Microsoft 365; that’s Box files and folders as well as conversion of Box notes into Word documents – to where you choose as destination into OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams.
When you connect to a Box enterprise account, the service discovers users and their files. The service will automatically map to an individual’s OneDrive accounts, and you can manually map to a specific OneDrive user account, or route to SharePoint sites or a Teams channel for content meant to be in shared spaces.
We also want to highlight two related migration webinars from Microsoft:
- Tuesday, April 6th, 2021: “Choosing the right tools for your Microsoft 365 migration“
- Tuesday, April 13th, 2021: “Best practices for data migrations to Microsoft 365“
- Roadmap ID: 68816.
- See Migrate Box to Microsoft 365 with Migration Manager to learn more.
FIXED | Rename a channel in a Teams team and gets updated properly in the corresponding SharePoint folder
Note: if a folder is being synced via OneDrive sync, the new channel/folder name will not yet update through to the synced desktop folder with OneDrive shared folders. It is known and being addressed.
Guest Access in Yammer is now Generally Available
We know organizations need to engage with vendors, partners, customers, consultants, and other stakeholders while adhering to privacy and security policies that keep your business running smoothly. This new feature is powered by Azure B2B – which enables you to share your company’s applications and services with guest users from any other organization, while maintaining control over your corporate data.
So, invite with confidence. And note, Yammer communities with external members are denoted by a globe icon.
- Learn more about Guest Access in Yammer..
Microsoft 365 PnP Hub in Tech Community
This has some amazing resources, guest blogging opportunities, and community engagement. This is for more than MVPs – it’s a great place for new/aspiring community members. The initiative is being driven by community members Luise Freese, Vesa Juvonen, and Waldek Mastykarz. There’s a lot of great content already – and maybe yours soon – if you have something to share and are looking for a blog vehicle to get the word out to the community.
- Start here.
Retiring Delve mobile apps for iOS and Android
We will fully retire Delve mobile apps for iOS and Android on June 1, 2021. Going forward, we recommend using Outlook Mobile instead. With Outlook. you’ll find profile information and relevant files on individual’s profile cards, and recommended documents appear in Outlook’s Search tab.
Two key dates to know about the Delve mobile apps retirement milestones:
- On and after March 1st, 2021 – we’ll remove the ability to install Delve mobile apps from App Store and Google Play
- And then on June 1st, 2021 – existing Delve mobile installations will stop getting insights on June 1, 2021.
EVENT RECAP | SharePoint’s 20th birthday party
Last Saturday, March 27, 2021 marked SharePoint’s 20th birthday. What a great day, and a collective wild ride over the last two decades. What started on-premises, moved to the cloud, and exists as a core platform and service to so many apps and services… now lives on in infamy with loads of stories, videos, timelines, and more – loads of new assets: a retrospective blog, a new “SharePoint: 20 years young” episode of The Intrazone and more, lots more. The history of SharePoint, the technology it spawned, the industry it helped shape, and the collective community – the best community in tech.
Read, see, and hear more – SharePoint: 20 years young.
April 2021 teasers
Psst, still here? Still scrolling the page looking for more roadmap goodness? If so, here is a few teasers of what’s to come to production next month…
- Teaser #1: Immersive reader for SharePoint pages and news [Roadmap ID: 70737]
- Teaser #2: Microsoft Lists: Visualize data with Power BI [Roadmap ID: 72175]
… shhh, tell everyone.
Helpful, ongoing change management resources
- Stay on top of Office 365 changes
- Message center in Office 365
- Install the Office 365 admin app; view Message Center posts and stay current with push notifications.
- Microsoft 365 public roadmap + pre-filtered URL for SharePoint, OneDrive, Yammer and Stream roadmap items.
- SharePoint Facebook | Twitter | SharePoint Community Blog | UserVoice
- OneDrive Facebook | Twitter | OneDrive Community Blog | UserVoice
- Follow me to catch news and interesting SharePoint things: @mkashman; warning, occasional bad puns may fly in a tweet or two here and there, plus my new blog on Substack: The Kashbox.
Thanks for tuning in and/or reading this episode/blog of the Intrazone Roadmap Pitstop – March 2021 (blog/podcast). We are open to your feedback in comments below to hear how both the Roadmap Pitstop podcast episodes and blogs can be improved over time.
Engage with us. Ask those questions that haunt you. Push us where you want and need to get the best information and insights. We are here to put both our and your best change management foot forward.
Stay safe out there on the road’map, and thanks for listening and reading.
Thanks for your time,
Mark Kashman – senior product manager (SharePoint/Lists) | Microsoft)
Brought to you by Dr. Ware, Microsoft Office 365 Silver Partner, Charleston SC.