Introducing New Ways to Work in Microsoft Project

Introducing New Ways to Work in Microsoft Project

Today’s project teams need to collaborate successfully to deliver value. Project managers and teams want to work in ways that make sense for their projects. Program and portfolio managers want transparency and governance across the entire project portfolio.

How can your company or department support different work styles without losing the power of a centralized project management system? With agile in Project, project managers and teams can choose the methodology that makes sense for the project at hand, including: agile, waterfall, hybrid, or task-oriented. The integration of Project with Microsoft Planner lets you connect Project tasks to a Planner plan and track detailed work in Planner.

Use agility in your Project portfolio

With agile in Project, you can use agile methods to track your projects in Project Online Desktop Client. You can create new agile projects or apply agile views to your existing waterfall projects. You can track your projects using Scrum and Kanban methodologies, including viewing task boards, creating backlogs, and tracking sprints, as well as viewing reports on agile statistics.

For more details, see “Use agile in Microsoft Project.”

Manage Project task work in Planner

With the new integration between the Project Online Desktop Client and Planner, task owners can track granular task details in a lightweight tool. Project managers retain control over the project’s work breakdown structure and can easily view the detailed work being done against a task.

This capability may also be used to reduce complexity of project plans in Project, enabling the project manager to control a smaller number of tasks while task owners can further break down the tasks in Planner. Teams that manage their work in Project Online can better streamline work with teams that use Planner.

For more details, see “Streamline cross-team work with the newly integrated Project Online Desktop Client and Microsoft Planner.”

The new agile functionality for Project and integration with Planner are both now available.


A New Vision for Intelligent Communications in Office 365

A New Vision for Intelligent Communications in Office 365

Intelligent communications go beyond traditional unified communications, enabling you to complete tasks more efficiently with minimal context switching, participate in more productive meetings that cover the entire meeting lifecycle, and better manage your everyday communications overload.

Microsoft Teams is core to Microsoft’s vision for intelligent communications—bringing together conversations, meetings, files, Office apps, and third-party integrations—to provide a single hub for teamwork in Office 365. Teams is now being used by over 125,000 organizations across the world in just six months since its launch. Its strong momentum has proven that teamwork is essential to the way work gets done today.

To achieve this vision for intelligent communications, Microsoft is bringing comprehensive calling and meetings capabilities into Teams, along with data and insights from the Microsoft Graph, and a strong roadmap of innovation to empower teams to achieve more.

All of this is being built on a new, modern Skype infrastructure for enterprise-grade voice and video communications. The next generation, cloud-born architecture is already powering communication experiences in Teams, and is evolving rapidly. This new infrastructure will provide both speed of innovation as well as higher quality communication experiences.​

As these capabilities are built out, Teams will evolve as the primary client for intelligent communications in Office 365, replacing the current Skype for Business client over time.

The future of business meetings

Combining communications, collaboration, and intelligence in this way will make new things possible across the lifecycle of a call or meeting:

  • Before a meeting, Teams will surface relevant documents and rich information about the participants to help you prepare.
  • During the meeting, the conversation can be captured, transcribed, and time-coded, with closed captioning and voice recognition for attributing remarks to specific individuals.
  • After the meeting, the cloud recording and transcript can be automatically added to the relevant channel, so conversations, documents, notes, and action items can be reviewed, indexed, and searched by the entire team.

Introducing calling features and meeting enhancements in Teams

Over the past six months, Microsoft has enhanced the communication capabilities in Teams, with new features like scheduled meetings, Outlook calendar integration, and meetings on mobile. Also, earlier this month, they began rolling out guest access—so you can use Teams to collaborate with people outside your company. In the coming months, they’ll begin adding calling features in Teams—including inbound and outbound calls to PSTN numbers, hold, call transfer, and voicemail.

Coming soon will be enhancements to Teams meetings, including audio conferencing (available in preview today)—enabling participants to join a Teams meeting by dialing a telephone number—and interoperability between Teams and Skype for Business, including universal presence, and messaging and calling interoperability.

This is just the beginning of a big wave of feature releases that will bring the core set of meetings and phone system capabilities into Teams.


Expand your collaboration with guest access in Microsoft Teams

Expand your collaboration with guest access in Microsoft Teams

Since Microsoft Teams became generally available about six months ago, more than 125,000 organizations have discovered how teamwork comes to life in Teams. Teams again is getting even better with the rollout of guest access to all Office 365 commercial and education customers. Now Office 365 users can add people from outside their company to a team, so guests can participate in chats, join meetings, collaborate on documents, and more.

Guest access has been one of the top requested features for Teams among Microsoft customers, and they’ve been working hard to get it right. Microsoft designed guest access in Teams with three principles at the forefront:

Teamwork—Teams come in all shapes and sizes, and you need to be able to easily communicate and share with others you want to work with, including people outside your organization. Anyone with an Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) account can be added as a guest in Teams. That means anyone with one of the more than 870 million user accounts—across Microsoft commercial cloud services and third-party Azure AD integrated apps—can be added as a guest in Teams. Later, the ability for anyone with a Microsoft Account (MSA) to be added as a guest in Teams. If the guest doesn’t have an existing MSA, they will be directed to create a free account using their current corporate or consumer email address, such as Outlook.com or Gmail.com.

Security and compliance—Security is a big concern here and Microsoft customers made this known. Guest access in Teams will provide enterprise-grade security and compliance assurances. In Teams, guest accounts are added and securely managed within Azure AD through Azure AD B2B Collaboration. This enables enterprise-grade security, like conditional access policies for guest user access. Azure AD also uses adaptive machine learning algorithms and heuristics to detect anomalies and suspicious incidents, enabling mitigation or remediation actions, such as multi-factor authentication, to be triggered as appropriate. In addition, with Azure AD, IT departments have unparalleled insight into the activities of external users in their organization through detailed sign-in and access reports. Guest user content and activities are under the same compliance and auditing protection as the rest of Office 365.

IT manageability—Guest access in Teams comes with the ability for IT to centrally manage how guests participate within their Office 365 environment, providing consistency across application experiences in Office 365. IT admins can quickly and easily view, add, or revoke a guest’s access to the host tenant.

For more information on how to enable guest access in Microsoft Teams, read this help and support article


SharePoint Mobile App Previews Come to Android and Windows 10 Mobile

SharePoint Mobile App Previews Come to Android and Windows 10 Mobile

In June 2016, Microsoft released the first version of the SharePoint mobile app for iOS—your intranet in your pocket. Now, they are filling more pockets by introducing the SharePoint mobile app for both Android and Windows 10 Mobile previews.

The SharePoint mobile app helps keep your work moving forward by providing quick access to your team sites, organizational portals and the people you work with throughout Office 365 by letting you search for content and people across your organization. They leverage the Microsoft Graph to power several of the in-app experiences, providing you relevant information to get to the content and people you work with most frequently.

Android: Main Sites tab showing Frequent and Followed sites.

 

Android: Team site showing site activity, files, lists and the full site navigation.

 

Windows 10 Mobile: Main Sites tab showing Frequent and Followed sites.

 

Windows 10 Mobile: team site showing site activity, files, lists and the full site navigation.

You can use the SharePoint mobile app to:

  • Navigate from Sites to team sites you follow or frequently visit.
  • Navigate from Links to important sites configured by your organization.
  • Catch up on what’s happened with the Activity view, which shows recent file activity in your team site.
  • Open your document libraries with the OneDrive app and then edit your files using Office mobile apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.
  • Learn more about people you work with and discover what they are working on.
  • Perform an enterprise-wide search to find sites, files and people throughout your organization.
  • Android first: you’ll be able to launch a PowerApp from a team site directly in the SharePoint mobile app.

Catch up with all your team’s news in the SharePoint app on iOS

If you use the SharePoint app on iOS, you get the first look at the mobile experience of team news. When you tap the Newstab, you will see a list of aggregated news using the intelligence of the Microsoft Graph from the sites you work in, the sites you follow and the sites your colleagues work in. SharePoint mobile on iOS gives you one place to catch up on the news from across your intranet. That’s your news in your pocket!

News on SharePoint mobile will come to other platforms as a future update.

Learn more about SharePoint mobile app for Android and the SharePoint mobile app for Windows 10 Mobile.


SharePoint Welcomes PowerApps and Microsoft Flow

SharePoint Welcomes PowerApps and Microsoft Flow

Microsoft Flow and PowerApps are on general availability and enables people to automate workflows and quickly build custom apps that suit their specific needs. Earlier this year, Microsoft announced integration of SharePoint with Microsoft Flow, enabling you to create and launch flows directly from a SharePoint list. They also announced that native integration of PowerApps and SharePoint would drive rich new experiences to continue reinventing business processes with modern document libraries and modern lists in SharePoint.

We know that tight integration is essential to unlocking productivity gains for the digital workplace. Accessing data from mobile devices was a first step. Bringing business processes to the same site for team documents and data is next. That’s why SharePoint is a great home for your enterprise business applications.

Upcoming integration with SharePoint

PowerApps will be fully integrated into the SharePoint web experience. PowerApps provides a great mobile experience, and now that experience is connected to the data stored in SharePoint lists. Soon you’ll be able to integrate PowerApps as the default in-browser experience for any SharePoint modern list.

PowerApps embedded in a SharePoint list.

This means:

  • You’ll be able to launch PowerApps directly from the SharePoint mobile app.
  • Modern document libraries will be made available as a data source for PowerApps and Microsoft Flow.
  • For Microsoft Flow, you’ll be able to run any flow on demand for a specific document or list item, in addition to waiting for an automated trigger to fire.
  • Using the data gateway, PowerApps and Microsoft Flow will work with on-premises data in SQL and SharePoint as simply as cloud-based data.
  • Deeper integration of Power BI with SharePoint Online. Business process requires more than data and automation. Power BI has been a leader in visualization analytics, and soon you’ll be able to embed visualizations and charts from Power BI directly into a SharePoint team site.

 


Embed Video Throughout Your Intranet

Embed Video Throughout Your Intranet

A video message that is easy to find and easy to view will be more successful than one buried in the depths of one, two, three clicks away. When you put a company message from the CxO or a status update from a project leader—front and center where employees and team members are—the information and insights will be better targeted, more fully understood and ultimately shared within the right context.

Within Office 365, it is possible to place videos (embed) in-line and in-context where people work on projects, online and on-premises. You can do this within SharePoint Team Sites, custom company portals, internal blogs, wikis and more. Using the Office 365 Video solution, it is as simple as copy, paste and publish.

Learn more about how to embed a video to your online or on-premises SharePoint Team Site from Office 365 Video.

Let’s dive into three key scenarios where embedding videos improves corporate communications.

Embedding video scenarios

SharePoint Team Sites—SharePoint Team Sites are a place for working together with a group of people. They are great destinations to emphasize your brand and information out to your peers throughout the organization. They are central locations to manage content and information, sharing internally and externally to work in rhythm across the collective group of people you work with. As you continue to share documents, team notes, project timeline information and lists of data—so, too, can you easily place important video communications within the primary experience of a team site.

SharePoint Team Site showing an embedded video among an embedded PowerPoint, a document library, a KPI web part, plus navigation to other sites and subsites.

The company portal—An important part of the modern intranet is enabling companies to build their own custom portals and sub-portals (company intranet sites) that support search, custom design and navigation and business solutions on-premises and online. Here, too, it is critical for important, company-wide video messages—like a quarterly earnings report from the CFO—to be accessible; not a link to a video, but right there, playable on the home page where the eyeballs are and the desired action lives.

An embedded video within a custom portal home page, side-by-side with news and announcements, custom navigation elements and custom design.

Internal blog post—Blog what you want to say and do it in a modern way. That is the mantra of the new authoring canvas within the Office Delve profile experience. And spice up your posts with multimedia elements, including video, like a trip report; it’s easy! And because it’s integrated across Office 365, you can embed videos from the Office 365 Video portal—with inline playback—in seconds.

A video embedded within an internal blog post (rendered from a tablet device). Video plays back inline within the post, and can go full screen.

With Office 365 Video you can take video beyond the portal. As you begin to embed videos onto team sites, portals and blogs, take advantage of the many ways to share video beyond the Office 365 Video portal and land your message to your intended audience. Share via email; post to Yammer; search and discover with Delve; make videos available on the go, accessible throughout your intranet—where users are active, engaged and ready to consume your information. Embed today, increase your reach and be heard!


SharePoint Communication Sites Begin to Rollout to Office 365 Customers

SharePoint communication sites are beautiful, dynamic sites that let you reach a broad internal audience, and that look great on the web, in the SharePoint mobile app, on PC and on Mac. These communication sites are now rolling out to Office 365 First Release customers, followed by full worldwide rollout to Office 365 customers in the coming months.

Create a beautiful communication site in seconds

Communication sites are perfect for internal cross-company campaigns, weekly and monthly reports or status updates, product launches, events and more. To help you jumpstart getting your message out fast, communication sites provide configurable templates for the sites and pages within. When you click Create site from the SharePoint home in Office 365, you have a choice of three initial site designs:

  • Topic—Select the Topic design when you have a lot of information to share, such as news, events and other content.
  • Showcase—Use the Showcase design to feature a product, team or event using photos or images.
  • Blank—Start with a blank site and make your design come to life quickly and easily.

Communication site designs (from left to right): Topic, Showcase and Blank.

And it is easy to tell your story. Once your new site is created, simply drag-and-drop to reorganize web parts on the page to bring your use cases and scenarios to life. News and pages allow for multi-column layouts to represent your message in a meaningful, intuitive fashion.

Share your plans and updates in engaging, interactive ways

Communication sites allow people to create and share recurring updates beyond email. When you create a page on a communication site, you can embed documents and video, and dynamically pull in real-time data from across Office 365, including documents from SharePoint, Power BI reports, Microsoft Stream videos and Yammer discussions. The resulting page is a rich and dynamic communication. And the page persists on the site, so people can refer to it easily, even as the membership of your team changes, so new members can more easily get up to speed.

The new capabilities for the rich section layouts and new web parts can be utilized on SharePoint team sites as well.

Consume, create and connect from your mobile device via the SharePoint apps

It’s easy to access, engage with and create content for communication sites from any device. The full site, pages, news, navigation, search and more are natively viewable, functional and engaging. Read a page, create a news article, engage in a Yammer conversation—all in the context of the site—from within the SharePoint mobile app experience.

You can download the SharePoint mobiles apps for iOS and Android today, and the new features will be available in the coming weeks. Learn more about the SharePoint mobile app for iOSSharePoint mobile app for Android and SharePoint app for Windows 10 Mobile.

Communication sites help further refine and enhance your message

Communication sites have additional capabilities to further refine and enhance your message.

Make your home page and sub-pages look great

  • Full-width layouts—The Hero and Image web parts can be placed in a section layout that spans the page from left to right, giving you ways to emphasize your most essential information.
  • Enhanced title region with custom header image—Visually represent your home page, news and subpages with a compelling header graphic and title. You control what portion of the image is the most important, so it looks great, and as intended, across web and mobile experiences.

Continue the discussion in context to ensure reach, retention and engagement

  • Comments on pages—Each news article and page can have its own set of comments. It is possible to use the Yammer web part for broad discussion scenarios as well as targeted responses to engage your viewers on the sole message and content on the page—all keeping within the context of the page.
  • Share news via email—When you share news via email from a communication site, it’s not just a blue link; it’s a visual, informative preview that adds context to both the email and the news article itself. Within the email, the recipient(s) will see a thumbnail, title, description and an optional message from the sender.

Dynamically pull in and display data, documents and information via web part improvements

  • Power BI and Microsoft Stream—Bring in interactive reports using the Power BI web part, and embed single videos or full channels from Microsoft Stream—the single destination within Office 365 for your cross-company video management. Both Power BI and Microsoft Stream are now generally available.
  • GIF support—When you add an Image web part into a news article or page, you can now include animated GIFs in your layout.
  • New “See all” pages—When there is more content than can be shown within the first view the Highlighted content and Site activity web parts, you can click See all to go to a full-page experience to see all the content and activity.
  • Updated News web part—Showcase your news using multiple layouts to highlight what’s important with greater flexibility. You can use the default Top story layout, view news as a list or side-by-side.

Throughout the lifecycle of your projects, launches and internal campaigns, let the SharePoint intranet help you move seamlessly from concept to final product. The powerful, dynamic SharePoint user experiences let you clearly communicate your message throughout your company.


Enterprise Content Management with SharePoint and Office 365

Enterprise Content Management with SharePoint and Office 365

Shaping and controlling content from creation to final disposition means many different things. Enterprise content management needs to adopt a holistic approach to managing the entire lifecycle of document creation, sharing, consumption, reuse, knowledge and records management, archiving and disposal.

Microsoft’s Content Services reflects a more focused suite of empowered capabilities than traditional ECM (Enterprise Content Management), and represent the next wave in ECM. Content services is people-centric, allowing for personal management (copy, move, hashtag) and organizational management (knowledge management, record retention, information lifecycle management). Policy and security protects content at all phases of its life. It’s a core tenet that content should supply business value throughout, instead of after-the-fact management of dormant assets.

What happens when all that content comes into SharePoint? A common, incorrect impression of SharePoint has been that it’s a great tool to manage team content, but you need an “old-fashioned ECM system for scalability” or “true records management.” Neither of those are true today, with SharePoint having incredible scalability of up to 30-trillion documents and up to 12.5 EB in a single SharePoint Online tenant. OneDrive and SharePoint also inherit Office 365’s capabilities to create record and retention policy tags that can be applied to any content (interactively or by matching a known set of content fingerprints).

Principles of content services—create, coordinate, protect and harvest

Content services is as much about document creation as consumption. In many cases, content has become less about static images and reports, and more about dynamic documents that are created and edited many times in their lifespans. This trend is something called content velocity, where the content picks up velocity as it is created, edited and reused, becoming more valuable, instead of becoming a dormant archive of little value, as was traditionally the case. This is viewed as an evergreen cycle of authoring, collaboration, control and reuse.

Create

Content velocity means documents need to be “born” managed. Newer SharePoint and OneDrive capabilities are designed to support this:

  • Creating a document using Office Lens to share to OneDrive for Business and SharePoint.
  • Using the Copy/Move functions to publish that document to a SharePoint team site and its group members.
  • Using SharePoint Content Types to assure that new documents are “born” with templates, rich metadata and retention policies.

OneDrive for Business is the best place to store and manage your documents, giving you the “My Documents” concept on any device. As you share and collaborate with others, content evolves and picks up velocity. When final, you can easily bring it to SharePoint for publishing and permanent storage.

Coordinate

Content in SharePoint is maintained in modern document libraries, making it easy to structure graphically rich, dynamic views of content and metadata. SharePoint’s managed metadata service provides a centralized way to tag and classify information. Tagging and customizing the view can all be accomplished from the library home screen, eliminating multiple clicks to open a property editing screen.

Documents in libraries can be easily shared to Office 365 Groups, and reused in other collaborative apps like Microsoft Teams. In addition, Microsoft Flow can be used to automate common actions, like collecting attachments from email or distributing documents for team review.

Protect

SharePoint already builds on a long tradition of capabilities supporting information lifecycle governance, records management and eDiscovery. Newer capabilities, developed as part of our ongoing engagement with the entire Office 365 suite, include:

  • Information Rights Management—Files can be encrypted using Azure Information Protection/Rights Management Service and can still be used at supported endpoints, including browsers, rich clients and mobile Office clients.
  • Office 365 document retention tags—This new capability offered across Exchange, Skype, OneDrive and SharePoint allows an administrator to centrally define a policy tag in the Security & Compliance Center to enforce document retention and deletion policies. Tags can be set through code, default settings or user actions, and can be auto-applied based on sensitive information types or keywords.
  • Data loss prevention (DLP)—The Security & Compliance Center provides a central point to define policies for 81 predefined information types, such as EU Financial data, and/or create other custom information types. When these types are detected, users can be advised about the policy, or even automatically blocked from sharing or distributing sensitive information based on the dynamic policy definition.
  • Auditing—When combined with unified auditing in hybrid deployments of SharePoint 2016, Office 365 can provide integrated logging of user and administrative actions on content for both on-premises and cloud-based SharePoint and OneDrive locations.

Harvest

Content shouldn’t be saved and stored and managed just to fill up storage space. Traditional ECM often concludes with document disposal or retention. We believe that modern content services are cyclical. Content exists to support a future business purpose, such as providing information on a related decision, explaining a historic context or seeding the next cycle of content creation.


Women in Technology at Microsoft Inspire

Women in Technology at Microsoft Inspire 

Smart companies have developed policies directed at hiring and nurturing creative, innovative and hardworking women. The Women in Technology community is a networking group of like-minded business professionals in the Microsoft Technology eco-system.

Microsoft & Women in Partner and the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP) – Women in Technology (WIT) are announcing their recent partnership. Both communities are focused on inspiring female leaders in the tech ecosystem and together, believe they can strengthen the connections between female leaders in Microsoft and the partner community, extend the reach of inspiring stories, recognize women that are empowering the ecosystem and promote opportunities & events across the organizations.

Lindsay Zwart, General Manager, Microsoft & Founder of Microsoft & Women in Partner, “I am thrilled to partner with the IAMCP – Women in Technology. We need to be relentless in our commitment to support the growth of women in leadership. This requires the willingness to be transformed into the person we were created to be; Microsoft & Women in Partner and IAMCP – Women in Technology complement each other well with a shared focus on women in leadership.”

IAMCP WIT has an outstanding presence at Microsoft Inspire, the premier event for partners in the Microsoft ecosystem. Activities include the annual WIT Luncheon, where women from across the globe connect about the impact they achieved over the year, as well as the WIT panel discussion and annual business meeting. The WIT group brings significant energy and momentum to the conference experience.

Microsoft and partner employees interested in joining either community – can visit them at the IAMCP Women in Technology (WIT) Booth in the Community Hub and join the women in leadership opportunities at Inspire in Washington, DC July 9-13 to learn more.


6th Street Consulting named among RCP's Top 200 Microsoft Solution Providers of 2017

6th Street Consulting was recently granted one of the top honors in Microsoft service providers: Redmond Channel Partner’s (RCP) top 200 list.

The prestigious list determines which consultants are the best Microsoft partners in the United States.

“It takes a special set of skills and attitudes to be a great Microsoft service provider,” according to the article released June 26, 2017. Microsoft has a multitude of products, and it takes savvy consultants to to understand each one and properly pair them with the necessary customers.

“The genius of the Microsoft Partner Network is that it relies on the variety, creativity and business acumen of Microsoft’s channel to offer solutions to every customer’s unique requirements from the raw material of Microsoft’s product set,” the article states.

RCP compiled the list based after digging through its own archives, as well as Microsoft award lists and invitation-only Microsoft partner programs.

6th Street Consulting is proud and humbled to accept the recognition, and will continue to treat its customers and uphold its mission statement in a way that allows us to keep serving our customers in an effective, engaging and respectful manner.

6th Street Consulting is a Microsoft technology firm specializing in user productivity and collaboration on SharePoint and Office365.  Our biggest differentiator is we put business before technology in creating solutions tailored fit to your organization.

Click here to read the full article in RCP Magazine!

For additional information please contact:

Michelle Hollis

michelle.hollis@6sc.com

(310) 694-3844