Updates to SharePoint and the SharePoint app on iOS

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.

Create a modern team site and an associated Office 365 group from the SharePoint home

We’re pleased to announce that soon you’ll be able to create a site and a group for your team—right from SharePoint home in Office 365. The Create site wizard will create an Office 365 group as well as a modern SharePoint team site. You will even be able add members and classify the site along the way. And if you’ve ever waited for a SharePoint site to be provisioned in the past, you’ll discover this process will create the site in mere seconds.

Create a team site right from SharePoint home.

Know who’s who, and who’s working on what, with new people cards

Teamwork is all about the people and what they’re working on. Now, when you see a person in a SharePoint team site, document library, list, or in OneDrive for Business, the value of discovering more about that person lies at your fingertips where you are already working.

People cards appear in SharePoint document libraries when you hover over a person’s name.

When you hover over a person’s name or photo, you’ll now see a richer people card. Previously, the card contained basic contact information and one-click methods to connect with the person. Now, you instantly see who the person works for and what documents they recently worked on. Powered by the Microsoft Graph, these intelligent people cards provide a personalized and actionable experience as you work with your files across Office 365.


Enriching the Mobile and Intelligent Intranet

Enriching the Mobile and Intelligent Intranet

The intranet is the publishing center of all things happening throughout your company. It is where people keep up with news and discover what’s happening around them at work. It’s time, now, to further empower employees—more precisely, give them a way to broadcast their work.

Keep the team informed and up-to-date with team news

Team news is how you keep up with and broadcast key events and accomplishments with other members of the team and extended stakeholders. You can use team news for things like trip reports, best practices, project updates, highlights of new documents and content, welcoming a new team member, sharing team goals and celebrating milestones.

To add a news item, from within the News web part on the team site home page, click + Add to create a news article. Next, add content to the news post using the toolbox—a gallery of web parts—to add text, video, documents, quick links and more. When you’re finished, click Publish and the news article will be featured prominently on the team site home page within the News web part. And when you click See All, you’ll land on a dedicated News page that serves as the team’s news archive.

Below shows how a team site with all the news—front and center—is displayed in the SharePoint mobile app:

Team news in the SharePoint app.                              News articles render beautifully in the SharePoint app.

Team news is a great way to broadcast of all the important content from your team. In the future, you will receive mobile and email notifications to help keep you up to date.


3 Ways You Need to Work at Home to Feel Like You Never Left the Office

3 Ways You Need to Work at Home to Feel Like You Never Left the Office

Whether you’re a full- or part-time telecommuter, or you just like to catch up on projects at home or on the go—you’re not alone. According to Global Workplace Analytics, the number of people who work at home, not including those who are self-employed, has grown by 103 percent since 2005 and it shows no signs of stopping—with 3.7 million employees now working from home at least half the time. Telecommuting offers many benefits for workers, including flexibility and better work-life balance, as well as for employers, who enjoy cost savings and an expanded talent pool, to name a few. As people continue to jump on the telecommuting bandwagon, it’s more important than ever to find ways to stay productive, connected and happy.

Here are three easy ways to make the most of working at home:

1.) Be there with instant messaging (IM)—Instant messaging has two big benefits for telecommuters. First, it makes it possible for coworkers to reach you instantaneously, blasting any preconceived notions that you’re lounging poolside or at the movies. IM also keeps at-home workers from feeling isolated. Years of research on telecommuting has found that the live, synchronous nature of IM enhances people’s feelings of presence, belonging and emotional well-being. Other studies have found that virtual teams who engaged in digital interactions with a social and fun element to them worked better together and built better relationships. Software like Microsoft’s Office 365 offers IM via Skype for Business, allowing for real-time contact on a moment’s notice—complete with emoticons. It’s less formal, more conversational and faster than a phone call.

2.) Bad Internet? Go mobile—Sometimes you can get stuck with sketchy internet service, depending on where you live. About 55 percent of U.S. households have just one provider that offers service at 25 megabits per second, the minimum the FCC deems necessary to access the most advanced online applications. And while about 75 percent American households with Internet still use DSL, cable or fiber connection to get online at home, we may be moving toward a more mobile workforce. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Internet users dropped from 82 percent just a few years before—with mobile-only connections jumping from 10 to 20 percent in the same period. Luckily, Wi-Fi hotspots and broadband data plans have made the possibility of a mobile workforce a reality. Add to that the fact that many popular, top-of-the-line productivity tools are now accessible on your mobile device. That includes office applications that let you create, edit and share from your PC/Mac or your iOS, Android or Windows device with anyone in real-time. That makes it easy to have a mobile backup plan if your Internet isn’t as reliable as it should be.

3.) Stay connected socially—Not all business takes place at the office. SharePoint Newsfeeds allow you to stay in the know on company events and news. Newsfeeds are also a great way to post questions and supply answers to those in need by simply “@”ing co-workers in a thread. The other great part is that it is all searchable so you can come back to an old conversation to find an answer.

Make the most of your company’s software—Products like Office 365, Skype for Business, SharePoint and Windows Phone have helped build a more productive work-at-home environment. Good software will help you make the most of connecting with your teams in real-time via conferencing, IM, video and sharing, while also taking advantage of advanced security and compliance tools, interactive reports, simpler dashboards and compelling data visualizations.

While many workers once used telecommuting to supplement their full-time in-office job, more and more people are using it as a replacement for being in the office. As this trend continues to rise, with approximately 55 percent college graduates reporting they have telecommuted for their jobs, it’s more important than ever to have the right tools to make your work-at-home experience flexible, productive and successful.


Better Together - SharePoint Tasks List plus Project

Better Together – SharePoint Tasks List plus Project

SharePoint tasks lists provide a great way to collaborate and stay up to date on the status of your projects. By using Microsoft Project Professional, you can take your project management to the next level by using more advanced features like scheduling and even create gorgeous and comprehensive reports. In a way, the SharePoint site and its tasks lists are where team members can view and edit the progress of their tasks, and Project Professional is where project managers can manage the progress of their projects. SharePoint tasks list sync empowers you to use the great functionalities of both Project and SharePoint tasks lists, at the same time.

You can create a new SharePoint tasks list that supports tasks with hierarchy, and indent/outdent those tasks while typing them in SharePoint, using the Alt+shift+Right/Left shortcuts. Then, in order to sync this SharePoint tasks list with Project, all you need to do is select the “Open with Project” button in the List tab of the ribbon:

This will open your tasks list along with the timeline view in Project Professional and you’ll even be started in a screen that walks you through 3 steps to show you how you can take advantage of the powerful features of Project:

And when you switch to the Gantt view, you can see the same tasks list as was in SharePoint:

You can continue editing the project plan in Project, and when you hit Save, Project will automatically sync the plan with the SharePoint tasks list, and also save the project file (.mpp) in the Site Assets library of the SharePoint site. Therefore, every time you, or any other project manager, open the project plan, you can view the most recent status of the project. By saving an up to date project file in the Site Assets library it makes sure that users won’t have to deal with multiple conflicting or out-of-date project files.

Accessing and re-opening a project is very easy: if you are in the SharePoint site, you can open the same project plan by selecting the “Open with Project” button. Alternatively, if you already have Project Professional open, you can find this project in the Recent Projects list in the Open tab:

Using the SharePoint tasks list feature, you can also convert standalone project plans into SharePoint tasks list and start collaborating with other team members on those plans. For instance, if you are using Project Professional to manage a special launch event, you can now go to the Save As tab of the File menu and create a new project site with an associated SharePoint tasks list:

This will create a new Project Site and save the project plan in the Site Assets library of that site. From that point on, you can open this this project plan from the tasks list and keep the tasks list and the project plan in sync.

During the SharePoint tasks list sync, the following fields between your SharePoint list and Project by default: task name, start date, finish (due) date, % Complete, resource name, and predecessors. However, if you want to map more fields to be synced between Project and SharePoint, you can do so in the Info tab of the File menu: open the “Map Fields” dialog, and pick any new fields that you’d like to sync. This way, you can have your team members report on other custom fields, or generate reports based on non-default SharePoint columns.

This is a great feature for all you project managers, try it out and let us know what you think!


Feeding the Newsfeed

Why Social?

Most companies don’t understand the value of a social newsfeed and are worried that by building one, it would distract people from getting their work done.

After I grab my morning coffee, the first thing that I do is bring up my Newsfeed to scope out what’s happening with my co-workers and projects, and to see what’s being discussed across the company. My Newsfeed gives me a sense of comfort, a reassuring feeling that I’m up-to-date on the things that I care about and the things that are happening around me.

In addition to using the feed to see what others are saying and doing, it is also a valuable tool to proactively seek out new information. Who can I ask about progress with the new media plan? Has anybody ever ran google ad words? Does anybody have any contacts on a production team? Posts reach a large audience and I’ve found that I am usually able to get answers within minutes. I can also choose to have a conversation with a smaller group of people to discuss progress on a particular project.

Sharing with Everyone

When I navigate to my Newsfeed and make a post, by default, it will be visible to everyone at my company. I’ve found that this is a key way to share broad information or to get difficult questions answered. The act of posting in the feed is simple and familiar (and we spent a lot of design time ensuring that this would be the case), but there are a few tricks to make sure that the right people are made aware of the post.
When I want to get someone’s attention in a post, I “@mention” that person. Almost every day, I see questions in the feed. I don’t always know the answer, but sometimes I know who does. I’ll often reply to a question, mentioning someone (by typing the @ sign in my reply) to make sure the question gets on their radar. This is still a public post but it appears in that person’s Mentions view and they’ll get an email to draw their attention to it.
Sometimes, when creating a post, I add a #tag to associate the post with a particular topic. As we’ve been building the feed, we’ve found (and fixed!) quite a few bugs. One common way that people report bugs is by posting in the feed with the tag #BugForThat, as in, “There’s a bug for that.” In addition to making it clear that someone’s found a bug, our team leaders can follow #BugForThat to see what’s broken as issues are reported. Or, they can click on #BugForThat and see all of the posts reporting issues. They also find it helpful when posts have screenshots and videos demonstrating a #BugForThat.

Posting to Certain Groups

I love being able to post broad questions, but sometimes I want to have smaller, more private discussions. To do this, I use a Site Feed (just like it sounds, it’s like a Newsfeed, but on a site). Only people with access to that site can read it. Since this feed lives on a SharePoint site, we can also add other apps and functionality to the site to share documents, track tasks, etc. And the best part? If I follow those sites, all of the conversations that happen on them will be consolidated into my Newsfeed, so it truly does become a single place where I can find out about all the things I care about.
After using the Newsfeed every day for the past year, I can’t imagine getting work done without it. I’m way more informed at work than I’ve ever been before, and I feel empowered to get quick answers to my questions and feedback on ideas that I share.

 


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 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.


Accelerate Your Digital Transformation: Harness Collective Knowledge

Accelerate Your Digital Transformation: Harness Collective Knowledge

Harness collective knowledge 

As the pace of work accelerates, it’s more important than ever to harness collective knowledge by making it easier to find information and expertise, right when it’s needed, and to encourage best practice sharing.

Find people, expertise and content faster with powerful, personalized search

There is now a more personalized search that leverages machine learning and artificial intelligence from Microsoft Graph to surface more relevant and valuable results, faster. When you click in the Search box on SharePoint home in Office 365, recommendations appear instantly. You’ll see recent files, making it easy to get back to your work, as well as relevant content, sites and news.

When you’re searching for knowledge, it may be found in content such as files, sites and news. And it might also be found through your colleagues. Now, your search results will include people whose skills, interests and projects—part their Office 365 profile—are relevant to your query.

Search results activate people cards, so you can learn at a glance about a person and the content they work on. One more click activates an extended view with richly detailed information from the user’s profile. These enhancements to search will roll out over the next few months.

Find what you need faster with instant, personalized results that include files, sites, news and people.

Communities built by integrating Yammer and SharePoint encourages people to share content, knowledge and best practices across the organization, by adding a conversational layer to your intranet.

Build a community with shared content and conversation using a SharePoint communication site and Yammer.

Secure your content and manage your service

Innovation in the cloud drives tremendous business value, and it delivers new capabilities to the IT professionals who work tirelessly to support, configure, administer and secure their organizations’ content and services. 

Empower administrators with the new SharePoint admin center

The new SharePoint admin center, which will begin rolling out in the fourth quarter of 2017 empowers your admins to do more. From the homepage, you’ll notice just how much better it is, with interactive usage reports, Message Center posts and a Service Health dashboard tuned to the needs of SharePoint administrators.

The new SharePoint admin center surfaces usage, health and administrative messages. 

You’ll easily find and work with the dozens of SharePoint settings allowing  you to configure sharing, access and the service. And we know you’ll love the dynamic new Site Management page, which lets you view, filter and edit the configuration of all of your SharePoint sites—including sites connected to Office 365 Groups.

Manage all of your sites in the new SharePoint admin center.

To learn more about Yammer integration with SharePoint, read “New in Yammer: Building a More Engaged and Connected Organization” and watch Updates to Yammer: Integrating conversations into your SharePoint experiences. To learn more about SharePoint security and manageability, read “Secure your information with SharePoint and OneDrive” and watch New admin controls for SharePoint and OneDrive for Business.

 


Accelerate Your Digital Transformation: Transform Business Process

Accelerate Your Digital Transformation: Transform Business Process

Transform business process

SharePoint enables you, your team and your organization to streamline tasks, automate workflows and integrate processes seamlessly into your work—on any device and from anywhere you work.

Create custom SharePoint forms and digital experiences with PowerApps

Starting this summer, you will be able to use Microsoft PowerApps to easily create custom forms and rich digital experiences that surface right in the context of a SharePoint list or library. Users can then create, view and interact with data using your custom form or experience, rather than default SharePoint forms.

Create custom forms inside SharePoint lists and libraries with no code using PowerApps.

This is a significant milestone for both SharePoint and PowerApps, as it empowers any user to drive transformation of team and organizational processes.

Simple approval flows built in to SharePoint libraries

Microsoft continues to deepen integration of SharePoint and Microsoft Flow. New built-in approval flows let you send any document for approval with a custom message. The recipient can approve the request directly from a rich, actionable email message, so approval and feedback can be given without leaving your inbox.

Approval flows, built in to SharePoint, send a rich, actionable email message.

Inform and engage employees

An intranet lets you communicate to people—keeping them informed of news and information. And it enables you to communicate with people—to engage employees and foster open conversation. It is this engagement that is fundamental to driving digital transformation and culture change.

Reach a broad audience with SharePoint communication sites

As the next step toward ushering in the next generation of intranets, Microsoft announced SharePoint communication sites—coming this summer. A communication site is a beautiful, dynamic site that lets you reach a broad audience to keep the organization informed and engaged. Communication sites look great on the web, on a PC or Mac, on mobile browsers and in the SharePoint app.

Easily create beautiful intranet sites to reach a broad audience across your organization.

While your team site lets you share within your group as you’re working, a communication site lets your group share broadly and communicate its message across the organization. News published on a communication site surfaces on SharePoint home in Office 365 and on SharePoint mobile to all users who have access to the site.

Communication sites can be created in seconds. You can configure the default web parts on your site’s pages to tell your story. You can customize page layout with new multi-column sections and drag-and-drop authoring with a range of richly functional web parts, including an image gallery, interactive Bing maps, videos from a Microsoft Stream channel, and a new events web part. Add the Yammer web part to solicit feedback and foster conversation, right in the context of a communication site.

To learn more about communication sites, read “Reach your audience via SharePoint communication sites in Office 365” and watch An overview of SharePoint communication sites. To learn more about business processes, read “Reinventing business processes in SharePoint” and watch Zero code business process apps in SharePoint with PowerApps and Microsoft Flow.