Four new Microsoft Office 365 updates aim to help enterprise users collaborate better. The most useful one may be a powerful new capability in OneDrive.
On Tuesday, Microsoft announced four new features that will allow for easier collaboration among users—especially those in the enterprise.
The updates, which include real-time collaboration in PowerPoint and the ability to move attachments to the cloud in Outlook, follow a number of recent steps Microsoft has taken to enhance its enterprise offerings. Earlier this month, it announced a new chat-based workspace, Teams, as a Slack competitor for Office 365 users. It also recently released a scheduling assistantfor Outlook on iOS, and a Power BI data visualization toolset.
The new updates allow Office 365 users to do the following:
Users can now share a PowerPoint slide deck with others, and update the document together in real-time, said Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president for the Office team, in a blog post. This means you can see what a colleague is adding or changing in a slide deck as it happens.
This addition does not come as a surprise: When Office 2016 launched last year, Microsoft said it was committing to expanding real-time co-authoring to each of the company’s native apps over time. Microsoft Word and Excel have already rolled out this feature.
Real-time collaboration is currently available for PowerPoint on Windows desktops for Office 365 subscribers in the Office Insider program, and for PowerPoint Mobile on Windows Tablets.
With this update, Outlook users can “easily transform a traditional document into a shared cloud document right within Outlook,” Koenigsbauer wrote in the blog post. While Outlook previously allowed users to attach cloud-based documents to an email, this marks an easier way to send large files and collaborate on those files with others.
Users can upload a file to their own OneDrive or a document library as part of an Office 365 Group, the post stated, and then designate sharing permissions for the email recipients.
This feature is now available in Outlook on the web, as well as for Outlook on Windows desktops for Office 365 subscribers.
With this update, users will receive mobile notifications when changes are made to shared cloud files in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. “Notifications let you know when changes are being made while you are away from a document, so you can stay connected and know when you need to act,” Koenigsbauer wrote in the blog post.
This feature joins the integrated activity feed available on Windows desktops, to help business users improve collaboration. Users will receive notifications when documents are shared with others, and when they are edited. Koenigsbauer wrote that Microsoft will continue working on this notifications feature “to provide more detail and transparency around activity in shared documents in the future.”
Sharing and editing notifications are currently available for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint users on Android and Windows Mobile for Office Insiders. This feature will be available for iOS users in December, and for commercial users in all Office mobile apps in the coming months.
Microsoft added a Shared with Me Tab in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, to make it easier for enterprise users to find and open documents that colleagues shared without leaving the app you are working in. It will be similar to the feature in OneDrive, the post stated.
Users can also find a Recent Folders list in the Recent tab to help find files faster.
The Shared with Me feature is currently available in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on Windows desktops and Macs for all Office 365 subscribers, as well as on iOS and Android. It will soon be available on Windows Mobile. And the Recent Folders feature is now available in Word, Excel and PowerPoint on Windows desktops for Office 365 subscribers in the Office Insider program.
Office 365 is now available in 150 markets worldwide, the post stated. Other November updates include built-in accessibility with Learning Tools in the Office apps, and PowerPoint Onlineupdates for education customers.
Want to get started with Office 365? Contact Dorset Connects.
Thanks to Alison DeNisco
By Daniel Cohen-Dumani | May 25, 2016
During “The Future of SharePoint” event Microsoft held earlier this month, Corporate Vice President for OneDrive and SharePoint, Jeff Teper unveiled a very exciting concept — an “intranet in your pocket” — with the announcement of a SharePoint mobile app.
Why did this announcement excite the SharePoint community so much?
To understand what the announcement means, you need an understanding of how intranet solutions — and SharePoint — have evolved.
Businesses have reaped the benefits of SharePoint deployments for many years, but the emphasis has always been on desktop users, rather than mobile.
At a time when employees increasingly expect mobile capabilities from their work applications and more IT departments are embracing mobility apps for all lines of business — not just fields services and sales teams — being bound to a desktop no longer cuts it. So while Microsoft has made incremental improvements to the SharePoint mobile experience in previous iterations, it still left a lot of room for improvement.
Microsoft’s announcement of the SharePoint mobile application at the Future of SharePoint event was a step in the right direction. This is a first for SharePoint, which previously offered access via a mobile browser, but not a mobile app. The app is available for both online and on-premises deployments.
The SharePoint mobile app offers users full access to SharePoint team sites. They can use the app to check the progress of their group projects, look up people on the company intranet and communicate with their co-workers. It also includes an Office 365 Groups integration, and is available on Windows, iOS and Android.
Putting the intranet capabilities of SharePoint “in our pockets” is exciting, but businesses still need to take a proactive approach to adoption and implementation. The recently announced changes will come in waves, each of which will require oversight and management. So if your business uses SharePoint, you will need to plan for each rollout independently in order to avoid being caught by surprise. This should include alerting your users to upcoming changes and providing training to help them stay up to date.
And it should go without saying, but just because an app is available doesn’t mean it’s right for your business. Determine whether or not the SharePoint app will meet your business needs. Compare the features to the features your users need while on the go. The speed and ease that the app promises makes it sound like a good fit for many businesses, but check before you leap.
A few other newly announced features could have big implications for businesses. Microsoft PowerApps will allow you to easily create and share business apps with your teams. Microsoft Flow automates workflows between Microsoft services and apps, improving efficiency and productivity within your organization. A public preview of PowerApps is already available for those who can’t wait for the full launch later this year.
This is an exciting time for the SharePoint world. Whereas not too long ago SharePoint seemed to be on the brink of obsolescence, Microsoft has brought it back by reinvigorating the mobile user experience.
We’ve also seen a flurry of turnkey intranet solutions over the last few years, that offer the rapid deployment, simplicity and high-quality user experience which businesses crave. With these latest SharePoint announcements, Microsoft is sending a clear message about its commitment to providing an excellent out-of-the-box intranet solution for its business customers, including those for whom mobile accessibility is a priority.
It’s not unusual to question where your content should be stored in Office or SharePoint On-Premises. It seems these days that you can store your content almost anywhere, but rarely do we realize the impact of our decision. When you’re working with SharePoint, you often have to decide between two places to store your files and that’s either OneDrive for Business or SharePoint Team Sites.
This infographic will try to help you decide between the two.
OneDrive for Business is meant to be your “me” place at the office. Basically, if you’re trying to compare it to your File Shares, it could be thought as the new “Home Folders” for users or the new “My Documents”.
In terms of technology, it’s often mistaken as just a Sync tool or the new SharePoint My Site, but that simply isn’t all there is to it. OneDrive for Business really is a brand that tells the end user that this is the place you can go to for your files at work, wherever they are.
Yes, you get a personal document library, but you also get an offline sync engine (recently updated), a way to see the files shared with you as well as recently worked on and it also helps you see your Team Sites and their files.
But when we’re thinking about storing files in our OneDrive for Business as a user, we often think about the Personal Document Library within it. What documents go there? Anything you’re not sure should be worked with a team yet or really anything you want to keep sole control over before it moves on to a Team Site.
Not to forget that the OneDrive for Business document library is a lot more limited than the more advanced SharePoint Team Site library. You won’t be able to create metadata or assign workflows either.
Use your OneDrive for Business personal library for the “Me” part of your work, before it moves on to SharePoint Team Sites for the “We” part of the work.
The SharePoint Team Site is meant to be the “We” part of the work for you and your team. In this location, the file isn’t owned or associated to one user, but rather the team itself or the Team Site if you will.
SharePoint Team Sites are a robust solution for enterprise content management, while delivering a simple to use web experience. Within a Team’s site, they can create multiple lists and libraries to store their content as well as enrich it with metadata and more.
There are also many features we don’t find in the personal library of OneDrive for Business, such as workflows, custom views and more. Documents that are owned by the team or project should be stored in your Team Sites. And of course, sometimes documents will first be created in your personal document library and later moved to a Team Site when it grows into a project for example or when more people need to work together on the file.
Use Team Sites for the “We” part of the work and require more advanced content management features for your files.