Everything You Need to Know About Office 365 -- May 2018
Another month has come and gone and the pace of change in the Office 365 ecosystem continues to wear me out. That is okay. I did a bunch of keeping up so you could quickly read this article and be up to speed. This month, I sprinkled in plenty of side comments and also kept coming back to challenge that the line between SharePoint and Office 365 is getting really fuzzy. At some point, we will have to discuss how they absorbed each other.
Say Goodbye to Traditional PC Lifecycle Management
Traditional IT tools, including Microsoft SCCM, Ghost Solution Suite, and KACE, often require considerable custom configurations by T3 technicians (an expensive and often elusive IT resource) to enable management of a hybrid onsite + remote workforce. In many cases, even with the best resources, organizations are finding that these on-premise tools simply cannot support remote endpoints consistently and reliably due to infrastructure limitations.
Watch Out for Phishing Emails Disguised as Office 365 Invoices and SharePoint Sharing Emails
Well, it is official. O365 is as mainstream as it gets. Now it looks like the evil doers of the world are now sending you realistic looking SharePoint and O365 emails with links that do bad things to your computer. <sigh> I personally received two of these this month and while my keen eye (ha!) immediately knew better, I still had to look twice. Then I immediately warned my co-workers to be careful, the Twitterverse, and now I am passing it along to you. I know bad emails are the norm but never hurts to remember to double check even the real looking ones. Turns out quite a few people on Twitter were seeing the same thing.
Office.com Gets Artificial Intelligence
Turns out that Microsoft wants everyone to start their day at Office.com and to encourage this behavior, it announced a whole host of new functionality. Microsoft will be incorporating AI to provide a recommended section, helping you find the content it thinks you should be working on. Kind of funny, the computer will now be telling me to get back to work. Okay, maybe not that extreme. You will also see enhancements to search and just an overall more useful page that should give you a good jumping off point for getting back to work.
You Can Now Leave Guest Tenants
If you are collaborating business to business (B2B), there was an announcement of several new features that should give you more control. Turns out in the old model, getting in was easy but getting out was hard. Thanks to GDPR (never thought I would type that), Microsoft released new features around giving you a better experience getting into and out of B2B sharing. Check out the details here and be happy I finally found a positive for the chaos of GDPR.
Watch the SharePoint Virtual Summit on Demand
I know that sounds very SharePointy but let’s face it, SharePoint and Office 365 are so intermixed at this point, I struggle what is what anymore. And if you watch the keynote, you are going to see a lot of Office 365 content. There are updates on new things like tagging in Office documents (cool), options to make sharing content easier, stories about Teams, Power BI, Planner, and other Office 365 products. The keynote does a great job of showing just how blurry the line is these days. You can view it here.
Excel Is Becoming More of a Platform
Excel is interesting. Every business I have ever interacted with Excel seems to be the company workhorse. Sometimes it is a database, sometimes it is a data entry tool, sometimes a BI tool, and sometimes it is a super complicated macro driven beast that makes and draws images. I don’t think there isn’t anything that hasn’t been tried with Excel. Well, Microsoft decided instead of fighting it to embrace the concept. In this announcement, it announces all of the developer features they have added to Excel to make it more of a development platform. You will see Azure Machine Learning, Java something or another, and Power BI custom visuals – Oh my! I am not a developer, nor a fan of developers, so this is interesting to me. But if you are the company who Excel is your everything, now you can make it even more everything. I am scared.
Microsoft Business Applications Summit
June 22 -24 in Seattle Microsoft will be hosting the Business Applications Summit. Spend a couple of days learning about my favorite product PowerApps (like you didn’t already know) plus Power BI, Flow, Dynamics 365, and that darn Excel platform. Should be an exciting couple of days, especially for the citizen developers of the world. I don’t know about you but seems like a darn good time to me. I am hopeful to be there. What about you?
Random though time. I have so far, not used Teams. Not on purpose. I just haven’t gotten to it and none of the projects I am working on using it, so what do you do? But I think this might be a mistake, so I want to give you a heads up. As I listened during SharePoint Conference, it really seems like they are angling to make Teams the center of the Office 365 ecosystem. I don’t know what this means exactly but I just get this feeling like in a year, we are all going to be working from Teams and consuming the other services like SharePoint. Maybe I am crazy but this idea is nagging me and making me think I should try out Teams sooner than later. Maybe you should too? I hate not being prepared for shifts in the platform. Just my random thought for the month.
Office 365 Roadmap
Did you know this link existed where you can see the full Office 365 roadmap? I didn’t. You can also filter by product. Just a quick bonus tip if you are like me and like information overload.