Microsoft 365 ‘Roster Containers’ Upgraded Integration


This Week in IT, I look at how Loop and Planner use ‘roster containers’ (aka lightweight Planner plans), an alternative to Microsoft 365 Groups, which now support sensitivity labels.  Plus, Microsoft Stream brings support for collaborative notes in Teams meetings, Intune Remote Help now works on Android, and Loop users can add Jira and Trello boards to their pages, plus lots more…

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Use the timestamps on the YouTube player to jump to the following sections:

00:00 – Start
00:39 – Microsoft 365 roster containers for Loop + Planner integration
05:33 – Microsoft Stream and Teams meeting collaboration notes
06:11 – Microsoft Intune Remote Help comes to Android
07:53 – Loop integrations for Jira and Trello
08:31 – Microsoft Entra ID MFA to get support for WhatsApp
09:30 – Microsoft Defender for Endpoint licensing changes
09:47 – Microsoft Intune mobile device tagging
10:07 – Microsoft Teams web links in Edge
11:00 – Presenter links for Teams Webinars
11:24 – Outlook Copilot AI message drafts


This week in IT, I look at how Loop and Planner use roster containers, an alternative to Microsoft 365 Groups, which now support sensitivity labels. Plus, Microsoft Stream gets support for collaborative notes in Teams meetings. Intune Remote Help now works on Android and Loop users can add Jira and Trello boards to their pages and lots more.

Welcome to This Week in IT, where I cover all the latest news on Microsoft 365 and Windows. When I read the news on roster containers this week, to be honest, I had to stop and scratch my head a little bit because I’d never heard of them. So if you remember back to last week’s video, I was saying that I felt that maybe Loop was a little bit too complicated for end users if people like me and IT admins are struggling a little bit to understand how all of this hangs together, how users are going to cope with all of this, I’m not quite sure. But wait for it, there’s another slight complication coming with all of this. Well, it’s already been implemented, but I don’t see it in my tenant yet, so I haven’t actually been able to test it.

Now, Microsoft has been talking apparently about roster containers since about 2021, but they didn’t really outline how they were going to implement the technology or what it was going to actually be used for. And it turns out that earlier this year, they released a feature in Microsoft Loop that allowed you to add a taskless component and then open up that component in Planner. So what it essentially does is synchronize the taskless component that you’ve created in Loop with Planner. It creates a Planner plan and you get access to those tasks in the Planner application. Now, I didn’t know about that functionality and as I said, I don’t see it in my tenant at the moment. Now, the question is, how is all of that managed? Because many things, including usual or standard plans in Planner are controlled, the access control is organized via Microsoft 365 Groups as are access to many other things in Microsoft 365.

Now, that doesn’t quite work with the Loop situation for various reasons. So Microsoft has come up with this idea of roster or roster containers, which I think is an absolutely terrible name, is why I had to go and do a little bit of research to what all of this means. So it’s an alternative to controlling access to components and it allows you to create basically a list of people who have access to a particular component. So in this case, a Loop task list. Maybe in the future, there’ll be used things like shared teams channels that also don’t rely on Microsoft 365 Groups for that access control because of the federated nature of those particular kinds of channels. So it’ll be interesting to see how this new access control mechanism develops going forward.

But essentially how this works is once you’ve created your task list Loop components, whether it be in Teams or Outlook on the web, you can then open it up in Planner. So you’ve got a drop down menu, it gives you the option to open in Planner and then you see that new plan in Planner and it just says, you get the Loop icon and it says something like “my task list in my files”. So it identifies itself a little bit differently from a usual plan. Now the idea of course is that these two things then synchronize. So any tasks that you then add to that Loop component will appear in the Planner plan and vice versa. Now the complication with this is that Planner supports things in a task list that Loop doesn’t.

So you might add, I don’t know, a comment to your plan or you might attach a document because Loop task lists are just simpler. They don’t support those things. So of course those things cannot synchronize back into Loop and I think that could be confusing to end users. Because that task list then ends up in Planner, it essentially ends up everywhere where you can access any kind of task list that you might create in Planner. So for instance the tasks application in Teams, it will also appear. So this kind of synchronization has a knock-on effect to other places as well. Now you might be asking “well what has this got to do with the news this week?” What Microsoft announced in the message center that they’re adding sensitivity label support to roster containers. So administrators will be able to make adding sensitivity labels to these containers mandatory or not as the case may be and they can also set a default label if they wish to do so. So I hope you understood all of that. Again I’m really not sure whether this is a feature that anybody’s going to actually use. But well you know hey you can do it. All seems again a little bit complicated for me but let me know what you think about this new feature in Loop in the comments below and whether you’d even heard of roster containers before. So while we’re on the subject of the message center let’s talk about Microsoft Stream.

Microsoft is planning to make this available in November 2023 so I guess this will be rolling out very soon and that’s the ability to collaborate on meeting notes in Teams meetings that are recorded in Microsoft Stream and now you’ll be able to collaborate on those notes after the meeting. Of course that’s all enabled by the fact that meeting notes are essentially just a loop component and again that all synchronizes up to wherever those notes happen to live. If you remember back to last year Microsoft announced the remote help application that’s part of its Intune suite. It was pretty controversial because it was for Windows. It basically took the remote help app that was already in Windows, added support for you know Azure Active Directory authentication and all this kind of stuff to make it more suitable for corporate use and Microsoft then added a very hefty price tag onto it without really adding a lot of compelling features. I mean why pay for that when there are a load of other remote help options out there on the market. It was a little bit pricey. Microsoft announced this month that they’re adding support for the remote help app on Android devices but it comes with quite a lot of caveats I would say.

The first thing that I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise really anymore is that this is only supported on Samsung and Zebra devices and they have to be Android enterprise dedicated so it’s a device that’s fully managed. So there are two big caveats to this already so it’s going to really limit the number of people who can actually use this remote help app on Android but there you go that support is coming maybe we see support for remote help on a wider set of Android devices at some point in the future. It’s going to support role-based access control, unattended remote help and you know various other things that should make life for support technicians a little bit easier if you happen to meet the requirements for that app. Before I move away completely from loop I know that this hasn’t even reached general availability yet but it did generate quite a lot of excitement earlier this year.

Microsoft has announced that it now supports adding Jiro and Trello boards directly to your page so once you’ve added one of those boards you can you can edit the board directly within loop so that’s going to be a great new feature for people who use loop and those two planner boards they’re essentially a little bit like Microsoft Planner but obviously outside of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem. Another interesting thing that Microsoft announced this week is the Entra ID so that’s the new name for Azure Active Directory. It’s going to start supporting multi-factor authentication messages via WhatsApp so at the moment you might receive them via SMS which is considered not to be the most secure way to send those messages because they can be intercepted but of course you get the encrypted channel via WhatsApp so it’s a much more secure way to send those messages.

Now at the moment it is only supported in a very limited set of countries so it is going to be supported in India, Indonesia and New Zealand. So why such a limited set and why those countries I don’t know but they’re going to support the list of countries in October or November. So I think you know a lot of people have WhatsApp obviously on their phone for this to work you have to have the WhatsApp app already installed but I think this is a welcome development. Bit of a weird one this Microsoft Defender for Endpoint now supports mixed licensing scenarios so you can mix Plan 1, Enterprise Plan 1 and Plan 2 licenses together if that’s something that you need to do. Back to the subject of Intune and mobile devices iOS and Android now get support for device tagging so really device tagging is just a way to help IT administrators organize and find devices more easily within Intune. So now you can tag those devices and hopefully that’s going to make your life easier.

Didn’t quite understand this one because Microsoft didn’t include an image in the message center but if you’re using Teams in Edge when you now open a link to a website for instance or any kind of web link that is going to open side by side with the Teams chat and then it says with the Teams chat next in the Edge sidebar so I’m not really sure what that means exactly does that mean that they’re going to move the chat into the sidebar and you get to see the web page in the main browser window or is it going to take advantage of the new split screen feature which is just rolled out to Edge users where you can split a window into two sections. I don’t know it’s a shame that Microsoft doesn’t explain these things a little bit better or at least include an image so I guess we’ll see how that works as it starts to roll out. If you’re using Teams webinars presenters now get a unique join link and this enables them to go straight into the meeting without having to wait for approval in the lobby and all that kind of thing so most of these competing platforms already support this of course. This is a great new feature for webinars just to make the join process representers a little bit smoother.

Microsoft also said this week and this is going to apply unfortunately at this point in time to a relatively limited set of people that Outlook on the web is getting suggested drafts if you’re using co-pilot so that means you need to be in the early adopter program for co-pilot which is obviously quite a limited set of companies at the moment because I think it was restricted to 600 companies and you had to pay for it as well it wasn’t free. So what does this mean? Well it means basically that when you hit reply co-pilots can draft a message for you in reply so just saves you a few clicks of a button doing it you know in the co-pilot panel at the side or however that manifests in Outlook because I haven’t actually been able to get my hands on it myself. So is this useful?

Well I guess yeah I mean obviously it depends on the quality of the drafts that it’s replying. What I should remind people of this is that really it’s all about ideation. Nobody’s suggesting that you should just allow it to draft the reply message and then you should just hit send without checking it, editing it of course is something that’s just used as a starting point to save you having from writer message from scratch but it will for sure be interesting to see how all of that works when there’s wider availability. It’s been a relatively quiet week at Microsoft, you know middle of August lots of people on holiday I guess but if you found this video useful then I’d really appreciate it if you gave it a like it helps to get more people viewing our channel on YouTube. I’m going to leave you with another video now that you might find interesting. That’s it from me today and I’ll see you next time.