In the Office 365 monthly update for May, Jim Naroski shares about nine different progress updates for Office 365 that were released in April. As per usual, some of Microsoft’s May updates are quite notable, and some are less impactful. So, what came out in April that we should all care about?
- Microsoft To-Do App: On April 19th, Microsoft released a new app called To-Do. This app provides an interface for users to manage their tasks and prioritize items in their day. Before you start saying, “How is this impactful or revolutionary? There are a million task list manager apps in the Apple App Store.” The potential “IT” factor that sets this app apart from the rest is its integration with Office 365, allowing you to leverage Outlook calendar events and tying to reminders in To-Do. It’s the merge of personal and work life in one to-do list that has data integration with Outlook or other data in Office 365. It can help you with your task list for the day and give you reminders for the errands you need to run after work.
- Office 365 Groups Key Benefits: On April 6th, Office 365 Groups got a few major enhancements that we have all been waiting for. Remember previously you could delete a Group and it would be gone forever? No trash bin, no restore, just gone…forever. Well, this update introduces the restore we’ve all been waiting for. The deleted Groups are held for 30 days and may be restored during that time prior to being deleted for good. Groups content stores are now subject to data retention policies set for the tenant and the ability to have labels assigned for document management and classification.
- Kiosk Workers Enterprise K1 plan gets an expansion: The Office 365 Enterprise K1 licensing for frontline workers will get a gradual expansion in its tools and capabilities. Previously, this user licensing level, intended for non-desk workers, provided email, usage access to SharePoint Online, and a few other features. Now, the K1 license will see an expansion to the following areas:
- StaffHub access to manage schedules and shifts
- 2GB of OneDrive for Business storage
- Skype for Business access for messaging and virtual meetings
- Microsoft Teams for persistent chat
- Office 365 Video streaming for those online training video courses or other team building material they’ll need to see
- Ability to consume PowerApps and Flow applications and workflows
These features will be rolled out over time. However, it’s quite notable that Microsoft is listening and further envisioning the digital workplace for frontline workers.
- Office 365 Secure Score: This is a very important feature that got released. If cloud computing has your administrators and executives wondering what type of vulnerabilities it opens your company to, Secure Score can give you a gauge as to how well you’re leveraging Office 365’s security and compliance features, as well as how the rest of your infrastructure support meet security measurements. Secure Score is based on Microsoft’s calibrations for a secure and compliant environment, so understanding these parameters is key to knowing if this score is meaningful. However, with that in mind, Secure Score can be a useful tool and metric to communicate security compliance to executives and legal around data and information integrity while using Office 365.
- Sway Enhancements: On April 11th, Microsoft released some nice enhancements to Sway. For those of you who haven’t used Sway yet, it is a tool that comes with the Office 365 suite that allows you to create website like displays of content for different audience groups. It can be for a report, to help drive a presentation, or to communicate or share instructions with employees. It effectively allows business users to create this website-like content without knowing any code. The enhancements that came out April 11th, allow users to add audio recordings, supports closed captioning, and a navigation icon to enable users to access other areas of your Sway. I view these enhancements as great ways to merge video or audio content with text and picture displays, and the closed captioning can be used to translate audio or text content in other languages for global organizations. These items give users more opportunity to construct polished information presentation to different audiences leveraging different types of media to align with the many ways people learn. Very exciting stuff.
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