Office 365 Message Center: The week that was 10 Mar 2017

This week in my Office 365 Message Center I only received a few messages.

In addition to these messages, I take a look at what you can bring into your Microsoft Team using the website tab.

I add a Sway, a SharePoint site and even target a Yammer group to bring in content from different sources.

To change things up a little, I presented the Message Center from Microsoft Teams and a website tab.

O365-Message-Center-in-Microsoft-Teams

Changes to Yammer Analytics Dashboard

Usage analytics has been moving slowly into the Office 365 Admin Center, together with other workloads. This message is the signal to start looking there for all Yammer usage analytics. Surprisingly, I can look at usage right down to the user level. Though there isn’t a lot going on in my demo tenant.

There is a private preview of the complimentary Power BI dashboards for Office 365 usage and analytics. This will offer more interactive stats. But it needs to be activated per tenant and takes a while to collection the initial stats. I’ll need to revisit my contacts and see if I can get access to that preview.

Personalized news on the SharePoint home page in Office 365

The new modern SharePoint Online sites present a News web part, front and center on the site home page. The web part shows the 4 most recent news articles. Articles can be created directly from the site home page. A new page is created and named after the title of the article. Content is added in a Medium/LinkedIn style, using the + to add different types of content. Text, pictures, embeds and other web parts. In last weeks show we looked at the new SharePoint Framework and some of the web parts we can add into a page, developed from third party or gathered from GitHub projects.

The news articles you create are stored in the Pages library of the team site. This offers another way of broadly communicating with a team or with the whole organization if the site is on your Intranet. I prefer this to receiving an email from executive leadership because the info is richer and easier to find. Quite frankly, those emailed updates could contain a short paragraph introducing the article, then link off the news article for the full story. I’m watching to see how this feature is adopted across the Office 365 community.

Website tab in Microsoft Teams

If you have watched the video, you’ll see beginning at 6m23s I start to present the Office 365 Message Center from within Microsoft Teams. Using the website tab, I have loaded Office 365 into the Microsoft Teams experience. I also load a Sway, which presents a visual, interactive presentation with online content embedded. I think this is a good way to have a living document keep the team informed. Sways are very easy to update too. However, there isn’t a concept of a Team Sway. I can create a Sway and share it with the team using an Edit link. But the Sway is kept in my account. If I leave and my account is closed, the content is no longer accessible. Still, it’s one way to present the content.

I also load up a SharePoint Online team site. Why would I do that? The Microsoft Team comes with a team site. True. However, that team site might be private and used only for collaboration within your team. Adding website tab for your department-public intranet site will help your team keep their focus within the Microsoft Teams application. They may share the responsibility of keeping the public site up to date and need to discuss actions or tasks related to public updates, such as creating a new News article.

Flowing on from that, I use the same tab to access Outlook Web Access. I have said this before, if Microsoft Teams adds a section where I can access Outlook Web Access and work with my email, I have even less reason to leave the Teams application. I don’t know if we can expect to see this become reality. But it leads into my next point nicely.

Microsoft Teams is increasing the general use of Office 365 services overall

Think about it. Microsoft Teams provides the wrapper to bring in SharePoint, Office Online applications, Planner, Power BI and more. Connectors bring in more information for your other important sources and systems, informing your team and providing a space for conversation alongside content. A growing selection of tabs is providing a simplified experience of the different services, pinning that experience to an easily accessible space. If you want the full experience of the service or application, open it from within the tab. Powering all this collaborative activity are the Office 365 services we know so well and the interaction – driven by Chat style communication that can elevate to audio, video and online meetings.

Next week, Microsoft Teams becomes Generally Available. Keep an eye out for more capabilities being released in the product at launch. Tune in to watch the online launch and hear more about those announcements.

 

Till next week, visit your Office 365 Message Center regularly and Stay Informed.


Also published on Medium.