Highlights of the Office 365 Roadmap: December 2016
Microsoft has continued its hectic pace of feature development and releases throughout this year. Since we last checked in on the Office 365 Roadmap in May 2016, more than a hundred updates have been released.
Below is a summary of significant changes from Microsoft’s Office 365 Roadmap between June 2016 and December 2016. Updates are divided into categories of “Launched”, “Rolling Out” (to early release members), “In Development”, “Cancelled” and “Previously Released”.
1. Office 365 Updates Recently Launched
The following updates have launched in the past six months.
- New Office 365 Admin Center - This is one of the bigger changes. The administration portal has been overhauled to make important configuration, logs, and licensing tasks accessible with fewer clicks. It more closely resembles the modern Azure portal.
- New Office 365 Homepage - The new Office 365 landing page offers revamped tiles for all Office 365 products and a document search tool. It’s an improved experience with better responsiveness on small screens.
- Modern SharePoint Lists Experience - This was a controversial change since it broke common customizations. Working with SharePoint lists and libraries is now smoother, with better bulk-editing, improved drag-and-drop, and a more responsive UI.
- SharePoint Online Site Collection Storage Limit Increase - Site collections up to 25TB are now supported. This is a huge increase from the previous 1TB threshold in SharePoint Online, and a far cry from the 200GB guidance published for recent on-prem versions.
- New Usage Reports - More detailed usage reports have rolled out for SharePoint, OneDrive, Exchange mailboxes, Office 365 Groups, and Skype for Business.
- Microsoft Teams - This was a surprise for most. Microsoft has developed a Slack competitor for persistent, searchable group chatrooms and team collaboration.
- Skype for Business on Mac - After a years-long wait, Skype for Business is available in preview on Macs.
- SharePoint Mobile for Android and Windows - The app was initially launched for iOS, but is now available on Android and Windows devices.
- Delve Windows 10 App - One of the neatest features from Office 365 is now available in its own desktop and mobile app. Keep informed on the documents, people, and insights you care about.
- @Mentions in Outlook - This is a nice feature for highlighting action items when there are multiple recipients.
- FastTrack Updates and Offers - Microsoft provides a service to enterprise customers called “FastTrack”. It offers Microsoft engineers, technical tools, and partner investment funds to migrate your workloads to the cloud. In the past few months, new funding incentives and training resources have rolled out.
- Visio Viewer for iPad - There’s now a first-party tool to view Visio content on iOS.
- Improvements to Office - Multiple features were deployed to add functionality, particularly around OneNote Class Notebooks.
- Yammer On by Default - Like it or not, you now have Yammer. Look for new guidance as Yammer, SharePoint, and Office 365 Groups become more integrated.
2. Office 365 Updates Rolling Out
The following updates are available for early release organizations and will soon be generally available.
- Mailbox Size Increases for E3/E5 - Users in E3/E5 plans will have their mailbox quota increased from 50GB to 100GB.
- Microsoft Bookings - Exchange calendars will soon support an online portal where availability is published. Best of all, customers and partners will be able to request appointments based on your free time. This is rolling out to Business Premium users first, to be followed by E3 and E5.
- New Team Sites and Team News - Team sites might be the most popular use case for SharePoint, so a redesign has been inevitable. The new modular design makes it easier to publish news to colleagues and make modular changes without the usual complexity of web parts. Similar changes are likely to be announced for other site templates.
- New Yammer Onboarding Experience - The process of enrolling users will become faster and more intuitive.
3. Office 365 Updates In Development
The following updates are announced, with no release date.
- Advanced Data Governance - While Office 365 already offers a wealth of governance tools, new machine learning insights are planned to automatically detect and respond to anomalies.
- Better Integration Between OneDrive and SharePoint - Moving files between services will be easier.
- Microsoft StaffHub - Deskless workers are getting their own tool to manage shift scheduling, communications, and other sharing for service workers.
- SharePoint Webhooks on Document Libraries - Webhooks will allow for seamless workflows and automated subscription/publishing with other applications whenever your documents change.
4. Office 365 Updates Cancelled
There are seven features lsited as cancelled. One stands out while the others are minor.
- Office 365 User Purchases - Microsoft had announced plans for employees to be able to self-serve and purchase software/addons. In theory, that solves some of the problems of Shadow IT, but current plans seem to be scrapped.
Check back in the coming months for more Office 365 Roadmap Highlights.