Microsoft continues to invest heavily in its subscription-based productivity software suite, Microsoft 365, which is interconnected extensively to the company’s cloud services for maximum accessibility across a wide range of devices. That investment ensures that a steady stream of Microsoft 365 feature and update enhancements roll out each month.
IT should monitor the updates to identify new features or capabilities that will directly impact their organization’s workforce. While most features will be either useful or innocuous, there will be some that a company will want to postpone implementation of.
Evaluating these new Microsoft 365 features within IT will be critical to successfully managing and deploying them across the entire organization.
Here is a rundown of the latest lineup of updates, services and new features coming to the Microsoft 365 software and service package.
Microsoft 365 Apps Dropping Support for Internet Explorer 11
Earlier this month Microsoft reminded its customers that Microsoft Edge Legacy would be removed from its Windows 10 operating system beginning with updates in April. It will be replaced by the new Microsoft Edge web browser, which is based on Chromium.
The company’s Internet Explorer 11 web browser, which was initially released in October 2013, will also no longer support Microsoft 365 apps beginning on Aug. 17.
Organizations should start planning their migration to the new Microsoft Edge, which is Microsoft’s recommended browser for Microsoft 365 apps, or to another compatible browser such as Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.
Microsoft To Do iOS 14 Widgets
Now that Apple has launched iOS 14, three new home screen widgets are also available to assist in tracking all the items on any Microsoft To Do list.
The three new widgets include views of My Day, which shows all pending tasks for a given day; a general Tasks list of all task items; and an Add Task widget to easily add new items to a Microsoft To Do task list.
This Microsoft 365 feature simplifies the process of accessing, reviewing and maintaining critical tasks while using a mobile device.
Availability: These widgets are available in the latest Microsoft To Do app update in Apple’s App Store.
Microsoft Teams Pop-Out Apps and Tabs
As Microsoft continues to make Teams the centralized hub for all things productivity, the pop-out tabs and apps feature will enable viewing of multiple apps and tabs at one time. Previously, users had to switch between a single-window view of apps and tabs across a Microsoft Teams channel.
One of the scenarios this Microsoft 365 feature update should prove beneficial for is when a team is working on a low-code/no-code app in Teams and also engaged in a Teams call to discuss and collaborate on that coding project. Pop-out tabs and apps mean each user can open both items at the same time as they discuss and work on the project.
Availability: This feature is now generally available within Microsoft Teams. Expect more apps to add this functionality as they are updated in the Teams app store.
Two New Power Apps for Microsoft Teams
Power Apps, part of Microsoft’s low-code/no-code solution, provide multiple options for organizations to drive the development of automation-style solutions to departmental-level citizen developers to make their workflows more efficient.
However, these solutions do not just have to address workflows but can enhance communications within teams.
These two new Power Apps, Milestones and Bulletins, can be used to track tasks across a team or share company news in a centralized location in a Teams channel. This Microsoft 365 feature helps to solve the proliferation of task tracking apps and information distribution methods by bringing them together in a centralized location.
With low-code/no-code roots, they are extensible and customizable for a specific organization by any citizen developer using Power Apps.
Availability: Both of these new apps are already available in the Teams app store.
Microsoft Lists Adoption Center
Any Microsoft 365-based organizations desiring to begin the rollout of Microsoft Lists can take advantage of an entire portal dedicated to this process.
The adoption portal for this Microsoft 365 feature includes tools and documents to accomplish this through the use of:
- An adoption playbook with best practices for establishing the use of Microsoft Lists.
- Guides to show how Microsoft Lists can be incorporated into a user’s daily workflow.
- Quick-start instructions for getting started with Microsoft Lists.
- Templates to help advertise Microsoft Lists features to members of the organization.
The process of rolling out any new app or service is critically dependent upon bringing users onboard early with awareness and training that encourages full adoption of the tool by understanding the value it adds to an organization. The Microsoft Lists Adoption portal enables that process by providing key resources to help ensure success.
Availability: The Microsoft Lists Adoption portal is already available for public use.