Microsoft Details Coming SharePoint, Microsoft 365 Improvements
- By Kurt Mackie
- November 30, 2020
Microsoft is readying a bunch of Microsoft 365 and SharePoint Online improvements, including a new "My Feed" Web Part and more Microsoft Graph connectors.
Some of the new features, mostly for end users, may arrive in December, while others may already have rolled out. They're meant for Microsoft 365 tenancies that opt to get so-called "targeted release" updates. Targeted releases are supposed get tested by a small group of users before broader organizational deployment.
SharePoint Page Performance
Notable among the bunch is a new SharePoint Online site performance page, which can be accessed by SharePoint site owners and editors.
The performance page shows a color-coded ranking (from red to green) of the "health" of a SharePoint page. It might be used to check a SharePoint home page for its load time, for instance. Users of the performance page get tips on what to fix, such as needing to reduce image sizes to improve page loading times or using a content delivery network to speed up performance.
A new "My Feed" Web Part for SharePoint Online users is getting released. It'll show documents, chats and videos based on Microsoft 365 information surfaced by the Microsoft Graph. The content in My Feed gets personalized, rather than being static, for all users.
The announcement included an interview with Dag Eidesen, a principal program manager for Microsoft Search, who explained how Microsoft Search has evolved from the earlier Microsoft Delve effort, which was too document-centric. Microsoft and its FAST Search team in Norway wanted to bring the search capabilities directly to end users, which is what My Feed does, instead of having them go to the Delve search app.
Microsoft Graph Connectors
Microsoft in November released new Microsoft Graph connectors, which adds search connections to software solutions, including non-Microsoft software. Ten connectors were newly released, with most reaching "general availability" commercial-release status, according to a Microsoft document, namely:
Organizations can access a Microsoft Graph connectors gallery for more search connector options. There's also an API for building Graph connectors.
Other Microsoft 365 Perks
End users on the targeted-release path are getting other improvements soon.
On the e-mail front, attached Word files will get summarized for end users in three bulleted paragraphs, which happens automatically via artificial intelligence. It's a way to quickly assess relevance.
Microsoft Teams users are getting user interface enhancements. They can now more easily select content from the SharePoint tab in Teams when "adding pages, lists or document libraries to a channel in Teams," the announcement explained.
Teams users have a new way to create polls presented during Teams meetings via a Microsoft Forms integration. Poll results can be tallied on the fly and shown to meeting participants, if wanted. It's also possible for meeting participants to complete a poll after a meeting has ended if a poll hasn't been closed.
Microsoft Lists is getting Undo and Redo buttons, which can be used to change content within a list.
Users of the OneDrive cloud-based storage service can create Shared Libraries. The idea is to make it easier to collaborate with others, which happens because "shared Libraries are backed by Microsoft 365 Groups, so the group automatically gets access to the files that members put in the shared library," the announcement explained.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.