Microsoft has released some useful updates for the Office 365 Planner app, but external access is still not there, which is baffling. On the other hand, you now have an OWA-like schedule view, filters to suppress tasks that you don’t want to see, and better notifications to tell you when you must do some work. And an iCalendar feed is coming soon to allow you to clutter up your Outlook calendar with even more stuff.
One of the premium features for Office 365 Groups is the ability to use a naming policy so that all groups (and Teams) have a compliant name. The policy is a nice-to-have feature if you are concerned about having a well-organized directory with all your groups gathered in the same place. The question is whether enough business value is gained from a naming policy to make it worthwhile.
The Teams PowerShell module is flawed, but that does not mean that you cannot do work with it. Here’s a primer of the most important cmdlets, together with a link to a rather interesting approach to finding out what Office 365 Groups are team-enabled.
Office 365 Groups have been very good for SharePoint Online. Because many apps use Groups, they also use SharePoint, even if they don’t know it. Teams, Planner, Yammer, StaffHub, Stream, and Groups in Outlook (or whatever the name is this week) all drive SharePoint usage. SharePoint Online is Office 365 document management, and that’s a good thing.
Microsoft’s Compliance Manager is intended to help cloud tenants cope with regulations like ISO 27001 and GDPR. The Compliance Manager has a nice dashboard, but it is passive and offers very weak options in terms of organizing the work needed to achieve compliance. But Office 365 has Planner and Teams, and it is easy to create the necessary collaboration structure to allow people to work on GDPR controls.
Microsoft clarified what AAD features need premium licenses at Ignite. Tenants need many of those features to control Office 365 Groups and Teams, and some of the listed features are surprising. Did you know that the group creation policy is a premium feature? Or adding a default classification. The chosen set of features seems odd, but at least Microsoft is now clear about what you must license.
On August 9, Microsoft launched the Office 365 Groups expiration policy into preview. It expires groups after a set period and helps keep the spread of groups under control. All sounds good, but the new feature needs an Azure Active Directory Premium license, which isn’t so welcome.
Microsoft has launched a new external sharing policy for groups that allows tenants to set allow and block lists for domains. The new policy is due for use with Teams, Planner, and other applications that need to block external users from specific domains. It’s a set along the path to getting full external access for Office 365 apps.
Gartner’s recent SWOT analysis of Office 365 contains some interesting thoughts and observations. I do not agree with them all because I think some of their thinking is a little dated, but it is always interesting to read what Gartner is whispering into the ears of their customers.
The news that Teams won’t support external access when they planned is not a shock. But what is needed is a common external access mechanism that can work for all of the Office 365 applications. Let’s not reinvent the wheel!
Backup solutions for Office 365 are available from many ISVs. However, six years after the Office 365 launch, no product exists that takes a comprehensive and integrated approach to Office 365 applications.
Microsoft has updated Yammer so that new groups use the Office 365 Groups service to manage the identity and membership of the groups. There are far too many “groups” in that last sentence, which kind of illustrates how a surplus of groups might be building up within Office 365.
The Mobile Planner app is another milestone for the Office 365 Task Management Service.