Microsoft's August 2017 Office 365 Updates: What You Need to Know

Posted by Jill Hannemann on August 8, 2017

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Get ready, the Office 365 updates for August are loaded.  The focus can be grouped into Office updates, the introduction of Microsoft 365, and SharePoint. Starting off, there are two updates that don't fall into one of those three categories. 

Power BI introduced responsive visualizations, allowing for dynamic graph visualizations to be responsive in a small, medium, or large format respectively for mobile, tablet, and browser views.   This is really great, allowing data analysts to create dashboards that fulfill requirements to be primarily consumed on a mobile device. 

Workplace Analytics is the second update.  This add-on to any Office 365 Enterprise licensing plan taps into email and calendar metadata to shed light on how users collaborate and spend their time.  Don't worry, your privacy won't be compromised, the data is agnostic from user identity, but provides valuable insights into aggregate trends in how long users are spending responding to email, or how much time users spend in meetings.  This data could potentially be very transformative.

Now on to the other updates for Office, Microsoft 365, and SharePoint -

In the most recent release of Office, version 1707, users can expect to see two updates that have been heavily requested by users in the community.  These updates are Excel Co-Authoring for Windows Desktop application and AutoSave.  Similar to co-authoring in Word or PowerPoint, the Excel desktop application for Windows now has co-authoring available, allowing users to see changes by other users in the document in seconds.  It also eliminates the document lock when accessing the file from SharePoint, OneDrive or OneDrive for Business.  Co-authoring for Excel has been available for Excel Online for Office Insiders for some time.  Excel Co-authoring will be available to Mac users in the near future.  Autosave for Word, PowerPoint, and Excel is another feature of the 1707 Office version. 

This summer, Satya Nadella announced Microsoft 365, a new product offering combining licensing for Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility and Security.  Microsoft 365 has several product offerings for the enterprise and at the business level for smaller organizations.  There are different nuances with each product offering and it's important to research how this could impact you.  At the business level, Microsoft is introducing new business apps that will be included in the Microsoft 365 Business bundle.  These apps are designed to assist smaller businesses with operations in invoicing, marketing/listing, and email campaigns. 

Lastly, SharePoint Communication Sites were released to the Office 365 Enterprise 1st release customers this month.  This is the publishing site equivalent for the Modern Sites in SharePoint.  The Modern Team Sites have been out for some time now, and the addition of Communication Sites is an exciting release.  Communication sites have polished presentation layouts, and are mobile and tablet responsive out of the box.  It will be exciting to see how Communication Sites continue to evolve in the coming months. 

As always, these updates are brief.  More information for any of this information can be found in the corresponding blog for the product that you're interested in learning more about. 

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Topics: Office 365, Office 365 Updates

Jill Hannemann

Jill Hannemann is a Principal at Withum. She is a recognized expert on the topics of portal strategy, governance and information architecture, and has a passion for transforming corporate intranets into digital workplaces that people love to use.

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