Keeping up with SharePoint Online

The rate of change across Office 365 is blistering, as Microsoft continue to provide new functionality across the tenancy.  Over the past few weeks there have been a large number of improvements made right across SharePoint Online, which this post explores.

Apply site designs to existing sites

Site designs continue to move from strength to strength, becoming a real contender when considering your organisations provisioning story.  Rolling out as we speak, site designs are being extended with the ability to both view and apply site designs within an existing site’s UI – something that was previously only possible with PowerShell.

Page designs

Not to be confused with Site designs, page designs provides some initial templates that help to improve consistency of new pages created within Communication sites. We won’t know until we get our hands on them, but we could be looking at the Modern replacement for Page Layouts.

Modern page improvements

Modern pages have also been enhanced with two new features that improve their flexibility. Not only are we getting the ability to select a complimentary background colour for different page sections, but there is also a new title region being introduced, which will make it simple for pages to show information such as author and published date consistently.

Pinned news articles

Having built numerous intranets over the years, I know from experience that of the most requested features I hear from Comms Managers is the ability to ‘stick’ or promote certain news articles. With this in mind, I’m sure that many will be delighted to hear that the Modern News web part is being updated to provide you with the flexibility to decide which order news articles are displayed in.

‘My’ web parts – making personalisation simple

Microsoft are introducing two new personalisation web parts. My recent documents adapts the Highlighted Content web part to provide an option to filter by the current user – this will effectively present a personalised list of files for the person viewing the page. We also see the Sites web part being enhanced to make it simple to display a series of frequently used sites for the current user. This level of personalisation being provided out of the box makes it increasingly easy to use Modern Communication sites as the basis for your corporate intranet.

Stream web part

This new web part aggregates videos from a given Stream Channel directly into your SharePoint page. With full support from the SharePoint mobile app, this new web part is a significant step forwards for modern workplaces, offering integrated video streaming that will probably replace YouTube embedding, or hosting media within SharePoint Online, to become the default approach for many Office 365 intranets.

Share without allowing download

A new option is being added for Sharing links in both OneDrive and SharePoint Online, which will allow files to be shared, but optionally block the ability for users to download the shared content. With the importance on retaining a single version of the truth, this will prove to be a valuable option for staff in many organisations.

SharePoint storage for Yammer groups

For several years Yammer has been slightly isolated within the Office 365 family – but these days look to be drawing to a close. This month we see a significant improvement to the integration between Yammer groups and Office 365 groups, with storage of files uploaded into Yammer being moved into SharePoint Online. I’m particularly excited by this news, not only should it put to bed the persistent rumours predicting the demise of Yammer (something I’d hate to see), but from a compliance perspective this should make it far easier to apply governance and even retention to content stored within Yammer.  It does make me wonder what the future holds for Conversations within Teams though, as the differences between the two workloads seem to be steadily eroding – Yammer within Teams anyone?

Location, location, location

I’m sure some of you will have heard about the Location column – I can’t wait to give it a try. I can’t remember when SharePoint last got given a new column (was it for Managed Metadata back in 2010?), but I can already think of multiple ways that having the ability to store and present geographic loci will prove to be useful.

All in all it’s been a busy few months, with rapid improvements being made across SharePoint Online. Recognised by Microsoft as a ‘preferred’ provider of Content Services, Intelogy are at the forefront of innovation within Office 365 – speak to us today if you’d like to find out more.