Office 365 Weekly Digest | April 2 - 8, 2017

Welcome to the April 2 - 8, 2017 edition of the Office 365 Weekly Digest. Updates to Office 365 Groups, Planner and Project Online highlight last week's Message Center notifications. Also, a reminder that support for Directory Synchronization (DirSync) and Azure AD Sync ends on April 13, 2017. Also on April 13th, an Office 365 Groups - Ask Microsoft Anything session will be held where you'll have the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback to the Office 365 Groups product engineering team. Office 365 Groups also kicks off the Blog Roundup and there are several SharePoint Online / OneDrive for Business announcements. Also of note from last week's blog posts are the release of Threat Intelligence and Advanced Data Governance, updates to Advanced Threat Protection, expanded services for Office 365 Enterprise K1 users as well as the third part in the Modern Service Management blog series. Wrapping up this week's post are noteworthy items such as the April 2017 edition of the Office 365 Update video series, SharePoint and Skype for Business SME roundtables from Microsoft IT Showcase, Call Analytics in Skype for Business Online and advance notification of upcoming changes to the Azure AD login pages.


Note: The information below may not be posted to your Office 365 tenant as not all notifications apply to all tenants. The Message Center ID for notifications could also be slightly different than those posted in your tenant.


Updated Feature: Planner Task Assignments

MC97806 | Posted: April 3, 2017 | Expires: April 30, 2017 | Urgency: Normal | Category: Stay Informed | Action: Awareness | Office 365 Roadmap ID: 38605 | Users will now be able to assign more than just one user to a task in Office 365 Planner. Previously, task assignment was limited to one user. Now, users can assign a task to multiple team members. Additional information is available in our recent blog post, Assigning multiple users to a task is now possible in Microsoft Planner.


New Feature: Create and manage up to 30,000 projects in Project Online

MC97812 | Posted: April 3, 2017 | Expires: May 3, 2017 | Urgency: Normal | Category: Stay Informed | Action: Awareness | Office 365 Roadmap ID: 79469 | We are increasing the supported number of projects in Project Online to 30,000. Previously, there was a limit of 5,000 projects per Project Web App (PWA) site. Now, you can create up to 30,000 projects within each PWA site. In addition to creating more projects, you can also have a project site for each of your projects. More details are included in our recent blog post, Create and manage up to 30,000 projects in Project Online.


Planned Maintenance: SharePoint Online Search

MC98013 | Posted: March 27, 2017 | Expires: April 12, 2017 | Urgency: Normal | Category: Stay Informed | Action: Awareness | Maintenance Starts: April 10, 2017 at 8:00 AM UTC | Maintenance Ends: April 11, 2017 at 8:00 AM UTC | We are performing planned and regular maintenance outside of business hours on the search farm to increase index capacity. During this time, the Search Service Application (SSA) is paused, and document changes (such as edits, adds and deletes) are not propagated into the index; so freshness issues are expected. All of these changes are queued and will proceed as soon as maintenance completes. No data loss is expected.


New Feature: Office 365 Groups retention policies

MC98055 | Posted: April 6, 2017 | Expires: May 8, 2017 | Urgency: Normal | Category: Stay Informed | Action: Awareness | Office 365 Roadmap ID: 61261 | Office 365 Groups preservation and deletion policy is a new Office 365 feature. You’ll begin seeing this new feature today. You are now able to manage group content produced by setting up retention policies to keep what you want and get rid of what you don’t want. Admins can now create Office 365 Groups retention policies that apply to the group’s shared inbox and files in one step using the Office 365 Security and Compliance Center. Learn more about this feature and others in the “What’s new in Office 365 Groups for April 2017” post in the “Blog Roundup” section below.


Reminder: We are removing Windows Azure Active Directory Synchronization from Office 365

MC94732 | Posted: February 27, 2017 | Urgency: Normal | Category: Plan for Change | Action: Required by April 12, 2017 at 5:59 PM UTC | As we communicated, in April 2016, via MC45036, we will be removing the Windows Azure Active Directory Synchronization feature from Office 365, beginning April 13, 2017. Azure Active Directory (AD) Connect is the best way to connect your on-premises directory with Azure AD and Office 365. Azure AD Connect is replacing DirSync and Azure AD Sync and these two older sync engines were deprecated from April 13, 2016, reaching end of support April 13, 2017. You are receiving this message because you are using DirSync, Azure AD Sync, or an Azure AD Connect installation released before 2016. After April 13, 2017, you will no longer be able to open a support case without first upgrading to Azure AD Connect. More details are available at Upgrade Windows Azure Active Directory Sync and Azure Active Directory Sync.


UPCOMING EVENTS Azure Active Directory Webinars for April

When: Multiple sessions currently scheduled April 4 - 20, 2017 | New for April – Azure AD Connect Health!  Are you looking to deploy Azure Active Directory quickly and easily? We are offering free webinar briefings on key Azure Active Directory deployment topics! Sessions include: Getting Ready for Azure AD, Streamlining Password Management, Securing Your Identities with Multi-Factor Authentication, Managing Enterprise Applications and Accessing Your Organization’s Internal Apps. Each 1-hour or 75-minute webinar is designed to support IT Pros in quickly rolling out Azure Active Directory features to their organization. All webinars are free of cost and will include an anonymous Q&A session with our Engineering Team. So, come with your questions!  Capacity is limited. Sign up for one or all of the sessions today!  Note: There are also some sessions available on-demand.


Introducing Microsoft Teams: Smart Collaboration in Office 365

When: Multiple sessions currently scheduled through May 18, 2017 | Note: These sessions are being held at several locations across the United States | Microsoft Teams has arrived to Office 365, bringing a chat-based workspace to your fingertips. See how Microsoft Teams can pull together everything you need to collaborate - schedule and conduct meetings, share notes and files, have threaded conversations - all in one place. Sessions are 4 hours in length. Availability is limited, so don't delay! Sign up and see the power of Microsoft Teams!


Office 365 Groups: Ask Microsoft Anything (AMA)

When: Thursday, April 13, 2017 at 9:00am PT | On Thursday, April 13, 2017 the Microsoft Tech Community will host an ‘Ask Microsoft Anything’ (AMA) from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. PT in the Microsoft Teams AMA group. An AMA is a live online event similar to a “YamJam” on Yammer or an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit. This AMA gives you the opportunity to connect with members of the product engineering team who will be on hand to answer your questions and listen to feedback. Please join us –


Announcing the SharePoint Virtual Summit

When: Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 10:00am PT | A connected workplace empowers you to securely connect to the people and content you need, to transform business process, to inform and engage your employees and to harness the collective knowledge of your organization. At this year’s SharePoint Virtual Summit—a free, online event on May 16, 2017—you’ll learn how to create a connected workplace in Office 365 with OneDrive and SharePoint and integrated with Yammer, Microsoft Teams, Windows, PowerApps and Microsoft Flow. Microsoft Corporate Vice President Jeff Teper will unveil the latest product innovations and roadmap. You’ll also hear from industry-leading customers on how they are leveraging these technologies as part of their digital transformation. Jeff will be joined by Microsoft corporate vice presidents James Phillips and Chuck Friedman to discuss how Office 365, connected with Windows and Azure, is reinventing productivity for you, your teams and your organization. We hope you’ll join us at this year’s event, so register now to save your space on May 16, 2017.


FastTrack Webinars: Learn how to do more, together

When: Multiple sessions currently scheduled through April 27, 2017 | Ask questions, learn shortcuts and find out how Office 365 can make you and your team more productive. Each webinar is a live, instructor-led session offered at multiple dates and times. Facilitated discussion follows each session, with opportunities to ask questions and discuss specific scenarios to you. Direct registration links for each webinar are provided below.


BLOG ROUNDUP What’s new in Office 365 Groups for April 2017

A key benefit of Office 365 Groups is that any user in your organization can create a group and start collaborating with others in seconds. Self-service creation is great for users, but we know IT admins need to be able to easily manage groups, gain insight into their use, control their directories and ensure compliance of group data. Today, we are announcing new enhancements for administering Office 365 Groups to support these needs: (1) Restore deleted groups, (2) Retention policies and (3) Label management. The post also shares information about enhancements on the roadmap for the next three months. | Additional Resources: Ignite Australia – Get the Latest on Office 365 Groups


Announcing the release of Threat Intelligence and Advanced Data Governance, plus significant updates to Advanced Threat Protection

We’re pleased to announce several enhancements that bolster Office 365’s security and compliance capabilities. With the launch of Office 365 Threat Intelligence, we are enriching security in Office 365 to help customers stay ahead of the evolving threat landscape. Now, we’re also introducing a new reporting interface to improve the customer experience for Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) and extending the ATP Safe Links feature to Word, Excel and PowerPoint for Office 365 ProPlus desktop clients. Office 365 Advanced Data Governance also launches today, providing our customers with robust compliance capabilities. A new policy management interface for Data Loss Protection (DLP), helps Office 365 customers remain compliant and in control of their data. This post takes a closer look at these enhancements.


Modern Service Management Blog Series Part 3: Monitoring - Audit and Bad-Guy Detection

Welcome to the latest edition of the Modern Service Management for Office 365 blog series! In the Monitoring and Major Incident Management post, we discussed how monitoring can mean many things.  In that post, we focused on monitoring for availability and performance.  In this post, we will focus on audit and bad-guy-detection. The most important part of this discussion is the ManagementActivityAPI, which was announced in April of 2015.  The MSDN reference is here and the schema is here.  For many IT Pros, using the API is something they do not have the current ability (of course, they could learn) or time to focus on. The goal of this post is to help simplify the discussion so everyone can start to get business benefit from the API.


New support for # and % in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business

Files are as unique as the people who create them and we’re constantly working in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business to support a broad array of types and naming conventions. In the upcoming weeks, we’ll be shipping support for # and % as supported characters in file and folder names across document libraries in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business. This will allow people to create, store, and sync files containing # and % characters whether those characters are used as a prefix or suffix to the file or folder name. # and % will be limited to use in file names in addition to SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business document libraries and related folders. The use of # and % outside of document libraries is not supported at this time. # and % support is not enabled by default in your Office 365 Tenant and will be gradually introduced over the next several weeks. You can immediately opt in to this release starting today using the Windows PowerShell cmdlet provided later in this post. For new Office 365 Tenants, in June 2017, support for # and % will enabled by default when the Tenant is provisioned. If you would like to opt out of # and % support for your Office 365 Tenant using the Windows PowerShell cmdlet provided later in this post you must do so by September 2017. All existing Office 365 Tenants that have not opted into # and % support by H2 2017 will have # and % support enabled by default.


Now Available - Auto Attendant and Call Queues for Skype for Business Cloud PBX in Office 365

Customers around the world are replacing their traditional phone systems with our modern voice solution delivered in Office 365 with Skype for Business Online. Skype for Business Online provides end-users the ability to make and receive business calls in the office, at home and on the road using their phone, PC, or mobile device. As part of Office 365, we are able to innovate rapidly to deliver new capabilities to customers without the need to build out new servers or install software updates. This week at Enterprise Connect, we announced exciting new capabilities that are now available for our cloud voice customers. Generally grouped under the category of “media services”, these new features operate completely out of Office 365 and provide new experiences for the management of phone calls, from answering to call treatment to queueing to routing. What it means is that Office 365 customers everywhere now have an option for a truly powerful set of communications capabilities all driven out of the cloud. Auto Attendant provides an automated system to answer inbound phone calls to a company, play prompts to interact with the caller and determine the destination of the call. Call Queues implement an automated distribution system for calls that includes playing licensed music on hold for the caller and matching the caller with an available agent. | Related: Enterprise Connect 2017 Recap


New value in Office 365 Enterprise K1 for frontline workers

We are announcing updates to the Office 365 Enterprise K1 plan—designed to enable your frontline workers to do their best work with tools for schedule and task management, communications and community, training and onboarding, and identity and access management. Frontline workers are the heartbeat of many of the world’s largest industries, such as manufacturing, retail, healthcare and hospitality. They are often the face of an organization to its customers. And as more companies invest in digital transformation, there’s a growing recognition of the importance of empowering frontline workers with modern productivity tools. That’s why we have expanded the Office 365 Enterprise K1 plan to include the following additional products: (1) Microsoft StaffHub, (2) OneDrive for Business with 2 GB of cloud storage, (3) Microsoft Teams, (4) Office 365 Video, and (5) Microsoft PowerApps and Microsoft Flow. These additional products build upon the core value already offered with the Office 365 Enterprise K1 plan and unlock important scenarios for frontline workers. The Office 365 Enterprise K1 plan gives companies the tools they expect to manage employee access and the digital identity to meet today’s complex and constantly changing security and compliance requirements.


SharePoint evaluated as a Leader in latest edition of The Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Content Management

We are very pleased to see SharePoint evaluated as a Leader in The Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Content Management—Business Content Services, Q2 2017. Forrester has been tracking this shift from traditional ECM to what they call business content services. Business content services emphasizes content creation, policy and reuse—but remains distinct from transactional, high volume content services (like those that support credit card processing). Microsoft, through Office 365 and SharePoint Online, has also been at the forefront of the charge. Shaping and controlling content from creation to final disposition means many different things. We think it’s important to define our terms. Enterprise content management needs to adopt a holistic approach to managing the entire lifecycle of document creation, sharing, consumption, reuse, knowledge and records management, archiving and disposal. That’s why we believe it’s time to reflect the changes in how content is created, shared, sustained and reused. Content services reflect a more focused suite of empowered capabilities than traditional ECM, and represent the next wave in ECM. | Additional Resources: Microsoft Tech Community – Best Practices for ECM in SharePoint and OneDrive for Business | Ignite 2016: Discover Enterprise Content Management best practices with SharePoint and Office 365


NOTEWORTHY Video: Office 365 Update for April 2017

Format: Video (10 minutes) | Jim Naroski covers recent enhancements to Office 365, including Microsoft Teams, Excel, Visio, Yammer, Office 365 administration and more! The course transcript, complete with links to additional information on everything covered, is available at


Microsoft IT Showcase: SharePoint at Microsoft (SME Roundtable - March 2017)

Format: Video (58 minutes) | IT Showcase brought together subject matter experts from our SharePoint at Microsoft course to answer questions about how Microsoft IT designs, develops, implements, governs, upgrades, and supports SharePoint at Microsoft. In this session, they discuss Microsoft Teams, MyAnalytics, search technologies, custom user data, the Office 365 app launcher, third-party tools, taxonomy, access from iOS and Android devices, governance, multifactor authentication, and much more.


Microsoft IT Showcase: Skype for Business at Microsoft (SME Roundtable - March 2017)

Format: Video (56 minutes) | IT Showcase brought together subject matter experts from our Skype for Business at Microsoft course to answer questions about how Microsoft IT implements, maintains, and supports Skype for Business at Microsoft. In this session, they discuss Skype Meeting Broadcast, Skype fax service, new features, hardware requirements, security considerations, and much more.


Announcing New File Viewers Available for OneDrive For Business

Our vision here on the OneDrive for Business and SharePoint team has always been to give you the best experience for all your files. While you’ve always been able to store basically any file with us, we have been investing heavily in our web viewing technology and now view over 250 different file formats in OneDrive and SharePoint! We have added support for 3D formats (3MF, FBX, OBJ, PLY, STL), and this lines up very nicely with what we have previewed in the Windows 10 Creators Update, which is coming soon. Of course, we are completely cross-platform, so Mac and Linux users get seamless 3D support in OneDrive and SharePoint, all without requiring any browser plug-ins. If you’re in the healthcare field, we’ve also added support for DICOM images, with much more coming later in the year – letting you view x-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and more through OneDrive and SharePoint, which is fully HIPAA compliant by the way. And saving perhaps the best for last, we’ve integrated Visio (VSD, VSDX) viewing as well, making it much easier to share your ideas with the world using OneDrive and Visio together.


Skype Academy: Introducing Call Analytics

Call Analytics is the newest member in our portfolio for Skype for Business Online products, that help you manage voice quality in your deployment. Call Analytics, is our visual deep-dive tool to help troubleshoot and analyze problematic calls from a simple and clear user interface. Call Analytics allows you to view all calls and meetings from a single user, then zoom in on single calls from that user, allowing you to view device reports, network reports, or walk through the entire quality report. While this was already possible using PowerShell, as described by this article Troubleshoot individual calls in Skype for Business Online, with Call Analytics this is now an easy process, available through our Preview program. Call Analytics is a great addition to our already existing quality tool, the Call Quality Dashboard (CQD). The big difference between the two is that the CQD is the aggregate of all Audio Quality Data (AQD), showing you quality trends within your company, while Call Analytics is focused on single calls and meetings, providing a detailed analysis of the selected call or meeting for issue resolution by the helpdesk.


Improving the branding logic of Azure AD login pages

We’re blogging to give you a heads up about some upcoming improvements we think you’ll want to be aware of. We’re making this set of improvements to the logic that drives app and company branding on Azure AD login pages. This change is going to make it easier for employees and B2B guests to understand how they are signing in and what apps they are signing into in a variety of different scenarios. Pretty much everyone we know is passionate about UX and branding, so we know this is likely to be a hot topic, so we want to give you an early heads up and explain the change.