This month we focus on a new feature that enables you to centrally publish and assign tasks company-wide or to specific departments or teams. We also have our usual top picks of the other announcements that occurred during January.
Publish company-wide tasks
Although this new feature is built into the recently released Tasks for Teams App it takes the management and publishing of tasks to the company hierarchy level. What do we mean by this?
Tasks in Teams is built around Planner which is designed for individual team or department task management. But what if there is a need to publish tasks across the whole company or across multiple departments and then track the completion of those tasks centrally?
Well, with the new company-wide task publishing capability you can now achieve this.
First you need to define within M365 your company’s hierarchy of teams including where applicable, department and then functional level teams, all of which map to the real-world company structure. Once the hierarchy is defined, you can then publish tasks to a large set of teams in accordance with the hierarchy.
For example, if your company is part of a group consisting of multiple companies, and each company is broken down into divisions, and you personally are a member of a corporate team for Company A, then you could publish tasks to one or more teams within the Company A hierarchy, but not to any teams of sister Companies B or C. To publish to all individual company teams, you would need to be a member of a group level team that sits at the top of the tree.
This is a great addition to the current task management capabilities of Teams and Planner.
Offline message capability
If you find yourself offline and want to respond to conversations or post new updates, then previously you were notified that the message would not post and you would need to go back to the message(s) when you were next online and try again. With this update, Teams will queue the messages and automatically send them when you are next online, similar to the way Outlook behaves with emails.
New history view
Navigating back to a previous channel's tabs or files in Teams requires you to use the back button or search. When this new update rolls out, hovering over the back button will bring up a history view, enabling you to go straight to a recently accessed tab or file.
Support for "thousand" separator
This small formatting change for “number” type columns in SharePoint Lists and Libraries allows you to control the display of a “thousand” separator, alongside the ability to control the number of decimal points. This can help improve the display of large numbers in your views for example, 10000.00 becomes 10,000.00. For existing number columns you will need to edit the column definition to select the new option.
Column settings in grid view
If you are a regular user of the SharePoint List grid view, then you will know that one of the annoying limitations is that once you select grid view, you cannot change the layout of the view or hide unnecessary columns. You need to exit grid view, amend the underlying view and then re-enable grid view. This enhancement will provide the same view formatting capabilities when in grid view.
Governance and Adoption
The M365 Admin Centre contains a number of useful reports that help designated administrators stay on top of the governance and adoption of M365. These reports enable you to answer questions such as:
Microsoft is adding more reports to the suite as summarised below:
SharePoint site usage report
This report is being enhanced to provide more visibility on how information is being shared across your company or externally. This will enable designated admins or information governors to obtain counts of files and folder shared anonymously with external participants for example and then be able to drill into this information.
New usage report for Microsoft Teams
This new report enables you to gain insights in to how Teams is being adopted across the company, such as the trend for using channel conversations, how has the number of active channel users grown, or how many Teams are Active vs Dormant, and is this changing overtime.
Company-wide task publishing feature
Microsoft is introducing task publishing and reporting features within the Tasks app in Teams. This allows a company to define the tasks that need to be completed across their frontline locations, choose which locations need to complete those tasks, and track the progress of the work. Frontline managers and workers can use the desktop or mobile Tasks in Teams experience to see the tasks they need to complete, all in one place.
Task publishing lets companies create tasks centrally at the corporate level and publish those tasks to different frontline locations like stores, factories, and clinics. You can publish to all teams or choose specific locations based on customisable characteristics like size or layout.
For example, leadership for a nationwide retailer can create tasks for the reopening of their stores, send that list to only the affected store locations, and then track progress against the tasks at those locations. Managers on those store teams can easily assign tasks to individual employees. Meanwhile, the frontline workers at those store locations will see a simple list of the tasks assigned to them whether they log in backstage or use a personal or company-issued mobile device.
More from Microsoft
Microsoft Teams will queue sent messages when offline
A new offline experience for Microsoft Teams for the web and desktop helps users be productive even without a network connection.
Currently, should a user attempt to send or edit Teams messages while offline, Teams labels those messages as a failure. Once the device is reconnected, Teams prompts users to retry or delete the messages.
In phase one of this update, Teams messages that are sent while a user is offline will be queued on the local device. Teams will automatically send the messages when the device resolves connectivity issues within 24 hours. However, if the message remains in an unsent state for more than 24 hours, the message will fail and Teams will prompt the user to resend or delete the message.
Introducing history menu in Microsoft Teams
Microsoft is introducing a history menu in the Microsoft Teams desktop clients that displays a user's recently visited locations.
By hovering over the backward and forward navigation buttons, users will be able to see recently visited locations in Microsoft Teams. The history menu makes it easier to navigate to previous locations, such as nested tabs and documents.
Support for thousands separator in Number column
Microsoft is providing Microsoft Lists and SharePoint lists owners and members with the ability to add a thousands separator to numbers. When Lists owners and members use the Number column, they can now choose whether or not to add a thousands separator (comma) to any number larger than 999.
Column settings in Grid view
Microsoft is providing Microsoft Lists and SharePoint lists owners and members with new capabilities in Lists Grid view (previously Quick Edit).
The Lists "Grid" view (previously Quick Edit) will now allow users to pin a column to the filter pane, format the column, show/hide columns, and hide their column(s). Before this update, users were required to exit Grid view to accomplish these common tasks.
SharePoint site usage report
Microsoft is making some updates to the SharePoint usage report within the Microsoft 365 admin center.
In phase one, Microsoft is adding eight new metrics to the SharePoint usage report. In phase two, Microsoft is incorporating two of these new metrics - anonymous link count and company link count - into the definitions for active sites and active files. Thus the number of active sites and active files recorded in the usage report may change. Microsoft will also backfill the report with 180 days of data.
When phase one has rolled out to your tenant, you will be able to add these metrics as columns to the report table, and as part of the Microsoft Graph reports API:
For phase two, anonymous link count and company link count will be added to the definition of active site and active files; Microsoft will then recalculate these metrics. They will update the active site chart and active file column in the SharePoint Site usage report to reflect anonymous link count and company link count metrics. They will also backfill the report with 180 days of data.
Usage report: the highlighted areas are where new data may change the counts.
New usage report for Microsoft Teams
The new Teams usage activity report shows tenant-level aggregates and per-team level details, providing an overall picture of how your organisation is using teams within Microsoft Teams.
Author: SO365 Insights