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The clocks have gone forward, springtime is here, and it’s time to look at changes to Office 365, SharePoint and Kira with this month’s plain-English round-up.
Microsoft continuously update their Office 365 roadmap with new and changed features. But there’s often so much going on that it’s hard to tell what’s important, or how you use the information.
Each month, we hand-pick key updates to Office 365, ‘modern’ SharePoint, and our own Kira intranet platform. This is part of the ‘evergreen’ Office 365 service we provide to our customers, but if you’re not a customer yet you can still subscribe to the newsletter yourself and follow us on Twitter.
CompanyNet are experts in Office 365 – if you’d like to explore what we can do for your organisation, drop us a line and find out how we can help.
Here are your key updates for April. If you already use our Kira intranet platform, don’t miss the last point for two great new features available now.
Personalised Office 365 results are now fully integrated in the standard Bing search, as Microsoft rolls out the brand new Microsoft Search experience.
Microsoft Search will soon be the new search engine integrated across Office 365. It draws together data from SharePoint, OneDrive, Outlook, Office 365 Groups, Microsoft Teams and even Yammer into one intuitive interface. We believe this is the first time Yammer conversations have been integrated into the wider Office 365 search.
And we’re pleased to say that Kira, our Office 365 intranet platform which enables a well-adopted digital workplace, is the first to integrate the new search experience.
Private, personalised results
If you’re logged into Office 365, then private, personalised results from across your organisation will appear pinned at the top of Bing’s search results. That means you can quickly find information about any aspect of your work, directly from a Bing search. For example, searching for a client’s name will bring up all documents and conversations relating to that organisation:
Likewise, searching for a person brings up their Outlook calendar, your conversations with them, files you’ve both worked, on and more. It’s a fantastic development which means all the information from across Office 365 will finally be in one place. Remember, the results are personalised to you – so don’t worry, your private Teams conversations won’t appear in public search results!
Where does this leave existing search and surfacing tools like Delve? Although there has not been any official word yet, we expect Delve to be retired in the near future. Microsoft will instead focus on the new Microsoft Search experience and Office 365 People Cards, which essentially replace Delve’s functionality (and then some).
Finally, we couldn’t resist sharing the fact that Kira is the first Office 365 intranet product to directly integrate the new Microsoft Search functionality, ahead of the official integration. We’re not going to pretend most people’s first choice of search engine is Bing – so we wanted to provide a way to make it more intuitive to access. Now, Kira users will be able to insert a Microsoft Search box directly into their intranet, enabling content to be surfaced without having to go to Bing. We will make this feature available to our customers shortly.
Because our team is fanatical about keeping Kira aligned with Microsoft’s roadmap for Office 365, we are able to introduce features almost as soon as Microsoft announces them, with no adverse impact on our customers’ intranets – just the good stuff.
Find out more about Kira intranet for Office 365. If you’re interested in getting more out of your organistaion’s investment in Office 365, get in touch with us now. We’ve created highly-adopted digital workplaces for world-class organisations like Mencap, Tesco Bank, Scottish Water and the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
A long-awaited feature that enables content approval workflows in SharePoint Online’s ‘Modern’ experience is being rolled out to Office 365 tenants by Microsoft.
This means people can create and edit Modern pages in SharePoint without the changes going live. Instead, they are sent to a predetermined person for checking and approval, before being published to the wider intranet.
We’ve found that approval workflows are easy to set up and straightforward to use; the new process should prove intuitive both for content editors and for content approvers.
Go with the flow
To set up a new flow on a SharePoint site, a user with sufficient access privileges simply needs to visit the Site Pages document library. From there, the ‘Flow’ menu now has an option to create or configure an approval workflow.
SharePoint provides a basic template, meaning you can create a very competent approval workflow in a few clicks. Even better, because the system is powered by Microsoft Flow, the approval workflow’s owner can modify or add steps to the approval process. Because each SharePoint site has its own workflow, this means you can customise the approval steps based on the context.
For example, if news posted to your Legal department’s site needed approval by a legal expert before being approved by Communications, you could add in an extra step with a few clicks and apply it immediately.
Seal of approval
Once an approval workflow has been set up on a SharePoint site, the ‘Publish’ button content authors see on new or edited pages is replaced by a ‘Submit for Approval’ one. Rather than immediately publishing, it instead asks for a short comment summarising the changes, then submits it to the relevant person or team for approval.
There are a number of ways approvers can manage submissions. Items sent for approval are emailed to the approvers, who can immediately approve or reject a change from the email. When they visit the page in question, they can immediately see any pending approvals for that page. They can also view everything awaiting approval by going into the Site Pages library (which can now be grouped and sorted using an Approval Status column), or by viewing them in Microsoft Flow.
An approver has the option to immediately approve the changes, contact the author by email, or reassign the approval task to another appropriate person. Only once the content has been approved does it become visible to everyone on your SharePoint site.
As with all updates to SharePoint, the new content approval workflows will be fully functional for users of our Kira ‘intranet-in-a-box’ platform as soon as your tenant has been updated.
Here you’ll find insight on CompanyNet’s work, what’s happening in enterprise software, and the future of the workplace. It’s written by a variety of CompanyNet staff. If you’d like to talk to us about anything you see here, just drop us a line.
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