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What’s New in Microsoft 365 (August 2020)

The big news out of SharePoint is the death of SharePoint 2010 workflows… along with the rebirth of SharePoint Lists as Microsoft Lists and Teams Planner as Teams Tasks. As if those announcements alone aren’t enough information to make you say ‘huh?’, we also have new Power Platform features coming to Teams, SharePoint is centralizing the management of hub visitor permissions, and it is time to start thinking about upgrading your apps to use Microsoft Graph.

SharePoint 2010 Workflow Deprecation

If you’re an existing maintenance & support customer of our Solutions Group and you didn’t get an email about this…don’t worry about it, you’re good to go.  Those folks that that need to take action, have been notified via email with a request to schedule a time to discuss next steps. Essentially there are two types of environments where this may be an impactful announcement:

  • Folks that did a “lift & shift” migration from SharePoint On-Premises to SharePoint Online that already had SharePoint workflows in their environments
  • Folks that have disabled the ability to use Power Automate nee Flow and users were able to download/use SharePoint Designer to create workflows

Support update for SharePoint 2010 workflows in Microsoft 365

Ninja List: The great migration of SharePoint Workflow to Power Automate

  • Starting August 1st, 2020, SharePoint 2010 workflows will be turned off for newly created tenants.
  • Starting November 1st, 2020, Microsoft will begin to remove the ability to run or create SharePoint 2010 workflows from existing tenants.

SharePoint Lists are Reincarnated into Microsoft Lists

If you haven’t seen all the hype on the web about Microsoft Lists, then you haven’t been paying attention. Although there hasn’t been any chatter in the message center about this, Microsoft has definitely been getting the word out about their newest app – Microsoft Lists. However, don’t let them fool you – it isn’t an entirely new app – it is the grown up and flashy version of SharePoint lists re-branded as a new app. I haven’t actually been able to get my hands on it to experience it in all of it’s proposed greatness, so I can’t really say much about it, but I will say that some of the new features sound pretty cool. Check out this video from Miceile Barret, Microsoft Program Manager that gives a first look at Lists.  My biggest concern as an administrator is the inevitable confusion for users around where the lists will be stored. We’ll see how it all plays out once it is released and we get to test it out.

The Planner App in Teams will Become Tasks

There are quite a few pieces to this change, and it has already started rolling out. Microsoft plans to have this completed by September. I have mixed emotions about this one. I guess it is nice that they are  allowing users to see both their individual tasks and team tasks in the same app, but the basic functionality of Planner isn’t improving. In addition, the same functionality will have different names depending on where you access it (Teams, SharePoint, Outlook), and the names will be changing a few times throughout the rollout.  Way to keep the confusion fresh, Microsoft!

This is how they plan to roll it out:

Users will see individual tasks powered by To Do (which also powers Outlook tasks) and team tasks powered by Planner. Existing Planner tabs will behave the same as they do today but will show an additional list view. Users will be able to add new Tasks tabs to the channels in teams they belong to. Users can also access the Tasks app in the same ways they previously accessed the Planner app.

Renaming the Planner app in Teams to Tasks and enabling a mobile experience in Teams

We’re planning to rename the Planner app to Tasks. The new Tasks experience will contain individual tasks and team and channel tasks, similar to how Files encompasses a user’s personal files in their own OneDrive for Business as well as their team and channel files.  We’ll make this adjustment in two steps.

Once we’ve made the new tasks experience broadly available to all public cloud organizations, we’ll enable the Tasks in Teams mobile experience and complete a logo update and an interim rename of the Planner app. Its interim name will be Tasks by Planner and To Do. This will help ensure the app can be found when searching for Planner while adding a tab or searching for the app in the app catalog.

A few months after the interim name change, the app name on desktop will be shortened to Tasks.

This name change applies only to the Planner app in Teams. All other Planner clients and To Do clients will keep their existing names, and users can continue to use those clients to manage tasks just as they do today.

Not sure if that clears things up or makes them muddier. You be the judge.

New Power Platform Features Coming to Teams

Microsoft is introduction Microsoft Dataflex – a built-in, flexible datastore supporting relational, image and file data with a one-click experience for deploying solutions natively in Teams. This new feature, which is included with select Microsoft 365 and Office 365 subscriptions, will make it possible for users to easily build and deploy Power Apps within Teams, build and deploy chatbots within Teams, and trigger Power Automate flows from Team messages. There is no additional cost for this service, it doesn’t change Power Platform performance outside of Teams, and it is scheduled to begin rollout in mid-August with a scheduled completion of the end of August.

Once this update is complete, you will see new service plans – Microsoft Dataflex and Power Virtual Agents for Teams – in the list of plans included with your subscription.

The following admin controls are available in Teams Admin center to enable/disable the new functionality in public preview –

  • App permissions policies: Admins can turn the Power Platform maker/builder experience off or on in Teams by selecting Power Apps and/or Power Virtual Agents applications available under ‘Microsoft Apps’. This setting is available for a specific set of users or for the tenant. More information on App permissions policies can be found here – Manage app permission policies in Microsoft Teams
  • Note: Admin controls to enable/disable new Power Platform deployment capabilities in Teams will not be available by public preview. This control will be introduced by GA in the Teams admin center.

Learn more at the Microsoft Teams blog.

SharePoint – Centralized Management for Hub Visitor Permissions

SharePoint hub permissions enable hub owners to centralize the management of visitor access to associated sites. This is an optional feature for both hubs and associated sites. Microsoft claims this allows for greater viewer access to content and improved discoverability across sites. My jury is still out on this one, but I am leaning towards not being in favor. I can think of many cases where it would not be a good idea for the hub site owner to have control over visitor permissions for all the sites associated to the hub.  The good news is this feature must be manually enabled, and both the hub owner and the associated site owners choose to enable it. What’s your opinion?

Upgrade your applications to use Microsoft Graph

Action required by Jun 30, 2022

The future of Microsoft APIs is here – Microsoft Graph, the one stop shop for Microsoft APIs. It is time to start planning for upgrades as Microsoft is no longer adding new features to Azure AD Graph and starting June 30th, 2022 will no longer provide any technical support or security updates. Instead, they are throwing everything they have into Microsoft Graph. Supporting APIs that are currently available in Azure AD Graph API are now available in Microsoft Graph along with many new Azure AD data sets and features.

To update your applications to use Microsoft Graph, check out migrate Azure AD Graph apps to Microsoft Graph guide.

To learn more, review the Update your applications to use Microsoft Authentication Library and Microsoft Graph API blog post.

As always, there are more changes coming, so be sure to check out the Tech Community Blogs and the Microsoft 365 Roadmap for more of what’s new.