What’s new in Office 365? July/August 2017

Last month we brought you some of the latest additions to Office 365, including the public preview of Forms, enhanced security and ‘classroom experiences’ within Teams – read the blog.

July was filled with even more announcements, product updates and additions thanks to Microsoft Inspire. The announcement of Microsoft 365 stole the headlines and shook the technology sector. Here’s our roundup of the latest in Office 365.

Microsoft 365

This was one of the biggest announcements of Microsoft Inspire. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella unveiled Microsoft 365 in the opening keynote to much fanfare. It was announced that Microsoft 365 will bring together Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security to “deliver a complete, intelligent and secure solution to empower employees”. Many have considered Microsoft 365 as a rebrand of Office 365, but it’s more accurate to describe it as a package that includes Office 365 within it.

Microsoft 365 is available in two different packages to suit the needs of your business: Microsoft 365 Enterprise for large businesses, and Microsoft 365 Business for small to medium organisations (defined as having under 300 users).

We’ll be delving deeper into Microsoft 365 in a further blog, so watch this space. In the meantime, see our early announcement of Microsoft 365 direct from Microsoft Inspire and take a look at our Inspire videos.

New Office 365 applications for small businesses

Another Microsoft Inspire announcement was the introduction of 3 new Office 365 Business Premium apps: Connections, Listings and Invoicing. These applications are aimed at small businesses and offer email marketing (Connections), online presence management (Listings) and simple invoicing capabilities (Invoicing). You can read about these applications in more detail on our dedicated blog.

An improved StaffHub

Launched in January, StaffHub is designed to help frontline workers, for example receptionists and servers in the service industry, “access and share information important for the workday”. Primarily this involved managing schedules and shifts, streamlining the process of managing team shift schedules. Employees can view their shift information and swap shifts easily in the mobile app. Employers are also able to share information and important announcements to all staff or individual employees.

Microsoft has further improved StaffHub by allowing team members to manage tasks from colleagues and managers, with the ability to assign, track and tick off completed tasks. Announcements are also improved, with managers able to disseminate company-wide information at the click of a button (or tap on the touchscreen).

Taking PowerApps to the next level

PowerApps, which offers users the ability to create custom forms and mobile apps, is one of the most ground-breaking tools in the Office 365 suite. Microsoft has significantly improved PowerApps in the past month, with the ability to work offline; this means that apps can cache and save data even when offline, so the user is no longer reliant on an internet connection. The data can then write back to SharePoint once the connection is restored.

Users are able to build more complex tables and forms, with new functionalities supporting multi-column forms and displaying tables of data. Customers can also embed Power BI directly within PowerApps to build analytics and visual representations of the data captured. To find out more about the full list of updates to PowerApps, visit Microsoft’s PowerApps blog.

Do more with Microsoft Flow

The inclusion of Microsoft Flow in Office 365 is revolutionary, given the fact that automation tools were once seen as the domain of large enterprises. Flow can automate tasks from the simple to the complicated and connects with over 150 systems and applications.

Users can now more effectively manage their flow lifecycles, with the ability to import and export solutions from test to live environments, giving administrators the ability to roll out tested solutions to the business easily.

Greater integration into sister Office 365 applications means flows can now be triggered directly from document libraries and lists within SharePoint and folders in OneDrive for Business. Your flows can now also collect additional information; a document approval flow can ask and identify if the approval is high priority, or request additional comments on a document that requires feedback.

Connectors have improved both for users and partners; customers can see the options available with a connector, for example MailChimp, by clicking on it. Meanwhile, partners are now able to build a connector to their service directly within Microsoft Flow. For the full suite of updates take a look at the Microsoft Flow blog.