April 2021 Digital Workplace Roadmap Review | Quisitive

Happy Spring! Microsoft is bringing us quite a few fun and interesting feature updates for April 2021.  Here are my top Modern Workplace items of interest this month.

SharePoint Spaces

Updated Rollout Timeline – Action Required by June 1, 2021

SharePoint spaces allows the creation and sharing of immersive or browser-based mixed reality environments using assets such as 3D models, 360° images and videos, and 2D content such as videos, images, and office documents. In October 2020 (MC224942), SharePoint spaces became generally available.

Microsoft will be including spaces in the site level +New menu by default.

Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 67135

SharePoint + PowerBI

In the May – June timeframe you’ll begin to see an additional option in the SharePoint List Ribbon for Integrate – PowerBI.

This will make it easy to quickly create business intelligence reports in Power BI using your list schema and data.

Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 72175.

List users will see a new menu option in Integrate Power BI > Visualize this list, which allows users to create a new Power BI report using that list. With just one click, you’ll be able to autogenerate a basic report and customize the list columns that are shown in the report. To take further advantage of Power BI’s advanced data visualization capabilities, just go into Edit mode. Once a report is saved and published, it will appear in the same submenu under Integrate> Power BI.

Users with a Microsoft 365 E5 license or Power BI Pro license will have access to the full report authoring and viewing experience. Users without either of the above licenses will be prompted by Power BI to sign up for a 60-day free trial of Power BI Pro when they attempt to save a new report or edit or view an existing report. To turn off self-service sign-up so that the option for a trial is not exposed to List users, click here. Users with a Power BI free license may only visualize their list data, but cannot publish nor view reports.

What you need to do to prepare


Customized backgrounds for Teams coming to mobile devices

If you have enabled this feature for Teams desktop apps, users will be able blur their background in a video meeting or call or replace the background with an image.

This message is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 82234

When this will happen

How this will affect your organization

Users will be able to add backgrounds to their meetings and calls on mobile devices; the feature respects the same policies as desktop backgrounds.

What you need to do to prepare

Mobile devices respect the policies that are in place for Teams desktop apps via the VideoFiltersMode parameter.

You might want to notify your users about this new capability and update your training and documentation as appropriate.

Allowing anonymous presenters in Teams Live Events

Your meeting organizers will now be able to schedule an anonymous presenter for a Teams live event when using the Teams desktop app.

Meeting organizers will indicate when scheduling the live event that they expect an anonymous presenter. This must be managed when scheduling the meeting.

The anonymous presenter must also use the Teams desktop app.

What you need to do to prepare

This feature is available to tenants with licenses for Teams Live events at no additional charge.

You might want to notify your users about this new capability and update your training and documentation as appropriate.

REMINDER: Microsoft Edge to replace Microsoft Edge Legacy with the April Windows 10 Update Tuesday (or “B”) release

As announced in MC237900 (February 2021), Microsoft is replacing the out-of-support Microsoft Edge Legacy application with the new Microsoft Edge as part of the April Windows 10 cumulative monthly security update, also known as the Update Tuesday (or “B”) release.

When this will happen

The April Windows 10 Update Tuesday release will be available starting April 13, 2021.

How this will affect your organization

When you apply this update, the out-of-support Microsoft Edge Legacy desktop application will be removed, and the new Microsoft Edge will be installed.

If you do not set up kiosk mode in the new Microsoft Edge prior to applying the April Windows 10 Update Tuesday release, you will experience a disruption in your kiosk scenarios because Microsoft Edge Legacy and its kiosk mode will no longer be available.

What you need to do to prepare

If you already have the new Microsoft Edge on your device(s), and have set up any needed kiosk scenarios, no action is needed.

Learn more

Additional information:

Microsoft Teams: introducing organization-wide backgrounds (preview)

Currently, your end users can replace the background in a video meeting or call with an image, if you have enabled this feature for Teams desktop apps and Teams on the web.

Microsoft is introducing, via a preview feature, the ability for you to provide backgrounds that end users have access to across the organization.

This feature will require an Advanced Communications license when it becomes generally available in July. If users do not have an Advanced Communications license, any organization backgrounds applied during the preview will no longer be available.

When this will happen

Rollout begins late April and should be complete late May.

How this will affect your organization

Once this feature is in preview, anyone within your organization can view these backgrounds and apply them across calls and meetings via the new background settings panel.

While the feature is in preview, users will be able to view these images in a new background settings panel accessed from the  options link in the meeting controls, and then apply an image across calls and meetings.

During a meeting or call, users can access Apply background effects from the  options link in the meeting controls. Before joining a meeting, users can select Background filters below the video image.

What you need to do to prepare

You can upload images in Teams admin center for use in your tenant.

Images can be either PNG or JPG format; they should be no smaller than 360x360px and no larger than 2048x2048px. You can host up to 50 images in your tenant.

SharePoint Site Templates

This new SharePoint release of scenario-based site templates will help you expand what’s possible with content, pages, and web parts while helping you quickly get started building your own site. Each template contains pre-populated content and web parts that are fully customizable to meet the needs of your organization. This is rolling out on SharePoint Online and mobile.

This message is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 70574.

When this will happen

Targeted Releases (selected users and organizations): rolling out from late April to mid-May.

Standard Release: rolling out from mid-May to late June.

How this will affect your organization

Users will be able to benefit from the ability to browse, preview, and apply site templates to a new or existing SharePoint site. Users can select a site template that meets organizational business objectives and best fits the site goal while ensuring a higher level of consistency throughout their organization. They can then review pre-populated content and customize the site to address their needs. This feature is default on with no admin control.

To apply a template to an existing site: Users can choose to browse site templates and can apply a template to an existing site at any time by accessing the template gallery from Site Settings and then Apply a site template.

To apply a template to a new site: If a site owner is visiting their new site for the first time, they may see a message asking if they want to use a template that will take them to the template gallery.

Available scenario-based site templates:

Communication site templates:

Team site templates:

For tips on improving and customizing your site, review the SharePoint Next steps panel.

Note: For changes to the existing site designs feature, be sure to review the From your organization section here.

What you need to do to prepare

Share this template guide with end-users: Learn how to apply and customize SharePoint site templates.

For admins using custom site templates (previously known as site designs and sometimes called third-party templates) review learn how to create a custom site template and site script.

(Updated) Announcing Tenant-level Organizational Theme Capabilities for Global Admins

Message Summary

Updated April 02, 2021: We have updated the post for clarity. Additionally, we have updated the rollout timeline below. Thank you for your patience.

Organizational Theme provides you the ability to define multiple themes within your organization, from the Microsoft 365 global admin center, using Microsoft 365 Groups. Each theme can be further customized by specifying mobile-specific and alternate dark mode logo experiences.

Key points

How this will affect your organization

Previously, you could only set a default theme which applied to everyone within your organization. Organizational Theme gives you the ability to create up to five custom themes for your tenant where each theme can be assigned to a specific Microsoft 365 group. Additionally Organizational Theme introduces support for:

Users will continue to have the same theme experience as before if you make no further changes. If an organizational theme has already been defined, it will now show up as the default theme. Editing the default theme or adding a new custom theme now provides the capability to specify up to four separate logos optimized for alternate and mobile scenarios.

Note: It is important to remember that the navigation bar background image will be retired and the ability to upload a new background image will no longer be supported. Upon saving any modifications made to a new custom theme, the background image will be permanently removed and users will no longer be able to see it.

What do you need to do to prepare

We will be updating this Message Center post with further instructional information in a help article for admins to follow in order to set up custom themes that can be assigned to specific Microsoft 365 groups around mid-March.

Each custom theme may be assigned to up to five separate Microsoft 365 groups (for more information on how to create a Microsoft 365 group, view this resource).

SharePoint Auto News Digest updates

You may already know about and use the SharePoint automatic news digest, which is sent to users with news that is relevant to them. Microsoft is adding new features to enhance the experience:

This message is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID: 70606

When this will happen

We will gradually roll out these updates to targeted release customers starting in mid April, and will complete the rollout to all customers by the end of June

How this will affect your organization

Users who already receive the existing automatic news digest will start receiving this updated version.