Why You Should Use Microsoft Viva Topics | Quisitive

Summary: In this blog, I will explore common challenges to knowledge management, knowledge sharing and employee collaboration in organizations today and how Microsoft Viva Topics can mitigate these issues with the help of AI and machine learning.

The Challenge

It shouldn’t be a surprise to any of us now that the workplace has changed, is changing and will continue to change as both society and technology evolve. Workers that stay with one organization for years, acquire knowledge about the business, and then pass on that knowledge through personal associations and long-term relationships are becoming the exception rather than the rule.

It’s not just that people don’t stay at one organization as long, but that people also change jobs within organizations to meet changing business needs and keep up with technological changes. Teams are also spread out geographically more than ever before, making it challenging to get together and learn or ask for help.

These new realities of our workplace make it particularly challenging to build, document, update and share up-to-date domain knowledge in many areas. Let’s talk about how Microsoft Viva Topics can help address these challenges.

What is Microsoft Viva Topics and How Can it Help?

Microsoft Viva Topics is a knowledge management tool built upon years of work around Content Search and Machine Learning algorithms that helps organizations manage and surface relevant information for employees. This information can include definitions of documents, videos, images, meetings, audio transcripts, and people involved with or related to specific programs, products or subjects.

Common business use cases for Microsoft Viva Topics include:

Knowledge Management

The creation of Topics pages helps organizations centralize and categorize information, making it easier for employees to find and access relevant information. In the past, organizations have used shared folders, formal product and program guides, training manuals, and even “tribal” or institutional knowledge to collect this information. Creating these resources is a time-consuming process for the people in your organization that usually have the least time to spare: your experts.

Microsoft Viva Topics helps by using AI capabilities to read all content and organize it based on contextual connections, creating “Topics” pages that can then be reviewed, approved, refined and curated by experts. These are built quickly by machines, saving time and effort.

Microsoft Viva Topics Screenshot 1: Topic Page
Microsoft Viva Topics Screenshot 2: Topics Active in a teams chat based on using a Topic hashtag in chat

Information is linked to creation topics, enhancing search capabilities within Microsoft Teams and other M365 services like SharePoint online. This improves search and makes it easier for employees to find the information they need. The search results are also more rewarding because the search feature offers the capability to provide “micro-learning” opportunities in the user’s flow of work.

Viva Topics doesn’t just collect relevant documents; it also supplies definitions and connects users to the people and other Topics related to the Topic they are viewing to help them understand the context.

Employee Onboarding

Organized and consolidated repositories of knowledge and experience as well as relationships between knowledge centers can be used to give new employees access to relevant information, helping to streamline the onboarding process. Topics can be linked to specific roles in an organization and links to Topics can be embedded into emails, IM’s, training plans and many other tools to ensure that new employees have what they need to get started quickly.

Microsoft Viva Topics Screenshot 2: Knowledge Center Example
Microsoft Viva Topics Screenshot 4: Viva Topics created map of relationships between different topics

Cross-functional Collaboration

Relationships between Topics discovered during the Topic creation process enhances the team’s ability to collaborate on projects and initiatives by making them aware of opportunities to share information, documents, and best practices.

Microsoft Viva Topics can uncover relationships between programs or products that may not be clear to the organization by connecting people and content with shared context.

Personalized Learning

Individual learning can be enhanced as Topics can provide employees with personalized recommendations for learning and development resources based on their interests and job responsibilities.

Knowledge Sharing

The ability to edit and enhance Topic Pages makes it easy for employees to share their knowledge and expertise with others in the organization, promoting a culture of continuous learning and improvement. This knowledge can be shared in many ways using the communication tools available in M365, Teams, Office, Outlook SharePoint, Viva Connect and Adaptive Cards.

Policy and Procedure Management

Published Topics can be used to manage and distribute policies, procedures, and other important organizational information.

Microsoft Viva Topics Screenshot 5

Turning content into knowledge

Most AI (Artificial Intelligence) models are trained from a generic, open-source set of parameters. Using these models effectively within your organization often involves teaching them, or tuning the “taught” model, about your specific domain of expertise. Viva Topics and tools like Microsoft Syntex can be used to organize and categorize or label information used to tune ChatGPT or any other AI-powered digital assistant.

By creating topics and subtopics, Viva Topics can help structure and categorize the organization-specific information that ChatGPT has access to, making it easier for users to find the information they need and easier to tailor a general GPT model to your specific organization. Additionally, Viva Topics can help ensure that information is up-to-date and correct by enabling organizations to manage the information and content that ChatGPT provides.

Why You Should Use Microsoft Viva Topics

The short answer to the question “Why should you use Viva Topics?” is that it makes the very difficult job of knowledge management much easier by having a well-built AI algorithm do much of the heavy lifting.

In the next section, we’ll talk about some of the activities humans need to do.

Deploying Microsoft Viva Topics

Deploying Viva Topics isn’t without its challenges, the AI doesn’t do all the work for you however, it gets much of the heavy lifting done when it comes to getting past the traditional documentation problem of the “blank page” by preparing Topics to review and edit. Actual Topics prepared for our own organization and our customers by the AI have been consistently correct and have needed minimal edits prior to publication. Things to think about when deploying Viva Topics include:




Looking for additional assistance with Microsoft Viva?

Empowering employees via training has always been an important part of running a good business. However, we’ve seen new challenges in this space in recent years.

One of the major challenges that have emerged is that many employees now work outside of the office in a hybrid or remote system. In the pre-pandemic world, training was often handled in person where we would schedule a time for employees to sit in a room with trainers who would lead them through updates on critical applications and how to use them correctly.

With remote and hybrid work, however, this has turned into video training sessions where, for example, we invite users into a Teams meeting, and the trainer leads them via a screen share. We record the sessions and make them available to users afterward in case someone missed the training session or needs to refresh themselves. 

Our experience over the past couple of years has shown us that training effectiveness has gone down while our expectations of employee skills have increased. Enter Viva Learning.

Microsoft Viva Learning Logo - for empowering employees to learn

Viva Learning is not going to replace your current LMS (Learning Management System), but it can make it easier to empower your employees to find relevant training and gain access to it. It is embedded into Microsoft Teams and allows users to search a training catalog comprised of Microsoft Learn, Microsoft 365 Training, and a selection of LinkedIn Learning courses (the top 125 most popular). Your employees can search for key training terms and find courses related to that topic.

empowering employees to learn - Image of home screen

They can then save those courses to take later, and they can share courses that they have found with other employees in your organization. This makes it easy for employees to share training with each other.

 Screenshot of sharing a training with another employee in Viva Learning

Extending Your Learning Investment

When you use Viva Learning in your organization, you extend the reach of your current training by making it easily searchable and easy to find and share. Viva Learning already interfaces with an ever-growing list of LMS services, and you can even use SharePoint as a service to host internally developed training or work with a partner like Quisitive to create an interface to your system.

empowering employees to learn - list of LMS services that Microsoft Viva can integrate with such as skillsoft, LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, PluralSight, EdX, Corenerstone, Udemy, SAP and more
This image was sourced from the Microsoft website.

How Do I Get Viva Learning?

The good news is that if you already own Microsoft 365, then you have access to Viva Learning today.  You will be able to add the application to Microsoft Teams and then your employees will be able to access Microsoft Learning, Microsoft 365 Training, and the top 125 LinkedIn Learning courses.  They can share and create Learning Tabs in Microsoft Teams to provide contextual learning to a specific Teams Workspace.

Screenshot: Set up access to Viva Learning from a Teams Environment to further empower your employees

But Wait, For the Low, Low Price of… Free

The base level of Viva Learning is useful, and it is included in your Microsoft 365 licenses.  Viva Learning starts to shine when you upgrade to the premium version.  When you do, you can connect your LMS to Viva Learning and employees can search the catalog of courses available to them in that and other providers.  You can also recommend courses to users and when they complete them in Viva Learning, the system will report the completion back to your LMS.  Lastly, you will be able to have learning content surface in searches from Bing.com, Office, and SharePoint. 

You can purchase Viva Learning by itself for $4/user per month, or as part of the Viva Suite (which includes Viva Connections, Viva Engage, Viva Goals, Viva Insights, and Viva Topics for a combined price of $9/user per month.  You can find out the latest on Viva Learning including the latest prices by going to Microsoft’s Viva Learning site

Looking for additional assistance with Microsoft Viva?

What is Microsoft Ignite? 

Microsoft Ignite event is a yearly technology conference for IT pros and developers hosted by Microsoft. Typically, the company announces new developments in the Microsoft world and the latest updates to the existing apps and software.

Microsoft Ignite 2022 is over and we want to share some important updates and announcements from this event.

Re-Introducing Microsoft 365 – Begins Rolling out November 2022

New Microsoft 365 App – Will showcase the value of M365 in one place and it works for web, windows and mobile.  It is an evolution of the work started with the Office app, and showcases the value of M 365 in one place.

It’s a secure, integrated, experience built on the Microsoft Graph that brings together all your documents, files, contacts, meetings, and more—with intelligent, Graph-powered recommendations personalized for you.

Provides innovative new features to enhance the experience, including:

As before it will also:

See M365 App Video Here

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams Premium – available in preview December 2022

This new offering makes every meeting from one-on-ones to large meetings, to virtual appointments to webinars more personalized, intelligent, and secure.

Meeting Guides – help you to automatically create the experience that’s right for your meeting. The guide is easily customized and managed by IT. You can select a meeting guide—like a client call, brainstorming meeting, or help desk call—and the options will already be set, reducing the time and thought process around getting the meeting right. And with guides, leaders can rest assured that that meetings adhere to company best practices and policies.

Customized meeting branding: Into the meeting lobby and create custom backgrounds and together modes for employees to enjoy and IT to manage, to never compromise your brand.

Microsoft Teams Phone Mobile – generally available

An enterprise-grade mobile calling experience offered in partnership with some of the world’s most innovative telecom operators. With Teams Phone Mobile, Microsoft Teams is integrated with a user’s mobile device native dialler, meaning that people can use their mobile phones the way they are accustomed to while the organization can enable business calling features and policies on these mobile devices.

The solution delivers cellular network quality of service to Teams communications, while allowing customers to enforce business policies, reduce costs, and improve the user experience for the growing mobile workforce.

User benefits include:

Mesh avatars in Microsoft Teams – private preview (Technology Adoption Program customers)

This is one of the first steps to enabling metaverse experiences for customers.

With Mesh avatars, employees will be able to connect with presence in Microsoft Teams meetings without turning their camera on. They can represent themselves the way they want to show up by choosing the avatar fits their specific meeting— from casual, professional, or day-to-day.

There are two ways to access the Mesh avatar builder in Microsoft Teams: add the app from the Teams home screen or access the builder from within a Teams meeting.

Mesh avatars in Microsoft Teams

New Teams Meeting Features

Several new features for Microsoft Teams Meetings increase the engagement and interactivity levels for users and include:

New Teams Meeting Features - Cameo in PPT

New Teams channel and chat features

Microsoft is improving the design of the Teams channels experience to feel both familiar and modern. The channels experience will be more intuitive and engaging, enabling users to easily focus on topics and conversations that matter most, while staying in the flow of their work.

New chat features coming to Microsoft Teams include:

New Teams channel and chat features

Cisco is now a Teams Rooms Certified Devices partner

For the first time, Microsoft Teams Meetings will be available natively across certified Cisco meeting devices, enabling customers to configure Teams as the default meeting experience. Initially, six of Cisco’s most popular meeting devices and three peripherals will be certified for Teams meetings, with more to come. All certified Cisco devices will be manageable in the new Teams Rooms Pro Management Portal.

Learn more about Cisco and Teams

Microsoft Viva

Viva Insights

New features in Microsoft Viva Insights help employees, managers, and leaders improve personal, team, and organizational productivity and well-being. The updates, now generally available, include meeting effectiveness surveys, access to schedule send suggestions, the new Focus mode experience, and Quiet Time settings.

Viva Learning

Several new features, now in private preview in Microsoft Viva Learning, include learning paths, learning collections, and permissions. Viva Learning is also now more discoverable with the ability to view assigned learning directly from the Viva Connections dashboard and in the daily Viva email. New features in the Viva Learning mobile app include a new home page, notifications for assigned and recommended training, the ability to complete learning courses within the app, and the ability to search and filter through catalogs of connected learning providers.

Viva Goals

New integrations in Viva Goals bring goals into the flow of work. These include an enhanced Microsoft Teams app to check in and collaborate on objectives and key results (OKRs) within the Teams activity feed, an extension in Azure DevOps to complete work items, a connection to Power BI datasets to track key performance indicators (KPIs) and key results, and integrations with Microsoft Planner and Microsoft Project for automatic project management updates. In addition, new third-party integrations for Microsoft Viva Goals bring purpose and OKRs into the flow of work. New Slack and Google Sheets integrations are available today with additional integrations for Jira on-premises coming soon.

Viva Engage

This feature brings people together through digital communities, virtual events, rich conversation tools and a new feature called Leadership Corner.  This is a space for leaders to encourage open dialog and feedback across communities and teams through news, Ask Me Anything (AMA) events, surveys and more. Leaders can build, promote, and launch these activities all from one place, and use intuitive dashboards to track metrics and employee sentiment in real time.

Microsoft Viva Engage

Viva Pulse

Viva Pulse is a new app that empowers managers and team leads to seek regular and confidential feedback about their team’s experience, right in the flow of work in Teams. Using smart templates, research-backed questions, and analytics, Viva Pulse enables teams to use their voice to help managers pinpoint what’s working well and where to focus.

Microsoft Viva Pulse

Viva Amplify

Viva Amplify is a new app that empowers employee communication teams and leaders to elevate their message and energize their people. The app centralizes communication processes in a single space and offers writing guidance to help messages from every part of the organization – leaders, corporate communications, and human resources (HR) – resonate with employees.

Viva Topics

Microsoft Viva Topics applies intelligence to automatically organize content across systems and identify experts within the organization to deliver just-in-time knowledge in the apps people use every day. New features in Viva Topics, now in preview, and new ways to discover knowledge in Microsoft 365 include:

Microsoft Syntex

A new set of content apps and services that use artificial intelligence (AI) to index and organize large quantities of unstructured content so it can be easily searched and analyzed. Syntex can also automate content-based workflows, such as contract processing and e-signature.

It integrates Microsoft Search capabilities to make it easy for people to navigate and discover content.  No upfront cost, pay as you go, available to Microsoft 365 commercial.

Key functionality includes:

Syntex will let you save, share, and manage queries for you and your teams.

Learn more about Microsoft Syntex.

Microsoft Loop App (Private Preview)

The Microsoft Loop app, in private preview, will help teams to think, plan, and create together. It features workspaces, pages, and components that sync across Microsoft 365. Customers can use the Loop app to work on projects collaboratively. Microsoft will be working with customers in private preview to incorporate their feedback as it continues developing the app. Microsoft is expanding Loop components to additional places across Microsoft 365 and is bringing more component types to ensure users can create and work together.

Learn more about Loop

Microsoft Places – Available in 2023

Microsoft Places is a new workplace app to optimize spaces for hybrid work. As business decision-makers consider redesigning physical workspaces to better accommodate hybrid work environments, technology will be needed to form the bridge across two historically different worlds – in-person and remote work.

Microsoft Places will use intelligence to optimize where work happens in hybrid work: connecting virtual and physical spaces to drive increased connections, engagement, and productivity while providing the holistic picture of hybrid work that’s missing today. Introducing Microsoft Places: Turn your spaces into places | Microsoft 365 Blog

Microsoft Places will be integrated with the Microsoft 365 solutions customers use every day, like Outlook, Teams, and Viva. It will leverage and enhance the rich set of data available on the Microsoft Graph, combining people and place signals.

All the data collection on the Microsoft Graph and Microsoft Places platform adheres to our stringent privacy standards. Users will know what data is collected and be able to opt in and out, and information will show trends without singling out individuals.

Windows 365 Announcements

Windows 365 App

Provides a direct path to Win 365  from the taskbar or start menu with a personal, customized experience that can be tailored to each user. With Windows 365 app, you can access your Windows 365 Cloud PC from the taskbar or the Start menu, enjoying a full Windows 11 experience while moving between your local and Cloud PCs. Supported by all Windows 11 devices, the app delivers high-performing and reliable experiences optimized for Microsoft Teams and your other Microsoft 365 apps.

The Windows 365 app offers key value-adds, including:

With these value-adds in mind, we think customers ultimately will prefer using the Windows 365 app to using the Remote Desktop client.

Windows 365 Government

A new offering for Government Community Cloud and Government Community Cloud High organizations enables U.S. government contractors – and the local, state and federal customers they support – to securely stream their Windows apps, data, content and settings from the Microsoft Cloud to any device, at any time. Windows 365 Government is now generally available.

With Windows 365 Government, Cloud PCs are provisioned within a US government data center. Customers that also have Cloud PCs in the commercial cloud will recognize the same experience in the Government Community Cloud (GCC environment) including familiar tools and provisioning policy configuration.  Customers using both Commercial and GCC environments can also use the same identity and credentials.

Updates to Microsoft Viva Engage

Inside Microsoft Viva Engage, Microsoft has made available Storyline in Public Preview. See the announcement here.

Storyline is a new way for people to share, connect, and contribute to their organization through Yammer and the Microsoft Viva Engage app. Previously, the only way to share broadly through Yammer was through communities, but communities aren’t always a perfect fit for what people want to share. In some cases, there may not be a community that matches the subject the person wants to discuss. In other cases, the community’s audience may be too broad, or not broad enough. Enter Storyline…

Storyline posts are posts to your followers and other interested people from within your organization. People interested in knowing what you have shared can go to your profile page in Yammer to view your storyline feed. Once there, they can choose to follow you and select through which clients, Teams and/or email, they want to be notified of new storyline posts. Because only people who follow you, and those who you @mention, will be notified when you make a new storyline post, you don’t need to worry about spamming people who aren’t interested in what you are sharing.

Updates to Microsoft Viva Topics in Teams

Microsoft has updated the rollout timeline for Viva Topics in Teams.

Viva Topics in Teams allows users to mention topics in their chat conversations so that others in the conversation can easily learn more about a topic by hovering over the topic name and viewing the topic card. This feature requires users to have a Viva Topics license.

This message is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 72189

When this will happen:

How this will affect your organization:

If your organization has users with Viva Topics licenses, those users will be able to mention topics by typing the # character and choosing a topic from the topic picker. The topic picker will narrow selections based on what the user types. Once a topic is selected, users can post the message.

What you need to do to prepare:

There is nothing you need to do to prepare for this change. The topics being displayed will be the same topics that are shown in Outlook Web and SharePoint.

Looking for assistance with Microsoft Viva?

Contact us to get in touch with one of our experts.

It’s be beginning of fall!  There are some important updates for you to prepare for this month.  In keeping with a topic we’ve been trying to keep top of mind for the last few months, Basic Authentication Deprecation in Exchange Online will happen October 1st.  Here is a great blog post from the Exchange team to read about this change and make sure your organization is prepared.

On to some other great updates you will see in your tenants soon…

Microsoft Teams

Schedule Send for Teams Chat

As remote teams become more common and spread across multiple time zones, Teams is introducing the schedule send feature that allows users to schedule chat messages to be delivered in the future. With this feature, we can help build better work-life balance and support flexible schedules by scheduling chat messages so that they only deliver during our peer’s work hours. Users can schedule messages to be delivered both on desktop and mobile. Additionally, all scheduled messages can be edit and delete before they are delivered.

This message is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 88281

When this will happen:

Production: will begin rolling out in late September and we are expected to complete roll out by mid October.

How this will affect your organization:

All users within your organization will be allowed to schedule chat messages. All scheduled messages can only be delivered no more than 7 days in the future and cannot be flagged as urgent or important. Inline images and attached files will only be accessible by others in the chat once the message has been delivered.

Video Clips in Teams Chat

Video Clips are a new way of working and connecting with coworkers using short video in Teams. Users can capture, send, and playback video messages in Chat on all Teams endpoints. Recording limited to 1min across all platforms.

This message is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 97158

When this will happen:

Preview: We will begin rolling out mid-September and complete by late September.

GA: We will begin rolling out late September and complete by early October.

How this will affect your organization:

Teams users can start using the feature.

The feature is enabled by default and can be configured through Messaging policies.

What you need to do to prepare:

Try out the feature and share it with your colleagues. Admins can disable this feature via the Teams Admin center.

Additional information

Automatically view up to 49 videos (7×7) in Teams meeting

Microsoft Teams Meetings currently supports a maximum of 9 videos (3×3) on the screen by default (in Gallery view). For seeing more than 9 videos, user needs to manually select the ‘Large Gallery’ view. With this update, users will be able to automatically see up to 49 videos (7×7) on their screen by default without an explicit action. However, Large Gallery view will still continue to exist as an option.

The actual number of videos seen by a user in Gallery will depend on:

Please note: This enhancement will be supported on devices that meet hardware requirements (CPU, memory etc.). Detailed information regarding hardware requirements will be shared by Sep 22, 2022 (before GA release).

This message is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 86435.


When this will happen:

Public preview: Will begin rolling out early September.

Worldwide & GCC: Will begin rolling out in late September and complete in early October.

How this will affect your organization:

No explicit user action is needed to enable or use this feature.

What you need to do to prepare:

You may update your user documentation to inform users about this change.

first look at viva topics blog

Viva Engage

Inside Viva Engage, Microsoft has made available Storyline in Public Preview  See the announcement here.

Storyline is a new way for people to share, connect, and contribute to their organization through Yammer and the Viva Engage app. Previously, the only way to share broadly through Yammer was through communities, but communities aren’t always a perfect fit for what people want to share. In some cases, there may not be a community that matches the subject the person wants to discuss. In other cases, the community’s audience may be too broad, or not broad enough. Enter storyline…

Storyline posts are posts to your followers and other interested people from within your organization. People interested in knowing what you have shared can go to your profile page in Yammer to view your storyline feed. Once there, they can choose to follow you and select through which clients, Teams and/or email, they want to be notified of new storyline posts. Because only people who follow you, and those who you @mention, will be notified when you make a new storyline post, you don’t need to worry about spamming people who aren’t interested in what you are sharing.

(Updated) Viva Topics in Teams

Microsoft has updated the rollout timeline for Viva Topics in Teams

Viva Topics in Teams allows users to mention topics in their chat conversations so that others in the conversation can easily learn more about a topic by hovering over the topic name and viewing the topic card. This feature requires users to have a Viva Topics license.

This message is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 72189

When this will happen:

How this will affect your organization:

If your organization has users with Viva Topics licenses, those users will be able to mention topics by typing the # character and choosing a topic from the topic picker. The topic picker will narrow selections based on what the user types. Once a topic is selected, users can post the message.

What you need to do to prepare:

There is nothing you need to do to prepare for this change. The topics being displayed will be the same topics that are shown in Outlook Web and SharePoint.

SharePoint Logo
SharePoint Online

SharePoint admin center: Updates for site creation settings

With this update you will have more control over whether users can create sites in your organization. We are introducing an additional layer of control that will provide more granular decisions over what mechanisms sites can be created from by users.

This message is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 93427

When this will happen:

Targeted Release: This will begin rolling out in early September.

Standard: will begin rolling out in late-September and complete in early October.

site creation

How this will affect your organization:

When configuring the site creation settings, you will have a new option to control creation of sites in addition to the current option of showing the option to create sites. This appears in the site creation settings panel within the SharePoint admin center.

What you need to do to prepare:

You do not need to do anything to prepare. Your changes to any other options in the Site creation panel won’t be affected.

Learn more:

Manage site creation in SharePoint

It’s August, time for summer to be on its way out and fall preparations to begin.  This month we have a lot of exciting announcements in the Modern Work realm! Take a look below for the latest Microsoft 365 Roadmap updates:

SharePoint Logo

(Updated) Private drafts for SharePoint pages and news

This update will roll out to Targeted Release customers starting early August and to all customers by mid-September.

Microsoft is adding the ability to create private drafts for pages and news posts. A private draft is visible only to the page author, the people the author chooses to share it with, and site admins. It’s great for creating and editing content that’s not ready for others to see except the people you want to collaborate with. See more from Microsoft support.

Create a private draft command

SharePoint: New Site Templates for Team Sites

Three new teams site templates will be available in August (Targeted Release) and September (Standard Release).

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 select Apply a site template.

Speaking of templates…

(Updated) Select Lists templates include Power Automate flows

Lists ready-made templates are getting a boost. As part of our efforts to evolve Lists and enable more users to take advantage of automations, you now have the option to install pre-created Power Automate flows whenever you create a list from select list templates. The following templates will have reminder flows available to provision after you create your list: Work progress tracker, Content scheduler, and Recruitment tracker.

List creators who create a list from the Work progress tracker template, Content scheduler template, or Recruitment tracker template will see a modal prompting them to install the included Power Automate flow after their list has been created. The reminder flow is an automated flow that runs on a schedule in the background, so it does not appear in the Lists menu.

Users with a Microsoft 365 E3 license, Microsoft E5 license, or Power Automate per-user plan can create and use the reminder flow that is included with select ready-made Lists templates.

Helpful links from Microsoft to help with List templates and Flow creation:

Enforcement of Site Limits for SharePoint Lists, Libraries, and Subsites

SharePoint recommends a maximum of 2,000 lists and libraries per site, and 2,000 subsites per site. These have been long standing limits for SharePoint but have not been formally enforced.  To ensure site performance and help customers have the best possible experience, Microsoft will implement a safeguard to prevent customers from exceeding these limits.

The enforcement of the limits will start in early November and will be completely enforced by late December.

On the API request to create a new list or document library, SharePoint will return the error code, ERROR_SHARING_BUFFER_EXCEEDED on the API request.

Libraries, lists, and subsites that have been created before the enforcement rollout and exceed the corresponding limit, will continue to function and their access will not be blocked. The change will only impact the creation of new lists, libraries or subsites outside the approved limits starting in November. These new additions will get blocked at the time of creation once the site reaches the corresponding limit.

What you need to do to prepare:

Share these limits with people who manage SharePoint sites in your organization. If the sites in your tenant are below the limits, this change will not impact you.

It is uncommon for the organic growth of site to reach these limits. However, there is a possibility that custom solutions can generate a high volume of lists and libraries. In that situation, our recommendation is to work with their solution providers to prepare an alternative solution in order to stay compliant with these limits.

Always refer to the Service Descriptions to get the most up to date limits.

Microsoft Teams

(Updated) Collaborative Annotations on Presenter Shared Screen

Collaborative Annotation helps you collaborate with others while screen sharing in Teams meetings. For example, if you want to ask for feedback on a design or if you’re working with a group on a project, Collaborative Annotation helps you get work done faster and with more voices included.  This feature is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 86732.

Expected rollout depends on tenant type, but should be complete in standard tenants.  See your message center for details.

How this will affect your organization:

During screenshare, meeting attendees with Presenter roles will see the Annotation button in meeting controls at the top-center of their screen.

To turn on Collaborative Annotation while you’re sharing your screen in a meeting, select the pen icon to Start annotation in meeting controls at the top-center of your screen, as shown below:

Note: You must be a Presenter role in a meeting to turn on Collaborative Annotation.

The red outline around the screenshare will turn blue, indicating Collaborative Annotation mode is on. All participants will see the Microsoft Whiteboard toolset at the top of the shared screen, as shown below. Everyone in the meeting can begin annotating right away in real-time.

Collaborative Cursors show the name of every attendee as they annotate and are turned on by default. Collaborative Cursors can be turned off by anyone attending the meeting from the Settings menu in the Collaborative Annotation toolbar.

To control who can annotate, the main Presenter can select Only I can annotate and unselect Everyone can annotate from the Settings menu in the Collaborative Annotation toolbar, as shown below:

To end the annotation session for everyone, select Stop annotation in meeting controls at the top-center area of your screen.

Collaborative Annotation is only available for full-screen sharing, not individual window sharing at this time.

Note: Annotation is powered by Microsoft Whiteboard. If Microsoft Whiteboard is disabled, it will also disable Annotations.

Learn More:

Pre-assign Channel members to Breakout Rooms

Expect to see this in early August and complete in mid-August.  This Breakout Rooms for Channel Meetings feature enables meeting organizers to efficiently pre-assign channel members to Breakout Rooms (both auto and manual) ahead of a channel meeting start.

Please note, that Meetings with Breakout Rooms are limited to 300 participants. If the channel contains more than 300 members, pre-assignment will not be available. Meeting organizers will have the ability to assign participants to Breakout Rooms during the meeting.

For more info about breakout room management, see this article in Microsoft support.

Microsoft Teams: Start a Teams Chat with Distribution Groups, Mail-Enabled Security Groups, and O365 Groups

Expect to see this rollout happening in mid-August through late August.

You will now be able to start a Teams Chat with Distribution Groups, Mail-enabled Security Groups, and O365 Groups. This feature will respect the limits on members in a group chat, currently set to 250 members.

Organizations rely on Distribution Lists (DLs) as a tool to create groups of users that mirror organizational knowledge and workflows. Bringing this awareness to target audiences for specific content will enhance the core Teams experience. Allowing our customers to leverage DLs can increase workflow efficiency and bridge the gap between legacy knowledge of organization structure and a new Teams structure.

first look at viva topics blog

Viva Goals now Generally Available

There is a new Viva offering that is available now.  We had heard that OKRs were going to be included in the Viva Suite some time ago, but now there is an official name:  Viva Goals.  This goal setting framework for Objectives and Key Results, popularized at Google, Intel, and other Fortune 500 companies for alignment it naturally creates between the work teams are doing and an organization’s top business priorities. 

If you have Viva Suite licensing, this is already included in your licensing, but it can also be purchased as an individual SKU.

Viva Goals is available as an application in Microsoft Teams and as a web application. The Viva Goals web application has no prerequisites; customers can purchase and use Viva Goals with the web application without any other Microsoft product or subscription.

A Microsoft Teams product license is a prerequisite to use the Viva Goals application in Teams. Teams can be licensed with Microsoft 365 F1, F3, E3, A3, E5, A5; Office 365 F3, E1, A1, E3, A3, E5, A5; Microsoft 365 Business Basic, Business Standard, Business Premium; or Microsoft SharePoint K, Plan 1, or Plan 2 license.

For pricing details, a comprehensive list of what’s included in your existing subscription, and what’s unlocked with Viva Goals SKU or Viva suite SKU purchase, go to Microsoft Viva Goals. see this page.

For details on how to start rolling out Viva Goals in your tenant, go to our docs page for step-by-step configuration and admin guidance.

Define success by creating OKRs from scratch or using built-in templates

Whether you’re an old hand at OKRs or are using OKRs for the first time, we have features that make OKRs accessible. 

thumbnail image 1 of blog post titled Viva Goals is now generally available!

More information about Viva Goals can be found on Microsoft’s website.

Microsoft has also announced Viva Engage

Viva Engage is an app in Viva built on the foundation of Yammer.  It’s a social app for digital communities, conversations, and self-expression tools that builds on the existing capabilities of the Communities app for Teams and Microsoft 365 to connect employees and empower everybody to contribute and express themselves by meeting people where they are in Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365. And as an integral part of the Microsoft Viva suite, Viva Engage contributes to Viva Connections and Viva Topics and over time will extend community, conversation, and knowledge experiences into other areas of Viva.  See more info about Viva Engage in the announcement from Seth Patton..

thumbnail image 1 of blog post titled Announcing Microsoft Viva Engage

Microsoft Entra Verified ID now generally available

Microsoft announced Entra Verified ID, which provides a faster, more trustworthy way to verify ID with decentralized identity management.

Here’s the announcement from Ankur Patel, who leads Growth for Identity Security at Microsoft.

The vision for Entra is:

Each of us needs a digital identity we own, one which securely and privately stores all its elements.

This self-owned identity must be easy to use and give us complete control over how our identity data is accessed and used.

Read more about Entra Verified ID here.

As we approach October, please remember Exchange Basic Authentication deprecation is coming soon.  

Microsoft is removing the ability to use Basic authentication in Exchange Online for Exchange ActiveSync (EAS), POP, IMAP, Remote PowerShell, Exchange Web Services (EWS), Offline Address Book (OAB), Outlook for Windows, and Mac.

They are also disabling SMTP AUTH in all tenants in which it’s not being used.

This decision requires customers to move from apps that use basic authentication to apps that use Modern authentication. Modern authentication (OAuth 2.0 token-based authorization) has many benefits and improvements that help mitigate the issues in basic authentication. For example, OAuth access tokens have a limited usable lifetime, and are specific to the applications and resources for which they are issued, so they cannot be reused. Enabling and enforcing multifactor authentication (MFA) is also simple with Modern authentication.

When will this change take place?

New Microsoft 365 tenants are created with Basic authentication already turned off as they have Security defaults enabled.

Beginning in early 2021, Microsoft started to disable Basic authentication for existing tenants with no reported usage.

In September 2021, Microsoft announced that effective October 1, 2022, they will begin disabling Basic authentication for Outlook, EWS, RPS, POP, IMAP, and EAS protocols in Exchange Online. SMTP Auth will also be disabled if it is not being used. See full announcement: Basic Authentication and Exchange Online – September 2021 Update.

Apple has responded with an update for their native email app in iOS version 15.6.  More info here.

Happy April! Here are some impactful changes for your Digital Workplace this month

Microsoft Teams logo

Microsoft Teams Shared Channels

Those of us that collaborate in multiple tenants have been eagerly anticipating this feature. Microsoft will be completing the rollout of Shared Channels in early April.  External collaboration is off by default and many organizations intentionally do not collaborate externally, but if you have the need, discuss the possibilities with your Governance Team. Shared Channels enable us to collaborate externally without having to switch organizations.

Team owners who are enrolled in the public preview program will see shared channels as an additional channel type when creating a channel.  You can share the channel with anyone in the tenant (internal users and external users).

Teams Shared Channel

External collaboration in shared channels is powered by Azure AD B2B direct connect, a new way to collaborate with other Azure AD organizations. With B2B Direct connect, there’s no need to add the external user as a guest in your organization. Cross-tenant access policies let admins manage B2B direct connect for their organization. A shared channel can be shared with as many organizations that can be specified in the Azure AD cross-tenant access policy.

You can join shared channels public preview by enrolling in Teams public preview program.

Teams public preview program

If you are already part of Teams public preview program you don’t need to do anything. You

may consider updating your public preview user training; notifying your help desk; and updating your user level policy around shared channel creation.

You can manage shared channels and external collaboration for your organization via the policy managed through the Teams Admin Center or via PowerShell (New-CsTeamsChannelsPolicy).

Presenter modes move and resize options

Presenter modes on Video Based Screen Sharing (VBSS) (Screen or Window sharing) in Meetings enables immersive presentations on Teams meetings merging video and content on the stage. This new feature will allow presenters to decide how they will be shown with respect to the content.

This message is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 88566

When this will happen:

Standard: Microsoft will begin rolling out in early April and expect to complete by late April.

Government: Microsoft will begin rolling out in early May and expect to complete by late June.

How this will affect your organization:

The presenter modes preview window will have new buttons for changing the layout customization. The customizations will remain in case the presenter closes the window.

What you need to do to prepare:

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

SharePoint Logo
SharePoint Online

SharePoint App Bar

If you set the App Bar to be temporarily disabled, then you have an additional reprieve and time to plan – the disablement is now extended until September 30, 2022.  If you didn’t disabled the App Bar, it’s a good idea to start customizing it for a better user experience in SharePoint and Viva Connections.  Here’s some information from Microsoft on customization.

Coming soon to your tenant, if you have not disabled the App Bar, you will see a + sign in the App Bar.  If you’ve disabled self service site creation, then users will not be able to create a site from the + sign, but they will be able to create other SharePoint objects.

This new feature will allow users to create sites, files, and lists from within the SharePoint app bar. Users will be able to select the Create command (the plus sign) on the app bar and then select an option from SharePoint sites, Microsoft Lists, or Office files (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote). As users create each of the different assets included in the panel, they will launch the create experience for each format.

SharePoint:  Updates to channel site layouts and parent site settings

Two updates are coming for the SharePoint sites that get created for every team and private channel in Microsoft Teams. The first update is to simplify the layout for all private channel sites to make them more useful and easier to navigate between the parent site and the associated team. The second update is to adjust the way site theme and navigation is inherited when the Teams-connected sites are added to a hub site.

This message is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 88963

When will this happen:

Targeted release (select users and entire org): will begin rolling out in mid-April and be complete by late April

Standard: will begin rolling out in early May and be complete by late May

How this will affect your organization

The first update improves the layout for channel (private and shared) sites. The new page layout features the News, Documents, Quick links, and Activity web parts. The Quick links webpart displays links to additional guidance for popular tasks that can improve the value of your site.

Microsoft SharePoint dashboard and improved layout

The second update improves the relationship between Teams-connected sites and hub sites. This update streamlines the process of associating Teams-connected sites with hub sites.

With this update:

What you need to do to prepare

You do not need to do anything to prepare for these updates. However, if you currently have private channel sites associated with hub sites, you will need to plan to associate the parent team site with the hub site once this update reaches your tenant.

Learn more:

Microsoft Viva Updates

Microsoft Viva - Insights, Topics, Learning and Connections


Inspiration Library in Microsoft Viva Insights

Inspiration library is a new feature available in preview through the Viva Insights app in Teams. The Inspiration library turns insights into action with access to curated content and best practices from top sources like Harvard Business Review and Thrive. The productivity and well-being insights delivered by Viva Insights are enhanced by premium content focused on driving better employee experiences and boosting engagement.

This will roll out on Android, Mac, Desktop, and iOS.

This message is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 93214

When this will happen:

Preview: will begin rolling out in late March and will be complete by late April.

How this will affect your organization:

Your organization will see a new Inspiration Library tab appear within the Viva Insights Teams app.

This is rolling out default on.

Discover Viva Learning content in SharePoint, Bing and Office.com

With Viva Learning’s integration with Microsoft Search, users in your organization will be able to search for learning opportunities from the search bar in SharePoint, Office.com or Office app as well as the work tab in Bing.

Note: You’ll need a Viva Learning or Viva Suite license to get access to this feature. If you do not have a Viva Learning or Viva suite license, you may safely ignore this message.

When this will happen:

We will begin rolling this out in late March and expect to complete rollout in early April.

How this will affect your organization:

With a Viva Learning or Viva suite license, the feature will be enabled by default for your organization.

What you need to do to prepare:

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

Viva Connections Multilingual Dashboard

You can now create Viva Connections Dashboard in multiple languages.  This is currently in Private Preview, but will become generally available in May 2022.  Here’s how to set up the multilingual experience in Viva Connections

You’ll have the ability enable the multilingual experience and choose languages in site settings.  You can also assign translators.  Any user in your organization’s Active Directory can be assigned as a translator and that user will be provided with the appropriate permissions.

Viva Topics – exclude sites and files from topic discovery

Updated – rollout timeline –  Exclude sites and files from topic discovery based on applied sensitivity labels

Microsoft will begin rolling out early April (previously mid-March) and expect to complete by late April (previously mid-April).

This release will enable you to select sensitivity labels that exclude SharePoint sites and files from topic discovery. Once this new configuration is saved, sites and files with the selected labels will no longer be included as part of the discovered list of files for an AI-suggested topic. Any description or alternate names extracted from those files will also be removed from the AI-suggested topic.

Once this setting is applied, topics that once contained files with selected labels will now be excluded.

It’s March 2022!  We have some great updates this month for you to consider in your Governance and User Adoption Plans as well as share with your Admins so they can prepare for new functionality.

Microsoft Teams

(Updated) Connected Templates

Microsoft is announcing the upcoming release of Connected Templates with Microsoft Teams and SharePoint. The connected templates will offer a new way of combining Microsoft Teams templates with SharePoint templates. Prior to this integration, clients needed to deploy Microsoft Teams or SharePoint-specific templates.

Through this integration, Teams administrators can create templates that include SharePoint components, bringing together the capabilities of the Teams and SharePoint templates.

This rollout should be complete by mid-March.

Today, when you create a team through “create a team from templates’ you get an automatically created SharePoint site that supports that template. We are adding SharePoint assets to the team you have just created with this new integration. In essence, all SharePoint applications that are associated with the new template will be automatically added, pinned, and displayed in this new team template.

Manage a Project
Manage a Project template

Workflows in Teams app store for messaging

Workflows lets you automate repetitive tasks and processes using Power Automate. Workflows can save you time and effort. Teams users will be able to browse, add, and manage this unified platform capability from the Teams store and from several other contexts within Teams. Many workflows run automatically without further user action once they’ve been set up; others can be run manually from the messaging area in Teams or from individual messages.

You can turn off Workflows for your organization in Teams using an app permission policy or through the Manage apps page by blocking Power Automate. This feature is turned on by default. For more information on Workflows, see Browse and add workflows.

This rollout should be complete by the end of March.

For more information about how to manage this policy, please see this information.

Audio Conferencing user enablement and disablement in Teams admin center

Beginning March 22, it will no longer be possible to enable or disable audio conferencing users in the Teams Admin Center.  This functionality will move to enabling or disabling of the Audio Conferencing license for the user in the Office 365 admin center.  For more information see Assign licenses to users.

Changes coming to phone number assignment using Teams PowerShell Module cmdlets

In April, Microsoft will be retiring the phone number assignment capabilities for Microsoft Teams users in multiple Teams PowerShell Module cmdlets:

When this change is implemented, administrators will no longer be able to assign and remove phone numbers from users and resource accounts using the following cmdlets.

These cmdlets will be fully retired:

Note: Instead, your administrators will need to use the new Teams PowerShell Module cmdlets:

Set-CsPhoneNumberAssignment and Remove-CsPhoneNumberAssignment.

These cmdlets support assigning and removing phone numbers from Microsoft Calling Plan, Direct Routing and Operator Connect and can be used for phone number assignment to both users and resource accounts.  Phone number assignment using Teams admin center is not impacted by this change.

Viva Insights
Viva Insights

(Updated) Shared focus plan in Viva Insights

Updated rollout plan – this should become available in late March!

Viva insights is releasing new capabilities to help teams protect time for focused work. The shared focus plan will enable managers and team leads with a Microsoft Viva Insights license to foster mutual productivity norms and drive a positive team culture by inviting teams to coordinate focus time for uninterrupted work.

Viva Insights Focus
Coordinate Focus Time

SharePoint Logo
SharePoint Online

(Updated) Data access governance reports in SharePoint admin center

This feature has been in public preview since November, but will roll out to all between mid-March and mid-April.

Data access governance reports help SharePoint admins monitor:

As the number of sites in your organization grows, this information helps you maintain the security and compliance posture of your organization.

When this feature rolls out, SharePoint admins will be able to run reports to view sites in the organization that have the most sharing activity or the most files with sensitivity labels applied.


(Updated) OneDrive: Move your shortcuts in OneDrive

You can now move the shortcuts you’ve added using “Add shortcut to OneDrive” into any folders in your OneDrive – without the shortcut link breaking or changing permissions!

This feature allows end users to select a shortcut and move it to an existing private or shared folder within their OneDrive. When moving a shortcut to a folder into a shared folder, the short cut does not change its sharing permissions. People who don’t currently have access to the shortcut won’t be able to access its content, but can rename or remove the shortcut.

When a shortcut is moved, the shortcut will be shown in its new destination anywhere that you access your OneDrive—such as OneDrive Web, the sync client, Teams and Office.

Employee Experience

Have you seen the Employee Experience Hub? Log in as an admin to your M365 Portal and type in:


This tool will provide you a wizard which includes great set of steps to transform how your employees work together by utilizing ‎SharePoint‎, ‎Teams‎, ‎Yammer‎, and deploying ‎Microsoft Viva‎.

Next month, we hope to have some updates and announcements from the Microsoft 365 Conference.  Stay tuned!

Happy New Year!

In 2022 Microsoft is bringing us some great new functionality to the M365 experience.  Here are some changes that are coming soon!

Microsoft Teams

(Updated) Microsoft Teams: Hide your own video in Teams meetings

Microsoft has updated the rollout schedule for this gem!  If you are like me and get distracted by your own video in meetings, you will appreciate this change!

Currently, it is not possible to hide your own video on the stage. This can contribute to meeting fatigue as we are constantly processing our own image during calls. This new feature update will expand the ability for users to hide their own video on the stage for themselves while others will still be able to see it and thus not disrupt the video experience during the call.

New feature will help to tackle various situations:

The feature will be rolling out for the Windows and Mac desktop client.

This message is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 86370.

When this will happen:

Standard: We will begin rolling this out in January and expect to complete rollout in early February.

GCC: We will begin rolling this out in late January and expect to complete rollout end of February.

GCC-H: We will begin rolling this out in mid-February and expect to complete rollout end of March.

DoD: We will begin rolling this out end of February and expect to complete rollout mid-March.

The experience will change from the screenshot on the left to the screenshot on the right.

Teams See Me
Teams Hide Me

When this rolls out in your tenant, here is how users can make the change:

Mute Notifications During Meetings

This is another great enhancement to Teams that will be particularly helpful when you are in a meeting, but are receiving notifications from a different meeting chat.

The current experience of receiving notifications during meetings is highly distracting and there is no easy way to turn off these notifications making it highly painful for users. This feature will introduce a setting to help the user turn OFF notifications during meetings.

This message is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 87452.

When this will happen:

This feature will start rolling out in early February and should be completed by mid-March.

Users will be able to make changes to their settings by going to either the user profile notifications or the uBar within a meeting.

(Updated) Chat with users with Teams personal accounts

Here’s an update to share with your Governance team.  You’ll need to make an organizational decision on whether you would like to allow chats with personal Teams accounts to happen within your tenant.

Chat with Teams will extend collaboration support by enabling Teams users to chat with team members outside their work network with a Teams personal account. Customers will be able to invite any Teams user to chat using an email address or phone number and remain within the security and compliance policies of their organization.

Will roll out on web, desktop and mobile.

Key Points:

How this will affect your organization:

With this update Teams users in your organization will be able to start a 1:1 or a group chat with Teams users who are using their personal accounts and vice-versa. IT Admins will have the option to enable/disable this at a tenant and individual user level with two possible controls:

  1. Control to enable or disable the entire functionality. If disabled neither users in your organization and users in their personal accounts will be able to chat with each other.
  2. Control to define if Teams users with a personal account can start a chat or add users from your organization to a chat. If disabled, only users in your organization will be able to start a chat or add users with their personal accounts.

Note: Settings will rollout default on.

What you need to do to prepare:

If you would like to opt-out from this functionality you would be able to do so via the Teams admin portal under the External Access section. Optionally you could use PowerShell commands to opt-out all users or individual users from this functionality.

Settings to update:

Tenant level: CsTenantFederationConfiguration

User level: CsExternalAccessPolicy

teams personal

Pairing naming convention between Teams channels and corresponding SharePoint folders

This new release will update the channel rename experience in Teams to simultaneously rename the corresponding folder in SharePoint sites whenever a channel in Teams is renamed. We are taking this step to eliminate the difficulty in tracking, across all Microsoft 365 endpoints, that occurs when a channel in Teams is renamed and the corresponding folder’s naming convention is not updated accordingly in SharePoint. This will rollout on Teams desktop and web.

Key points

This new feature’s pairing of the naming convention between Teams channels and the corresponding SharePoint folders will help to eliminate confusion across all Microsoft 365 endpoints, providing greater clarity for users.

This new feature will be available for all Standard and Private channels that are renamed after the rollout.

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

Review any automated script dependency on channel folders in SharePoint.

teams rename sp folders

(Updated) Improved Teams Guest User Usability

Microsoft has updated the timeline for some enhancements to the guest user experience which will be helpful in managing your guest access to different tenants.

Rolling out in early January (previously early December) and expect the rollout to be completed by late January (previously late December).

SharePoint Logo

New Content Scenarios for My Feed Web Part on SharePoint

The following new features are being added to the My Feed Web Part:

This rollout will begin mid-January and be completed by late January 2022.

The updated Feed Web Part will enable your users to have access to more content types and engage them in what is happening around them. They will be able to see updates on different file collaboration activities, stay up to speed on what actions to take, view upcoming meetings and recordings and be up to date with events around their colleagues’ work life events.

To surface the Feed Web Part, follow the steps here: Use the My feed web part (microsoft.com)

(Updated) Rich text and images in Planner task notes

Microsoft is adding support for rich text (bold, italics, underline, etc.) and images in the Planner task notes field.

NOTE: We will update this post once we have Microsoft Graph documentation for the new rich text task notes field available.

This message is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 85688.

When this will happen:

We expect to begin rolling out the new rich text task notes field in mid-February (previously mid-December) and we expect to complete the rollout by late March (previously early February).

Microsoft is introducing a new rich text enabled task notes field in the Planner Microsoft Graph API. This will result in two task notes fields in our API – the new “rich text task notes field” and the existing “plain text task notes field.” When this feature launches, Planner for the Web and for Teams (Tasks app) will support rich text in task notes. Other Planner experiences in iOS, Android, SharePoint, and Power Automate will only support plain text task notes, but we plan to update these apps to support rich text at a later date.

When this feature update is deployed, all existing task notes content will be preserved in the new rich text enabled task notes field, so users will be able to continue viewing and editing notes without interruption.

Microsoft will maintain compatibility between the rich text task notes field and plain text task notes field by ensuring both fields’ contents stay in sync.

What you need to do to prepare:

If your organization has custom applications interacting with our Microsoft Graph Planner API, make sure to update the apps to support the rich text task notes field as soon as it is available to take advantage of the new notes capabilities. Microsoft will maintain support for the existing plain text task notes field in our Microsoft Graph Planner API for at least 36 months.

If your organization has applications or workflows which parse the task notes to trigger logic based off contents in the notes field, we recommend users continue to input only plain text in task notes and not apply text formatting or insert images into task notes. Such apps should also be updated to avoid parsing task notes or applying logic to contents in the task notes as these are not recommended uses of the task notes field in our API.

part 3- viva topics in microsoft 365

Viva Update!

Viva Topics automatically organizes content and expertise across your organization, making it easy for people to find information and put knowledge to work.

Experience improvements to the Topic Card

The Topic card will now expand to read longer descriptions, show the job title for contacts, and navigate in-context with the Live Persona Card. These improvements will help users stay in-context with their flow of work.Features coming to the Topic card:

This message is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 82175.

This is rolling out January and should be complete mid-January.

This change will positively impact end users using the Viva Topic card in SharePoint Modern pages, as it is an improvement for usability.

Have a great January, we are looking forward to all the great improvements in communication and collaboration in 2022!

Welcome to your source for the November Digital Workplace Updates! This month we’ll feature some news from Ignite, but if you’d like the entire book of news, I’m linking it here.

Many of the updates in the book of news are items we can help you with for your longer-term strategic plans.

Viva comes in multiple modules

The Viva story keeps getting better!  At Ignite, Microsoft introduced a Viva Suite with reduced pricing of $9.00 per user per month.  If you buy Viva Suite, then when Ally.io gets rolled out in 2022, you will get that as part of your Viva subscription.

Let’s get started on your Viva journey today!  We can help you bring your Modern Intranet into Teams with the free Viva Connections module now.

In more immediate news –  Here is what has gone to general availability or is right around the corner.

Microsoft Lists Updates

Microsoft Lists
Microsoft Lists

We have multiple updates on Microsoft Lists rolling out in November.  The most exciting one is Custom List Templates.  You should now be able to create a list, save it as a template and be able to reuse that list template.  You also will be able to manage which list templates will be available to which users based on their job role.

End-user impact:

Visual updates to the list creation dialog and the addition of a From your organization tab when creating a new list. This new tab is where your custom list templates appear alongside the ready-made templates from Microsoft.

Your custom list templates along with Microsoft ready-made templates

Admin impact:

Custom list templates can only be uploaded by a SharePoint administrator for Microsoft 365 by using PowerShell cmdlets. For consistency, the process of defining and uploading custom list templates is like the custom site templates experience.

To define and upload custom list templates, admins will use the following site template PowerShell cmdlets:

The visual updates for this feature will be seen by end-users in the updated user interface (UI) when creating a list.

The From your organization tab will be empty until your organization defines and publishes custom list templates.

Your custom list templates along with Microsoft ready-made templates

What you need to do to prepare

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

Also available now in Microsoft Lists – create any list with a start and end date and then create a nice modern calendar view which you can embed in SharePoint sites.  You might have missed embedding a calendar with a month’s worth of data onto a page since switching from classic.  Now you have that ability again!

Lists is available for iOS and Android so you can view and edit your lists from your mobile devices, and if you need to visualize your list in a way a little more complicated than your views, you can connect to your list data in PowerBI and provide more complex reporting.

Microsoft Teams Updates

Microsoft Teams

Co-organizers in Teams

Organizers will soon be able to assign the co-organizer meeting role to up to 10 specific people they invite to their meeting. Co-organizers will be granted most of the capabilities of the organizer in the meeting, including being able to access & modify the meeting options for the meeting.

Usage of the co-organizer role for a meeting will be optional. If users choose not to use the co-organizer feature, there will be no change.

This feature is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 81391.  This feature is rolling out in late November and complete by early December.

Once this feature has been enabled, a “Choose co-organizers” meeting option will be available. The default value for this option is “None.” The option operates similarly to when “Specific people” are selected as presenters for the meeting. The meeting organizer can click on the selector box to open a dropdown menu where they can choose from the list of qualified people who have been invited to the meeting.

To qualify for the co-organizer role, an invitee must be using an account that is on the same tenant as the organizer’s account. Organizers will be able to assign the co-organizer role to up to 10 people.

Co-organizers will be displayed as additional organizers on the meeting roster, and they will have most of the capabilities of an organizer in the meeting. Co-organizers can do the following:

Co-organizers cannot do the following:

The “Only me” selection for the “Who can present?” meeting option has been updated to reflect that this will apply to “Only me and co-organizers.”

The “Only me” selection for the “Who can bypass the lobby?” meeting option has been updated to reflect that this will apply to “Only me and co-organizers.”

Usage of the co-organizer role for a meeting is optional. If users choose not to use the co-organizer feature, there will be no change.

View Switcher- a new dedicated menu of view options in Teams Meetings

This new feature will place all of the view related options that are found in Teams Meetings (Gallery, Large Gallery, Together Mode) into a separate, dedicated menu called View Switcher. This will show up on the top left of the meeting window.

This feature is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 70754.  You will see this starting in late October and be Microsoft expects the rollout to be complete in mid-November.

View switcher

Anonymous Join Policy

Administrators will be able to control the ability for anonymous users to join a Microsoft Teams meeting using a new per-organizer policy.  We are looking forward to being able to have some flexibility for some users with this policy.

This feature is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 87503.

When this will happen:

This will begin rolling this out in mid-November and expected to complete in late November.

How this will affect your organization:

This policy will provide administrators more granular control by enabling them to allow specific users, or groups of users to admit anonymous users into meetings they organize.

At launch, administrators will only be able to set the new policy using PowerShell. At a later date (no firm timeline as of today), the policy will be able to be controlled using the Teams admin center.  We will notify you when this happens via a future Message center communication.

SharePoint Online

SharePoint Logo

On SharePoint online modern pages, anchor links are automatically added to H1, H2, and H3 headings when you add those in Text web part. Similar anchor links are now available on collapsible section headings as shown in below image. When you hover over section heading, you will see a link symbol. Clicking this link will give you the full URL of modern page, including the anchor in browser URL bar. You can also right-click on the link to copy it.

Anchor links on collapsible section heading on SharePoint online modern pages

Content type sync enhancements

Microsoft previously announced a rollout of a new sync mechanism for Syntex and SharePoint content types and the subsequent phasing out of the old mechanism. This new mechanism is now fully released to all customers.

With the new sync mechanism content generally available now, the phasing out of the previous sync mechanism will begin per the below timetable.

When the previous sync mechanism is phased out, newly published content types will be visible for addition to lists & libraries only via the modern experience. If a published content type is not used in any list or library on the site, the site will not receive republished updates until the content type is used again.

SharePoint site template management updates

The big update here is that admins will be able to decide which Microsoft-provided templates will be available to SharePoint site creators.  Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 85566.

When this will happen

Some users may see this feature before other users within the same organization.

Updates to Viva Insights

Viva Insights

Viva insights Manager insights

This month, Viva insights is releasing expanded insights for managers and team leads. Viva Insights features for managers and team leads will be available to users with a Microsoft Viva Insights license. These new insights expand the value of Viva insights to managers and team leads who have at least one direct report.

This was formerly 10 direct reports!

Viva insights stores a team definition that is built upon your org data from AAD.

This feature is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 85622

When this will happen:

Targeted release in early November and rolling out to Standard release starting mid November.

How this will affect your organization:

The following changes will be reflected in MyAnalytics in the coming month

New features (in the coming month)

  1. Viva Insights team home page
    • The team home page provides managers and team leads insights on their relationships with team members that can help boost team productivity, wellbeing, and engagement.
  2. My team tab updates:
    • Viva Insights will release a major update to the My team tab. This tab is currently available to users via the Viva Insights Teams App. The update consolidates all of our Manager insights into a single canvas.
  3. Manager briefing card:
    • For eligible users, a “Catch up with Your Team” card will begin to appear in the daily briefing email from Microsoft Viva.
  4. Manager digest email:
    • The monthly digest email from Microsoft Viva- which currently helps users to reflect on their work patterns across focus, wellbeing, network, and collaboration.

Updated to Microsoft Planner

Microsoft Planner
Microsoft Planner

Rich text and images in Planner task notes

Microsoft is adding support for rich text (bold, italics, underline, etc.) and images in the Planner task notes field.

This message is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 85688.

When this will happen:

We expect to begin seeing new rich text task notes field in mid-December and we expect to complete the rollout by early February.

Updates to Microsoft Loop

We eagerly anticipate a release of Microsoft Loop allowing us to navigate through our shared spaces and catch up on everything in one location.  Microsoft Loop consists of three elements: Loop components, Loop pages, and Loop workspaces.  Microsoft Loop components enable a new way to collaborate and work together. Instead of sharing files, notebooks or relying on chat Loop enables simultaneous way to create and edit content.

Loop components help you to collaborate and get your work done in the flow of your work.  Loop components can be as simple as lists, tables, notes and tasks or as sophisticated as a customer sales opportunity from Dynamics 365.  Loop pages are flexible canvases where you can organize loop components.  Think about widgets or web parts you can easily arrange to see all your important information in a glance.  Loop workspaces are shared spaces that allow you and your team to see and group everything important to a project or other shared goals.  See more about Loop here on Microsoft’s announcement page.

Hopefully these updates have armed you with the most important things to know about what is happening your Digital Workplace. 

Have a great November!