Collection of all Microsoft User Voices

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#UPDATED 8th June 2017

Microsoft have been using User Voice to gage your input and development ideas for their products over the last few years but there are lot of them out there than you realise *trust me there are a lot more than I had realised and I’m sure I’ve missed a lot too.

Having heard and spoken to different product teams they sit down as a team every week or other week and look at the new requests, the votes and comments added and decide if it is something that should be added or prioritied for the product.  Not all product teams do the same but I hope this list helps for you to add the right feedback you want for the developments you want in Microsoft services.  If you know of any that I missed please tweet me and I will update the list.

Office

Windows and Management

Azure

Education

Visual Studio and Development

Others

Consumer

 

Presentation: Why you still need Azure AD even if you are Google

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It was a delight to be able to represent both BFC Networks and Pugh Computers at the recent Cynhadledd Technegol ColegauCymru Annual Technical Conference (Welsh Colleges Annual Technical Conference).

It is the only time during the year I get to speak solely to a college audience and with the conference in the valleys of Wales but it also gives me the opporunity to enjoy the drive through the beaultiful Welsh Valleys.

This year the theme was based on Security with GDPR being a hot topic so having given a few ideas of different sessions it was decided to talk more about the importance of Azure AD whether you are Office 365, Google or neither.  As other organisations move to the cloud, you need to be secure and know how your users are using your domain name to access content from other Office 365 enviornments

Ensure your Office 365 Data Moves to the UK

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In recent years we have seen Microsoft announce data centres across the world and more importantly for my point of view a set of them in the UK.  Azure services can now be purchased to house your services in the UK with new Office 365 tenants being created in the these new data centres.

Did you know you have to opt in to get your current Office 365 tenants moved to the UK?  Did you know you have only until the 15 September 2017 to complete your request?

Well hopefully you do now.  If you navigate to the Admin Centre in Office 365, Settings and then Organisation you will see while navigate down the page it talks about where your data is located.  Below that is the notification around moving you data.

Ensure you understand what the move process is and how it effects your organisation and chat with Microsoft or visit the Trust centre if you have more questions.

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Microsoft Education Online Event 2nd May #MicrosoftEdu

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In a month of announcements and events including Microsoft Build and The SharePoint Summit we have another event for those interested in the education space.

Looking at different reports there are guesses around announcements such as Windows Cloud, new Surface devices however I’m hoping for the announcement and general release of Microsoft Classroom, Intune for Education and a focus on Microsoft School Data Sync and how third parties can integrate with the SDS and Microsoft Classroom.

Hope to see you there. http://event.microsoft.com/MayEvent

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Speaking at UK Community Day – 23rd March

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I’m delighted to presenting at the next UK Community Day on the 23rd March.  Do you want to come and join us with a great set of speakers including Steve Smith, Neil Hodgkinson, Penny Coventry, Heath Groves and Brett Lonsdale?  If you do come and register now on the site and we hope to see you there as we take SharePoint to the Battle Royal – SharePoint vs SharePoint Online!

UK COmmunity Day

SharePoint Community Day

 

Come and join us at our SharePoint Community Day taking place on the 23rd March, where our range of speakers pitch SharePoint On-Premises against SharePoint Online and cover all the bits in between.

 

This exclusive day will de-mystify a lot of the mis-understanding between SharePoint On-Premises and SharePoint Online and what options are available depending on what direction your business is heading.

 

The Community Days are delivered by speakers that are renowned industry experts and MVP’s.

 

 

When and Where?

 

UK Community Day ‘SharePoint On Prem Versus SharePoint Online

It’s a battle Royal’

 

23rd March 2017, Leicestershire

 

Free for you to attend!

 

Microsoft Classroom: Webinar Demo

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Thanks to Pugh and BFC Networks for allowing me to present on Microsoft Classroom today.

During the call we went through a few different aspect to help understand what you can do with a Microsoft Classroom class.

  1. What is Microsoft Classroom?
  2. What is an Office 365 Group?
    1. Conversations
    2. Calendars
    3. Files
    4. Notebook
    5. Connectors
  3. Microsoft Classroom
    1. Assigning
      1. Documents and Links (video)
    2. Completing
    3. Submitting
    4. Grading
    5. Conversations
  4. School Data Sync

I also mentioned during the call about a new podcast called the MS Edu Podcast where we talk about all the latest from Microsoft that help in the education sector.  You can get more of thing on the site.  Click Here –> MSEduPodcast

Join us today to talk about Microsoft Classroom

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Today I’ll be presenting on Microsoft Classroom and School Data Sync, giving live demos and asking any questions you might have.

It is great to be able to partner with Pugh and my own company BFC Networks to present this and will continue to do so every other month with a date set for our next meet up in September (after the summer break).

Join us at 2.30pm for an hour (UK Time) and get to know more about this new exciting product from Microsoft

Sign up at Eventbrite look forward to speaking to you then.

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Slide Deck – SUGUK B’ham 11/5/16

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It was a great pleasure to present at the SharePoint User Group and pass on my findings regarding the #FutureOfSharePoint.  A few points that aren’t on the slide deck.

It was great to see Microsoft themselves supporting the community and we get a message from Jeff Teper wishing us all the best for the event.

Jeff

It is always good to see people tweeting and on Facebook while you are speaking and thanks to those did.

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The Future of SharePoint: Office 365 Education

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On the 4th May, Microsoft hosted a 2 hour webinar demonstrating what they are bring to SharePoint 2016 and SharePoint Online in Office 365.  In the announcements they shared new features that are currently in Office 365 and their mobile apps as well as what they are developing.

As Office 365 Education is free, we are going to get these new features allowing you to get all these when they are released.  Here is a bit of a summary with an education twist with some ideas of what you could do when it is available.

Mobile

We work with students, the millennial generation – always wanting to use their mobile phone for communication.   There were a few announcements around mobile access to Office 365 and files within Office 365.

The OneDrive iOS app received an update yesterday allowing you to access both your OneDrive files but also SharePoint site document libraries.  In this latest update, you will see the Sites tab at the bottom which will then allow you to see all the sites you are following.  When selecting your site, it will then list the document libraries you have in that site.

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For those who use document libraries a lot as a shared document location, this is the perfect feature allowing you to access those files when you need them.  The sites you see are your “Follow” sites which you set in the top right of the site.  The app allows you to take files offline and edit them with your Office client which you will have a license for if you have an EES agreement and the Office 365 Education Plus licenses.

Getting students and staff to click that “Follow” button is important for their navigation – I haven’t yet found a way to do this based on a group so it has to be done by the user.

Microsoft also announced a SharePoint Mobile app and demonstrated this but it is important we take a look at other announcements around this first.

SharePoint

The first thing to note is that we will be getting a new landing page for SharePoint.  In the app launcher, where you see Mail, Calendar etc you will also see Sites.  This will change to SharePoint with a new landing page to help you navigate around all your SharePoint team sites.

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SharePoint Home

The left navigation is giving you the sites you currently follow – the same way you have sites in the mobile app above.  Next we have Recent, sites you have accessed but not marked as “Follow”.  We then have Links.

The main page is split in two Frequent and Suggested.  I don’t yet know the difference between Frequent and Recent but I’m guessing that Frequent are sites you visit often and files you use.  Suggested are recommended sites that it finds based on the other sites you follow and access. The home page is based on the Office Graph (linking people, documents and email together) so will always look a bit different based on the students work and files they access.

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Each site comes with a board (as they are known in Delve) showing recent information but also the template type such as Group, Blog and Video Channel.

If you are a heavy user of SharePoint in you school, college or university, this can be a great way of accessing the content that is important.  Getting the “Follow” system is also right so teachers can see the Staff areas for the whole organisation but also their departments.  We also want to make sure they can access any class sites and SharePoint Apps as well when they first arrive, not just when they have discovered their classes and sites.

New SharePoint Sites

One of the biggest frustrations I get from my education customers is that different devices in the classroom have with different screen sizes and a lots of websites and some of Office 365 has a responsive design.  SharePoint has been lacking in this space.

Published content can be added to team sites and helps to form news from your organisation.  You will be able to see this news both in a mobile app but also in the browser. Using the Office Graph, you will be able to see Blogs, News articles and other information as it is published keeping you up to date.  The responsive design of the new team sites, blogs and pages help to form the content at the screen size of your choice without any additional work.  With the SharePoint Framework (a new development model) your SharePoint partners and app providers will be able to build into these allowing you to have both your news but also information from external sources such as your MIS.

Creating Sites has become easily and will also provision an Office 365 Group so you get all you content, lists and files along with the communication and collaboration with Jeff Teper stating it will take around 5 seconds to create these when released.

 

There are two options.  A team collaboration site or a publishing site – the team site will create the Office 365 Group for your team while we didn’t get to see the publishing template.

Team sites have taken a new name.  What do you get when you mix teams sites and the modern Office 365 Groups?  That’s right, modern team sites!  You can still create your normal document libraries, lists and add meta data to sites but we get a few other options.  When we create a modern site, we are asked what compliancy level we would like to set it as, something we can set in the compliancy centre in Office 365.  The main new feature that I could see is the ability to spotlight content from the site in the News and Activity area of the site.

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These are also shown on the mobile experience and documents and pages can be pinned to the top for news and activity is drawn up by the power of the Office Graph.

Imagine a class now having an Office 365 Group which is part of Microsoft Classroom but now we can also add all sorts of content into our site, pinning files and pages to the top based on the lesson you are teaching.

Site Content will now tell you how your class site is being used.

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Pages

Schools still talks about wikis and the need to create pages.  Pages in the new sites are easy to create and very similar to Sway without all the styling.  Easily add a banner, content, documents, document libraries and other web parts to the pages.  The teacher can create a page on a per class or topic allowing students to get the documents, images and other systems that integrate with SharePoint all in one page (a little bit more than what Sway offers).  It will also build the page as responsive design so it can easily be read in the SharePoint app.  I should add here – no more stupid web part galleries – a lot easier when you click on the plus, it gives you the options.

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Document Libraries

For those of you who have First Release enabled in their Office 365 Education tenant.  You may have seen a new layout to Document Libraries.  This will be released to all documents over the coming months giving the same experience as your users get in OneDrive.  If you navigate to a document library now, you will see this experience but in the demo and videos they showed the ability to pin documents to the top of the library.  Again something useful if you want students to be able to see important documents for that lesson.

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We also have a new feature that I think will be welcomed very warmly by allowing you to copy or move files from one document library to another.  This also includes the ability to copy a file from OneDrive to a SharePoint site that you follow.  There should now be no reason for a teachers to have a memory stick or a file to be stuck in their OneDrive that you can’t access 😉

Lists

Lists have become easier to manage, filter and edit with quick view, a fly out option to update the meta data but also the ability to create your own views that can be accessed in the browser and the browser through PowerApps.  We’ll take a deeper look at PowerApps another time but there are some great features here.  PowerApps has just arrived as Public Preview so you can access it now.

Microsoft Flow

Have you ever wanted to create a simple workflow so when something happens to a file or item in a list, it emails your or something else with a third party product – some of you may have done this already with SharePoint Designer.  Microsoft Flow will give you the ability to do this in a visual way in the browser.  Are you expecting all your students to upload their home work to a document library and you want an email to tell you that it has been uploaded.  You can create these in the browser using this new features in Office 365.

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Conclusion

Well if you are still reading, you have realised that there is a lot to this the announcements.  I almost found it too difficult to take it all in and we haven’t even talked about the new development framework called the SharePoint Framework, the hybrid options, SharePoint 2016 and that a lot of these features will come to your own environment during 2017 in Feature Packs.  I hope this gives you an insight to what can happen with the free platform and the opportunities you may get from it for your education establishment.

First Look at Microsoft Classroom

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As Microsoft increase their competition against Google and release more features for Office 365 Education, we get to see another new feature that is currently in preview for US based customers.  Along with Office Forms, we now get Microsoft Classroom, a great example of how Software Integrator can build on top of the Office 365 platform but mainly Office 365 Groups.

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Microsoft Classroom integrated communication and collaboration through Office 365 Group but also their ever growing in popularity OneNote Class Notebook into a single web application available at http://classroom.microsoft.com.

With Google pushing hard with Google Classroom, the ability to assign work, communicate and collaborate for Microsoft customers as part of the free offering has become an increasing demand but of course, Microsoft have a great platform that offers so much more.

With OneNote, OneDrive, Office Online, Exchange, Office 365 Groups, the desktop and mobile apps available for the platform, educators are going to get a great experience that fits everyone in the classroom.  Bringing all of these in will allow teachers to select what they want to do with their class but with its integration with Microsoft School Data Sync (ability to have all your classes created for you as part of your MIS timetable) it is also easy for teacher to just get going with their class.

Whether it is file assignment and scoring, communication through email/Exchange or working collaboratively in OneNote Class Notebook a teacher can get straight into or even create their own classroom for extracurricular clubs, sports teams and other classes not on timetable.

The landing page of Microsoft Classroom looks a bit bare when you first log in but don’t worry, once you are assigning work, you’ll see everything on this page.

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As you create your classes you will see them down the left hand side in the Assignments navigation panel.  This will load a few different things onto your page and loos very similar to the design of Office 365 Groups.

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From here I can get quick links to a few different areas including the Groups Calendar, Conversations, Class Notebook and Files.  When I arrive onto a class landing page, I can see the Assignments set with details around those and give announcements for the class.

When I go to manage the class I can change the class name, give it a course number, start and end date and set a colour, logo (the chess piece) and top banner.

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Creating a new assignment is easy with the ability to assign this work to multiple classes at the same time.  I can set a title, end date, description before adding an attachment should I wish.

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You can pull in several types of attachments including links to a page within OneNote Class Notebook, upload a new file, select one from OneDrive and also any files stored in the Office 365 Group.  We also have a built in search engine (I’m assuming Bing) to link to those results for either a website or video (video sources including YouTube).

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When selecting Calendar, Conversations, Files it will open a new window to the Office 365 Group while Class Notebook will give you a link to the Notebook.

The version I have available is very different to the video below – take a look at the video and you’ll see some extra features and branding which will help take it to the next level.