The blog of Wictor Wilén

  • What's new on the Office Roadmap - 2015-11-20

    Tags: Office 365

    Updates! Yes, updates! After some awesome announcements at the Connect(); 2015 conference the Office Roadmap is updated with some news, and a decent bunch of additions, specifically some nice new stuff in the In Development bucket. Love the Yammer updates - looks like someone has been listening after all, or have they - read the fine prints…

    Changes 2015-11-20

    Now Launched

    • Contact sync for Outlook for Android: Outlook for Android now syncs contacts to the native contacts application. Finally, this is great news. (New)
    • Enforce Office 365 Identity in Yammer: An important and long anticipated (it only took a couple of years) update to Yammer and identities. No need for separate Yammer SSO settings. Click here for more information. (New)
    • EU Model Clauses and HIPAA BAA Availability for All Yammer Customers: Another Yammer update, also this one is VERY important. With this update Yammer is getting aligned with the rest of Office 365 in terms of customer data protection. (New)
    • Outlook +1Likes Coming to Outlook on the web: No more +1 e-mails? We're certainly on the right path at least (From Rolling out)
    • Mentions Available in Outlook on the web: Make it possible to @mention people in OWA. (From Rolling out)
    • Multi-select Attachments in Outlook 2016: Surprised this feature actually wasn't in there. Use Ctrl to multi select attachments (New)
    • Persian calendar support in Outlook 2016: More calendar options, now with Persian support (New)
    • Set Automatic Replies in Outlook for iOS & Android: You can now set Automatic replies in Outlook on your fruitphones or droids. (from In Development)

    Rolling Out

    • Designer: Described as "a feature that will essentially allow you to deliver beautiful and impactful presentations with little to no experience". This is a bit weird, it is the same description as the new "PowerPoint Designer - Desktop"  feature below. (New)
    • New Office 365 Admin Center Preview: The new Admin center rolls out. For more info see Marcs great post on IT-Unity. (From Launched!)
    • November Improvements in Excel Mobile for Windows: This is something you don't see often, updates to mobile apps on Windows (New)
    • Office 365 ISO 27001 and 27018 Audit Report: information  security reports. I doubt any other cloud productivity provider are even close to what Microsoft and Office 365 is doing now (New)
    • Office 365 Video - Yammer settings per channel: Finally! No more posts of secured video details onto public Yammer groups… (New)
    • PowerPoint Designer - Desktop: The PowerPoint people get some love, it's not all Sway yet. For more information see (New)
    • PowerPoint Morph - Desktop: The second part of the new PowerPoint awesomeness. For more information see (New)
    • Preview_Office 365 Customer Security Considerations Refrence Guide: A new part of the Service Trust Portal in form of a security considerations reference guide. (New)

    In Development

    • Add-in only authorization policy for Project Online: AppOnly policies for Project Online. This opens up quite a few new Project Online opportunities. (New)
    • Archive button in Outlook 2016: The Outlook 2016 client will get the same nifty archive button as the mobile Outlook clients have.
    • Browse and join Groups in Outlook 2016: You will in the future not only see your Groups in Outlook 2016. You will now also be able to see the ones you have not joined, and then join them. Hooray! (New)
    • Circular Yammer User Profile Pictures: One of these important Yammer updates! I'm glad they are spending money on A/B testing a circular picture instead of a square one. Seriously, just do it and move on with more important stuff, such as USING THE PICTURE FROM OFFICE 365!!! (new)
    • Dark theme for Outlook 2016: Get your darker sides on in Outlook 2016. (New)
    • Directory pictures in Outlook 2016 search suggestions: This is a nice feature, see profile pictures when searching for people (New)
    • Exchange Online Protection- Zero Day auto-purge: The Exchange team continues to impress with handling different kind of threats. (New)
    • New Yammer group experiences: More Yammer UX updates. Each Group will now have its own inbox - wow… (New)
    • Office 365 Video - Analytics, phase one: Insights on your videos - awesome (New)
    • Office 365 Video - Channel Recycle Bin: Channels are just site collections and we will be able to recover the channels just as normal site collections
    • Office 365 Video - Choose Your Own Thumbnail: choose one of several auto-generated thumbnails or upload your own (New)
    • Office 365 Video - Deploy in US Government zone (GCC) & China datacenters: China and US Government can soon build their own Video portals. (New)
    • Office 365 Video - Improved upload experience: The video portal will get a centralized upload center, with more details about the upload (New)
    • Office 365 Video - Owner and People Metadata: This will be great improvement to the service and hopefully make search even more interesting. (New)
    • Office 365 Video - Upload your own subtitle files: Subtitles! Office 365 Video is becoming a real video portal (webvtt format). This will also be integrated with search so you can search in videos. Cool! (New)
    • Optimizing Yammer Inbox for Team Collaboration: Yammers attempt to change the way the inbox works. Removal of the "Mark as Unread" and replace it with a "Read Later". Holy crap! So they didn't listen to the massive feedaback on a "Mark all as read" feature. I think I just the last little hope for Yammer… (New)
    • Sites Tile Page Update - Recent and Suggested Sites: The Sites tile in the App Launcher and Sites page will get a long anticipated face lift with the inclusion of a "Recent sites" feature. (New)
    • Yammer Group Administrator Onboarding: A Yammer group admin guide. Is this really necessary? If it is needed then something else in creating a group is wrong. (New)
    • Yammer Group Inbox View: Third update on basically the same topic. Yammer is redoing the Inbox… (New)

  • Enhancing your Office 365 Groups using custom Connectors and Cards for Groups

    Tags: Office 365, Office 365 Groups

    Wow, what a day for developers in the Office 365 land! Tons of new features was announced at the Microsoft Connect(); 2015 virtual conference. We've seen the GA of the Microsoft Graph and a bunch of new API's added to the Microsoft Graph beta end-point and more. One of the features that I really have been waiting for is the Office 365 Connectors for Groups and the  Office 365 Connector Cards.

    The Office 365 Connectors for Groups allows users of Office 365 Groups to add integrations to their Office 365 Groups. Connectors can be seen as services and events that you subscribe to and then the services when certain events happens posts information to the Group activity feed. There are a set of pre-configured Connectors that anyone can add or you can create your own Connector and customize it for your needs. For instance there are built-in Connectors for Twitter, Github, RSS feeds and Trello. The possibilities for this is endless!

    In this post I will show you how to create your own Connector and Connector Card. In this sample we assume that we have a CRM system that monitors incoming requests, such as RFI's and RFP's, and we want these events to be posted to a Group in Office 365.

    Enabling Connectors

    First of all, the Connector framework are in preview so in order to start working with them we need to enable this preview. This is done by navigating to a Group in Office 365 and then append &EnableConnectorDevPreview=true to the URL.

    Enabling Connectors

    Once we have enabled the Connector preview you will find a new option called Connectors under the "…" menu. Click on that to start configuring your Connectors. In the task pane that is shown you can see all the different default Connectors which you can add and configure without doing any kind of development.

    The Connectors

    Creating an Incoming Webhook

    In our case we want to do a completely custom Connector. We create these by choosing the "Incoming Webhook" Connector and then click Add.

    Incoming Webhook

    To configure our Incoming Webhook we need to give it a name and optionally add an image for the Connector. Once that is done we need to click on Create to create the Webhook. When it is created you will see an input box with a URL in it. This is the Webhook and we need this URL in our custom Connector handler. The URL is unique for this Group and Webhook and we can of course remove the Webhook if we want to disable it.

    Note that when the Webhook is created a notification of this will be sent to the Activity feed, the notification contains the Webhook URL.

    Posting a message to the Webhook

    Once we have the Incoming Webhook URL we can build our own custom solution that posts messages to the Activity feed within the Office 365 Group.

    All we need to do is to issue a POST request with JSON payload to this URL. There is no need for authentication - we assume that this URL is as unique and no one figures it out :) It is a Guid folks!

    The JSON payload describes the Connector Card. The Connector Card can have simple properties such as title, text, images and a color and more advanced properties such as actions and sections with facts. The image below shows a Connector card with (1) the Connector info, (2) the Connector card title and text, (3) a section with activity details and (4) facts connected to the section and finally (5) actions.

    Connector Card

    This Connector card can be added to the Office 365 using any kind of tool that can send a post request. Let's see how it can look like when doing it using Node.js. You can find a more exhaustive example at

    var request = require('request')
        method: 'POST',
        uri: '',
            'content-type': 'application/json',
        body: JSON.stringify({
            'title': 'New RFI added to CRM',
            'text': 'A new RFI from [Contoso]( has arrivied',
                "@context": "",
                "@type": "ViewAction",
                "name": "Lookup Contoso in CRM",
                "target": [""]
    }, function(error, response, body){

    We create a new HTTP POST request and as URL we use the Webhook URL that we generated previously. Then we need to make sure that we use application/json as the content type for the request. The body of the request is a JSON formatted payload. In the example above we provide a title and a text (note the Markdown formatting) as well as an action. The JSON payload is thoroughly described in the Outlook Dev Center, so there is no need to delve into that to much. When the request is sent it will return a status code of 200 if successful. If not successful you will see response code 400 if you have used the wrong format, 404 if you specify the wrong Webhook URL and you can even get throttled (429) if you send to many requests.


    That was so easy! With just a few lines of code and a simple configuration we can make the Office 365 Groups experience into something integrated into your or your customers organization. Imagine the possibilities with this.

    I'm really impressed with how Microsoft build their products and services now, how they adhere to modern development techniques, how they innovate and how they make my job so much more fun! I've said it before - Groups are here to stay and they do it big time!

  • What's new on the Office Roadmap - 2015-11-05

    Tags: Office 365

    Office Roadmap updates again! This time I'm reporting this from the MVP summit in Redmond. A couple of new and exciting things added to the In Development list!

    Changes 2015-11-05

    Now Launched

    • Clutter for your inbox on by default:  For tenants/users that have the Clutter feature it will from now on be on by default
    • Create and collaborate on Visio diagrams using Office-like experience: Visio is getting even sexier with dark themes, Delve and High DPI support
    • FastTrack | Providing the customer success service: Get Microsofts help to start your Office 365 experience
    • Getting started experience in Visio: Visio n00b improvements
    • Information Rights Management (IRM) protection now added for Visio files: We now have direct support in Visio to protect our most valuable assets
    • Keyboard access for Shape Panel in Visio: use F6 to work faster in Visio
    • Optimized file picker in Outlook on the web: Pretty soon OWA will be favored over Outlook
    • Outlook for Android opens IRM protected emails: Really important feature rolled out for Android
    • Quick data linking in Visio: Make your Visio diagrams rock
    • Refreshed stencils and smart shapes in Visio: New and slick stencils for architecture draqwings
    • SharePoint Online will start to transition to using TLS to send email securely in our datacenters: internal service change but a really important one
    • Sway for Windows Document Import: Something with Sway
    • Yammer to use Azure Media Services for Video Encoding: Ooops, a Yammer update

    Rolling out

    • Compliance Search Conditions: Improved Compliance search is rolling out
    • Delve People Experiences - Praise: The Praise features is now rolling out in the Delve experience.
    • FastTrack | Project Online Onboarding: FTC will now start onboarding Project projects
    • Inline OneDrive attachment preview for Outlook on the web: Awesome new OWA features
    • Mentions Available in Outlook on the web: Another of the social features are now in OWA
    • Office 365 detailed usage reports: Even more detailed reports are rolling out. I can't wait to see how we can use this to improve the adoption rate
    • Office 365 My Account updates: The new My Account page gives you great details and control of you Office 365 accounts
    • OneNote Online: Record Audio clips & Insert File: New OneNote features are being rolled out. New on the Roadmap
    • PowerPoint Online: Ongoing improvements: New on the road map and it promises to make formatting better, include more symbols and faster slide interaction
    • Word Online: Improving feature capabilities: Also new on the road map. Improvements in Word that includes image resize handlers, improved autosave and more, but most interestingly a lot of improvements in co-authoring performance

    In Development

    • Delve Analytics: Brand new addition on the road map and a really cool one. For E5 customers (or E1/E3 with an add-on) you will get awesome analytics on how you organization collaborates
    • FastTrack | Data migration to OneDrive from Google Drive: New option get the h**l out of Google Drive
    • FastTrack | Data migration to OneDrive for Business from File Shares: New FastTrack migration option from file share to users OneDrives
    • FastTrack | Data migration to SharePoint Online Team Sites from File Shares: Same as above but for Team Sites (Groups?)
    • FastTrack | Improving Intune onboarding with MDM: FastTrack will support Intune when doing onboarding.
    • Multiple timeline bars in Project Online: I have no idea how this is supposed to work but it looks like you can add heatmaps and other stuff… (was previously called New Timeline view in Project)
    • Project Online content pack for PowerBI: Bring Project Online data directly into PowerBI. Sounds neat
    • SharePoint/OneDrive for Business file activity report: Admin reports that allows you to see what your users do in SharePoint and OneDrive for Business


    Moved off into the Previously released list

    • Inline Service Health for Support Request Creation
    • Proactive notification of Outlook version - weird, this is moved from In Development! Did it ever roll out?

  • Announcing gulp-spsync - A Gulp plugin that syncs local files with a SharePoint site

    Tags: Visual Studio Code, Gulp, SharePoint Online

    I have to admit it I have succumbed to Visual Studio Code and now also Gulp tasks, well almost at least. I was working the other day with some display templates and page layouts and needed a more efficient way than uploading the files to SharePoint Online. Open with Explorer could have worked, but since I used a customers Office 365 tenant I did not want to store credentials and do all the required voodoo to get that to work. Instead I decided to explore Gulp and see if I could automate this, and the result is a Gulp plugin called gulp-spsync.

    You can find gulp-spsync in this Github repo: 

    For you who have not used Gulp, the short description is that it is a task runner that runs tasks on command or at build. In this case it will copy local files to a SharePoint site.

    This is how gulp-spsync looks like in practice in Visual Studio Code. As soon as I edit one of my files and saves it, the file will be uploaded to SharePoint. In the sample below it is a Display Template html file, once saved it will be uploaded, and then in SharePoint converted to the .js correspondent file.


    To use this you need a copy of Visual Studio Code and full access to a SharePoint Online Site Collection. How to configure it all is documented in the repo, so I will not rehash it. But the basic outline is that you open up a folder on your local machine. Create a folder in that one where you create sub folders representing the sites libraries and catalogs. Then comes the tricky part, this task requires that you register an App in the Site Collection and give that App permissions. Once you have the App details you install the gulp-spsync plugin and then configure Gulp. All that then is left is to start working with your files.

    I hope more people than me get some use of this one and any feedback is welcome.

  • What's new on the Office Roadmap - 2015-10-20

    Tags: Office 365

    Almost a month has passed since we had the last update on the Office Roadmap and quite a lot of things has happened. There are some new things this time and also some clean up of the items. Make sure you read through the In Development section, there are some hidden gems as well as the stuff that has disappeared!!

    Changes 2015-10-20

    Now Launched

    • Automatic Relationship Detection: Make it easier to detect relations between two models with no relationships configured
    • Automatic Time Grouping: All these new Power* are rolling out now.
    • Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) integration for Click-to-Run: A great update to optimize network traffic for C2R. New.
    • Click-to-Run manageability gaps addressed for IT pros: More of the Office 2016 updates to optimize C2R is now "officially" launched.
    • Configurable push notifications for Office 365 Admin app: What no Apple Watch integration yet?
    • Custom Tiles: A fantastic idea but worst implementation ever. Yes, you can create custom Tiles for the App Launcher - but each and every user needs to manually pin it to their App Launcher #fail
    • Deferred Updates: Only allow monthly security updates and defer feature upgrades
    • ExpressRoute for Office 365: Improve the SLA of your network connection to Office 365 by having a dedicated route for your traffic
    • Improved sync slider and lean storage footprint on small devices in Outlook 2016: Sync slider, just the name of it sounds cool.
    • Keyboard access for Pivot Tables and Slicers in Excel: You can now use the keyboard with pivot tables and slicers in Excel!
    • Keyword & People search suggestions in Outlook 2016: Better search in Outlook 2016.
    • Mark emails as Clutter in Outlook 2016: Directly tag e-mails as Clutter from Outlook 2016, if your inbox has Clutter enabled.
    • Modern Attachments in Outlook 2016: Best productivity feature in the Office 2016 suite
    • New and Modern Charts: Modern charts, such as Waterfall…
    • New Office 365 Admin Center Preview: Interesting. This preview is said to be launched - that is ON ALL TENANTS - but I have yet not seen it on any of mine. Mayhaps one of the US only things.
    • Office 365 Help Pane: I really like the "What's new" thing. Keeps you and your users up to date with changes.
    • Office 365 Notification Pane: Notifications everywhere in Office 365 - now if only we had an API for this.
    • OLAP Connection Support in Power View: OLAP and PowerView - a wet dream for the BI people
    • Organization support card: Get your helpdesk details into the Office 365 Help pane. Really great feature.
    • PivotTable Field Search: Can't get enough of these PivotTable and BI stuff…
    • Producer controls for Skype Meeting Broadcast: A surprise to me. Is this really launched?
    • Purchase & Subscriptions Experience Refresh: I've said it before, the refresh is not as fresh as you want, specifically it is not very user friendly
    • Real-time Co-authoring in Skype for Business: co-author like a champ!
    • Search Refiners in Outlook Web App: Not only better search in the Outlook 2016 client but also in Outlook on the web.
    • Skype for Business for iOS: I've seen people cheer in joy for this!
    • Smart Rename in Power Pivot: Rename stuff smart…
    • Subscription Management Experience refresh: A good and intuitive UI
    • Support for small screen portrait layouts in Outlook 2016: Great update for all you Windows 10 7" screen users
    • Top teacher-requested features added to OneNote Class Notebooks: I have not tried the OneNote class things, but I'm sure this is really awesome!
    • Video Based Screen Sharing: P2P sharing of video content

    Rolling out

    • Advanced administrative controls for archiving: Support for SEC 17a-4 record retention (new)
    • Android: Android for Work compliance with multi profile support: support for Android for Work (don't know what this is, but I bet it's useful) (new)
    • Android: Android M Enterprise compliance: More Android stuff (new)
    • Android: Easy Sign-in, Sign-up: Never a bad idea to make things easy, especially when it comes to the Android platform (new)
    • Android: Presenter view: Present your deck from your Droid (new)
    • Data Loss Prevention (DLP) in SharePoint Online: This has been in the works for a long time, now finally rolling out.
    • DLP in SharePoint - Policy Management: Public preview targeted for September 2015
    • Optimized file picker in Outlook on the web: A smarter file picker that allows you to automate steps when saving attachments
    • Task Notifications in Project Online: Project Online gets task notifications and daily digests
    • Unique Project IDs in Project Online: Auto generated unique and readable Project IDs (new)

    In Development

    • Android: Deeper Integration with Outlook: quick edit of e-mail attachments (new)
    • Events from email: This one sounds interesting, also it points to a link: http://tba. Basically events sent to your inbox is automagically dropped (shown?) into the calendar
    • FastTrack | Skype for Business Onboarding Expansion: Back on the list, was dropped a couple of weeks ago
    • FastTrack | Adoption planning assistance: Also back on the list
    • FastTrack | Azure Rights Management Onboarding: Another come back
    • FastTrack | Project Online Onboarding: I guess someone fat fingered the roadmap a couple of weeks back
    • Group Updates feed and Direct Messages for Yammer mobile apps: Updates to the mobile apps. Android and iOS only. Looks like features that are already available in the web version…Nothing new just a modification of a previous entry, move on… 
    • Improved image attachment viewing in Outlook on the web: Big thumbnails and side by side viewing (new)
    • Inline OneDrive attachment preview for Outlook on the web: The OneDrive and OWA integration is just getting better. Do people bother about the thick clients anymore? (new)
    • Korean language support: Congrats to all Koreans, on November 2015 you can use Office on a Mac in your native language (new)
    • Lync Room Systems User Experience Update to Skype for Business: "In November 2015, all Lync Room System software will be updated to the Skype Meeting experience of Skype for Business"
    • Office 365 custom themes update: An important feature in Office 365 and we're getting some improvements to it. As it looks by the description it is more focused on how the end-users can configure their theme, not the corporate theme, unfortunately. (new)
    • Office 365 help pane updates: Tell Me integration in the help pane (new)
    • Office 365 My Account updates:  The new My Account page is great, and actually already rolling out (new).
    • Open OpenDocument files: Support for ODF in Office for Mac (new)
    • Outlook for Android opens IRM protected emails: IRM mails in Android. (new)
    • Quick Access Toolbar customization: The ability to modify the Quick Access Toolbar in Office - I though you already could do that? Is this a Mac thing or a WAC/OOS thing or a Office mobile thing? (new)
    • Ribbon extensibility: Extend the Ribbon on Office for Mac (new)
    • Sway * embed support: Allows you to embed documents and videos from SharePoint Online in Sway (new)
    • Sway admin controls over Insert tab content sources: Governance is coming to Sway - it might actually be enterprise ready one day. (new)
    • Sway author analytics: Who doesn't want to see stats. "Your Sway had 1 view". (new)
    • Sway copy/paste Cards: Shuffle them Sway Cards (new)
    • Sway for Windows Document Import: Easily create Sways from existing PDFs or Word documents (new)
    • Sway in new Azure datacenters: This is a significant milestone for Sway. Sway will be enabled in other data center than in US. So now customers can actually use it. (new)
    • Sway in Service Health Dashboard: Check the Health of Sway in the admin portal (new)
    • Sway onboarded to Office 365 Auditing for Office 365 protection center: We're going for Enterprise grade with Sway. Now, we just need to figure out what to use it for? (new)
    • Sway recycle bin: Ever thrown your Sway away? Well, now you never get rid of it! (new)
    • Sway sharing with specific people: Longing for a private Sway party? Wait no more (new)
    • Sway supports videos via upload and OneDrive for Business for Office 365 work/school accounts: Video upload support in Sway.(new)
    • Sway will add SharePoint to Insert tab: SharePoint stuff can be inserted into Sway (new)
    • Sway: Office 365 work/school accounts can publish Sways to I love…to publish PowerPoints. (new)
    • Yammer to use Azure Media Services for Video Encoding: And last but not least a Yammer update….yawn….

    Things no longer on the list

    • Azure AD Sync for Yammer:  this one has disappeared from the list totally, was previously Launched

    Moved into the Previously Released list

    • About Me Update and New Authoring Tool
    • Compliance search
    • Cortana & Office 365 Productivity Scenarios
    • Major update to Outlook Web App
    • Manage Yammer User Lifecycle in Office 365 (aka: AzureAD sync for Yammer)
    • New Intune capabilities for Outlook on iOS and Android
    • OAuth and MFA for Outlook for iOS & Android
    • Office 365 Admin app updates
    • Office 365 Admin App Updates for June
    • Office 365 Admin Center June Updates
    • Office 365 Groups: Power BI integration
    • Office 365 Setup Enhancements
    • Office 365 Setup Wizard
    • Office 365 Store
    • Office Online Edit in Yammer
    • Public Folders: adding and removing favorites in OWA
    • Save to OneDrive for Business
    • Search Suggestions in Outlook Web App
    • Weather Bar in Outlook Web App
    • Yammer Private Content Mode (this is a funny one, it's brand new on the list but already moved into the previously released ones. Yammer!)

  • Has Yammer played out its role?

    Tags: Yammer, Office 365

    And is Yammer dead?

    It is now three and a half years since Microsoft acquired Yammer and I think this is the end of Yammer, as a product/service. Let me explain myself, to avoid the flame war and hate mails that happened when I shared that my thoughts in the  Team Sites are dead post.

    I think Yammer as a brand will stay for a while, it's a strong brand and it's worked into so many PowerPoint decks from Microsoft that it would be hard to wash that away. But as a product or service Yammer is no longer of interest. I claim this due to a number of facts and observations over the last few years. People who follow me on social media cannot have avoided how I've been pretty aggressive in my comments about this product and I'm by no means alone.

    Dead end

    Here are some things that I think points very clear what is happening with Yammer.

    Yammer shut down its UserVoice channel: A couple of days ago Yammer out of the blue took down their UserVoice channel pointing to a custom feedback resource, that you have to register to get in to. This goes in the total opposite direction of what the rest of the Office teams are doing. And this on an area where Yammer actually was successful previously.

    Lack of integration: As I said it has gone three and a half years since Microsoft started working on integrating Yammer with Office 365. And what has happened since then. NOTHING! Nothing at all.  They haven't fixed the identity integration with Office 365. You need to maintain another profile in Yammer - not so much enterprisey.  Sign in is a pain - if you choose ADFS single sign on then you don't have for instance the suite bar - which means that this is really standalone. If you choose O365 sign on then you have a separate password.
    Also just recently the Yammer service moved into the Azure data centers, but still only in North America.
    The list goes on. Microsoft/Yammer has failed miserably on this topic.

    Enterprise Social Networks: Enterprise Social Networks (ESN) is on a decline in my opinion (I don't have any figures to back that with!). And what I mean with that is a standalone ESN is not interesting in the same way as before. There are some up comers, such as Slack, that does some really cool things but I think that audience is more narrow and I doubt Slack would work on some of the organizations that I work with. Generally thinking standalone ESN is a time waster, people and companies want to be efficient, so integration with other products is essential. Let's come back to this. Yammer is as much standalone as it can be, despite the Microsoft marketing stating it's a part of the Office suite.

    All the former Yammer leaders are gone: As far as I know, all the Yammer brains are gone. I remember SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas many years ago where they made a big deal of Adam Pisoni and his team at Yammer. That was the only and last time I saw them….

    Yammer constantly not listening at all, relying just on telemetry: I have had issues with Yammer since day one, issues that are bugs, feedback, not documented changes (dare I mention their APIs!) and I have tried getting in contact with the teams to give my feedback. It's been like talking to a brick wall! Basically any other team at Microsoft I can get in contact with if I need to, ranging from the Office teams, to the Windows teams and even CTOs has been taking my feedback and answering my questions. The only answer is when you have an issue with Yammer or give feedback is that - "we can't see that in out telemetry so then the users are not interested in that". If it's one answer I dislike, then it is that one. It becomes really comical when it comes to the "Mark all as read" function, that I think everyone using Yammer wants. But since that feature does not exist, they can't see it in their telemetry which in the Yammer world means that no one wants it. Duh!

    Lack of innovation: Three and a half years! Can anyone give me any new major feature in Yammer since the acquisition? Well, the Apple Watch App doesn't count. No, there has been no development what so ever on this product, except for some failed A/B testing attempts. Competitors is running in circles around Yammer. Sporadically we see Yammer stuff on the Office Roadmap, but almost always after they are released - just another sign that the Yammer team is not integrated with the Office team or have a different agenda!

    I probably missed a ton of other things, but this should make my point…

    So what is Microsoft doing and what should they be doing?

    Office 365 Groups and the Office 365 core services

    No surprise to those who follow me that Office 365 Groups should be in here. But this is important! I said lack of innovation, lack of integration, ESN is dead etc. with Yammer. All this has happened with Office 365 Groups, where I see a lot of good things grow!.

    First of all Office 365 Groups is integrating with the Office 365 service bringing the major key components together making it easy for users to collaborate, communicate, share and work together. Groups are bringing Exchange, SharePoint, Project and social networking together (could be under a Yammer brand) into one experience. This give Office 365 a unique experience compared to other competitors. With Yammer in the mix, it's a separate service, profile, user experience etc.

    Innovation! The innovation are taking place within the core Office 365 services. Take a look at the new Praise feature (directly stolen from Yammer) that now lives within Office Delve - where it should be. Take a look at the new Like feature that allows you to like e-mail messages - no more +1 e-mail messages. The same goes for the @mentions in the Outlook inbox. The majority of the social collaboration goes on in your inbox, why not let these features live here. I think this is a bold and good move.

    Actually I see the enterprise social pieces of this as an Enterprise Social Fabric that is tightly integrated with all the different core services and apps in Office 365. Not as a standalone service or product! And Yammer is not built for that.

    And for all this good things the Office 365 team also builds API's for use to use, in the new Office 365 Unified API. Something that is documented (another thing Yammer couldn't spell to).

    I'm seeing a really bright feature for Office 365 with Office 365 Groups and at the moment I will have hard to justify starting a Yammer on-boarding project with my customers. That would potentially lead them into a dead end and the off-boarding story of Yammer is most likely worse than the onboarding one. At least I will tell them this story, and they can make up their own minds.

    I would not be surprised that we see a number of Yammer obituaries in the upcoming 6 to 12 months.

    What do you think? Looking forward to an interesting discussion! Is Yammer as a service a dead end? Is the Enterprise Social Network "thing" going away?

  • What's new on the Office Roadmap - 2015-09-28

    Tags: Office 365

    Hey, look at that - a surprise update of the Office Roadmap! This time around we just have a couple of minor updates AND a couple of features that actually is removed from the Roadmap - all related to FastTrack. My guess someone was to trigger happy earlier this month when releasing this…

    Changes 2015-09-28

    These features are no longer listed on the roadmap!

    • FastTrack | Yammer Onboarding Expansion
    • FastTrack | Project Online onboarding
    • FastTrack | Azure Rights Management Onboarding
    • FastTrack | Adoption planning services
    • FastTrack | Skype for Business Onboarding Expansion
    • FastTrack | Data migration to SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business


    All that is left of the FastTrack items are

    • FastTrack | Request Service Onboarding (Rolling out)
    • FastTrack | Providing the customer success service (In development)

  • What's new on the Office Roadmap - 2015-09-25

    Tags: Office 365

    The second update of the Office Roadmap this months is now live.  This time a huge set of features that are rolling out, most of them has to do with the updated Office ProPlus client (2016). There are some hidden gems in this such as the "Likes" in OWA, huge Sway licensing changes and (the not so hidden) announcement of Office 365 Planner.

    Changes 2015-09-25

    Now Launched

    • Cortana & Office 365 Productivity Scenarios: The Cortana and Office 365 feature should now be launched (from rolling out). I've yet to seen what it actually does.
    • Outlook Groups AppOffice 365 Groups: mobile app: Love it! We have the Office 365 Groups mobile app, called Outlook Groups available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone (on some platforms only available on select markets).
    • Office 365 Service Trust Portal:  A new portal with even more information about trust, compliance, certifications etc. Important for Company admins can log in to the portal, Service Trust Portal, to give other users access to the portal. It is implemented as an Azure AD app and it actually requires some interesting permissions on your Azure AD to be able to use it. Brand new on the roadmap.
    • Office 365 Setup Enhancements: the new migration options are now fully launched
    • Office 365 Setup Wizard: the more streamlined getting-started and setup guide is live.
    • Office 365 Video: most likely the service that has taken the longest time to fully roll out. Video! It's here…
    • Office 365 Video - Embed: The video embed features should be available for everyone
    • Office 365 Video Update: Everyone should also have the updated Video experience in their tenants by now.
    • Yammer for Apple Watch: Yawn! If you are the one user using this, please contact me so I can find out why…

    Rolling out

    • Automatic Relationship Detection: PivotTable stuff, for those who are interested I guess this is a big del.
    • Automatic Time Grouping: Same here, but for PivotCharts…
    • Colorful Office theme: This sounds like a small thing, but it is actually huge. Each Office ProPlus/2016 client application now has it's own color scheme (Word - blue, PowerPoint - red, Excel - green etc). One of the feedbacks I heard from customers about Office 2013 was the white theme - no one liked it. I really fancy this new colorful theme, with a subtle color on each app which makes it much easy on the eyes.
    • Create and collaborate on Visio diagrams using Office-like experience: Anything with Visio is a good thing
    • Dark theme: Welcome to the dark side. If you liked to old app Darkroom, you'll like this.
    • Data Loss Protection (DLP) for Office desktop: DLP on the desktops for Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Nice addition!
    • Deferred Updates: If you don't want to be on the latest and greatest you can now defer feature updates for the Office client.
    • Easy Enable for Data Analysis Add-Ins: More Power[View|Pivot|Map] improvements
    • Getting started experience in Visio: Visio for everyone!
    • Higher DPI support for 250% and 300%: Ok, this must be in preparation for Surface Pro 4 (Staffan, I just dropped my Surface 3…)
    • Improved conflict resolution in PowerPoint: Conflict resolution in PowerPoint has been a mess, especially with those Management Consultant slides…
    • Improved sync slider and lean storage footprint on small devices in Outlook 2016: How about that, think about being the PM for the "sync slider".
    • Information Rights Management (IRM) protection now added for Visio files: RMS and Visio! Gotta keep those drawings secure!
    • Keyboard access for Pivot Tables and Slicers in Excel: The Excel BI team has been on fire
    • Keyboard access for Shape Panel in Visio: Visio is getting closer to be one first class citizen in the Office family
    • Keyword & People search suggestions in Outlook 2016: better integration with the Office 365 backend in Outlook 2016 for search to give you even better and more relevant results
    • Likes Coming to Outlook on the web: This is a new feature on the Roadmap and I think I like it! You can give an e-mail "Thumbs up" and this will be preserved. This is likely to prevent all those "+1" e-mails.
    • Making it easier to share files and collaborate: This is one of the better improvements in Office 2016 - the updated Share pane which combines sharing and co-authoring information
    • Mark emails as Clutter in Outlook 2016: I occasionally see this feature in the new 2016 client. For instance yesterday when doing a demo of that feature, it was not there…
    • Math Input Control: A cool feature for students and scientists
    • Modern Attachments in Outlook 2016: The number one productivity improvement in Outlook 2016. Attach you recent documents in a few clicks without actually sending attachments.
    • More secure translation options: I'm surprised this hasn't been in there before, but now the information from your documents is sent of SSL to services such as Bing and MS Research.
    • Multi-factor authentication: Makes all users cry but security officers jump in excitement
    • New and Modern Charts: How many different chart types can there really be?
    • New capabilities on Yammer Android app: The Yammer people are still struggling to entice the Android crowd - ever heard of Office 365 Groups and the new Outlook Group app?
    • New Chinese and Japanese Default Fonts: New updated modern fonts
    • New Forecasting Capabilities:  Excel again!
    • New Office 365 Admin Center Preview: Another new addition to the roadmap. All Office 365 Admins will soon have the new admin center experience in their tenants. During the transition you will have a link in the old portal to the new one
    • OLAP Connection Support in Power View: More PowerView
    • Optimized file picker in Outlook Web App: A really good file picker in OWA that allows you to more easily add attachments from your OneDrive for instance
    • Pan and zoom while loading large charts/SmartArt: SmartArt improvements
    • PivotTable Field Search: No comments needed, more Excel stuff
    • Quick data linking in Visio: Make it easier to hook up data to your VIsio shapes
    • Quick Shape Formatting: More style presets in Word, Excel and PowerPoint
    • Read-only mode for Excel: Open Excel more faster
    • Real time co-authoring in Word: Microsoft is catching up with other services, this is a neat feature - and it actually works
    • Refreshed stencils and smart shapes in Visio: About time…I'm dead tired of the 3D server shapes
    • Smart Lookup for Office: Contextual research options in Word, Excel and PowerPoint
    • Smart Rename in Power Pivot: PowerPivot…
    • Support for multi-selection of Slicer items using touch: Touch my Excel!
    • Support for small screen portrait layouts in Outlook 2016: Optimizations of Outlook 2016 for small screen devices.
    • Tell Me: It's like Cortana but for Office, use Tell me to find that function you need instead of clicking like crazy in the myriads of menus in Office

    In Development

    • eDiscovery Case Management, Hold & Permissions: No update on this one, except removal of a comma in the text
    • New per-user licensing for Sway: New on the roadmap and this is a significant one. "Sway will soon switch to a per-user licensing model, so that organizations no longer have to choose whether to have Sway enabled for the entire organization vs. nobody at all". A good move and all you Service Managers out there you need to plan for this one. So you don't get the same confusion as when Microsoft initially launched this product to everyone (that is a dumb move that we will just have to get used with,…)
    • Office 365 Admin app updates October 2015: We will see Groups administration in the next wave of the admin app. Like it!
    • Real-time Co-authoring in Skype for Business: First of all - whoever wrote this description need to read it again - worse English than mine. Ok, this is a new thing on the Roadmap and my interpretation of the lousy description is that it could be something really cool
    • Reassign Sways from deleted user: New on the roadmap. With this update you should be able to actually reassign the ownership of Sways to users that is removed from your tenant
    • Video Based Screen Sharing: New on the roadmap: P2P based Video Based Screen Sharing.
    • Work Management in Office 365: The Office 365 Planner announcement,. I can't stress how excited I am about this one. Think of it like Trello in Office 365 Groups. Can't wait to start using it!!! Read the full Planner announcement here.

  • What's new on the Office Roadmap - 2015-09-09

    Tags: Office 365

    Almost a month has gone since Microsoft did an update to the Office Roadmap. But fear no more, it is here stuffed with new and interesting stuff. It's quite a long list this time around. A lot of them are just Office 2016 features that we've known about for some time, but now added to this Roadmap. But also some really interesting FastTrack features, with very sparse descriptions.

    Changes 2015-09-09

    Now Launched

    • About Me Update and New Authoring Tool: The updated About Me, part of Delve, is now fully launched, including the new Stories authoring tool. Unfortunately totally missed out on communicating this new and actually really great way of composing content - kind of like a mix of Sway and a blog tool.  (Started rolling out in April)
    • Azure AD Sync for Yammer: Finally Yammer is in some way in sync with Azure AD and disabled/deleted accounts will now be suspended in Yammer (new on the roadmap)
    • Major update to Outlook Web App: Outlook on the web has a new UX (from In development)
    • Office 365 Admin app updates: the regular admin app updates, this time support for logging in to multiple tenants
    • Office 365 Admin App Updates for June: the admin app June updates
    • Outlook for iOS opens IRM protected emails: the iOS version of Outlook now supports reading, managing and creating IRM protected e-mails. (new)
    • Search Suggestions in Outlook Web App: type ahead with recommendations in OWA (from rolling out)
    • UserVoice coming to Outlook on the web: provide user feedback to UserVoice directly in the OWA interface (from in development)
    • Weather Bar in Outlook Web App: now shows the local weather in OWA (from in development)

    Rolling out

    • Apps for Project Pro for Office 365 write support: write-back support fro Apps for Project Pro for Office 365. Nice enhancement! (from in development)
    • Capacity Management capabilities in Project Online: heatmaps and colors in Project Online for better predictions of resource utilization (from in development)
    • FastTrack | Request Service Onboarding: you can now request setup help directly from within the admin center and get on board the Office 365 train fast and for free. (new)
    • Multiple timeline bars in Project Pro for Office 365: more GUI stuff for all them project managers (from in development)
    • Office 365 Setup Enhancements: improvements in the setup wizard for mail migrations (from in development)
    • Resource Engagement Workflow in Project Online: better management for resource management and planning (from in development)
    • Subscription Management Experience refresh; a new card view when working with subscriptions. In my opinion a far worse experience than before, the card view is just annoying. (from in development)

    In Development

    • Add-in deployment via Click-to-Run: a few add-ins/apps can now be deployed via the C2R method (new)
    • Archiving in Office 365 for 3rd-party data: Office 365 will support archiving of Twitter, Yammer, Facebook, LinkedIn, GoogleTalk, DropBox, Box, SalesForce, Chatter, SMS and more and more. This is huge for compliance and regulatory business! Big thumbs up! (new)
    • Automatic Relationship Detection: PivotTables and data and relationships. Some magic for all BI and Excel lovers. (new)
    • Azure departmental template availability: department specific RMS/IRM templates. (new)
    • Click-to-Run manageability gaps addressed for IT-pros: improvements to make the already stream-lined (pun intended) deployment even more streamlined (new)
    • Colorful Office Theme: Not really new, just new on the roadmap. Office (C2R and 2016) has a new default Colorful Theme. I love this small but significant UX change. (new)
    • Create and collaborate on Visio diagrams using Office-like experience: been here a while, previously it was rolling out, now it's not…
    • Dark Theme: an improved Dark theme in Office (C2R and 2016) (new)
    • Data Gathering and Shaping Capabilities: Power Query, previously an add-on, is now included in Excel 2016. (new)
    • Data Loss Protection (DLP) for Office desktop: This is really cool, DLP is not just a cloud feature, it will be on our desktops as well. (new)
    • Deferred Updates: Office 365 commercial customers can defer Office patches to allow more time for testing (new)
    • Easy Enable for Data Analysis Add-Ins: BI, BI, Power this and Power that. All BI features will be enabled by just you thinking about them (new)
    • FastTrack | Data migration to SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business: No info yet but probably free migration to SPO (new)
    • FastTrack | Skype for Business Onboarding Expansion: more free stuff (new)
    • FastTrack | Adoption planning services: being just a migration and onboarding consultant is probably not the smartest move at the moment… (new)
    • FastTrack | Azure Rights Management Onboarding: no info (new)
    • FastTrack | Project Online Onboarding: no info (new)
    • FastTrack | Providing the customer success service: no info (new)
    • FastTrack | Yammer Onboarding Expansion: no info (new)
    • Getting Started experience in Visio: no longer rolling out :-(
    • Higher DPI support for 250% and 300%: Makes Office work better on high DPI screens (new)
    • Improved conflict resolution in PowerPoint: making co-authoring even better, and for PowerPoint the conflict resolution has been really bad…
    • Improved sync slider and lean storage footprint on small devices in Outlook 2016: who doesn't like improved sliders!!! (new)
    • Information Rights Management (IRM) protection now added for Visio files: also rolled back from rolling out
    • Keyboard access for Pivot Tables and Slicers in Excel: more Excel BI improvements (new)
    • Keyboard access for Shape Panel in Visio: new key to start use in Visio - F6 (new)
    • Keyword & People search suggestions in Outlook 2016: simpler and more effective search in Outlook 2016 (new)
    • Making it easier to share files and collaborate: one of my fav features in Office 2016 - sharing is easy!! (new)
    • Mark emails as Clutter in Outlook 2016: get rid of those annoying e-mails that you don't care about (new)
    • Math Input Control: for all you math geeks (new)
    • Modern Attachments in Outlook 2016: if sharing is my fav feature this is way better - avoid attachments and sharing at the same time (new)
    • More secure translation options: document translation, research pane and others now use SSL for transport security - about time!!! (new)
    • Multi-factor Authentication: support for MFA in Office client (new)
    • New and Modern Charts: new charts in Excel (new)
    • New Chinese and Japanese Default fonts: Wingdings? (new)
    • New forecasting capabilities: improved Excel 2016 forecasting (new)
    • New timeline view in Project: improved timeline view in Project 2016 (new)
    • Office 365 content pack for Power BI: combine Office 365 usage and user information and get some insights (new)
    • Office 365 detailed usage reports: more and better reports (new)
    • Office 365 Groups: Support compliance requirements: support for Office 365 Groups in the compliance center with retention and holds (new)
    • Office 365 Reporting Dashboard: new aggregated dashboard in the admin center (new)
    • OLAP Connection Support in Power View: OLAP support in PowerView (new)
    • Outlook for the web inline OneDrive attachment preview: better preview options in OWA (new)
    • Pan and zoom while loading large charts/SmartArt:: no explanation needed (new)
    • PivotTable Field Search: search and you will find (new)
    • Quick data linking in Visio; one step connectivity for real time data (new)
    • Quick Shape Formatting: more presets in Office 2016 (new)
    • Read-only mode for Excel: open up an Excel document in SharePoint in read-only mode - what's new with that!?? (new)
    • Real time co-authoring in Word: it's been said before but this is now real time co-authoring for real (new)
    • Refresh stencils and smart shapes in Visio: another Visio thing that was in the rolling out section earlier
    • Set Automatic Replies in Outlook for iOS & Android: get your OOOF's rolling on the fruitphones and droids (new)
    • Smart Lookup for Office: contextual lookups (new)
    • Smart Rename in Power Pivot: rename stuff in PowerPivot, probably really good feature, I don't know (new)
    • Support for multi-selection of Slicer items using touch: Slicers, BI and touch - sounds like a wet dream to many (new)
    • Support for small screen portrait layouts in Outlook 2016: looking forward to testing this on my 7" Windows 10 tablet (new)
    • TellMe: Kindof Cortana but limited to the Office Ribbon :-)  (new)

    Moved off to the Previously Released list

    • NDR backscatter protection
    • Office 365 ProPlus user activation management
    • Public Folder calendar and contact access in OWA
    • SharePoint Online storage usage model
    • Skype for Business - Windows Phone
    • Skype for Business Preview - Cloud PBX with PSTN Calling (US Only)
    • Skype for Business Preview - PSTN Conferencing (US Only)
    • Skype for Business Preview - Skype Meeting Broadcast
    • Workload-specific admin roles


    That's it. Twas a long post this time…

  • What's new on the Office Roadmap - 2015-08-13 (Yammer Edition)

    Tags: Office 365

    Updates to the roadmap, again! This time around it is all about Yammer. This major update of Yammer features that's already rolled out or in development just shows how disconnected the Yammer and Office 365 teams are.

    Changes 2015-08-13

    These are the changes since yesterday.

    Now Launched

    • New Capabilities for Yammer iOS app: better photo and file sharing, better search, better this and better that. Directly to launched
    • Real-time Yammer group activity indicators: a feature that's been rolling out for a while, but still new on the roadmap. Tiny profile pics when people post stuff in groups. Directly to launched
    • Yammer Next Group Notifications: another thing that's been out there for a while, but new on the roadmap. Directly to launched

    Rolling Out

    • Yammer for Apple Watch: if I had a Apple Watch this is one of the things I would never install on it. Most likely for all the cool kids (new)

    In Development

    • Group Updates feed for Yammer mobile apps: Mobile Apps = Android or iOS, not win phone. This update allows for better possibilities to catch up on conversations
    • Groups in Office 365 for Yammer: the long rumored Yammer integration with Office 365 Groups. One really interesting new thing that I for sure will keep an eye on!
    • New capabilities on Yammer Android app: "…new capabilities that boost team collaboration". If they say so,.., (new)
    • Office Online multi-user coauthoring in Yammer: sigh - thou shalt not store and edit documents in yammer. (new)
    • Yammer Discovery Feed: smells like Facebooks (annoying) algorithm to surface relevant conversations. (new)
    • Yammer External Groups: allows you to invite external users to a group. Nice improvement, way better than external networks or the flexternals. (new)
    • Yammer Group UI Redesign: "cleaner look to focus attention on high impact activity..:", overall a good thing (new)

About Wictor...

Wictor Wilén is a Group Manager and Collaboration Lead working at Avanade. Wictor has achieved the Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) - SharePoint 2010, Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM) - SharePoint  and Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) - SharePoint 2010 certifications. He has also been awarded Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for six consecutive years.

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