New SharePoint home sites headline Microsoft 365 innovations for the intelligent workplace

Today at the SharePoint Conference (watch the keynote online today at 12 PM PT at the SharePoint Virtual Summit), we showcased recent and upcoming innovations in SharePoint and across Microsoft 365—including SharePoint home sites, a dynamic, engaging, and personalized employee experience for your organization. These innovations power the intelligent workplace, where teams can collaborate and streamline workflows, organizations can engage employees and communicate effectively, and individuals can be more creative and productive with experiences and insights powered by artificial intelligence (AI).

The world-class applications in Microsoft 365—including SharePoint, OneDrive, Microsoft Teams, Yammer, Microsoft Stream, PowerApps, and Microsoft Flow—enable digital transformation for more than 500,000 customer organizations and 180 million commercial active users.

Today, I’d like to share highlights of our innovations across the following areas:

  • The intelligent intranet featuring SharePoint home sites.
  • Innovations in Yammer and Microsoft Stream for employee engagement and communications.
  • Intelligent file experiences, sharing, and controls with OneDrive.
  • Turbocharging Microsoft 365 performance, security, intelligence, and innovation.

The intelligent intranet featuring SharePoint home sites

Visionaries know that an intelligent intranet powers employee experience, organizational alignment and cultural transformation. The heart of the digital workplace, an intelligent intranet provides shared content and solutions for collaboration, connects people and content across teams and siloes to harness collective knowledge, and drives employee engagement and communications.

Today, one such visionary—Takeda Pharmaceuticals’ Kevin Schramm, Head of IT Strategy and Operations—shared their compelling story. When Takeda, a world-leading pharmaceutical company based in Japan, acquired Shire, a U.S.-based company, they built a SharePoint intranet in just four months to connect the workplace, drive organizational alignment, and power communication for more than 60,000 employees worldwide. Kevin explained, “Starting on Day 1, we wanted to begin to create a shared culture that reflected our values. A new intranet was a key part of representing the combined company to our employees. SharePoint allowed us to meet very aggressive deadlines and helped bring our organizations together, successfully.”

For more than a decade, SharePoint has powered award-winning intranets for hundreds of thousands of customers, leading the industry across every geography and industry. With the move to the cloud, customers have inspired us to deliver even more out-of-box capabilities that accelerate time-to-value. Since the Future of SharePoint event only three years ago, SharePoint has reinvented the intelligent intranet, delivering flexible solutions for teamwork, engaging employee experiences, and AI-powered search and content management. Communication sites, organizational news, hubs, modern team sites, pages, lists, and libraries are now available across browsers and devices, and in the highly rated SharePoint mobile app.

Shareable video.

SharePoint home sites

Today, we announced a revolutionary step forward, further accelerating time-to-value for customers. SharePoint home sites are an intelligent, integrated employee experience—a landing page—for your organization that:

  • Connects the workplace with Microsoft Search and megamenu navigation.
  • Shares relevant news and content to each user based on their role and place in the organization.
  • Engages employees with conversation and compelling video powered by Yammer and Microsoft Stream.
  • Powers individual productivity with personalized content, information, and navigation.

Image of several devices displaying SharePoint home sites, which provide a dynamic, engaging, and personalized employee experience for organizations.

SharePoint home sites provide a dynamic, engaging, and personalized employee experience for the organization.

A home site is a SharePoint communication site with superpowers that is:

  • An organizational news source, by default. News published to the home site is visually marked to indicate it is official news and syndicated to all users with access to the home site.
  • The landing page for the new home view on the SharePoint mobile app.
  • Connected to the enhanced SharePoint start page (formerly referred to as “SharePoint home”), which features improved navigation, insights into activity across your sites, views of your documents to help you get back to your work quickly, and the enhanced saved for later view of news and content you’ve flagged for review.
  • An enterprise-wide Microsoft Search experience, from the search box in the suite bar.

Where intranet portal projects of the past were often measured in months, you can now deploy a home site in minutes and then—with no code—customize and brand the out-of-box web parts, navigation, and site design to reflect the voice and priorities of your organization.

Of course, SharePoint remains a powerful platform for delivering applications on the intranet. Now, you can add any of the hundreds of third-party applications available in Teams to any SharePoint site. And you can embed solutions built with the SharePoint Framework by your developers or by our extensive network of SharePoint partners. We’re pleased to announce more than a dozen partners have agreed to integrate their intranet offerings closely with the SharePoint intelligent intranet to empower our customers with an extensive range of solutions that are optimized for performance and compatibility with the SharePoint mobile application and future innovations.

We’re thrilled to introduce home sites and to empower customers to build wholly new, intelligent employee experiences. Learn more about SharePoint home sites and other innovations for the intelligent intranet.

Innovations in Yammer and Microsoft Stream for employee engagement and communications

SharePoint home sites feature out-of-box integration with Yammer and Microsoft Stream. Today, we showcased innovations for Yammer and Microsoft Stream that unlock high-value scenarios for employee engagement, communication, and learning.

Innovations for Yammer

Yammer connects people across the organization with open conversation. Yammer’s lightweight conversational experience across devices fosters inclusivity by giving every employee a voice and the ability to express thoughts, ideas, and feedback. With the new Yammer question and answer feature, you can ask a question and then you or a group admin can mark the best answer—making the knowledge easier to share and reuse in the future. Additionally, a group can feature intelligent, bot-like responses to frequently asked questions.

Image portraying Yammer question and answer functionality. A cursor clicks "mark best answer" on a person's reply.

Yammer question and answer makes it easier for people to find answers across the organization.

To accelerate your organization’s success with Yammer, we’re pleased to announce that e-Discovery for Yammer will be available to all customers using Yammer groups connected to Office 365 groups. In addition, to support the unique data residency requirements for European customers, we’re accelerating availability of in-geo data storage for Yammer in the EU, available today. Now, Yammer messages and files attached to Yammer messages will be stored at-rest in our EU datacenters, for new Yammer networks in the EU.

New capabilities for Microsoft Stream

Customers are increasingly turning to video as a compelling way to support communications, learning, and engagement. Today, we celebrated new announcements for Microsoft Stream, powering intelligent video in Microsoft 365. You can securely record, upload, and share video from the Microsoft Stream mobile app for iOS and Android. We also demonstrated how you can easily insert polls, surveys, or quizzes into videos with Microsoft Forms.

Image of two phones displaying the Microsoft Stream mobile app.

Record, upload, and share video securely with the Microsoft Stream mobile app.

Image of a laptop open, on its screen is a Microsoft Stream poll being taken.

Embed a quiz, poll, or survey in a video with Microsoft Stream.

Update on SharePoint spaces

At the SharePoint Conference 2018, we shared an early look at SharePoint spaces, which enable anyone to create compelling, mixed reality experiences viewable across headsets and browsers. Customer interest has been overwhelming, with over 1,800 companies across the globe and across industries applying for our limited preview. We’ve been working with a handful of those customers to develop our plans for SharePoint spaces, and we’ve been collaborating on industry standards for 3D and virtual reality.

Today, we gave another small glimpse into our progress by showing an example used here at Microsoft, which allows people to experience our original campus and to connect with the vision for the new campus using 2D and 3D video and 360-degree images. We look forward to sharing much more about SharePoint spaces at Ignite 2019.

At Microsoft, our own cultural transformation was scaled to include more than 110,000 employees worldwide by engaging employees with Yammer and live events. We’re excited to learn from our customers, who are now empowered with the same capabilities to drive cultural transformation, organizational alignment, open conversations, compelling communications, and immersive experiences for learning and development.

Learn more about announcements for Yammer and new features for Microsoft Stream.

Intelligent file experiences, improved sharing and controls with OneDrive

OneDrive is the files app in Microsoft 365 where you can work with all your files—your individual work files and the files shared with you across Microsoft 365—on PC or Mac, across browsers, and across devices with highly rated apps for iOS and Android. Improvements to sync include differential sync for all files—Office files already feature differential sync—which will accelerate sync and reduce network utilization, and support for Windows Virtual Desktop, currently in preview. These improvements enable organizations to deliver cloud-connected experiences and users to work with cloud files within native experiences like File Explorer and Finder.

OneDrive lets you find the files that matter most, with Microsoft Search in OneDrive and new, AI-powered experiences that provide personalized recommendations. OneDrive’s enhanced file hover cards will show you file insights, activity, and lifecycle signals such as DLP policies. And the new save for later feature lets you flag a file that you want to return to at a better time.

The OneDrive web application features a new, full-fidelity files experience for shared libraries, enabling you to sync files to your PC or Mac, work with metadata columns and custom views, and preview more than 320 file types—including 360-degree images and AutoCAD DWG files. And collaborators can now add comments to any of the 320+ file types—including images, CAD drawings, PDFs, and more—with new support for comments on non-Office files.

Image of a comment left in a Word document stored in OneDrive.

Intelligent experiences in OneDrive include a full-fidelity files experience for shared libraries, including conditional formatting and metadata; file hover cards with file insights and activity; and rich collaborative features.

We made it easier to collaborate on files with people inside and outside your organization—within the sharing policies set by your organization—directly from OneDrive. You can now create a shared library with a streamlined experience backed by an Office 365 group, allowing you to specify the people you want to share with. Of course, you can also share files in Teams, the hub for teamwork, where a new file sharing control in Teams chat lets you choose whether to upload a copy of the file or share a link, for which you can configure the access provided by the link. We’re also bringing the new sharing control to Outlook.

Image of a conversation in Microsoft Teams.

Manage access when you share files in a Teams chat.

Image of a file shared in Outlook.

Manage access when you share files in Outlook.

Finally, we’re introducing a new request files capability. You can select a folder and invite people to add files. Everyone can upload files to the folder and see only their files. And, as files are added, you receive a notification. Request files unlocks scenarios where files need to be collected from multiple individuals, while preventing individuals from seeing others’ files.

Learn more about these highlights, when they’ll arrive in your tenant, and the rest of the innovations we announced for sharing and working together on files on the OneDrive blog.

Powering content collaboration with turbocharged SharePoint file storage

Microsoft 365 is the most feature-rich, intelligent, and trusted cloud for your content. SharePoint powers content collaboration in Microsoft 365, and we’ve invested billions of dollars across research and engineering to drive massive improvements to the capabilities, performance, scalability, and security of Microsoft 365.

Today, we spotlighted some of those “behind the scenes” investments:

  • Accessing data from Microsoft 365 is ten times faster than it was just two years ago.
  • Your experience in Office 365 is three times faster than a year ago, with investments across our architecture that accelerate your experience even when you are working far from your own datacenter.
  • To drive faster, more responsive intelligence and insights, we’ve worked so that content you add or modify is searchable in seconds.
  • You can view more than 320 file types, without requiring dedicated applications, across Microsoft 365 web, mobile, and desktop applications and Windows 10.
  • Differential sync, coming to OneDrive, will synchronize large files significantly faster and considerably reduce network utilization by sync.

SharePoint investments in performance, scalability, collaboration, and intelligence are powering significant innovations for content collaboration across Microsoft 365. Recent examples include the release of Microsoft Search to general availability across SharePoint, Office.com, and Bing.com, and revolutionary new capabilities for real-time, intelligence-assisted collaboration that we previewed in our demonstration of the Fluid Framework.

You can learn more about the SharePoint file storage improvements that make Microsoft 365 the best cloud for all of your content and collaboration in Turbocharging Microsoft 365 cloud user experiences.

Finally, we continue to invest in capabilities that enable IT organizations to govern users, devices, and content with industry leading security and compliance controls, so that IT can empower the business and rest easy that information is protected.

  • Classification labels provide consistent management of information lifecycle, security, and compliance across Microsoft 365.
  • High-value compliance control and global footprint, including general availability of Multi-geo Capabilities for SharePoint and Office 365 groups.
  • New enterprise information archiving features to natively archive third-party data into Microsoft 365, new solutions to help organizations achieve compliance requirements, such as Records Management, and updates to Supervision including new out of the box machine learning models to harness intelligence and identify questionable content for further review. These solutions are generally available with Microsoft 365 E5 and E5 Compliance offerings.

You can read more about today’s announcements for security, compliance, and manageability in Updates to SharePoint security, administration, and migration and New Records Management solution and machine learning updates come to Microsoft 365 compliance.

Inspiration and next steps

The innovations and vision we announced today are inspired by you—your success, your stories, your questions, and your wish lists. Our team listens closely and creates capabilities that we hope in turn inspire you to transform your organization with an intelligent workplace.

Watch the SharePoint Virtual Summit starting May 21, 2019 at 12 PM PT and keep your feedback coming. We’ll see you at Ignite 2019 where we’ll have—believe it or not—even more big announcements to share. Until then, I encourage you sign up for our new monthly update, which will be the best place to keep in touch with announcements, guidance, and tips across Microsoft 365’s communication and collaboration experiences.

Also, see the following resources to learn more:

Please note that the content contained within these blog posts describes features and functionality that may vary by market. For full details on specific product offerings for your market, please visit Microsoft 365, Office 365, Windows 10, or Enterprise Mobility + Security.
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