SharePoint, OneDrive, and Office enhancements showcase Microsoft 365 innovations at Microsoft Ignite

This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: Microsoft 365 Blog articles.

Today at Microsoft Ignite 2019, we showcased recent and upcoming innovations in SharePoint and across Microsoft 365, including Project Cortex, a new service that applies AI to create a knowledge network that empowers people with knowledge and expertise in the apps they use every day, and to connect, manage, and protect content across systems and teams.

Microsoft 365 uses AI to deliver cutting-edge productivity experiences that help you get things done. In the modern workplace, content collaboration is the foundation of productivity.

Industry analysts have recognized the apps in Microsoft 365, including SharePoint, OneDrive, Microsoft Teams, Yammer, and Microsoft Stream, as leaders for empowering customers to achieve their modern workplace. We are proud that Gartner recently recognized Microsoft as a Leader in its 2019 Magic Quadrant for Content Services Platforms.

We are humbled at how the vibrant SharePoint community has embraced the broader Microsoft 365 offerings, such as Microsoft Teams and the Power Platform, to help Microsoft 365 empower digital transformation in more than 500,000 customer organizations. It is this rich community that has helped us reach another milestone: SharePoint has surpassed 100 million monthly active commercial users in the cloud.

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


  • Knowledge
  • The intelligent intranet
  • Content and team collaboration
  • Workflow and the developer platform
  • Security and administration


With changes in the workforce, including a global skills shortage and information overload, organizations are seeking new competitive advantages in harnessing knowledge and “upskilling” employees. In his keynote today, Satya Nadella shared Microsoft’s vision for a new era of Knowledge.

Project Cortex

Introducing Project Cortex.Introducing Project Cortex.

As part of this vision, today we introduced Project Cortex, our first new commercial service in Microsoft 365 since Teams.

Project Cortex applies AI to empower people with knowledge and expertise in the apps they use every day. Cortex automatically organizes content and expertise across your systems and teams into related topics like projects, products, processes and customers, creating a knowledge network. Topic pages and knowledge centers—created and updated by AI—enable experts to cultivate and share knowledge with wiki-like simplicity. And topic cards deliver knowledge just-in-time across Outlook, Microsoft Teams, and Office.


topic cards.gif


In addition, Project Cortex enables business process efficiency by turning your content into an interactive knowledge repository—with innovations in smart content ingestion—to analyze documents and extract metadata to create sophisticated content models; machine teaching, to allow subject matter experts to teach the system how to understand semi-structured content; and knowledge retrieval, to make it easy for people to access the valuable knowledge that’s so often locked away in documents, conversations, meetings, and videos. Building on the content you already have in SharePoint, Project Cortex connects content across Microsoft 365 and external systems and enables you to manage information and streamline processes with built-in security, compliance, and workflow.

Many customers have joined us to help make Project Cortex, including the Mott MacDonald Group.

Mott MacDonald, a global engineering and consulting firm helping clients navigate many of the planet’s most intricate challenges, operates from 180 principal offices in 50 countries. The company’s leadership believes in connected thinking—connecting people to knowledge and knowledge to people—and Mott MacDonald is using Project Cortex to help realize this vision. Simon Denton, productivity application architect at Mott MacDonald, says, “I’m really excited by Microsoft’s vision for creating knowledge networks. It fits completely in with [our] strategy for knowledge. The idea of connecting people to content and content to people and building in this network out, powered by Microsoft 365: It’s going to be a game changer for us.”

You can learn more from this morning’s blog, Introducing Project Cortex. You can also visit our Resource Center to see Project Cortex in action, review Ignite content, and apply to be part of our limited private preview.


The intelligent intranet

For more than a decade, SharePoint has powered award-winning intranets for hundreds of thousands of customers. With the move to the cloud, customers have inspired us to deliver even more out-of-the-box capabilities that accelerate time to value. Since the Future of SharePoint event only 3 years ago, SharePoint—and the highly rated SharePoint mobile app—have reinvented the intelligent intranet across browsers and devices, enabling organizations to work across teams and siloes to harness their employees’ collective knowledge.

Today, we shared the story of the VELUX Group, a leading producer of high-quality roof windows and modular skylights. The VELUX Group epitomizes the modern workplace, with a headquarters that’s an innovative reflection of the spirt of its founder. The VELUX Group is proud of pioneering a digital workplace, with employees collaborating and communicating across the world, but its classic intranet was holding those people back. To connect more employees, help them work more productively, and do so on their mobile devices, the VELUX Group dedicated itself to improving its intranet. The company used Microsoft 365 to build VELUX One, an intelligent intranet that drives employee engagement and satisfaction, enabling them to achieve more by communicating and collaborating more effectively on more devices.

Ingrid Reumert, VP, Stakeholder Communications & Sustainability, explained, “We need digital collaboration tools because we’re cooperating across boundaries and with people that we don’t meet with physically. Microsoft 365 enables us to communicate, to collaborate, to connect across these borders.”


Velux One in action.Velux One in action.

Microsoft has made great progress on this journey, but we continue to listen to our customers’ feedback so that we can drive innovation and refinement to increase value for them. The innovations we announce today are steeped in that rich feedback.


SharePoint Home Sites

Earlier this year at the SharePoint Conference, we previewed an innovative step forward: SharePoint home sites. Home sites are an intelligent, integrated employee experience—a landing page—for your organization. We’re pleased that dozens of partners have integrated their intranet offerings closely with the 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 like home sites.  Today, I’m happy to announce that we are beginning the rollout of SharePoint home sites, further accelerating time to value for our customers.


SharePoint home sites - a personalized landing experience for your organization.SharePoint home sites - a personalized landing experience for your organization.

Multilingual capabilities

To enable global organizations to connect people across boundaries and empower collaboration regardless of language, we are announcing that multilingual capabilities will be available out of the box with SharePoint.


Employees will be able to view content in their preferred language or easily switch languages. Page translators will receive notification of changes to core content, and with real-time difference tracking, they’ll be able to update that content easily and efficiently.


Multilingual publishing.Multilingual publishing.


Difference tracking helps translators focus only on what changed.Difference tracking helps translators focus only on what changed.

In addition, new languages are available in Microsoft Stream. With Microsoft Stream, you can embed videos in any site by using the out-of-the-box web part, enabling transcripts and captions for videos in Chinese (simplified), French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Portuguese (Brazilian).


Enhancements for corporate communicators

We continue to listen and innovate to help corporate communicators share their stories and messages across their organizations. Today, we announced a series of enhancements in that area, from page scheduling and out-of-the-box stock photography to new web parts, live event enhancements, and more.


Rich stock photography to enhance your news and sites visually.Rich stock photography to enhance your news and sites visually.

Learn more about these and other new capabilities in the intelligent intranet blog.


Content and team collaboration

You saw the story of Nestlé, the global food and beverage giant that makes so much of what we consume, from coffee to pet food. Headquartered in Vevey, Switzerland, Nestlé is the largest food and drink producer in the world. In 2015, the company embarked on a journey to reduce infrastructure, strengthen digital collaboration, and secure that collaboration by deploying OneDrive.


A Herculean migration task lay before Nestlé, which has more than 300,000 employees and 1,500 office locations (including 500 factories) in more than 70 countries. But Nestlé found that once it started to roll out OneDrive, the process perpetuated itself, reduced costs, and made employees’ lives easier.


Nestlé executives Jose Luis Di Rauso, AVP, Network and Unified Communications, shared, “We use Microsoft OneDrive to enable our users to share content and collaborate with higher levels of versatility and freedom, removing dependencies on IT departments as well as complex designs when collaboration with external parties is required.”

With Nestlé and so many other organizations using Microsoft 365 to drive content and team collaboration today, we continue to work for innovations that help them be even more productive.


For example, Microsoft Office has always helped you manage your work, whether you’re using the web, desktop, or mobile applications. Some of the new collaboration and AI capabilities in SharePoint; OneDrive; and Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint will make that management even easier.


Add Microsoft Teams to your site

We are making it easier than ever to bring all that rich content and business processes you’ve been working on together into one place in Teams, your hub for teamwork.


You can already add a team to your existing group-connected SharePoint site with one click. Today, we want to share that we’re building a new, more intuitive way to do the same thing directly from SharePoint. We’ll make it easy to choose lists, libraries, or pages that you want to bring into Teams as tabs. Once in Teams, it is easy to collaborate with the same group directly on the SharePoint content you just brought in.


Teams integration.Teams integration.


OneDrive is the intelligent files app for Microsoft 365. From OneDrive, you access all your files across individual locations and shared team libraries.


Today, I’m happy to announce that we’re improving OneDrive in four key areas:


  • Improved file insights that are actionable with File Cards
  • A new way of sharing with Request Files
  • Improved working with extremely large files and saving on network bandwidth with Differential Sync
  • Keeping you productive when you’re on the go

A new way of sharing.A new way of sharing.

You can learn about all these areas and other new features in the Content collaboration throughout Microsoft 365—Ignite 2019 announcements blog from this morning.


A refreshed

Today, we announced a new, refreshed that connects you to the apps you use every day, including line-of-business apps.


The new new

Microsoft Search is available at the top of the page to make content discovery fast and efficient. In addition, AI recommends items such as documents, @mentions, videos from Microsoft Stream, or news from SharePoint that require your attention—all designed so that you can easily get back to your work as easily as possible.


These experiences are available today, with design updates rolling out soon. For example, over the next few months, you will gain the ability to add templates customized for your organization in SharePoint, including your branding, fonts, and colors.


Intelligence and collaboration enhancements to Office

Office has been the leader in collaboration and using intelligence to help make you more productive. Today, we shared enhancements to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint based on intelligence to help make you more productive, share information more effectively, and collaborate with teammates. We are showing many new innovations in Office here at Ignite, such as:


  • Using your enterprise templates in PowerPoint Designer.
  • Enhancing collaboration through the new commenting experience and task tracking in Word. 
  • Improving the coauthoring experience in Excel with Sheet view.

Workflow and the developer platform

The Jim Henson Company, a leader in family entertainment for more than 60 years, has always been innovative. As the company began its push to the cloud, it was looking for a quick fix to help its security team. Having provided solutions in the past, The Jim Henson Company looked to the PAIT Group for a creative solution to its needs.


The Jim Henson Company decided to take advantage of the modern tool sets available within Microsoft 365 and expand on SharePoint lists with PowerApps to rapidly create a more modern-looking, user-friendly tool.


“As a long-time Microsoft customer, we are thrilled to see collaboration tools that are flexible enough to manage screenplays at the office and yet be mobile friendly enough to use on a production set,” says Tobias Iaconis, VP of Information Systems at The Jim Henson Company.


Microsoft 365 supports a broad spectrum of options, from a rich workflow that empowers employees who have little or no coding background to streamline and improve the processes they use to get work done to a robust developer platform. We continue to listen and strive to enable our customers to save time and money and ensure that processes are designed by the people who know them best. Today, we highlight efforts in this area.


Office Script

Office Scripting simplifies clunky processes and automates repetitive tasks so that you can work less while doing more. Today, we introduced scripting in Excel, a new process automation feature that enables you to record your actions inside a workbook and save it to a script. You can then integrate the saved script with Power Automate and schedule it to run automatically or integrate with a larger flow. Office Scripting will be available as a public preview by the end of the year.

Document library improvements

We continue to further enhance lists and libraries in SharePoint based on your feedback. To that end, we are releasing all new functionality in this area, such as:


  • Expanding lists to fill the screen, which enables you to focus on what you’re doing and see more rows and columns at once.
  • Customizing the view, which is something you told us was important. We are making it simple to customize your view with powerful new tools to slice and dice your data, be it list items or metadata on docs.
  • Integrating PowerApps with SharePoint document libraries.

Customize your view with powerful new tools.Customize your view with powerful new tools.

Fluid Framework

At Build 2019, we announced Fluid Framework, a combination of new technology and experiences that will make collaboration seamless by breaking down the barriers between apps. Today, we’re announcing a public preview experience to try the Fluid Framework. Microsoft 365 customers can as we begin our rollout in the next few weeks. Over time, we expect these capabilities to appear in experiences across Microsoft 365, including within chat in Teams, mail in Microsoft Outlook, portals in SharePoint, notes in OneNote, and Office documents. We’re also announcing a private preview of the technology, and we’re inviting organizations that would like to partner with us on the initial release of the Fluid Framework to sign up for the developer preview.


Security and administration

Microsoft runs on trust. With the growing presence and sophistication of online threats, it’s increasingly important to have the right protection and tools to help safeguard your devices, personal information, and files against being compromised.


With growing pools of digital data in your organization, simplified governance of this data and the ability to stay current with compliance are becoming critical for business success. With our new AI-powered features, you can simplify and automate risk management and keep your data secure, despite ever-evolving threats.


Automatic classification

At Ignite 2018, we showed you how sensitivity labels make it easy to protect and govern your business-critical data by manually labeling the data. With sensitivity labels, we’re taking our next big step forward and introducing automatic classification.


Microsoft 365 can automatically identify the sensitive data in your corporate files based on the rules you configure and label that data to protect it and ensure that only authorized employees can access it. You can associate richer policies, like device policies and external user policies, to a label, meeting your corporate security requirements while at the same time offering employees a simplified experience.

Information barriers

We are also developing our compliance controls. We shipped Office 365 Multi-Geo for data residency needs in SharePoint Online this spring. Now, we’re taking a leap forward with the information barriers scenario. Initially available in Teams, SharePoint, and OneDrive, this enforcement technology will come to Exchange Online and other Microsoft 365 experiences.


With OneDrive and SharePoint, your data is in the most secure and compliant place. You can lean more in the blog SharePoint and OneDrive Security, compliance, migration, admin and server – Ignite 2019 announcement.


A richer administrative toolkit

Microsoft 365 provides a rich toolkit that enables IT professionals to configure, manage, and monitor Microsoft 365 services. As in all areas of the product, we continue to listen to customer feedback and innovate. Today, we announced a series of new administrative features to enhance this toolkit:


  • Root site URL rename. One particularly popular request is to enable you to modernize your root site by replacing it with a new, modern home site that you have built. I’m happy to share that you can now do that with one click from within the SharePoint admin center.
  • Modern term store. From your feedback, we also know that you’re excited for us to finish modernizing the remaining classic experiences. Today, I showed the new term store admin experience we’re working on. The new experience will offer an enhanced set of analytics and make it easier to manage your company’s taxonomy and content types.
  • Mover. Last week, I had the privilege of announcing that Microsoft has acquired Mover, a leading provider of cloud file migration, including admin-led and self-service offerings. As customer demand to move content to the cloud continues to grow, Mover will help make it easier than ever for customers to migrate files to Microsoft 365. You can now use this service for free. Initially, the service is available to North American customers, but we plan to ramp up for all customers worldwide. We’ll share more soon.

Mover offers many new cloud migration scenarios alongside our SharePoint Migration Tool for on-premises moves, FastTrack planning and onboarding, and a strong migration partner ecosystem—collectively, the broadest set of offerings to assist your migration to Microsoft 365.


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 will in turn inspire you to transform your organization into a modern workplace.


Watch The latest innovations in SharePoint, OneDrive & Office for content collaboration in Microsoft 365, starting November 4, 2019, at 3:15 PM ET, and keep your feedback coming. We’ll see you at SharePoint Conference 2020, where we’ll have more big announcements to share. Until then, I encourage you sign up for our new monthly update, which is the best place to keep in touch with announcements, guidance, and tips across Microsoft 365 communication and collaboration experiences.


*Source: Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Content Services Platforms, Michael Woodbridge, 30 October 2019

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