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3 recommended updates: Activity-based Teams renewal

Version 19.10.30 is now available.

Microsoft MVP Jasper Oosterveld on activity-based Teams renewal, form customization in SharePoint lists and libraries, and live captions for your English-language Teams meetings.

Welcome back to 3 recommended updates, a new blog series where I bring you the latest and greatest from the world of Microsoft and Office 365.

I hope you enjoyed the last one—with my thoughts on the new sharing reports for SharePoint, the ability to pin channels in Teams, and the SharePoint Home rebranding—and are ready for the eighth installment!

3 recommended updates series:

In this release, you’ll find my opinion about activity-based Teams renewal; form customization in SharePoint lists and libraries; and live captions for your English-language Teams meetings.

Without further ado, let's take a closer look at my 3 recommended updates you need to know about now.

Activity-based Teams renewal

Defining governance for your Microsoft Teams rollout is crucial—crucial for overall success, and crucial for user adoption. One of Microsoft's out-of-the box governance tools for Teams is the ability to set an expiration policy.

Currently, this policy is based on a designated period of time, for example: 90 days. As the expiration period approaches, the team owner(s) are automatically sent an email asking them to decide if the team should be renewed for another, in this example, 90 days. Otherwise the team, and all its content, is going to be deleted and moved to the recycle bin.

I am a huge fan of the expiration policy. That’s because I like a clean Office 365 environment. I believe an Office 365 environment shouldn’t contain hundreds of unused teams. That said, the settings for the expiration policy aren’t all that flexible.

For example: I want to apply an expiration policy—but only for projects, not for departments. I don’t want those owners being hassled with e-mail notifications to renew the team because these teams are actively used and don’t need to expire.

A team with an expiration policy will renew automatically when any member visits a channel reducing the need for team owners to manually do this periodically.

microsoft 365 roadmap, featured id: 56784

A bit more flexibility would be wonderful. And now, Microsoft is finally releasing an activity-based renewal for Microsoft Teams. With this newly added intelligence, Teams which are being actively used will be automatically renewed—so there's no need for owners to receive e-mail notifications. Great news!

Good to know:

  • Automatic renewal is based on a user visit to any channel in a team, as well as activity in the team's associated SharePoint or Office 365 Group.
  • Configuring and using the expiration policy requires you to possess but not necessarily assign Azure AD Premium licenses for the members of all groups to which the expiration policy is applied.
  • As an admin, if you have configured group expiration policies in your tenant, then teams that are close to expiry will get renewed automatically without requiring any further configuration.

Do you want to learn more about this new feature? Click here to visit the official Microsoft support page. Microsoft is currently rolling this out to production customers.

Form customization in SharePoint lists and libraries

Customization of SharePoint forms (news, edit & display) has been possible since the release of SharePoint Designer 2007. Unfortunately, some knowledge of coding was necessary, and the process wasn’t really user-friendly.

This is one of the reasons why InfoPath started to flourish (and we all know how that ended). InfoPath is dead and has (sort of) been replaced by PowerApps, which contains many different options to change your forms.

This feature allows users in lists and libraries to customize the order and visibility of fields on forms. 

microsoft 365 roadmap, featured id: 56425

That said, I don't find PowerApps very user-friendly either, and it's more of an IT tool. That’s why I am happy with this update: users can now customize the order and visibility of fields on forms in lists and libraries. All you have to do is click Show/Hide Fields in the property form of the details pane to perform this customization.

This feature reduces the need for PowerApps for such simple changes. I welcome features like these. Keep them coming!

Good to know:

  • Users with the right permissions to create columns will see these options for those lists and libraries.
  • All users who view the form will be able to adjust property ordering.
  • Prepare your end users for this change by updating your communication and training materials.

Do you want to learn more about this new feature? Click here to visit the Microsoft 365 Roadmap. Microsoft is gradually rolling this out to Targeted Release customers in late October. The roll out will be completed worldwide by the early November.

Live captions in Teams meetings

Having live captions is a great feature for participants who are deaf or hard of hearing, participants with different levels of language proficiency, and participants in loud places. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that I applaud the introduction of live captions.

But. The major downside, comparable to other language-related features, is the lack of support for languages other than English. I hope Microsoft is going to start supporting languages spoken by all their customers worldwide.

This feature enables meeting participants to view captions during a Teams meeting. Supported spoken languages in 1st release: English.

microsoft 365 roadmap, featured id:

Good to know:

  • Live captions will not turn on automatically for end users. Attendees will need to select Turn on live captions (preview) from the menu to enable live captions for their meeting.
  • This user option is enabled across your tenant by default via the DisabledUserOverride policy.
  • If you want to disable the option of live captions for Teams meeting attendees, run this command in PowerShell: PolicyName -LiveCaptionsEnabledType Disabled>
  • If you want to re-enable the option of live captions for Teams meeting attendees, run this command in PowerShell: PolicyName -LiveCaptionsEnabledType DisabledUserOverride>
  • PolicyName is any custom policy you may have created. Global would refer to tenant-wide global policy.
  • Microsoft is treating the EnabledUserOverride value for the setting in the same way as DisabledUserOverride (if set in existing Policies). Admins are encouraged to modify policies with EnabledUserOverride set for the LiveCaptionsEnabledType setting to DisabledUserOverride to avoid confusion.
  • Microsoft is changing the EnabledUserOverride setting created and tested during their Technology Adoption Program. Any instances of or calls to EnabledUserOverride will result in the use of DisabledUserOverride.
  • Prepare your end users for this change by updating your communication and training materials.

Want to learn more? Review the Enable live captions (preview) section of Microsoft's official documentation, Manage meetings policies in Teams to learn how to enable live captions for members of your organization. And check out the official Microsoft support page for Use live captions in a Teams meeting.

Microsoft is gradually rolling this out to customers in early November. The roll out will be completed worldwide by the end of November.

Maintaining an organized Microsoft Teams

My favorite feature, by far, is the introduction of an expiration policy based on activity.

This is going to allow IT administrators to move more towards an open creation process for Teams, instead of disabling self-service for all employees and making it accessible to only a lucky few. I can’t wait to see similar features in the future—all aimed at creating a manageable Office 365 environment for Microsoft Teams!

Until next time!

In today’s digital workplaces, sharing content is an important piece of the collaboration puzzle—especially when working with clients, vendors, or anyone else outside your organization.

Download our latest eBook, Sharing is caring: A ShareGate guide to creating a productive and secure guest sharing environment in Microsoft Teams, to learn how you can leverage the power of self-service to keep sensitive data secure.

book cover sharing is caring

Secure collaboration in Microsoft Teams—without limiting productivity.

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