3 recommended updates: General availability of SharePoint Syntex

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Microsoft MVP Jasper Oosterveld on the introduction of Microsoft Teams templates, the ability to apply retention policies to Yammer messages, and the general availability release of SharePoint Syntex.

ShareGate's easy-to-use SaaS tools enable organizations to achieve more than ever before with Microsoft cloud technologies. In our ongoing series, Jasper Oosterveld brings you up to speed on the latest and greatest from the world of Microsoft 365.

I hope you enjoyed my last update—where I discussed the new pre-join experience for Microsoft Teams meetings, search improvements in OneDrive for Business, and the integration of Microsoft Forms into the Office mobile app.

Let's move on to the latest installment!


In this release, you'll find my opinion on the introduction of Microsoft Teams templates, the ability to apply retention policies to Yammer messages, and the general availability release of SharePoint Syntex.

Without further ado, let's take a closer look at the 3 recommended updates I think you should know about now.

Stay on top of all things Ignite 2020! Check out the ShareGate Takeaway for all the event news, announcements, and session recaps with analyses from the ShareGate team and Microsoft experts!

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Prepared with care by our team and 7 Azure and Microsoft 365 MVPs


Introducing Microsoft Teams templates

We are back with a great update after an exciting online edition of Microsoft Ignite: Microsoft Teams is finally releasing Teams templates.

First announced at Microsoft Build 2020, we can finally start creating (or using the out-of-the-box) templates for our collaboration requirements:

With templates in Teams, users can choose from a variety of customizable templates when creating a new team, helping them get started quickly. IT professionals can also create new custom templates for their organization, allowing them to standardize team structures, surface relevant apps, and scale best practices.

Microsoft 365 Roadmap, Featured ID: 67110

Microsoft provides 13 pre-built, or 'base', templates that have a predefined team structure with a set of channels, tabs, and apps. Each one is designed around a different business need or project, and can be used for things like managing a project or event or coordinating an incident response.

image of teams templates

Microsoft Teams admins can also develop custom templates that enable users to create the right kind of collaboration space quickly.

image of custom teams templates

Simply provide a description and choose a locale to get started:

Image of "description" and "locale" settings for template.

Then, you can modify the general channel, create additional channels, and/or add additional tabs to a channel to customize your team template.

Image of settings to modify the general channel in template

Finally, you can choose to add apps to the team. The final overview will look like this:

image of final overview

I would love to see more features added to extend the settings of the templates—for example, the ability to set different member and guest permissions per template. A template like that could work well with sensitivity labels for self-service scenarios. I can't wait to try this out with our customers!

Good to know:

  • The included 'base' templates can be duplicated, but not edited.
  • Custom templates are not yet available for EDU customers, but are planned for future release.
  • Check out the official Microsoft documentation to view the current Teams templates capabilities and limitations.
  • Start updating your user training and documentation, and prepare your employees by sending out a news post announcing this update and its benefits.

Microsoft is rolling out the update in early October 2020, and should be completed by the end of October 2020.


Information governance: Retention for Yammer messages

Retention policies play a crucial part in ensuring compliance with regulations (for example: GDPR). By setting a retention policy, you retain or automatically delete content after a certain period (days, months, years).

Retention policies have been around for years, but Yammer wasn't supported—until now. Announced at Microsoft Ignite 2020, Microsoft is introducing the public preview of retention policies for user and community messages in Yammer.

We are excited to announce the public preview of retention policies for Yammer, which will be rolled out to your environment in the next few weeks, so you can easily configure policies to retain and delete content as you do for Teams, SharePoint, OneDrive, and Exchange.

Microsoft blog announcement: "What’s new in Microsoft Information Governance and Records Management"

This is excellent news because all content in Microsoft 365 should be accessible for retention policies. If you're using Yammer Enterprise within your organization and wish to set retention or deletion policies to ensure you're only keeping the data you need in your tenant, you will be able to create retention policies for specific Yammer locations—enabling you to target Yammer communities and users with new or existing retention policies.

image of retention policy settings by location.

I am truly happy to see the love Yammer is getting from Microsoft. No service left behind!

Good to know:

  • To leverage retention policies for Yammer messages, make sure that your Yammer Enterprise network is in Native Mode.
  • Once your Yammer network is in Native Mode, go to your Microsoft 365 compliance center and use the Information Governance solution to create a new retention policy for Yammer locations.
  • Check out the official Microsoft documentation to learn more about retention policies for Yammer locations.

Microsoft is gradually rolling out the update in early October 2020, and expects rollout to be completed by early November 2020.


General availability of SharePoint Syntex

Project Cortex was announced almost a year ago, at Microsoft Ignite 2019, by Seth Patton. During Ignite 2020, Microsoft announced the first product to be released as part of Project Cortex: Microsoft SharePoint Syntex.

SharePoint Syntex promises to revolutionize knowledge and expertise sharing within Microsoft 365 by delivering new user experiences to work with content through content centers and AI models.

Microsoft SharePoint Syntex uses advanced AI and machine teaching to amplify human expertise, automate content processing, and transform content into knowledge. 

Microsoft 365 Roadmap, Featured ID: 67134

SharePoint Syntex mainstreams machine teaching, enabling experts to capture their knowledge about content in no-code AI models. The experts train SharePoint Syntex to understand content like they do—to recognize key information and tag content automatically. For example, a contract processing expert can teach SharePoint Syntex to extract the value of contracts, along with the expiration date and key terms and conditions.

SharePoint Syntex then uses models to automate the capture, ingestion, and categorization of content, extracting valuable information as metadata. Metadata is critical to managing content, and seamless integration with Microsoft Search, Power Automate, and Microsoft Information Protection enables improved knowledge discovery and reuse, accelerated processes, and dynamically applied information protection and compliance policies. SharePoint Syntex also delivers new experiences for analyzing, managing, and deploying taxonomies and content types.

The premise of SharePoint Syntex sounds promising. Personally, I am very interested in the connection with Microsoft Information Protection.

Good to know:

SharePoint Syntex became available for purchase, as an add-on, on October 1, 2020.


Missed out on Microsoft Ignite?

I had a hard time picking my three favorite updates because a lot of new stuff was announced at Microsoft Ignite 2020! Speaking of which, did everyone enjoy this year's online Ignite experience? I know I certainly did! I truly enjoyed the shorter and to the point sessions, and the overall quality was high.

If you didn't manage to tune in live, don't worry! I joined up with the ShareGate team (along with 7 other Microsoft MVPs) to put together the ShareGate Takeaway—your to-go recap of Microsoft Ignite 2020. We sat in on sessions, summarized the highlights, and analyzed the implications of this year's announcements.

Here's a taste of what we cooked up...

And get your entire to-go recap while it's still warm from the oven!

Recommended by our team

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