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3 recommended updates: New Microsoft Lists service for Microsoft 365

Version 20.06.04

Microsoft MVP Jasper Oosterveld on the new Microsoft Lists service announced for Microsoft 365, the renaming of Office 365 Groups, and the availability of personal apps in the Teams mobile client.

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 and Office 365.

I hope you enjoyed the last one—where I discussed the SharePoint spaces public preview, changes to video layout in Teams meetings, and modern experiences for the SharePoint metadata service.

Let's move on to the latest installment!


In this release, you'll find my opinion on the new Microsoft Lists service announced for Microsoft 365, the renaming of Office 365 Groups, and the availability of personal apps in the Teams mobile client.

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


New Microsoft Lists service announced for Microsoft 365

SharePoint lists have been around since I started working with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. At first sight, SharePoint lists just seemed like a simple online Excel replacement. Over the years, though, it has evolved into so much more—and has now led to the new Microsoft Lists service for Microsoft 365.

Announced at Microsoft Build 2020, Microsoft Lists is a new Microsoft 365 app that will help you track information and organize your work.

Intro video presented at Microsoft Build 2020.

Designed to be the next evolution of SharePoint Lists, Microsoft Lists will work seamlessly across SharePoint, Outlook, and Microsoft Teams.

Lists are simple, smart, and flexible, so you can stay on top of what matters most to your team. Track issues, assets, routines, contacts, inventory and more using customizable views and smart rules and alerts to keep everyone in sync.

Official Microsoft Tech Community announcement

Microsoft Lists home (web) and mobile app will let you see and manage all your lists in one place. And the inclusion of ready-made templates will allow you to quickly start a list via the online app, from your phone, or directly in Microsoft Teams.

After watching the introduction video, I noticed a bit of overlap with existing task apps in Microsoft 365, so I'm curious to see how this will all work together. I definitely think we have our work cut out for us to guide our customers with another application in the Microsoft 365 space!

Good to know:

  • With the Lists app for Microsoft Teams, users will be able to start and collaborate on lists directly in Teams, bringing content and conversation side-by-side in one integrated experience.
  • Users will be able to create lists from scratch or ready-made templates—as well as create new lists from existing lists or by importing Excel table data.
  • Microsoft is adding a smart rule system that will allow users to track and organize information using customizable views and alerts.
  • Lists will also integrate with Microsoft's Power Platform—including custom list forms and workflows.
  • Prepare your employees by sending out a news post announcing this update and its benefits. You should also consider updating your training and documentation as appropriate.

Microsoft plans to start rolling out Lists later this summer.


Office 365 Groups will become Microsoft 365 Groups

It's that time of the year again! Microsoft is renaming an existing service in order to create new confusion amongst the community and its customers!

I'm joking (a little bit). To be fair, it is a good decision to rename Office 365 Groups to Microsoft 365 Groups.

Introduced in 2014, Office 365 Groups has had a hell of a journey—from starting with a small Outlook integration to becoming a central part of Microsoft Teams.

To reflect the fact that Office 365 Groups power collaboration across Microsoft 365, Office 365 Groups will become Microsoft 365 Groups.

Microsoft 365 Roadmap, Featured ID: 64336Tweet this

Today, Groups supports up to 22 applications within the Microsoft 365 suite, and has become an essential part of user management and an integrated collaboration experience. The change from "Office 365 Groups" to "Microsoft 365 Groups" fits this new positioning.

The major challenge with Groups has been explaining its use and purposes to audiences worldwide. I previously created separate IT- and business-friendly definitions that stand true today.

The business explanation:

"Groups enable and provide an integrated collaboration experience within teams, projects, and departments."

The IT definition:

"Groups are groups in Azure Active Directory that provide a centralized user management for collaboration within your organization."

Good to know:

  • The following services are impacted by the name change:
    • Identity—Azure Portal, MyApps Portal, Azure Active Directory (including Azure AD PowerShell)
    • Microsoft Graph
    • Microsoft 365 admin center
    • Exchange Online
    • SharePoint Online
    • Yammer
    • Microsoft Teams
    • Security center
    • Compliance center
    • Power BI admin center
    • Microsoft Stream
    • Outlook—mobile, web, and desktop
    • Microsoft Planner
    • Microsoft Project
  • This is only a name change, there are no functional feature changes.
  • Start updating any of your user training and documentation that contains the name Office 365 Groups, and change to Microsoft 365 Groups.
  • For more information on the name change, check out the official Microsoft announcement.

Microsoft will start changing the UI strings for different Groups endpoints in June 2020, and expects to complete the renaming process by the end of September 2020.


Personal apps available in Microsoft Teams mobile client

We're kicking off with a new update for the Microsoft Teams mobile app—one of my favorite Microsoft apps for Microsoft 365.

The Teams app has been excellent since its release. It's fast, gets regular updates, and is user-friendly. This new update makes personal apps visible within the Microsoft Teams mobile app.

Personal apps pinned to the Microsoft Teams app toolbar will now be visible in the Teams mobile client from the App Drawer.

MC213550, Stay Informed, Tabs on mobile Microsoft documentation

My team at InSpark has our own bot called Connect. Connect allows us to view all of our company news, checks our mood during the COVID-19 crisis, and prior to that, used to ask us if we would be participating in the company lunch. We can now use Connect within the Microsoft Teams mobile app:

Personal apps in Teams mobile client.

I also recommend checking out another interesting (and related) update: Third-party single sign-on (SSO) for apps in Teams.

Good to know:

  • As an admin, your approved line-of-business apps will be visible to all users in your tenant. If your app is not optimized for mobile, you can un-pin the app in the Teams admin center under Teams apps > Manage apps.
  • Approved third-party apps will now be available on mobile. Note: If you are a third-party developer, please work with the 'Teams App Submission' ([email protected]) team to have your app approved.
  • Prepare your employees by sending out a news post announcing this update and its benefits, and update your training and documentation as appropriate.
  • For more information on how to manage your Teams apps, check out the official Microsoft documentation.

Microsoft started rolling out the update to mobile clients in late May 2020 and expects rollout to be completed by the beginning of June 2020.


Notable Microsoft Build announcements

Normally, I talk about my favorite update of the article. But this time, I'd like to talk a little bit about Microsoft Build 2020.

Due to the ongoing global COVID-19 crisis, this year's Microsoft Build was an online-only event. It was a bit of an adjustment, but overall, the online experience was positively received by most virtual attendees.

Aside from the announcement of Microsoft Lists, there were a ton of updates about new and upcoming capabilities for Microsoft Teams (check out the Microsoft Build 2020 Book of News for a full list of announcements).

Some other updates that stood out to me were:

Microsoft Teams Templates

One of the reasons companies are using a provisioning solution to create teams is the lack of a proper template solution.

Microsoft is addressing this issue by launching a new template experience that will include the following options:

  • Admins can define the channel structure, tabs, and apps that make up the new template.
  • Industry-specific templates with predefined channels, apps, and guidance on how to customize and use it.

Looks good! I hope we can also apply pre-defined team settings, such as messaging and member options—not to mention a naming convention or expiration policy per template.

Unfortunately, no news yet about a release date (although if I had to guess, I would say end of Summer 2020). You can find more details in the Microsoft Tech Community blog post.

Enhanced automation capabilities

Microsoft also announced enhancements to the Power Platform, with new Power Automate triggers and actions built specifically for Teams.

The following features or updates are being introduced to better customize the Teams experience for end users and help them adapt to the new ways of working:

  • Starting in June, creators will have a one-click "Add to Teams" experience in Power Apps, Power BI, and Power Virtual Agents.
  • In July, a new Power Virtual Agents Teams app will be added to the Teams App Store—making it easier for bot creators to create and manage their bots for Teams.
  • Power BI users can now share reports directly to Teams with a new "Share to Teams" button.

You can find more details on the upcoming enhancements in the Microsoft Tech Community blog post.

More Microsoft Build resources

Check out these resources to learn more about Microsoft Build 2020:


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