3 recommended updates: SharePoint home sites, Teams sensitivity labels, and Delve Blogs retirement

Version 19.11.27 is now available.

In this bi-weekly blog series, Microsoft MVP Jasper Oosterveld turns his Dutch directness to up-to-the-minute industry news—bringing you honest content about the current and future state of Microsoft and Office 365.

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 about SharePoint and OneDrive support for sensitivity labels, an update for the file hover card, and the ability to request files within your OneDrive—and are ready for the tenth installment!

3 recommended updates series:


In this release, you’ll find my opinion about the new SharePoint home sites; the ability to apply sensitivity labels in Microsoft Teams; and the announcement that Delve Blogs is retiring.

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


SharePoint home sites

Designing a brand-new intranet portal isn’t an easy task.

Although SharePoint has become more user-friendly over time, loads of companies are still struggling to deliver a user-friendly, modern, and beautiful intranet portal. Microsoft is here to help!

Microsoft is helping you build and launch a successful home site, built on the familiar communication sites platform, with great looking and highly functional out-of-box experiences. 

Microsoft 365 Roadmap, Featured ID: 26842

The SharePoint home site is a template specifically designed to act as the home page (surprise!) of an intranet portal. The template ships with a series of intelligent and personalized web parts—varying from news and conversations, to documents and sites.

This is incredibly exciting, and I applaud solutions like these that are truly making our lives easier. Are you looking for more inspiration or examples? I highly recommend taking a look at the SharePoint look book. There are multiple beautifully designed site templates you can provision, for free, in your own tenant.

This is an excellent solution to quick start your new intranet portal or inspire your content owners with new ideas.

Good to know:

  • SharePoint Home is integrated with the new SharePoint start page. All users that have access to the home site will also see the branding, theme, header, navigation, and footer elements from the home site on their start page.
  • SharePoint home site is easily accessible from the SharePoint mobile app for Android and iOS. All users that have access to the home site will see a home button on the Find tab of the mobile app.
  • Search is scoped to all sites within the organization. Having a great search experience is critical for the success of the home site.
  • The site is automatically set up as an organization news site. (Although you can have only one home site, you can have multiple organization news sites.)
  • If you would like to enable a home site on a new or existing SharePoint communication site, execute this PowerShell command in the latest version of the SharePoint Online Management Shell: Set-SPOHomeSite -HomeSiteUrl <enter URL of site>.

Microsoft is gradually rolling this out to targeted release customers by the end of November 2019. The roll out will be completed worldwide by the end of January 2020.


Sensitivity labels for Microsoft Teams

In my previous post, I discussed the preview of sensitivity labels for SharePoint and OneDrive. The love for sensitivity labels doesn’t stop there. You can now apply sensitivity labels to SharePoint team sites and Microsoft Teams.

This was a highly requested feature because previously only classification labels were available, and those are pretty useless. There were no actions or policies connected to a classification label.

Sensitivity labels created in the security and compliance admin center can now be used to control the privacy and guest access settings of the team.

Microsoft 365 Roadmap, Featured ID: 57275

This is changing with the sensitivity labels. Within the configuration of a sensitivity label, a section for sites and groups is available.

The preview provides the following options:

  • Privacy (Public/Private): Private means only approved members in your organization can see what's inside the group—anyone else in your organization can't.
  • Guest access: You can control whether or not guests can be added to a group. 
  • Unmanaged devices: This setting lets you block or limit access to SharePoint content from devices that aren't hybrid AD joined or compliant in Intune. If you select Unmanaged devices, you need to go to Azure AD to finish setting up the policy.
New sensitivity labels in Microsoft Teams.

Although I am very excited, I recommend against enabling the feature in your production tenant. Why? It’s a preview: meaning it’s not in general availability. In theory this means changes can be applied by Microsoft, which could have negative effects on your production tenant.

Have you been using AIP labels? You need to convert those. Have you been using classification labels? You need to convert those, too. A lot of work has to be done before you can simply launch PowerShell and start working with the sensitivity labels for Microsoft Teams and SharePoint team sites. Click here to learn all about the public preview in the official Microsoft documentation.

Good to know:

  • A label attached to Teams or SharePoint doesn’t automatically apply labels to the documents.
  • Unmanaged devices are managed within Intune. Please contact your Intune administrator before applying the unmanaged devices setting.

Microsoft is currently rolling this out to all customers. The roll out will be completed worldwide by the end of December 2019.


Delve Blogs being retired

Fun fact: this is the first time in this series that I'm writing about an update I discovered on Twitter and not the Office 365 Message Center.

Fellow MVP Vlad Catrinescu (@vladcatrinescu) tweeted about customers receiving a message about the retirement of the Delve Blogs feature.

Another fun fact: the Delve Blogs feature was the first feature within Office 365 to receive the modern authoring experience—long before Jeff Teper rebooted SharePoint and introduced the world to the modern experience.

All that fun aside, this feature never really took off and never received much love from Microsoft. I found this strange because in SharePoint 2007 (and I believe 2010) we had a template for blog sites. There was always a demand for blogging with our customers. I hoped Delve Blog was the answer, but it ended up being short-lived. Microsoft is pushing more towards Yammer or SharePoint News. I understand this direction, and believe it provides customers with the correct set of modern tools.

Delve blog interface.

Good to know:

  • Beginning December 18th, the feature is being disabled.
  • Beginning January 18th, the ability to create new posts is going to be disabled.
  • Beginning April 17th, all blogs are going to be deleted.

Continued improvements to classification

In my last post, I talked about how I am moving towards data compliance and classification—so it shouldn’t be a surprise that my favorite feature update this time around is sensitivity label support for Microsoft Teams and SharePoint.

We can finally move away from useless classification labels and start protecting our sensitive teams and team sites. This is a great first step. Next I would really like to see automatic file classification in a team site based on the label of the associated team.

Although a lot of new updates and features were announced at Ignite, not that many had to do with the Office 365 admin center. I'm curious to see what’s on the road for us before the year ends.

In my final blog of the year, I will be providing my thoughts and vision for 2020. Stay tuned!


Want to learn how to keep your Office 365 environment tidy and secure? Download our curated guideOffice 365 Groups Governance, for practical tips on achieving a balanced approach to Office 365.

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