With 2017 coming to an end, there would have been plenty of developments from Microsoft over the past year that affect both Office 365 and SharePoint. Microsoft’s annual Ignite conference gave us an insight into what we can expect. We were told all about the announcement of SharePoint 2019, as well as the new, free migration tool being rolled out.

Before you get into this list, it’s worth quickly downloading our eBook about all of the apps within Office 365. It was produced earlier this year and gives you a great run down of what Office 365 already has to offer.

We’ve taken a look at the road map for what Microsoft have planned for next year and picked out what we think are some noteworthy developments. What can we expect from Microsoft in 2018?

Microsoft Whiteboard

Firstly, it’s worth mentioning as it’s very new – Microsoft Whiteboard. It’s been launched, but many people won’t know much about it. Microsoft Whiteboard is a freeform digital canvas where people, ideas, and content can come together for creative collaboration. It’s designed for teams that need to ideate, iterate, and work together both in person and remotely, and across multiple devices. The app is free to use for anyone with a Windows 10 device, but one participant with an Office 365 personal, work, or school account is needed for multi-party collaboration.

Poll for a time to meet

Even with Office 365’s current collaborative apps, it can be difficult to get everyone together in one place without some annoying back and forth emailing. When creating a calendar invite, Poll for a time to meet will give you the option to send convenient time slots for your invitees to vote on the most convenient for them.

When a time is agreed on, Outlook will automatically send invites and add it to the organiser’s calendar. This new feature will be available through Outlook on the web.

Multi-Geo Capabilities in Office 365

Multi-Geo enables a single Office 365 tenant to span across multiple Office 365 ‘Data Center geographies (geos)’, and store data at-rest on a per-user basis in customer chosen geos. This helps customers to address their corporate, regional or local data residency requirements in Office 365. Multi-Geo will be available for Exchange Online, OneDrive and SharePoint. This is good news for international companies.

Office 365 Usage Analytics GA

Office 365 Usage Analytics – formerly known as adoption content pack in Power BI – enables admin to visualise and analyse their organisation’s Office 365 usage data, create custom reports, and share the insights – pivoting by attributes available in Azure Active Directory such as location and department.

With these insights, admins can drive more targeted end user training and communication that will help them transform how their organisation communicates and collaborates, enabling a truly modern workplace.

Huge developments for Microsoft Teams

As we wrote earlier in the year, Microsoft Teams is looking to replace Skype for Business. 2018 looks to be the year for Microsoft Teams and plenty of development is underway. Here’s the development plan for Teams:

  • User-Level Meeting Policy
  • Trio One-Touch Teams Meetings Join
  • Enable VTC Interop Services
  • Surface Hub Support for Teams Meetings
  • Skype Room Systems Support for Teams Meetings
  • Federated Meetings
  • Outlook meeting schedule from other platforms (OWA, OLK mobile)
  • Lobby for PSTN callers
  • PSTN Fallback
  • Large Meeting Support (~250)
  • Cloud Recording
  • Broadcast Meetings
  • 1:1 to group call escalation with Teams, Skype for Business and PSTN participants
  • Support for features for USB Devices
  • Calling Support between Teams and Skype Consumer

There’s even more development planned for Teams including Out of Office support, Group Call Pickup and Team templates; it’s safe to say Microsoft are definitely looking to ramp up the replacement oof Skype for Business.

There’s plenty more to expect from Microsoft in 2018, and this list is only a small selection of the development plans. Here’s to a busy year!