Overview: Last week Microsoft hosted a Roadmap Communications discussion forum to align with the new Office 365 for business public roadmap. Panel involved experts from Microsoft and Office 365 MVP’s. I am sharing the summary here for everyone’s benefit.
· Roadmap at a glance
· General Questions & Functionality
· First Release
ROADMAP AT A GLANCE
Q: How and where are the road maps communicated?
A: You can find the latest roadmap information in our new Office 365 public roadmap. http://www.office.com/roadmap
Q: How is the new roadmap site and the Admin Portal Message Center going to work together?
A: The roadmap provides a view into features that we intend to delivered whereas the Message Center will provide a notification when the feature rollout will start.
Q: Will the roadmap show “everything”, “Most things” or “some “highlighted things”?
A: The roadmap will aim to show feature updates and enhancement to the service. Not all updates will be in the roadmap some due to PR sensitivity (small group) and some because they are incremental without impact (security patching). This process like any feature of the service will improve over time.
Q: Is there a Yammer roadmap page that shows all the upcoming releases, expected timeframes and things that are under consideration?
A: Here is the Yammer Release Schedule: https://about.yammer.com/success/engage/grow-your-network/release-schedule/
Q: On Yammer, we see the new Yammer features appear on the Customer Network. Will new features also appear first in the Office 365 Technical Network?
A: Yes, they will also appear in this network.
Q: When will Office for Mac be updated? When will OneDrive for Business be available for Mac and/or Android?
A: Watch the roadmap for future releases.
Q: How will this new Roadmap Communications process interact with A/B testing or new features that are occasionally rolled out without notice to Yammer & Office365 admins? Can we expect advance notice of such changes, or is the onus on us to proactively keep up to date?
A: It is our intention to announce new features via the public roadmap, but to be clear, there are some updates that will not be announced. We are constantly making small improvements to the service including security and bug fixes that will not be announced. There are also updates that are sensitive for PR reasons (like the Office on IPad release) that we will not provide advanced warning for.
Q2: Will security changes will not be announced?
A2: We will announce updates to security controls and compliance capabilities to the service. As for changes to the services, datacenters etc., we are continually monitoring and managing security patching and updating the service to maintain the integrity of the service. Those changes are happening on a continuous basis and are not part of our roadmap disclosure process.
Q: There have been a couple of mentions of feature requests and notes that this YamJam isn’t the forum… But what is the proper forum for providing feature requests and feedback? Is the officespdev User Voice the right place? Is there one for business & IT? Is there an activelymonitored inbound channel for Yammer/Office 365 business/IT feature requests?
A: We don’t think there is one today. The developer User Voice space is probably not the right place. We’ll look into it and come back to the technical community.
Q: Will there be a separate roadmap for Office 365 Government Community Cloud and Office 365 Dedicated/ITAR customers?
A: As outlined in the “Improving visibility” post, the roadmap currently does not incorporate Government Community Cloud or Officed 365 Dedicated/ITAR plans. http://blogs.office.com/2014/06/19/improving-visibility-to-service-updates
Q: How often is the Release Schedule updated? Can a “last updated” be added at the page level, if not the accordion/feature level?
A: For the Office 365 roadmap, we are always looking at ways to make the information more useful for customers, and we appreciate the feature suggestion. We think to make this useful it would need to be at the feature level. We are evaluating our current systems to see how much overhead we would add to track this additional piece of data.
GENERAL Qs & FUNCTIONALITY
Q: Would it be possible to get a User Voice site that is setup to correspond to the Roadmap? Then people could vote on the items that are most important to them…
A: Great idea. We don’t currently have plans but we are always looking at ways to improve the customer input into the development process.
Q: Is it possible to have a link to a corresponding blog post, technet article, etc… which has a description of the feature being implemented within the roadmap instead of just a small blurb about it?
A: Great suggestion, we’ll work with content publishing to get this implemented.
Q: So are there any Yammer Groups focused on OneDrive for Business?
A: Yes, there’s a OneDrive for Business group that has all the content from a YamJam plus more recent discussions. Find it here:https://www.yammer.com/itpronetwork/#/threads/inGroup?type=in_group&feedId=4208139
Q: Should my attention as the Yammer champion in my organization be focused on this network or the YCN?
A: If you’re a Yammer champion, you’ll likely want to spend time in the YCN to share successes and learn how to improve business processes. However, if you have any technical questions or want to talk roadmap, then this is your network. We will have more info soon explaining “which network to use and when”. There are dedicated teams running the 3 Preferred O365 networks (YCN, O365 Technical Network, O365 Partner Network) and we be making another announcement soon that clearly defines the difference between the networks and where you should go for info.
Q: Currently the Office 365 for Admin app is broken for Windows Phone. Are there any plans to enhance the app? Maybe include a newsfeed for Roadmap and other portal notifications?
A: An update that fixes the app should be arriving in the coming weeks. Thanks for you suggestion. We don’t have any plans to share yet but when we do, we will communicate out on the blog and message center.
Q: For OneDrive for Business, can we have logs for auditing the file uploads and downloads? As an Admin, I would like to track what documents my associates are uploading and where they are downloading?
A: Have you looked at the auditing features available as part of SharePoint Enterprise? Depending which license you have, but this might be useful. http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint-help/configure-audit-settings-for-a-site-collection-HA102866204.aspx
Q: There was talk of the #firstrelease program allowing Office 365 admins to release the new features to a defined group of users.
Will this be possible? Or are features released to everyone in the organization?
A: First Release applies to the entire tenant – it doesn’t provide any capability to designate a set of users for piloting new features.
Q: Will there be an option to “roll back” after opting in for the First Release update?
A: Yes, you can turn off First Release after turning it on and you will lose the updates that haven’t yet been applied to Standard Release customers.
Q: Will there be a way to get a similar experience as the Yammer Customer Network in Office 365? A network where we could experience the new features first?
A: Yes, in the First Release program. We encourage folks that can to enable First Release in their tenants to see the latest releases first.http://blogs.office.com/2014/06/19/improving-visibility-to-service-updates
Q: Any plans to join the o365 first release users into a yammer first release set of users?
A: Not at this stage, but that is an interesting idea!
Q: Where / How do I find security related fixes and enhancements to Yammer? For example, I plan to submit an enhancement request today about a requirement from our Information Security group: “Yammer allows users to upload dangerous files e.g. .exe”. It would be helpful to know where security-related enhancements or fixes are in a roadmap, or so I can see if my enhancement request “makes the cut”.
A: Let’s please engage in this network in the “Enterprise Social Service Updates” group. Have you seen our recent compliance announcements?https://about.yammer.com/yammer-blog/yammer-receives-iso-27001-certification-offers-dpa/
You can also find this information this network in the “Enterprise Social Service Updates” group in this network.
Q: Is there anything you can share yet about a possible instant messaging integration between Yammer and Lync?
A: Not at this stage beside what we said last March: http://aka.ms/esspc “In the future, we’ll integrate Yammer with Lync and Skype to enable a full spectrum of social interactions, from asynchronous posts to audio and video.” Once we have Unified Identity (slated for later this Summer) that opens the door for many things like Lync integration to happen.
Q: Will there be opportunities for customers & partners to communicate needs or even help co-create improvements to features & functions? In the spirit of rapid iteration and failing early, it would be good to be able to give feedback early and often.
A: That is a great idea. We have been working quite a bit to get more customer input into the product development cycle. We don’t have any plans today but we will look into it in the future.
Q: Could we get subscriptions, notifications, or something to tell us a change is coming without the need to go to the site? Even an update in a Yammer group that we could subscribe to would work, but ideally an email, or an RSS feed would be best!
A: Great feedback! We are looking at ways to make the public roadmap even better. We are in the process of finalizing an API for Message center that will let you get those communications which include some new feature announcements as well as other communications.
A2: Consider joining a group in the network called Change Alerts. The idea is members post the changes they have observed or notifications they see in the message center, or by any other method. https://www.yammer.com/itpronetwork/groups/changealerts
Q: Yammer will be integrated into Office 365 … but which user profile should I focus on populating now”?
A: Active Directory will always be your source of truth! Keep the most relevant info in the AD, and let the user add work experience, social sites in the collaborative / network platform you use (aka SharePoint / Yammer). The vision is to have a unique Office 365 profile at some stage, so that will solve the potential profile discrepancies between tools we see today.
Q2: The ‘unique Office 365 profile’ sounds good – can you give an estimated timescale?
We are still at the vision level with no timescale.
It is going to be incremental starting with a unified login experience (see this earlier announcement:http://blogs.office.com/2014/02/18/simplified-login-to-yammer-from-office-365/), then a unified navigation experience coming this summer (Office 365 navigation bar in Yammer: https://about.yammer.com/success/engage/grow-your-network/release-schedule/) and more to come!
Q: How do you edit a post in Yammer for iOS? Am unable to edit a reply I just posted.
A: No, there isn’t a way to edit posts on any device (mobile included). Check out this thread for more discussion on this subject:https://www.yammer.com/yammerycn/#/inbox/show?threadId=361143370
Q: Where is the release cycle for Yammer and Office 365 Midsize plans? Rumor had it Spring 2014 but have not seen any updated timeframes.
A: All Office 365 plans are on a continuous release cycle. All of the multi-tenant plans are always up to date including the enterprise, mid-market, small business options.
Q2: That I understand, but where Yammer is the social tool for E plans, it is not live for M plans so that it can replace the newsfeed – or am I mistaken?
A2: Coming soon!
Q: As a Yammer admin, how should I manage A/B tests that are per user as opposed to per network?
A: Good discussion in the YCN about how other folks handle the change management aspect! Check it out:https://www.yammer.com/yammerycn/#/inbox/show?threadId=400168566
Q: Will there be any improvements to the monitoring features? Like notifications for new groups created for admins? Or only allowing specific users to create groups?
A: Monitoring and limiting usage to a set of people is a dangerous path with a social network. Even with good intentions you can quickly deter engagement.
Q: The roadmap doesn’t talk about Yammer Dsync with password-sync option like the Office 365 WAAD DirSync. This is the major roadblock for our users (to remember passwords when logging directly or through mobile). The roadmap talks about seamless transparent login to Yammer from the Office 365 portal and that too is in development. When will Yammer utilize the same identity?
A: It will take time to have DirSsync across O365 & Yammer. In the meantime, we are on track to support Office 365 credential support in Yammer this summer!
Q2: Isn’t this already available? Our users are able to transparently get on to Yammer from the top suite bar in Office 365. What do you mean by O365 credentials? I thought they are the same as our on-premise Active Directory?
A2: No, what we first delivered was the ability to go from O365 to Yammer, and this summer we’ll deliver the reverse: being able to login into Yammer with your O365 credentials & surface the O365 suite navigation. Watch this SPC session for explanation and demo:http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/SharePoint-Conference/2014/SPC282
Q: Will the (Yammer) Groups feature that will be made availabe in Outlook Web Access, also move into the Outlook client. Any timeframe on this?
A: Keep an eye on this page to see the latest updates for Yammer: https://about.yammer.com/success/engage/grow-your-network/release-schedule. Also, take a look at this blog: http://blogs.office.com/2014/03/31/the-evolution-of-email/.
Q: I love the way Yammer and now O365 communicate their updates but do not like the level of detail that is provided (i.e. UI Enhancements with a screenshot but no real dates or how it will be rolled out, impact of the change, etc.) Will there be more details coming in the product release schedule website?
A: Continuous development makes it difficult to set a concrete release date. Like any feature of the service how we release and communicate is improving over time. The public roadmap is a big leap forward in what we believe is the right direction. We will use the Office 365 roadmap for the overview and link to more details about features once those details are available. Often when something is still in development we’re working on gathering all of the details.
Q: When is Yammer Enterprise available to education plans (A2). Was announced back in March and still no update?
A: We said “spring” last March: http://aka.ms/esspc. Stay tuned for an update!
Source: IT Pro Nework