Microsoft

Office 365 – New Features Appear on the Office 365 Roadmap

Trying to stay on top all the changes in Office 365 can be a daunting task. In a previous article, “How to Stay Informed of Changes“, I described some of the methods that I use to try and stay informed.
One of those methods, the “Office 365 Roadmap“, seems to have been updated recently with a handful of new features planned. Ideally there would be an RSS feed or an update log for the page, it’s a bit of a treasure hunt when reviewing the roadmap.
Below are a few exciting new features that look to have recently appeared on the Office 365 Roadmap.

These features are all in the “In Development” phase on the roadmap. I’m fairly certain these are all recent additions but since there is no change log, I’m just going from memory. My focus is on the Exchange Online, Lync Online and infrastructure side of things so there are likely some SharePoint or OneDrive additions hidden in there as well.

Removing Deleted Items Retention Period

The default 30-day retention period of deleted items folder on an Exchange Online mailbox will now be removed. This means the user no longer has to worry about their deleted items folder automatically deleting emails every 30 days, but instead they can choose to empty the folder at their convenience. The admin can set a limit through Exchange Admin Console and PowerShell if they want to set a default limit on the folder. This will start rolling out January 15th.
My Thoughts: This was one of things I never understood. The “Default MRM Policy” in Exchange Online has some settings that might be unexpected to some people including the forced deletion of emails and archiving after 730 days. Changing the default policy is one of my “Five Exchange Online Tasks to Consider (Post-Setup)“.

Public Folder eDiscovery & In-Place Hold

Ability to search, and place Public Folders on In-Place Hold and Legal Hold. With In-Place hold you will be able to place a time or query based hold through the eDiscovery Center.
My Thoughts: Despite all the talk about getting rid of Public Folders, it seems like Microsoft has released feature after feature that allows organizations to continue using them. So for those organizations that love their Public Folders, here’s some more functionality for you.

Drive Shipping and Network Based Data Import for Office 365

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The ability to import data into Office 365 in a quick and easy manner has been a known constraint of Office 365, and a solution for this issue has emerged as a key request from customers. The engineering team has been working on a solution that will allow quicker imports of data into Exchange Online Archive Mailboxes. You will now be able to import Exchange Online data through PST files into the service without using third party tools. Drive Shipping and Network Based Ingestion options will use Azure-based services to import data. Over time we will be extending this to other data types across Office 365.
My Thoughts: This will be HUGE once it’s available. Most organizations that I’ve worked with have archives that are measured in terabytes; sending this data over the Internet is something you start measuring in weeks or months. For those that have PSTs, the old PST Capture tool is a pretty brutal experience if you have any quantity of PSTs to import. Really excited to see this one get released.

Increase Message Size limit to 150 MB

Currently EXO users maximum message size is hard coded to 35MB Send, 36MB Receive (with 25MB shown as published default). This feature will allow a tenant administrator to customize their users’ mailbox Max Message Size settings between 1MB and 150MB.
My Thoughts: From Office 365 consultants everywhere: Thank you! The current 25 MB limit can be a pain during onboarding so this is a welcome change. The “What’s New: December 2014” post on the Office Blogs stated that the limit will be set to 150 MB immediately for onboarding purposes but the send/receive limit will not change. While we wait for this feature to be released, here is “How to Handle Large Messages During Migration“.

Exchange Transport Rule: Recipient Notification Action

The new Exchange Transport Rule Generate Recipient Notification action can be used to send a custom email notification to message recipients when a message matches the conditions of a transport rule.
My Thoughts: This is a pretty common request in the Office 365 Community forums and people try to accomplish it with Outlook rules or other workarounds. It’s nice to see that Microsoft has heard the feedback and is looking to address this; hopefully the feature has some type of mail loop detection.
One more, not really an Office 365 feature but an update to the roadmap itself:

Search

The roadmap page itself seems to have been refreshed and I see there is now a search box. I don’t recall this existing previously and it’s a nice quick way to find out what stage a feature is in (previously I would expand the page and CTRL+F for the feature).

So When Will We See These Features?

Features on the roadmap generally do not have assigned release dates so it’s difficult to say when they’ll rollout to your actual tenant. As with most Office 365 changes: watch the roadmap, watch the blogs, watch the Twitter feeds.
 
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Looking to do some more reading on Office 365?
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