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SharePoint Online Getting Enhanced Team Sites Capability This Month

Microsoft has completed its integration of SharePoint Team Sites with Office 365 Groups, and this new feature is expected to reach all SharePoint Online subscribers by the end of this month.

Mark Kashman, a senior product manager on Microsoft's SharePoint team, made the announcement today in a Microsoft Tech Community post. The integrated feature will start rolling out to SharePoint Online subscribers as early as Jan. 12, 2017. Distribution will be completed worldwide by month's end, he added. Previously, the integrated Team Sites and Groups feature was just available to "first-release" testers.

The addition represents a milestone in Microsoft's efforts, kicked off in April, to make SharePoint Online more accessible and user friendly for end users. When available, the feature will automatically create a new Office 365 Group when a SharePoint Team Site is created. In addition, users will get a shared inbox and calendar. They also will have a common OneNote notebook application, plus access to the Planner app for task management activities.

Microsoft's rollout of the feature also will affect organizations that have already created SharePoint Team Sites. They'll get Groups integration and shared applications, too.

"Once the rollout is complete for your tenant, all existing and newly created groups will get a team site by default," Kashman explained, adding that no actions are required of SharePoint Online users to get the feature.

The update also will bring a so-called "modern home page" experience for end users. Back in August, Microsoft had suggested there would be a way for organizations to continue to use the "classic home page," if wanted. If so, the point wasn't highlighted by Kashman.

Microsoft plans to deliver other SharePoint improvements this year as well, which Kashman described in October. He said back then that Microsoft would be bringing its modern interface improvements to SharePoint Publishing Sites, as well as Pages. Development tools such as PowerApps and Flow, aimed at business users, were being integrated as well.

Those improvements are targeted for arrival in the first half of 2017. Other improvements expected to arrive at that time include SharePoint Add-in improvements, Team Site "extensibility" and content delivery network integration with Publishing Sites.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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