Microsoft Ignite 2018: What’s in it for me?

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Wow. What a week. Microsoft’s Ignite conference circa 2018 is over, but there is much learning still to be done. To organize my thoughts on everything I learned this week, I decided a helpful approach was to bucket the announcements by Office 365 role.

This post summarizes some key Microsoft Ignite takeaways organized by common Office 365 roles I see in organizations I consult with. If you identify with any one of these roles and you didn’t get the opportunity to attend the sessions in-person (or virtually), this post provides a synopsis of the announcements to get you up-to-speed quickly for each role. It’s also a great way to share with your coworkers who identify with any of these roles back at the office!

  • Ignite for the Information Worker
  • Ignite for the Mobile Worker
  • Ignite for the Power User
  • Ignite for the Site Builder (no code)
  • Ignite for the Page Designer/Builder
  • Ignite for the Information Architect
  • Ignite for the Information Manager
  • Ignite for the SharePoint Service Administrator

NOTE: this is not an exhaustive list of announcements but the ones I felt were notable for clients I currently work with.

I’m also not including any developer announcements.

Ignite for the Information Worker

Do you use Office 365 services day in and day out to get your job done and continually look for ways to become more efficient, streamlined, and productive? (We should all be in this role!) Here are some key takeaways from Ignite specific for you:

  • Pages are getting more personal and tailored to you thru Personalization web parts. This provides the ability to view personalized views of your documents, sites, and news on modern pages built just for you.
  • You’ll see the full list and library experience in the Files tab in Microsoft Teams including custom metadata, pinning files and the familiar sync button
  • You’ll see a visual indication when you’re in a Channel folder in a SharePoint document library and reminders not to delete or rename a folder if it is connected to a Teams’ channel. You will have a convenient link back to the channel conversation
  • If you’re in a SharePoint site connected to a Microsoft Teams, a new link to the Team will be automatically added to the left navigation of the SharePoint site
  • You’ll be able to blur your background during meetings to remove visual distractions behind you
  • New Yammer web part will allow you to participate in conversations within the context of your modern SharePoint page
  • Intelligent hover File Cards will appear and show average reading time and “key points” identified from a document
  • If you’re a Mac user, OneDrive files-on-demand is coming to you!
  • New AI-powered Ideas feature in Office will provide you intelligent suggestions while you’re working. Starting with Excel, soon to be followed by PowerPoint and other Office apps. Its goal is to help people save time performing everyday tasks – coined a Supercharged Clippy!
  • Your personalized search experience (Microsoft Search) will expand to include content outside of Microsoft 365

Ignite for the Mobile Worker

If you spend a lot of time on your mobile device interacting with services across Office 365, some of these announcements may help you out in your day-to-day:

  • If you’re a Firstline worker, you can utilize the new Microsoft Teams’ mobile feature called Home to clock in and out of shifts/breaks, see who else is working for the day and receive notes for the day or shift
  • If you’re a Firstline manager, you can manage Firstline workers’ schedules using a new mobile-enabled capability in Teams called Shifts. This allows you to create schedules, broadcast unfilled shifts, and review/approve time off requests and shift swaps
  • SharePoint Mobile App:
    • Richer SharePoint document library experience
    • Show News identified as Organizational
    • @ mention someone in a news article comment and a notification will be sent to them
  • Microsoft Stream mobile app introduced and will allow for offline viewing of videos
  • Mobile capture on OneDrive will allow for file and metadata tagging directly from your mobile device before saving into SharePoint
  • Send/receive priority notifications to alert the recipient of an urgent message and automatically notify them every 2 minutes for up to 20 minutes.

Ignite for the Power User

Although Power User is an overloaded term these days, my definition is someone who doesn’t code, doesn’t know JSON or PowerShell, but still likes to build solutions using some of the Power tools in Office 365 and is proficient in SharePoint lingo. If this sounds like you, here are the key takeaways from Ignite significant for you:

  • PowerApps can now use a SharePoint document library as a data source
  • Use Microsoft Flow to easily move and copy files in Office 365, and create shareable links
  • PowerApps support for rich text fields (October 2018)
  • Ability to link to Power Apps forms from the SharePoint mobile app (Q4 2018)
  • Ability to upload files from a Microsoft Forms connected to a Group to SharePoint or OneDrive (2019)

Ignite for the Site Builder (no code)

Are you responsible for creating SharePoint sites across Office 365 without using any custom code or provisioning solutions? There were some key takeaways at Ignite you should know about:

  • The root site of your tenant can now be a modern Communication site
  •  New mega-menu site and hub navigation feature with numerous styles is coming soon
  • Target audiences is coming for Site and Hub navigation (H1 2019)
  • Create a new Team site from within a Hub site automatically associating it to the Hub it’s created in
  • New site footer feature allowing for a consistent footer across all pages in a site
  • SharePoint Hub feature with tenant limit increased to 100 from the previous 50
  • New Create-a-Team button to connect any SharePoint Team site to a Microsoft Teams by a link on the SharePoint site

Ignite for the Page Designer/Builder

Are you responsible for building modern pages in your tenant? There are lots of changes coming your way you should know about:

  • Create reusable page designs to provide a consistent experience across your site (end of 2018)
  • Ability to duplicate sections and web parts on a modern page (end of 2018)
  • News articles and Highlighted Content web parts can now leverage target audiences to ensure the right content is delivered to the right audience and is personalized to the person logged in
  • Events web part can aggregate events from all sites associated to a SharePoint Hub (end of 2018)
  • Connected modern web parts are starting to appear to help build a more robust and interactive page experience (Called Dynamic Data). For example, an item selected in 1 web part can drive content in another web part (end of 2018)
  • Conditional formatting done thru a user-friendly UI rather than requiring JSON code (Q4 2018)
  • New Countdown timer modern web part can be added to any page on team sites, communication sites, and hub sites (end of 2018)
  • Ability to identify and elevate organizational news to ensure it gets the attention it deserves
  • Site page header layouts will now be more flexible allowing for different visual options (standard, minimal, compact) where you want the title to appear, as well as the published date and author allowing for someone other than the page creator to appear
  • Site page section background color can be customized for visual separation (end of 2018)
  • Insights on site activity now appear as a heat map so you can decide when the best time is to publish a news article to get the most visibility (end of 2018)
  • Add SharePoint modern web parts as tabs in a Microsoft Team, including SharePoint lists and libraries
  • Expose a Microsoft Teams’ tab as a full-page app in SharePoint
  • Central Asset library to house all organizational approved images for use on your pages comprised of one or more registered document libraries. These can then be used across your tenant on page headers, galleries, or web parts (H1 2019)
  • in-product user education for authors (H1 2019)

Ignite for the Information Architect

Are you responsible for designing the architecture of sites, libraries, lists, content types, and columns in SharePoint? Ignite had some key takeaways in this space you should know about:

  • Add document templates to your document libraries so it appears on the ‘New’ command bar option (rolling out now)
  • Have a big list or library? Predictive indexing will now handle large libraries up to 30 million items (Q4 2018)
  • Modern experience coming to SharePoint Documents sets (Q4 2018)
  • Create SharePoint lists from an Excel table or another SharePoint list including custom views and formatting (Q4 2018)
  • New Location column type to identify many attributes of a location (coordinates, address, etc.) based on Bing-based mapping data. Will also be able to add locations in your organization’s directory such as meeting rooms (Q4 2018)
  • View formatting can be done via scripts for creating immersive experiences for SharePoint lists and library views (rolling out now)

Ignite for the Information Manager

Are you responsible for ensuring data retention, security, and protection controls have been configured and applied across Office 365 workloads? Ignite had some key takeaways in this space you should know about:

  • Multi-geo capabilities for SharePoint Hubs allowing connected SharePoint sites to each reside in different geos but still live under one Hub (end of 2018)
  • Automatically apply retention labels to content using rules based on metadata and content types (Q4 2018)
  • Unified label management in the Security & Compliance Center using Microsoft Information Protection labels
  • Site Classification will map to an Information Protection policy allowing it to control retention, protection, conditional access, and data loss prevention. (Targeted Release December 2018)
  • Auto-extend Groups based on activity and in-app expiry notification
  • Import, manage, and classify multiple retention rules using Excel-based formats allowing for a hierarchical file plan. Rules can be exported to Excel, changed, and then imported back into Office 365 to update rules. (Q4 2018)
  • Label Analytics to reveal how labels are being applied across the tenant (Q4 2018)
  • Immutable labels will identify content as being permanently unchangeable and undeletable
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP) policies will soon be able to protect sensitive information found in private chat and channel conversations in Microsoft Teams by blocking the message.
  • No plug-in or add-on required for Office apps on Mac, iOS, and Android to apply Azure Information Protection labels (Public preview)
  • Files Restore for SharePoint and Microsoft Teams is a self-service file recovery feature for site administrators to restore to any point-in-time over the prior 30 days. (Targeted Release December 2018)

Ignite for the SharePoint Service Administrator

Are you a SharePoint Service Administrator? Here are some key announcements to know about:

  • You will be able to change a SharePoint site URL (In the future)
  • New SharePoint Admin Center will allow for administration of group-connected Team sites, communication sites, and hub sites (Hub sites previously required PowerShell)
  • The integration of the one-time passcode experience with the Azure AD B2B platform enables external sharing for SharePoint sites and lists to now leverage the one-time passcode experience currently in OneDrive for Business


If you want to find out more about any of the announcements above, check out the recorded sessions! It’s a fantastic value-add Microsoft’s provided to allow everyone, including those who couldn’t attend, an opportunity to view the sessions if you didn’t get a chance to see it live! To find the recordings, sign into the Microsoft Ignite site linked below and start watching!

Thanks for reading.


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