During the Microsoft SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas the big emphasis was on -- to no one's surprise -- Office 365 rather than on-premises versions of SharePoint. While it was great to see the new features Microsoft unveiled, the conference also gave us time to look at existing features that you may or may not be aware of. Let's take a look.

New Office 365 Feature Highlights

Microsoft unveiled a number of new features during the keynote including:

  • Office Graph
  • Oslo
  • Office Video Portal
  • OneDrive for Business
  • Power BI for Office 365

We've already covered Office Graph and Oslo, so let's take a look at some of the other highlights:

Office Video Portal

The ability to create video libraries is starting to become a requirement for most organizations, not a luxury. Built on Office 365 and Azure, the Office video portal is an enterprise video solution that provides a YouTube type video experience to users. Secure and easy to use, it even figures out which format to stream the video in based on device and connection speed.

OneDrive for Business

Formerly called SkyDrive Pro, OneDrive for Business provides personal online file sync and storage for a company’s employees. It allows people to share their work files from their desktop to multiple devices, including Windows phone, Window 8, iOS, and Android devices. OneDrive for Business is already available as a part of Office 365 or SharePoint Online, and will be available as a standalone service starting next month.

Power BI for Office 365

Power BI for Office 365, also referred to as self-service business intelligence, is a collection of online services and features that help users create reports and visualize data in new ways without having to understand how to write database queries or necessarily know how the data is structured on the back end. Users will use Excel to create the content and visualizations and publish the workbooks to Power BI sites or mobile apps for consumption and sharing. Excel has BI capabilities built into it (some previously available and some new) including Power Query, Power Pivot, Power View, and Power Map.

The Here and Now - Forgotten Office Features

While much of the focus at the conference was on these upcoming features, the breakout executive keynote focused more on what Microsoft is doing right now, rather than on what’s coming in the future.

One of Microsoft’s ongoing areas of focus is on personalized insights. It wants to give enterprises the ability to know how their business is performing so that they can make better decisions faster, while remaining ahead of market shifts.

A portion of the executive keynote highlighted a few features that are currently available in the standalone Office products, many of them available since the 2010 version. Some you may have heard of and might actually be using, while others likely aren’t being used because many people are just not aware of them.


  • Mail tips. These can help you avoid potentially embarrassing mistakes before sending an email, such as accidentally replying to all or sending a message to someone who is out of the office.
  • Policy tips. These are more urgent mail tips that are configurable by an admin. A common policy tip would be popping up a message when a user tries to send a sensitive document to someone outside the organization.
  • Suggested meetings. Outlook recognizes when you may want to set up a meeting with all users on an email thread based on the verbiage in the email. Furthermore, it’s very easy to schedule a meeting directly from an email message with just two clicks.
  • Bing maps. If an address is found in an email message, a user can click a button to immediately see an interactive map of that address.