Office 365 for IT Pros March 2023 Update Available

93rd Monthly Update Released for the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook

Office 365 for IT Pros
Office 365 for IT Pros

The Office 365 for IT Pros writing team is thrilled to announce the availability of the 93rd monthly update for the eBook. Subscribers for the EPUB/PDF version can download the updated files from while Kindle users can request the updates from Amazon. See our FAQ for more information about fetching updated files for the book.

Many Changes in February 2023

This past month was hectic in terms of the number and types of changes that emerged across the Microsoft 365 ecosystem. Our change log captures where changes occurred in book chapters. Some of the changes deserve highlighting. Here’s my take:

Microsoft announced the rebranding of Yammer as Viva Engage. The core functionality of Yammer won’t change as it comes under the Viva brand. Book publishers hate product rebranding because of the effect it has on text and graphics. The February edition (92) of Office 365 for IT Pros included more than 250 mentions of Yammer in the text. This update reduces that number significantly. In some cases, we need to wait for Microsoft’s rebranding to be complete.

As part of the Viva Engage rebranding, Microsoft introduced a new Viva Engage Core service plan as part of some licenses. The thought behind the new service plan was good in that it made sure that users who depend on Yammer-sourced services like the Q&A app in Teams could continue working. However, the new plan caused a lot of hassle for tenants where Yammer wasn’t used because suddenly Yammer was available to users. In any case, it was a good opportunity to test the license management cmdlets in the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK as we head towards the deprecation of the license management cmdlets in the Azure AD and MSOL modules at the end of March 2023.

Speaking of the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK, several foibles (some would call them bugs) exist that you should be aware of when converting scripts from the old Azure AD and MSOL modules. Or read chapter 23 of Office 365 for IT Pros and use the advice presented there. If you write code for Azure Automation runbooks, remember that Microsoft will pause out Run As accounts in September 2023.

A new Syntex advanced management license is on its way to control access to security and management features for SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business. The license is currently in preview, so you can test features like setting a default sensitivity label for SharePoint document libraries or blocking file downloads from sites. Microsoft hasn’t said how much they plan to charge for Syntex advanced management.

In the world of Exchange Online, we learned that Microsoft restricts the creation of inbound connectors for new tenants. Apparently, this is because of some security concerns. The connectors are created but remain in a disabled state until approval is gained from Microsoft Support.

More positively, the new and improved recall message feature is rolling out. Unlike the previous version, the server processes message recall requests and promises a recall success rate of 90% against the 40% attained by the old code. Message recall only works within a tenant, but it’s nice to have something that has a high chance of working, even when recipients have read a message or filed it out of the inbox.

This month, we took a look at Mesh Avatars in Teams. Not everyone will like the idea of an avatar taking their place during Teams meetings (only visually). On the other hand, if you’re not looking your best, maybe an avatar is the right thing to use.

The Teams Premium license is now generally available even if some of its features are still not fully baked. This month, we looked at the premium meeting templates feature and how templates could be used to manage different types of meetings within large organizations. Also in relation to Teams premium, if you use the trial licenses to check out the premium features, make sure that you remove those licenses after the 30-day trial is over. It’s less confusing that way.

So Much Change All The Time

The list above is only a snapshot of what happened during February 2023. The volume and kind of change underlines the value of a living book. It’s tough to keep text updated but after 93 monthly updates we’re in a kind of a rhythm. At least, I think we are.

Support the work of the Office 365 for IT Pros team by subscribing to the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook. Your support pays for the time we need to track, analyze, and document the changing world of Microsoft 365 and Office 365.

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