Office 365 - Sharepoint Online Demonstration

Let's get started with the demonstration of SharePoint Online in the Office 365 platform. I'm going to get started by doing a search for 'Northwind'; this is a team site that has been setup for a team to collaborate on a project. As you can see, there are previews of each item returned in the search results. As I cursor over, or hover my mouse over each of the items in this list, I can see a preview of the items in that list. This is a preview of the Word Document that came up in the search results. This is a preview of the PowerPoint file that came up in the search results. This is a new feature of SharePoint 2013 and Office 365 SharePoint Online.

Let's use the Refinement panel now.  A search for 'Northwind' returned a bunch of results, but I'm going to go ahead and filter this list down to just items that were added within the last month. As you can see, that filtered the list automatically, and I see several items might qualify up here, but let me filter the result set further by clicking on a SharePoint site, and you'll see I only have three results to choose from. This first item is actually the site that I'm looking for, so I'm going to go ahead and select that site.

Now that I've transitioned over to the specific team site from the search results, I take a look and I see that I've got a task list here.  This is a new feature of SharePoint 2013 and Office 365 SharePoint Online. You'll see that they have this timeline view. In the past, we only had the list view and the Gantt chart view. This is, I think, an easier way for people to get a better understanding of exactly what tasks are due when. I can take this task list and I could add a task directly; I can also edit the entire list from here. If I click on Edit List, you'll see it refreshes and I get, actually, more of a data sheet view of the task list. I can just enter data right in here and make some edits to this list... as you can see... and make whatever changes I'd like.
In addition, I have the convenience of being able to switch views. If I click on Calendar, I see a calendar view of all the items in the list. I can switch, also, back to the more traditional view of, perhaps, the Gantt chart view... and that will display down here. In addition, I can go back and pick any of the other views that are out there, such as the All Tasks, maybe just the tasks that are assigned to me, or Late Tasks, and it's automatically going to filter those lists accordingly.

Let's take a look at some of the other options for using this task list. You'll see I can open this list with Project; I could actually sync this task list to Outlook, so any tasks on this project would appear in my to-do list. I can also just export it to Excel, and then I could easily email that to somebody else. You'll also note the Shared With feature. If I click Shared With, it will tell me exactly who has access to this list. One additional feature that's of interest is the Alert Me feature. If I click on Alert, I can say 'set alert on this list', and I can actually choose to be notified when changes are made to this list, perhaps just additions, perhaps removals. I could even get a summary on a daily basis, or perhaps a weekly basis, of all the changes that were made to this task list.

Now let's take a look at the document library and document management features within SharePoint Online. Let's click on the documents, and you'll see I have a list. A new feature of SharePoint 2013 and Office 365 SharePoint Online is also the preview feature within a document library. You'll see as I click here on the ellipses, I get an actual preview of the document in the library, and I can actually page through the individual slides here. In addition, I can instantly go into edit mode. I can edit using the Office web apps, and it will automatically load up PowerPoint within my browser, and I'll then be able to start making changes to this particular slide deck if I so choose.

Let's go back now and take a look at another new feature of Office 365 and SharePoint Online. If I go here and I search for the word 'proposal', you'll see it will instantly filter the results to just show me documents with the word 'proposal' in it. Of course just like before, I can actually preview those search results. Not only does this search feature look at the titles of the documents, but let's say I actually search for this word 'zeal'; I happen to know there's a few documents that contain that. It's actually doing a deep search and indexing each and every word inside the document for the word 'zeal'. Again, I could go into this preview feature, perhaps, instead I want to actually open up the document. I have the choice again to open this document in either the Word application itself or I can choose to use the Office web apps.

Another reason people use SharePoint document management control features is for version history. Let's take a look at this particular document. I will go in, and I have the option now to view the version history. There we go. If I click on Version History, it's going to show me all the edits that have been made to this document, who made them, and when they made them. If I so choose, I could actually restore Version 1. If I do so, it will make a copy of Version 1, and I'll then have a Version 3. I could also just choose to view this item and compare those changes. So, that's one of the main reasons people implement SharePoint, is for this document management feature.

One final item I want to cover as part of the enhancements that have been made within Office 365 is the ability to drag-and-drop documents to document libraries. You'll see, I can actually drag this Example 1 document right onto my browser, and you'll see it got added to the document library. That's a huge user interface improvement. Just take a file, drag it right there, and it will automatically upload it. I think users will applaud this new feature.

Another new feature of Office 365 is something called the Site Mailbox. This is exclusively available to Office 365.  If I click on the mailbox, it's actually going to load a shared mailbox that all members of the team site can use. The Office web app is now loading for Outlook, and you'll see I can actually access some messages for the entire team. This mailbox actually is assigned an email address, and you can invite clients to send emails, or team members, or vendors to go ahead and send emails to this team site mailbox. That way, everybody on the team can have access to those emails. Everybody can forward emails that they might have received to just themselves and they want to make a record of it within the team site. I'll go back now to the team site, and I'll just wrap up with a few other demonstrations of the SharePoint Online platform.

Let's take a look at the news feed. When I click on News Feed, it's going to bring up a kind of Facebook-like interface, where I can see some different activities that people I follow within the organization have been making within SharePoint. I currently am following two people. I'll go ahead and click on the number two, and I see the two people that I'm following. If I click on Alex, it's going to bring up his Facebook-style page, and I can see some of his activities; what he's done. He's been working on the Fiscal Year '13 Strategy Document. I can “Like” this. He might like to see that I liked it. I could also expand some of these other conversations. Within some of these conversations, people can embed videos. As you can see, I would actually launch that video; I can see it in full screen mode, minimize it back. This is a new feature of the news feeds.

In addition, if I go back to my homepage for the news feed, you'll then see that it also has a new feature called the Task Aggregator. This allows me to actually see all the tasks that I've been assigned to across the entire SharePoint portal. It also will show me personal tasks that are just for my eyes only. You can see here, I've got a personal task and then the consulting task list includes a task for me. I can actually go into this task right from here; it'll launch that particular task item. I could go ahead and from here make an edit, new description would go here. I go ahead and save the change. This will go ahead and then update that task list item. I can instantly, also using this checkbox, mark the task complete, and the actual team site where that task list exists will also be updated.

That's a quick overview and demonstration of some of the new features of SharePoint Online on the Office 365 platform.

Rick Rietz, Director of Consulting Services, DMC, Inc. 2222 N. Elston Ave., Suite 200 Chicago, IL 60614 (312) 255-8757