As promised, Microsoft continues to roll out new and improved functionality in Office 365 as it is available.  The following updates summarize what is planned for December (through April, technically).  The link at the end will show you all the updates rolled out since Office 365 was officially released.

 

Exchange Hybrid Configuration Wizard* (Not available for Professional and Small Business users)
This new wizard will help streamline the hybrid deployment process by simplifying the configuration of Exchange Online features and services, including calendar and free/busy information sharing, mailbox moves, secure mail flow and Exchange Online Archiving.
* This update will roll out to customers over the next several months.  We expect that all customers will receive the update by April 2012.

Additional Information:
To lean more, refer to the EHLO Blog Released: Exchange Server 2010 SP2

For more detail on the Exchange Hybrid Configuration Wizard, refer to TechNet What’s New in Exchange 2010 SP2

 

 

Exchange enhancements to email migrations*
Two new enhancements to migration features will bring greater efficiency to email migrations.
1.  Enhanced Management Capabilities: The new Exchange Online migration dashboard helps to improve administrative efficiency during a cutover Exchange migration, a staged Exchange migration, or an IMAP migration. Tenant administrators can schedule multiple migration batches, obtain migration status information for migration batches, view per user details, and see skipped items. Improved reporting and diagnostics tools also improve the troubleshooting experience.
2.  Number of Concurrent Migrations: Administrators can now use Exchange Management Shell to increase the value for a migration batch to as high as 50.
* This update will roll out to customers over the next several months.  We expect that all customers will receive the update by April 2012.

Additional Information:

To lean more, refer to the EHLO Blog Exchange Online December 2011 Service Update

For more detail on email migrations, refer to the Help article E-Mail Migration Overview

 

 

Exchange enhancements to multi-mailbox search* (Not available for Professional and Small Business users)
Users can now launch a separate window to preview message hits and statistics for each query. Search performance has also been improved with reduced impact of retried query failures, as well as enhancements to scalability and availability.
* This update will roll out to customers over the next several months.  We expect that all customers will receive the update by April 2012.

 

Additional Information:
To lean more, refer to the EHLO Blog Exchange Online December 2011 Service Update

For more detail on multi-mailbox search, refer to the Help article Multi-Mailbox Searches

 

 

Exchange retention policy and tag management*

We have improved the mailbox retention settings so it is easier to manage user mailboxes in an organization. Users can now use the mail control settings in Exchange Control Panel to create and manage retention tags and policies.
* This update will roll out to customers over the next several months.  We expect that all customers will receive the update by April 2012.

Additional Information:

To lean more, refer to the EHLO Blog Exchange Online December 2011 Service Update
For more detail on retention policies, refer to the Help article Set Up and Manage Retention Policies in Exchange Online

 

 

Exchange group naming policy*

Administrators can now standardize and manage the names of distribution groups—also known as public groups—created by users in their organization. They can require that a specific prefix and suffix be added to names for distribution groups when created, and block specific words from being used. This feature helps to minimize the use of inappropriate words in group names.
* This update will roll out to customers over the next several months.  We expect that all customers will receive the update by April 2012.

Additional Information:

To lean more, refer to the EHLO Blog Exchange Online December 2011 Service Update
For more detail on setting up a group naming policy, refer to the Help article Create a Naming Policy for Distribution Groups

 

 

Exchange high availability architecture enhancements*  (Not available for Professional and Small Business users)
We have extended the high availability architecture for Exchange Online across additional sites to provide greater resilience in the event of network failures. Administrators and end users may notice changes to server names in URLs and in protocol settings, although bookmarks for Outlook Web App should not be affected. The connection for client applications and devices, including those configured to connect directly to server addresses, will automatically redirect when the mailbox is migrated to the latest software. A very small percentage of mobile devices are not 100% compliant and may have to be reconfigured to connect to a changed pod address.
* This update will roll out to customers over the next several months.  We expect that all customers will receive the update by April 2012.

 

Additional Information:

Refer to the Help article Mobile Phone Setup Wizard for connection procedures

To lean more, refer to the EHLO Blog Exchange Online December 2011 Service Update

 

 

Outlook Web App in Internet Explorer 9 App Mode*
Outlook Web App can now be pinned to the task bar using Internet Explorer 9 App Mode. This feature gives users the ability to launch Outlook Web App with one click and run it with fewer distractions because it is separated from other browsing sessions. It also keeps users informed of incoming email and IM when minimized or hidden, and offers quick access to common Outlook Web App commands from the taskbar.
* This update will roll out to customers over the next several months.  We expect that all customers will receive the update by April 2012.

Additional Information:

To lean more, refer to the EHLO Blog Exchange Online December 2011 Service Update

 

 

Sender photos in Outlook Web App*
Users can now match faces to names in their organization with photos displayed next to sender information in emails. The display of photos is enabled by default, but administrators can modify the settings of Outlook Web App mailbox policy to disable this feature.
* This update will roll out to customers over the next several months.  We expect that all customers will receive the update by April 2012.

Additional Information:

To lean more, refer to the EHLO Blog Exchange Online December 2011 Service Update

 

User Name Self-Update for Admins
Admin users now have the ability to update their own alias after adding a domain. Previously, Admins required another Admin user to make this change or they needed to create one in the case of a single-user account. To complete this task, sign in to Office 365 and go to the user management experience. Selects your username and click edit.  In the edit experience, you can change your username from yourname@yourcompany.onmicrosoft.com to yourname@yourcompany.com.  Once you have clicked save, you will need to sign out and sign back in to complete the change.

 

Microsoft Online Services ID moniker changing to user ID
We have changed text in the product and in the sign-up pages from “Microsoft Online Services ID” (MOS ID) to “user ID” to reduce confusion around what the MOS ID is.

See all the Office 365 changes implemented here: http://community.office365.com/en-us/w/office_365_service_updates/service-updates-for-office-365-for-enterprises.aspx

 

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