External Sharing Announcements from #SPC19




SharePoint Conference 2019 included a bunch of new announcements from Microsoft around the entire Office 365 product suite, however the announcements that especially caught our attention were the latest updates to the external sharing functionalities built natively into SharePoint Online. 

What Is External Sharing?


External sharing is the process of inviting external users who are not part of your company into your Office 365 environment whether it be to SharePoint Sites, Teams or Planner. External sharing allows you to quickly define who you would like to share with and email them a sharing link for them to access your environment.

Coming out of SharePoint Conference, the top 4 external sharing announcements that caught our attention were:

  1. 1. Request Files

It is just about as simple as it sounds. You will be able to create a folder in OneDrive and/or SharePoint Online where you can request an external user to upload files. The external user will then receive an email with the request link. Clicking on the link, they can then choose their files, and upload them. Once successfully completed, the original requestor receives an email letting them know the files were uploaded. The best part about this new feature is a single link can be used for multiple requests, and the uploader is only able to view their specific files. We see a direct correlation with this feature to eliminate the use of other shadow IT within the organization because of its simplicity! This will be available in Q4 of 2019 on the current roadmap. 

  1. 2. Sharing PowerPoints with Context

Everyone knows when you're collaborating on a PowerPoint, you often need opinions/input on a particular slide or a particular section of slides. This is especially challenging when co-authoring larger PowerPoint decks. Now you will have the ability to choose a specific slide within a PowerPoint presentation and share a link directly to the slide. What this means is an external user can receive a link to the presentation, when they click on the presentation and login, they will be accelerated right to the slide that needs their attention! This will be available in June of 2019 in the Web only version of PowerPoint. 

  1. 3. SharePoint Reporting Enhancement 

A new reporting enhancement will be available in SharePoint Online that will track all of the unique permissions and sharing links setup on a particular site collection. This will provide you with a detailed summary of all the active external sharing activities taking place in a given site. To top this new enhancement off, you will have the ability to export this report as a CSV. File which will allow you to slice and dice the data in your chosen reporting tool, whether that be Power BI or Excel. 

  1. 4. Azure B2B Integrations with Sharing

Previously this has been an area that has caused some confusion as there was direct sharing from SharePoint as well as Azure B2B sharing which is managed within Azure Active Directory. Now they are one and the same - when a document is shared to a user requiring them to login, they will be created as a Guest User in the Azure AD tenant. This allows those users to gain access with the newly released One Time Passcode (OTP) functionality that has been part of Azure B2B since early 2019. 

With all of these announcements, the team at Extranet User Manager is eager to test them out, however we as well as everyone else will have to wait patiently until these features have been released! In our most recent article, EUM President Peter Carson (@carsonpeter) interviewed Microsoft's Mark Kashman and Stephen Rice on this topic, which you can watch here.

If you want to learn more about building an extranet in Office 365,  and understand what Extranet User Manager adds to the sharing experience, be sure to register for our upcoming webinar on this topic on July 23rd from 12-1pm EDT.
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