Microsoft TechEd 2014 is in full swing and this is the first general session that I’m attending. It will cover what’s new in Exchange, both in Office 365 and on-prem. As usual during conference this is live blogging, directly from content presented in the session. So editing is minimal, and please excuse any grammar issues.

Email Challenges

  • Too much stuff in my inbox
  • Important emails get buried
  • People keep sending documents as attachments
  • Hard to keep up with legal requirements
  • Need a better way of sharing data

Historically major Exchange releases are every three years. But the cloud is changing that. The same Exchange team handles both Office 365 and on-prem code bases. Microsoft is all about Cloud First delivery, with Office 365. Features continuous innovation and rapid feedback. Eventually everything in Exchange cloud will end up in Exchange on-prem. These come as cumulative updates and service packs, plus major new releases (which will be in 2015). Major new on-prem releases will still be every ~three years.

Future of Exchange

Email will have to be more social, more open, smarter.

Security and Compliance

  • Compliance Center
  • S/MIME in OWA
  • DLP document fingerprinting
  • Office 365 message encryption
  • DLP Policy tips in OWA for devices

Compliance center features across Exchange, SharePoint and Lync from one location. Targeted for end of calendar year 2014. eDiscovery, auditing, data loss prevention, retention policies, retention tags and journal rules. Demo showed document fingerprinting. You upload a sample file, such as a contract, then define rules. For example, set different rules for sending within the organization, or externally (with more restrictions). Demo continued to show a DLP policy tool tip when a contract was attached to an email, and this is now available in OWA.

Two new features: DLP for data at rest, and bring DLP to SharePoint (no dates mentioned).

Work Smarter

  • “Clutter” view
  • People View
  • Outlook web app search enhancements
  • Document collaboration
  • outlook web app rich content
  • App enhancements

Demo shows a ‘clutter’ button that filters in the inbox view to show only emails that need to be filtered. It will learn as you delete or otherwise mark emails. Demo also showed off a People view, where he clicked on a person and the mailbox view was filtered to show only emails from that person. The view learns which people are most important and only shows them. Demo shows easier to use search, where it shows search suggestions when you start typing in the search field. It also lists search refiners in the left pane when results are shown, to further narrow down the results.

Document Collaboration

Making attachments smarter. Deep integration with OneDrive for business. Send an attachment as a OneDrive for business link. Access it anytime, anywhere from any device. Edit attachments and reply in a single process. View the attachment in side-by-side view with the email. Multiple people can edit the same document. When attaching a file it will now allow you to send the whole file, or automatically upload to OneDrive and just send a link. It will then be automatically shared from OneDrive. Demo also shows the ability to drag and drop images into an OWA email (no more manual attaching), plus the ability to create tables and in-line preview of links in emails.

Social Email

  • Groups
  • Group email experience
  • Group calendar experience

One Groups System: One identity system (Azure Active Directory) is the master for group identity and membership across Office 365. Covers Exchange, SharePoint and Yammer (Lync in the future). Demo shows OWA, and a new Groups section on the left. Groups can be public or private. Shows a threaded conversation, with inline previews of web links. Also shows the side-by-side view of previewing docs such as a spreadsheet. The group conversation view looks very much like Yammer, and in fact you can view the conversation in yammer. A very seamless experience. Demo shows a group calendar and side-by-side view with a person’s own calendar. Demo also shows calendar search, which is new. Demo shows the GUI experience to create a new group and adding members. They also demoed the group experience from an Android phone, which looked like the OWA experience.


This was a good high level session, which showcases the rapid feature development of the Exchange platform. All new features first debut in Office 365, then on a much more measured pace make it into the on-prem version of Exchange. Seeing the rapid feature enhancements and deep integration with Yammer, SharePoint, OneDrive, and Lync really provide a compelling story when compared to other hosted services such as those offered by Google. Gmail innovation and seamless integration with Office products just isn’t in the same ballpark.

Published: 5/14/2014 14:46