Among a number of great presentations at this year’s Let’s Connect online conference an in-depth overview of Connections 7 definitely caught our attention. Here are some of the key points of interest.

Customize your experience

First, it’s important to note that Connections 7 comes with a tailored experience so that you can customize the app to fit your needs precisely. Because one size does not fit all anymore you can get the tailored experience through:

  • Wizard
  • Templates
  • Highlights

Faster Communities creation

You can also create Communities faster with the new Wizard:

  • Step-by-step process which guides users through the process of creating a Community;
  • A clear design which reduces clicks and steps, making the process more efficient;
  • The whole experience is available on mobile devices (tablets for the time being, phones will be included soon).

Templates will help you populate new Communities with:

  • Layout
  • Community applications
  • Content (Files, Wiki, Blog, etc)
  • Get consistency across the organization through Template Manager approved Templates;
  • As Community owners get a great professional layout rather that working on design;
  • Use existing content for new projects, thus saving time.

Highlights come with:

  • Apps and Widgets side-by-side
  • Improved layout builder
  • Replaces Overview for new Communities
  • Highlights is now the default landing page
  • Aggregated views for Files, News, Blogs, etc.

Microsoft 365 Ecosystem Support

Teams Integration:

  • One-To-One Chat: start a chat from the Connections Profile card, Important-to-Me bubble or Profile page;
  • Share with Channel: Share with just a click a Connections page to your team in a Channel;
  • Messaging Extension: In Teams, share a recent Connections Community, File, Wiki or browse your files from your chat window.
  • Connections Tab App: Get the Connections Community app to a Teams channel so that all members can easily find important project information.

Outlook Integration:

  • Reduce clutter: Save an entire email or just attachments where they are useful to others; shared File, to-do, knowledge article, etc.
  • Minimize redundancy: you can send emails with links to Connections rather than attaching the same file again and again.
  • Files
    • Save entire email as .eml
    • Save attachments only without email header/body
    • Configurable sharing
    • Upload to My Files or Community Files
  • Status Update
    • Post to Profile
    • Post to Community
    • Option to include attachments
  • Activities
    • Search for an Activity
    • Search for Community with Activities
    • Save as email or Todo
    • Todo – assign user & due date
  • Wikis
    • Search for a Wiki
    • Search for a Community with Wikis
    • Editable before posting
    • Include attachments

Sharepoint integration:

  • Single access point
    • One place to access all of your Community content
  • Seamless
    • Access to SharePoint documents and folders is now easier: view, edit, upload SharePoint files from within a Connections Community
  • Widget or full-page view
    • Embed a widget on your Community landing page.

MS Office integration:

  • Edit Connections files right from the file viewer by simply clicking the edit button in Connections;
  • Office files will be downloaded and opened locally automatically;
  • Saving and closing will automatically upload a new version of the file back up to Connections.

Export to PDF

  • Content Focused: PDF export creates content-only pages of Connections content without header, footer or side navigation, reducing the unnecessary clutter.
  • Templates for consistency: Templates add corporate wide identity or project specific designs for consistency and clarity.
  • Control: Community owners control if members can expert via PDF
  • Supported Apps:
    • Activities
    • Wikis
    • Blogs
    • Ideation Blogs
    • Forums
  • Desktop and mobile devices

If you’re interested in learning more about this, you can check out the full presentation here for even more examples and demos.