The Horizon: September 2023

What’s on The Horizon this month? It’s been a busy month again in the techosphere. From Windows 11 Copilot news and SharePoint Framework (SPFx) updates to new features for Viva Connections. Not to mention updates to our very own Calendar Overlay and Staff Directory apps.

So, here’s what’s on The Horizon…

Microsoft Copilot roll-out

Copilot began its long-awaited rollout on September 26 as part of a free Windows 11 release. The rollout to M365, Edge, and Bing will follow later this fall.

Here’s what we’ve got to look forward to, according to the folks at Microsoft…

  • The next Windows 11 update will introduce over 150 new features, leveraging the power of Copilot and bringing new AI-powered experiences to apps like Paint, Photos, Clipchamp, and more.
  • Bing support for the latest DALL.E 3 model from OpenAI and more personalized answers based on your search history, a new AI-powered shopping experience, and updates to Bing Chat Enterprise, making it more mobile and visual.
  • Microsoft 365 Copilot, generally available for enterprise customers on November 1, along with Microsoft 365 Chat, a new AI assistant that will completely transform the way you work.
  • Plus, powerful new Surface devices that bring all these AI experiences to life.

SharePoint Server and Subscription Updates

Cybersecurity protection through AMSI

Another significant update as we head into Cyber Security Awareness Month is this update to SharePoint Server.

With customer security always at the forefront of Microsoft’s priorities, the SharePoint team has been working with partner security teams at Microsoft to integrate cyberattack detection and protection capabilities directly into SharePoint Server using Antimalware Scan Interface (AMSI) protection.

The benefit to customers is that the antimalware signatures can be updated and distributed automatically, taking the onus off customers to stay up to date with the latest security updates.

23H2 Feature Updates for SharePoint Server Subscription Edition

The SharePoint Server community has been abuzz with the latest feature experiences introduced in the Version 23H2 update for SharePoint Server Subscription Edition. Here are some key highlights:

  • Custom Branding in the Suite Bar: SharePoint’s modern UX now allows organizations to align the Suite Bar with their branding standards. Admins can customize text, logos, hyperlinks, and color themes across web applications.

  • Secure LDAP (LDAPS) Support for SharePoint People Picker: In an effort to prioritize encrypted network communications, the SharePoint People Picker now supports LDAPS, providing encrypted LDAP traffic over specific TCP ports.

  • Search Crawler Protocol Update: To enhance compatibility with modern network and security infrastructures, the SharePoint Search Service defaults to using HTTP 1.1 for content sources. Organizations can adjust this setting via PowerShell.

  • Upgrades to SharePoint Framework (SPFx) Components: The 23H2 update incorporates support for React version 16 and Office UI Fabric React 7, enabling developers to leverage these updated components in their SharePoint solutions.

  • Manage Feature Release Rings via PowerShell: Following the introduction of feature release rings in Version 22H2, Microsoft now offers PowerShell cmdlets, allowing organizations to streamline configurations in scripted deployments.

Enhanced experiences for Viva Connections

If you’re using Viva Connections to power your digital workplace employee experience, Microsoft has recently launched a new set of features.

The new features aim to provide end users with seamless access to their enterprise intranet resources and admins can customize the app to reflect their brand better.

New features include:

  • Quick home site access and improved site navigation
  • Hero image and standard greeting
  • Clearly displayed saved content

Cloudwell app updates

Each month on The Horizon, we’ll update you on the latest updates to our apps.

Here’s what you need to know…

Calendar Overlay v3.5.0.2

  • The month picker now supports all languages that the app supports.

Staff Directory v1.3.0.0 and

We’ve been busy tweaking and improving our newest app to make it even better. Highlights include:

  • Cascading Filters: We’ve refined the quick filter experience. Now, when you select certain filters, the available filter options will dynamically adjust based on your selections, streamlining the filtering process and ensuring more relevant results.
  • Celebrations for Special Days: We’ve added special visual treatment for staff birthdays and work anniversaries. Celebrate these milestones with style. Find out more on how to celebrate with style.

An alphabetic journey of SharePoint

Friend of Cloudwell and M365 guru, Nate Chamberlain has been updating his The ABCs of SharePoint with a second edition. Given the rapid pace of change, this guide to all things SharePoint needed a refresh since its initial release in 2018.

Needless to say, our office copy has barely seen the bookshelf since it arrived earlier this month and whether you’re a SharePoint newcomer or a veteran, we recommend you grab a copy and tell us what you think.


At Cloudwell, as a Microsoft Gold Partner, we make it our business to provide innovative enterprise solutions for your business. 

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