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One Outlook to rule them all: What you need to know about the next generation of Outlook

Email management

One Outlook to rule them all: What you need to know about the next generation of Outlook

Jessica is a senior marketing professional with over 10 years in the industry.
Jessica Mckenzie
24 February 2023
What you need to know about the next generation of Outlook

Microsoft first announced its vision for the future of Outlook in 2020 and continues to move towards the highly anticipated launch of One Outlook. The natural evolution of Outlook, One Outlook is intended to unify the different Outlook platforms—including Outlook for Windows, Mac, mobile, and web—and consolidate the various user experiences, features, and code bases into a single platform and experience. While One Outlook is not yet generally offered and the official launch is still to be confirmed, it is currently available for testers in the Office Insiders Beta Channel.

One Outlook will continue to expand on the extensibility capabilities of Outlook to deliver a more comprehensive, fluid user experience. Here’s what we know so far about the continued development and future release of One Outlook and how to best prepare your business for its planned rollout, including the anticipated changes and benefits of the new One Outlook solution.

Why the change and what One Outlook means for your organisation

Outlook’s disparate platforms currently support either COM add-ins, which work on the Windows Outlook desktop application only, or web add-ins which are supported in the web-based Outlook, Windows, MacOS, and mobile device platforms. Microsoft’s extensibility model, and its Managed Extensibility Framework, lets developers and companies like OnePlace Solutions create lightweight, extensible applications that expand the use of Outlook for more streamlined operations that meet business needs.

While One Outlook is intended to consolidate the disparate features, code bases, user experiences, and more from Microsoft’s multiple Outlook platforms, it’s based on the functionality of the Outlook web application. This means that existing web add-ins will carry across into One Outlook for the same user experience and functionality that web-based Outlook users are familiar with.

For Windows, Mac, and mobile-based endpoint devices, One Outlook will be a new interface, however, offer a more consistent experience across devices. With One Outlook, Microsoft will provide a single, unified experience for any users switching between dedicated Windows or Mac applications with web- or mobile-based Outlook applications.

The extensibility model for web add-ins, working across all end-points devices is the path forward, and COM add-ins will no longer work within One Outlook. Microsoft has been committed to collaborating with its partners, such as OnePlace Solutions, to elicit feedback and expand the extensibility model of the One Outlook platform to support the transition of COM add-ins. Microsoft is acutely aware of the most popular add-ins, including OnePlaceMail and is committed to helping customers and partners transition across to the web add-ins, ensuring users can continue to experience the benefits and functionality to meet their company’s requirements.

One of the primary drivers of the consolidation of Outlook platforms into One Outlook, and basing it on the existing web application, is to help deliver a faster cadence of enhancements, fixes, and valuable features across all endpoints. This allows customers to receive updates faster and continue to benefit from product updates, fixes, and new features.

How you can prepare your organisation for One Outlook

While One Outlook will deliver a consistent user experience across applications for businesses and a consolidated feature set, it’s possible that not every existing feature or application will migrate across from the current, disparate applications into the next generation of Outlook. As such, it’s crucial to consider your organisation’s future with One Outlook. This includes understanding if One Outlook will continue to support your business’s use of the Outlook application and any specific add-ins that you currently rely on for various processes and functionality across your organisation.

To get greater insight into this, you will need to evaluate your business requirements and consider what’s in your existing feature set, what’s new with One Outlook, and what you might be ‘losing’ (if anything) from your current deployment. Assess whether any ‘lost’ features are critical to your company’s processes, functionality, and success, and if they can be supplemented by other alternatives or new features within One Outlook. You will also need to do the same with your plug-ins and add-ins and assess which essential add-ins you will need moving forward.

Beyond assessing your feature and plug-in/add-in needs, it’s also important to prioritise change management and consider what steps will need to be taken in the transition to One Outlook. User experience will alter with the move to One Outlook and, depending on your current deployment, this could be significant for your organisation. Take the time now to understand what change management will look like for your company and what core training will be required for your team to ensure a seamless transition for your users.

OnePlace Solutions and One Outlook

As a Microsoft Gold Partner, OnePlace Solutions has been working with Microsoft over the past six years on the award-winning OnePlaceMail App (web add-in) and we are excited by the opportunity to continue expanding the solution to meet our customer’s needs.

OnePlace Solutions is proactively working with Microsoft to continue its support of the OnePlaceMail application in One Outlook, including providing feedback to the team to prepare web add-ins. Microsoft has enabled add-ins, including OnePlaceMail, for the version of One Outlook currently available for testing. This lets users now proactively assess the functionality of both One Outlook and OnePlaceMail within the Office Insiders Beta Channel.

As users wait for the official release of One Outlook, businesses can also continue to leverage the extensive support and efficiency of the OnePlaceMail application.

What’s next?

While One Outlook has not yet launched, it’s important now to understand what your organisation will need in the future to accurately evaluate the solution and its application across your business when it’s made available.

As One Outlook is currently in beta testing, it’s an optimal time to consider joining the preview program and deciding if it’s the right choice for your organisation moving forward. The Microsoft vision and journey for One Outlook will be communicated to the wider community as it continues to crystallise. In the interim, OnePlace Solutions will keep collaborating with Microsoft to seamlessly integrate with One Outlook. This will ensure that our customers experience the value that OnePlace Solutions delivers to the Outlook application within One Outlook and enable people in business to do more simply.

As you consider your organisation’s future with One Outlook, contact OnePlace Solutions to discuss the potential for your business with the next generation of Outlook.

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