As our world looks to respond, recover and re-imagine the way it works, the Firstline Workforce and the IT teams who support them have proven to be the essential force behind business continuity. Firstline Workforces and IT teams keep businesses moving forward during times of crisis and lead the charge to transform the way we work across many industries.

They are the reason grocery stores stay open and transform to accommodate curb-side pick-up; the reason hospitals keep running and evolve in-person health consultations into virtual ones; and how manufacturing continues to create essential products like face masks and transform operations.

Three macro challenges emerge when learning from customers about their new normal.

  1. The need for better communication, transparency and the ability to foster culture from corporate headquarters to Firstline Workers, and within teams on the ground, is changing from a nice-to-have to a must have.
  2. There is an accelerated need to digitally transform processes that were manual or occurred in-person.
  3. Working conditions have become unpredictable; the need for tools that keep Firstline teams and operations agile and everyone informed is essential for fluctuating working conditions like unexpected locations closing.

Firstline workers and IT admins are heroes of your business and face a variety of new challenges daily. Microsoft Teams enables you to overcome these challenges.

The need for communication and connection with Firstline Workers has long been on customer minds, but the rapid response required to address shutdowns created by COVID-19 has put a spotlight on this gap. Customers also realise the importance of culture for job satisfaction and the need to make employees feel more connected to the organisation and to each other.

Within a Firstline team, employees are facing new protocols that make connecting with each other more challenging throughout their everyday work. Walkie Talkie, a push-to-talk experience that enables clear and secure voice communication over the cloud, enables teams to communicate instantly and always stay on the same page. This native built-in app in Teams turns employee or company-owned Android smartphones and tablets like the Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro into a walkie-talkie, reducing the number of devices employees must carry and lowering costs for IT.

Walkie Talkie on Android - Firstline Workforce

Customers who currently use analog radio devices no longer need to worry about static, crosstalk, interference from outsiders or traditional radio distance boundaries as Walkie Talkie works over WIFI or cellular data. For Firstline teams not yet enabled with a push-to-talk experience, Walkie Talkie in Teams enables instant team communication with pre-configured channels set to have the right conversation with the right people.

Download the IgniteLookbook PDF here.

To take the guesswork out of knowing the name of on-shift staff when users need to quickly relay information, Tagging by Shifts allows messages to be targeted to groups based on the shifts they are working on, such as all nurses currently on duty. Users are automatically assigned to tags matching their schedule in the Shifts app in Teams, which allows for integration with major workforce management systems, including AMiON, BlueYonder, and Kronos.

Tagging by Shift

The need to engage your Firstline Workers with company-wide announcements that employees can access anywhere is important to create transparency within the company. With Yammer notifications in Teams activity feed, available later this year, teams using the new Yammer Communities app in Teams will be able to receive Yammer notifications in the Teams activity feed and on your mobile lock screen. You can also find Yammer conversations using the Teams search bar so that large scale announcements and updates can reach all employees within Microsoft Teams mobile, desktop, and browser experiences.

Yammer Notifications Teams - Firstline Workforce

As the world continues to applaud Firstline Workers for the jobs they are doing, internal steps to engage, recognise and appreciate employees go a long way to improve job satisfaction and promote a positive work culture. Customisable Praise Badges provides the ability to customise Praise badges to express a company's culture and values in celebration of every success and foster greater comradery during a time of disconnect.

Custom Praise Badges

The acceleration of digital transformation arose from travel restrictions, capacity limitations and more safety protocols around manual processes across all industries. Whether it is expert assistance in a manufacturing plant, virtual store walks in a retail store or patients being able to visit their doctor - processes are changing from what was normal in the past.

Processes that normally would have been transformed over 2 years have accelerated and are transforming in a few weeks. And this transformation has allowed companies to work in ways never available before, enabling new ways to scale the once in-person work. For example, through an integration between Teams and RealWear head-mounted devices, field workers can get virtual expert assistance while remaining 100% hands-free using a voice-controlled user interface while maintaining situational awareness in loud and hazardous environments.

Firstline Workforce - Head mounted device

With more technology in the hands of your shift workers, the need to make sure you comply with labor regulations while also digitally empowering your workers is essential. With off-shift access controls, IT administrators can now configure Teams to alert employees when they are accessing the app on their personal device outside of working hours. The feature prompts employees to accept that they will not be getting paid for time spent on Teams to ensure employees are not involuntarily working while not on shift and helps employers to comply with labor regulations. The feature does not require active usage of the Shifts app, but it does require Shifts being configured and schedule data being inside the app, including workforce management API connectors like Kronos, BlueYonder and more.

Off-Shift

With manual processes becoming more strained in current conditions, the need to be more efficient and cost-effective around approval processes has become even more important to keep businesses moving forward. Approvals in Teams makes it easy to request, approve or reject various requests. For example, a Firstline worker in manufacturing could request approval to confirm that a repair is completed correctly right from a chat conversation. It brings all your approval flows aceoss the company on one place by seamlessly integrating Teams with several systems using Power Automate, including ServiceNow, Dynamics, GITHUB, and more. Whether you need written acknowledgement from your manager, a formal authorisation from a diverse group of stakeholders, or an official signature from a customer, approvals in Teams can be customised for your needs and leverage the capabilities of Adobe Sign and DocuSign to get e-signatures all in one place in our Approvals Hub natively in Teams.

Approvals

Unpredictable working conditions seemed to hit the whole world overnight. Not only are locations fluctuating between being open or temporarily closed, but shift schedules and employees are as well, which has put a lot of pressure on managers and legacy processes to keep up.

The need for flexible and agile shift scheduling has become essential for keeping up with work fluctuations. With the new Power Automate Shifts connector, users can automate shift processes with triggers and actions, so managers save time and are more efficient with schedule management during times of increased pressure on shifts. With these new triggers and actions, a user can view all their Shifts in the calendar of their choice (such as Outlook), a manager can auto-approve shifts all at once and it also enables users to create Shifts templates of their own to meet the ever-fluctuating needs of their business.

Power Automate

To further same managers time and reduce inaccuracies that can lead to employees not turning up for their shift during heightened pressures of work, Shifts schedule assistance alerts managers when a scheduling conflict occurs while they are creating shift schedules or approving a schedule change request.

Firstline Workforce - Shifts Schedule Assistance

With fluctuations in the workplace, streamlining the onboarding process is important to maintain continuity in the business. With new custome policy packages, IT can now create custom policy packages and assign them to their Firstline workers and managers to get them onboarded quickly with the right policies for them and the business. Policy packages provide IT administrators with pre-defined policies and policy settings tailored for their Firstline workforce to create a simple, centralised, and consisten way to manage your Firstline workforce, no matter how big.

Now with Teams templates, you're able to create effective teams faster and more easily than ever. Users can choose from common business scnarios, such as Onboarding and/or industry specific templates, like Retail - manager collaboration and Organise a store. Each template comes with pre-defined channels, tabs, and apps. Administrators can also create custom templates for their organisation, helping them standardise team structures, reveal relevant apps and scale best practices. they can create these from scratch or use an existing template or team structure as a starting point, so Teams are set up for success at the beginning and keep business moving forward.

Teams Templates

With Microsoft Teams as your hub for communication and teamwork for your entire organisation, we have the tools to help you overcome the new challenges you face today. Tools that keep you agile during fluctuatiing work conditions, digitally transform processes under pressure, and connect the entire workforce during a time when communication is now essential.

Microsoft Teams has vastly improved the way we operate and collaborate here at Adepteq. A seamless user friendly experience is a must for all business and organisations, and Microsoft Teams delivers. If you would like to learn more about Teams or Microsoft 365 please contact Adepteq today!

During Microsoft Ignite 2020, Microsoft announced the new home site app for Microsoft Teams. The app gives employees a gateway to your organisation, starting with the app's name and icon, which you can customise to reflect the identity of your organisation or your intranet. The app's multi-level navigation lets people find sites across the organisation, including portals, teams, communities and application.

This blog gives you a great first look at the app, an on-demand video session packed with demos and a set of common questions and answers below.

Home Site app Teams

The home site app for teams brings the power of your SharePoint-based intranet home site seamlessly into Microsoft Teams.

Bring the power of your SharePoint-based intranet home site directly into Microsoft Teams - seamlessly. The home site app in Teams gives your users global navigation across sites, communities, and teams; quick access to sites they use regularly; and a personalised news feed.

Many questions have been asked for additional information. As part of Ignite Microsoft have produced an on-demand video focused on the new home site app in Teams - showcasing how it works and the value of empowering users to discover, consume and collaborate on content like never before.

"Living in Teams? Now, so does your intranet!"

Home site app in Teams - frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Q: Can any site be pinned as a Home site app in Teams?
A: Communication sites designated as Home Sites are eligible for pinning in Teams as the Home site app using our default configuration flow.

Q: Where are global navigation links curated?
A: Links for global navigation are managed through the home site, by home site owners, freeing global admins from having to play the role of curator.

Q: Can my classic site be pinned in Teams?
A: Only home sites are eligible to be pinned as the home site app in Teams with our default configuration flow. Home sites must be modern SharePoint communication sites.

Q: What is the difference between Home site app and Home page pinned as tab?
A: The home site app provides organisations to pin company branded entry point to their intranet as a top level app in Teams. It provides an immersive site consumption experience, complete with navigation, mega-menus and support for tenant wide search. It also provides quick access to company curated resources, important sites and news similar to those provided by the SharePoint App Bar in the web. Home pages (or any other SharePoint pages) pinned as tabs in Channels provide ways to bring content directly into Team collaboration scenarios, and these pages have navigation and search elements removed to facilitate focus on the page content itself.

Q: Do I need a Home site app for the Global navigation to show up in Teams?
A: Yes, the global navigation links are stored in the home site of a tenant, and is required in order for the navigation panel to appear in the home site app in Teams

Q: Can a SharePoint team site be a Home site?
A: No. Only communication sites can be made a Home site in a tenant.

Adepteq use Teams ourselves and have successfully planned, deployed, trained on and are supporting Microsoft Teams with many of our clients. 

If you would like to know more about Microsoft Teams or SharePoint, or would like to to discuss how Microsoft Teams Apps can improve your communication and collaboration, then please contact us or call 0800 6444 365. 

Microsoft Teams can help people and organisations stay productive in hybrid work environments, and Microsoft Power Platform provides low-code custom development tools. the powerful Teams + Power Platform integration allows anyone to create the tools they need to get work done and bring them into their digital workspace. We are excited to share some new ways that it is becoming easier to build, deploy, and manage these custom solutions so you can be more productive!

Easily automate work for users and teams

A new Power Automate app is coming later this year, will make it easier than ever to build automated workflows. The new app will include a robust set of easy-to-use templates for some of the most common automation scenarios for Teams. A simple building experience will allow users to build these flows with drop-down menus and pre-populated dynamic text. Users will also have the ability to start building flows from scratch or edit flows that they've already built.

Teams Integration - PowerAutomate

Manage custom approvals in Teams

Nearly every industry and every business department needs to manage approvals in some form, so Microsoft have announced that Teams users will soon be able to easily create, manage, share, and act on approvals directly in Teams. Users can start an approval from a chat, channel conversation, or from the Approvals app in Teams. These easy approvals are powered by Power Automate and will become generally available in October.

Coming later this year, Microsoft will have integrations with Adobe Sign and DocuSign, to get legal consent or approval of electronic documents from people inside or outside the organisation. Additionally, approval flows from across the organisation can be integrated in Teams with over 350 systems using Power Automate, including ServiceNow, Dynamics, and GitHub.

Approvals in Teams

Build and deploy custom apps and chatbots

Microsoft have announced that the Power Apps and Power Virtual Agents apps for Teams, powered by CDS Project Oakdale, have entered public preview allowing Teams users to build custom apps and AI-powered bots right inside Teams, then easily deploy them to their teams.

The new embedded Power Apps studio allows users to create custom apps with a simple drag and drop approach to add app elements, and these apps can be connected to existing CDS Project Oakdale data tables or new data tables that can be created right inside the studio. These apps can be used on desktop or mobile devices, so everyone can be more productive, wherever they are working.

Teams Integration - Power Apps

Microsoft have also built several Power Apps solutions for common use cases like equipment asset inspections and employee ideas, and made them available in the Power Apps app as well as the Teams app store, so anyone can open and use them right away. Since these solutions are build on Power Platform, they are also highly customisable and can be edited to meet an organisation's specific needs.

Power Apps pre-built app

It is important to keep in mind that Power Apps can also help professional developers accelerate their app development process. To that end, Microsoft have announced that professional developers will soon be able to build Power Platform connectors with Azure API Management and Azure Functions to any Microsoft hosted third-party, legacy, or line-of-business apps. Apps built with Power Apps that utilise these new connectors can then be deployed to users in Teams at no additional cost. These capabilities will be available for preview in October 2020.

The new Power Virtual Agents app for Teams provides a low-code authoring experience to create custom chat-bots. Bots can be built simply by adding questions for the bot to ask, and messages for the bot to send back to the user. While these bots can be simple to build, they remain very powerful. New features such as the abilities for bots to recognise which user they are chatting with can provide a personalised user experience. For example, an employee who queries a bot about company HR policies could be provides with policies that are specific to their region or country.

Teams Integration - Power Virtual Agent

Engage with data in the new Power BI app

An enhanced Power BI app, available in public preview later this year, will make it easy to discover data and quickly create visualisations from Excel datasets within Teams. The app also provides users with quick access to their frequently used reports, example reports from the Power BI community, and commonly used organisational datasets. The app also allows users to send a report that they're reviewing to a chat or channel quickly, even maintaining the filtering and slicing of the report so it is easy to start a discussion with data. Also coming later this year is the ability to search for Power BI content through the search bar. These new features in the Power BI app provide a centralised place for users to collaborate on data and more effectively and make decisions based on real-time insights.

Power BI

Getting started:

These innovations will make it easier for anyone with an idea to build a solution. To get started, open the Power Apps, Power Virtual Agents, Power Automate, and Power BI apps in Teams. Check out the Microsoft Teams + Power Platform Virtual Hub to learn more about this Power Platform integration and the innovations discussed here, including CDS Project Oakdale. The following information sessions also provide an overview of the integration, as well as details on how to start building custom solutions.

We live and breathe Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 and we love it. Whether you want to ask us a few questions about Power Automate, arrange training with one of our experts, or discuss an automation project you are considering, you are welcome to get in contact with us today. It doesn’t cost anything to talk to us, and we are always happy to help.

We are available on 0800 6444 365 or you can send us a message via our contact page.

IT leaders have the ability to make the work experience more inclusive of the 1 billion people in the world with disabilities, with the technology products and capabilities they choose to make available to organisations. At Microsoft's recent Ignite event, they announced exciting new features that everyone - including people with disabilities - can leverage to be more productive and to make the workplace more inclusive. From Live transcripts, to search for personal wellbeing insights, read on to learn all the ways Teams can help you work more inclusively.

Meetings & Calling & Devices

Live captions and transcripts with speaker attribution available for 1:1 calls and meetings
With more important calls, meetings and events happening virtually, it's critical to make sure everyone can understand the discussion and participate easily, including people with disabilities. Live captions and transcripts with speaker attribution can make meetings more inclusive of people who are hard of hearing or deaf, or have learning disabilities like dyslexia and prefer spoken content to be reinforced with text. You can now provide live captions and transcripts with speaker attribution for 1:1 calls, all the way through to interactive meetings of up to 1,000 participants. And when you need to expand the reach of your meeting even further, up to 20,000 participants can view the meeting and live captions to follow along. These features can be enabled via the control bar within the call or meeting window, and will be made available in the coming months. Speaker attribution for live captions in meetings is now Generally Available for Commercial customers.

Speaker Attribution

New Together mode scenes
When managing our mental health and wellbeing, it's important to make sure we feel connected and close to other people - whether family members, local communities or those we collaborate with at work. Microsoft commissioned a Harris Poll survey of over 2,000 remote workers in six countries, and nearly 60% of people surveyed reported feeling less connected to their colleagues since they started working remotely more often. In China, this number spiked to 70%. In the past few months, Microsoft introduced new capabilities to make it easier for each of us to more naturally connect with teammates, and to take control of our wellbeing. One of these new capabilities is Together mode, a view in Teams meetings that makes you feel like you're sitting in the same room with your teammates, and makes it easier to pick up on the non-verbal cues that are so important to natural human interaction and connection. This week Microsoft announced new Together mode scenes, coming later this year, including various auditoriums, conference rooms and a coffee shop. Presenters will also be able to select a scene from the gallery as the default scene for all meeting attendees. We hope you can find a Together mode scene that works for you and your team, and that can help your team feel closer together.

In case you missed it

Chat & Collaboration

Wellbeing and productivity insights coming in Teams
The rise in remote and hybrid work during the ongoing pandemic is pushing people and organisations to work in new ways, introducing challenges as well as opportunities for a new normal. Microsoft's research shows four clear challenges: after-hours work is on the rise, boundaries between work and home are being eliminated, the rise of virtual collaboration and video meetings has led to a rise in stress levels, and people feel less connected to their colleagues when working remotely. To help address some of these challenges so we can thrive and build resilience, Microsoft is bringing wellbeing and productivity insights to Microsoft Teams. From unwinding with Headspace on your virtual commute to discovering opportunities to prevent burnout, see how new insights for individuals, teams, and organisations can help.

Power Wellbeing in Teams

Improved search experience
A new search experience in Teams, powered by Microsoft Search and available by the end of 2020, will make finding messages, people and files faster and more intuitive for everyone, including people with disabilities who use assistive technologies like screen readers. A redesigned search results page provides better content and faster results, with AI-powered relevance based on the people and content you engage with most in Teams, and other Microsoft 365 services. Assistive technology users will be able to use the 'Control F' shortcut to access the search bar, initiate a search, and bring information right to their fingertips. It's everyone you love about Search in other Microsoft 365 applications, right in the Teams experience.

Search in Teams

In case you missed it

Microsoft 365 Announcements

Play My Emails more broadly available - Play My Emails lets you listen and respond to what's new in your inbox hands-free using Cortana, giving people with learning disabilities like dyslexia a way to consume written content that doesn't require reading blocks of text. Play my Emails is already available in Outlook for iOS and Android in English in the United States and will start rolling out in the coming months in English in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and India. With updates this month to Outlook for iOS in English in the United States, users can interact with their inbox via their headphones while their phone is in their pocket, initiate a call with the sender of an email to move the conversation forward in real-time, play emails from a specific person, time or topic, and connect multiple eligible accounts - whether personal or professional to the experience.

Voice commands in Outlook Mobile - Now you can use your voice to write emails, schedule meetings, and make calls, all from within Outlook mobile. Tap the microphone, and say "Email Adele that I'm running late", "schedule a meeting about Group Meditation with Megan", or "Call Anna on Teams". Outlook will find the relevant person, draft up a message, meeting or provide the option to start a call, and help you be more productive, all with voice. Voice capabilities like these provide people with learning disabilities like dyslexia, another way to write content, that doesn't require typing. It also gives those with mobility disabilities another way to create content on the go.

Briefing Email from Cortana improvements  - The Briefing Email is becoming generally available in September for Microsoft 365 Enterprise users with Exchange Online mailboxes in English. And with updates coming by the end of the year, the Briefing email will streamline meeting preparation. Actionable reminders will make it easy to add an agenda or a Teams link for an upcoming meeting of you forget and to spot if a meeting is missing quorum. Integration with Microsoft To-Do will make it seamless to follow up on a suggested task later. We're also working on bringing specialised insights for people managers to help boost your team's productivity and wellbeing, such as prompts to schedule regular one-on-one time with your direct reports and reminders to follow up on key asks. The Briefing Email gives people with disabilities like memory loss or ADHD, more proactive assistance and tools to stay on top of their important tasks and relationships.

A reimagined Microsoft Stream - This week Microsoft announced a new vision for Microsoft Stream - to bring intelligent video creation, sharing, and viewing to all parts of Microsoft 365 while empowering users and administrators to manage video just as they would any other file. Part of this new vision is an enhanced playback experience that displays more accurate transcripts with speaker attribution for meeting recordings, among other exciting enhancements. These experience will be made available over the coming year.

In case you missed it
Dictation with Voice Commands in Word - Whether you are on a short walk to stretch your legs, have a temporary or permanent disability that makes typing or writing difficult, or you just think better out loud, now  you can Dictate your content into a Word document, and add formatting through voice commands as you go.

A lot was announced at Microsoft's recent Ignite event, especially around Microsoft Teams.
We are excited to be sharing more with you very soon.

Click here for more on Microsoft 365 Inclusive Workplace resources.

Adepteq are experts in SharePointMicrosoft 365, and Microsoft Teams. Call us on 0800 644 365,  email info@adepteq.com or complete our Contact Form

Microsoft have announced the general availability of the Lists app in Teams. As you might already know, Microsoft Lists is a Microsoft 365 app that helps you track information and organise your work. Lists are simple, smart, and flexible, so you can stay on top of what matter most to your team. Track patients, loans, issues, assets, routines, contacts, inventory and more using customisable views and smart rules and alerts to keep everyone in sync. With ready-made templates, you can quickly create lists from directly within Teams and access them on the Teams mobile app by accessing the Lists tab you added as a channel.

Introducing the Lists app in Teams

The vision of the Lists app in Teams is to bring all the collaboration and communication modalities to lists and list items, so it is easy to get work done.

Lists in Teams

The new Lists app experience in Microsoft Teams, for mobile on the left and for Web and desktop on the right.

Lists in Teams is supported as a team based tab app built on top of the Microsoft Teams platform and supports the following features:

  1. New list creation from scratch, from templates (8 standard templates and 3 industry specific ones: Patients, Loans and Incidents), from Excel table data and from an existing list.
  2. Importing existing team lists as new tabs.
  3. All standard list features that you can access in SharePoint web: column types, view formatting, Quick Edit, exporting to Excel, sorting, filtering, etc.
  4. The ability to have a channel conversation about a list item (see below for more details).
  5. All user actions on the list are audited and available in the Security and compliance center audit logging.

How do I get started?

To get started, simply go to any channel where you would like to start tracking a list and hit the "+" button to explore the tab gallery and select the Lists app. Once the tab is added you can either create a new list or bring in an existing list (from another team or an older SharePoint site, but not a personal list from Lists home) into the channel as a new tab.

Getting started with Lists in Teams

Create a new list inside Teams with conversations side-by-side. The above shows using the Asset manager template.

The Lists app in Teams includes 3 new industry-specific templates - Patients, Loans and Incidents. Team members start managing and tracking these key entities. Here are some examples of how these templates can be leveraged.

List templates in Teams

Create a new list from within Microsoft Teams and choose from numerous ready-made templates, including the new industry-specific ones.

  1. Healthcare organisations can use the Lists app in Teams to support patient rounding, multi-disciplinary huddles and discharge planning. The Patients template is an easy way for all health teams to track patient progress and keep in touch with their peers. If you have questions about storage of PHI in Teams, Lists, or Office 365, please see more documentation here. 
  2. Government agencies can use the Lists app in Teams to track incidents and coordinated incident response. The Incidents template helps people quickly setup a list and get started.
  3. Loan officers at a mortgage broker or bank can use the Lists app to track a set of loans and informally collaborate on advancing them to approval. The Loans template helps them get started with plenty of scope for further customisation 

How do I start a conversation alongside a list item?

Once you have configured the tab and have a list with list items, you can start a conversation about an individual list item. go to the details view (or form) for the list item by clicking into the title field and then click on conversation to start a conversation about the list item on the channel. With this feature, you can collaborate with your team about the list item and get work done, faster.

Since the conversation is a channel message in Teams, all the messaging features like @mentions, rich text, gifs, stickers, emojis, mentions, tagging, and attachments are available for use! The conversation shows up in the right rail for the list item and also on the channel for those who might not have viewed the list as yet.

List item conversation in Teams

You can chat side-by-side individual list items within Teams.

See more about getting started with the Lists app in Teams "Create a list in Microsoft Teams" click-thru demo. And do not forget to try the Lists app experience in Teams mobile app to track your lists within Teams on the go. Just go to your Teams android or iOS mobile apps and go to the channel where you have added the Lists app and click on more and tap on the tab name to open up the list.

Lists in Teams Mobile App

We are very excited to get stuck in with Microsoft Lists. Contact us today if you would like us to discuss in more detail.

We will be sharing more about Microsoft Lists and it's Teams integration with you very soon.

Adepteq are experts in SharePointMicrosoft 365, and Microsoft Teams. Call us on 0800 644 365,  email info@adepteq.com or complete our Contact Form.

Harness the power of your voice

Now more than ever, we're all very busy - juggling family, work, friends, and whatever else life throws our way. New enhancements in Office leverage the Azure Cognitive Services AI platform so you can harness the power of your voice to spend less time and energy creating your best work and focus on what matters most.

Save time and create great content using Transcribe in Word for the web

Whether you're a reporter conducting interviews, a researcher recording focus group sessions, or an online entrepreneur recording informal discussions, you want to be able to focus on the people you're talking to without worrying about taking notes and without having to spend hours transcribing your conversations after-the-fact. If that sounds like you, Transcribe in Word is here to help.

Now you can record your conversations directly in Word for the web and transcribe them automatically. Transcribe detects different speakers so after you finish recording, you can easily follow the flow of the transcript. After you conversation, you can revisit parts of the recording by playing back the time-stamped audio and you can even edit the transcript if you see something amiss.

Your transcript will appear alongside the Word document, along with the recording, which enables you to leverage your transcript to create great content in the way that is best for you. Say you want to pull the perfect quote from an interview to support the main point of your story - just click the plus icon on any line of the transcript and voila, the exact quote is inserted. Want to send the entire transcript to your colleague? Simply click "add all to document" and your full transcript will be laid out in Word.

Like many people, you might use a variety of tools to get the job done - that's why Transcribe enables you to upload audio or videos you recorded outside of Word. Whether you record on your phone or via one of the many calling and video conferencing apps, you can simply select the file to upload and transcribe. Transcribe supports .mp3, .wav, /m4a, or .mp4 files.

Transcribe in Word is avaialble today in Word for the web for all Microsoft 365 subscribers and is supported in the new Microsoft Edge or Chrome browsers. With Transcribe you are completely unlimited in how much you can record and transcribe within Word for the Web. Currently, there is a five hour limit per month for uploaded recordings and each uploaded recording is limited to 200mb. Transcribe in Office mobile will be coming by the end of the year!. Currently, transcribing audio into English (EN-US) is the only language supported, but Microsoft are working on support for more languages.

Transcribe in Word enables you to stay focused on your conversation in the moment, saves you valuable time and energy by transcribing it for you, and is integrated into Word so you can focus on the message of your documnt and not fuss around with different windows or applications.

Transcription with audio upload

Break away from the keyboard using dictation with voice commands

Since Dictate arrived on the scene, millions of people have leveraged the power of their voice to conquer the blank page. Whether you're stuck waiting in the car to pick up takeout, on a short walk to stretch your legs, have a temporary or permanent disability that makes typing difficult, or just think better when on the more, you need flexibility to transition throughout your day while getting everything done. Microsoft have been adding voice commands to Dictate so that you can break away from the keyboard. Whether on desktop or mobile (or transitioning between devices), you can stay in the flow and focus on your message by using dictation with voice commands to add, format, edit, and organise your text.

Say things like "start list" or "bold last sentence" to let your ideas flow without stopping to adjust your test. Voice commands understand a variety of symbols so you can add things like "ampersand" and "percent sign", and you don't have to sound like a robot! Microsoft have based commands on the way people naturally talk so that you can capture your ideas easily. So saying things like "dot dot dot" when you can't remember "ellipses" works just as well.

Since you're constantly juggling work and life, you may get that phone call you've been waiting for while working on your paper. There's no need to rush to the keyboard in a panic. Simply say "pause dictation" and take the call. Working with other in the document? You can collaborate using your voice too - say "add comment [with your content here]" and capture your message on one shot without missing a beat.

Dictation can also help with informal writing as well - sometime a message needs some personality! You can now say things like "smiley face" or "heart emoji" to give your message that little extra touch. Check out this article for a list of all the voice commands. 

Dictation with voice commands in Word is available in Word for the web and Office mobile for free when signed into your Microsoft account. Voice commands are coming to Word desktop and Word for Mac apps towards the end of the year for Microsoft 365 subscribers.

Adepteq will help you with any questions or concerns you have about Microsoft 365 and any related applications. Call us on 0800 6444 365, or contact us via our website and let our team of experts help you with what you need.

In August, Microsoft announced a variety of updates to Microsoft Teams that continue to improve the meetings experience and provide developers a rich canvas to build workflows to enhance personal productivity. We are excited to share new features this month across meetings, calling, devices, chat and collaboration, IT admin, and industry.

What's New: Meetings & Calling & Devices

Microsoft continue to transform the meetings experience in Teams to include new features, settings, and devices to create a better experience.

Spotlight

Meeting organisers and presenters will be able to lock their video as the main view for all meeting participants. This helps the presenter control the main video feed that a participant sees during the meeting. This is different from "Pin participant", which allows an individual to pin a video feed for their own view but not for the view of all meeting participants. Spotlight will be available in the next few months.

New in Teams - Microsoft Teams Spotlight

Meeting recording storage for areas where Stream is not available

Teams meeting recordings are currently disabled for customers whose Teams data is stored in-country, if Microsoft Stream is not available in that country a new admin setting will allow you to turn on meeting recordings if Microsoft Stream data residency is not yet in country. If this setting is turned on, Teams meeting recordings will be saved in the data center closest to the region.

Optimised Microsoft Teams Experience Now Available on VMware Horizon 8

With growing demand for collaboration tools to support remote workers, VNWare Horizon 8 now offers enhanced audio and video experience for Microsoft Teams. The optimisation pack helps provide better user experience and improved productivity for those leveraging Microsoft Teams across Horizon virtual desktop (VDI) and published application environments.

Call Merge

Call Merge gives you the capability to merge several calls into a 1-1 call or another group call. This applies to Team VOIP calls and PSTN calls.

New Teams devices to enhance collaboration and meetings

The Windows collaboration display by Avocor is the world's first and only Windows collaboration display certified for both Microsoft Teams and Azure. Featuring an advanced interactive display, natural inking and innovative IoT sensor technologies, the AVW-6555 is designed to enhance collaboration and accelerate teamwork. Avocor's ANW-6555 also provides seamless integration with Microsoft Teams video and audio-conferencing capabilities immediately with Teams-enabled computer.

Avocor Windows Collaboration Device

Logitech now offers Microsoft Teams Rooms powered by HP.

Logitech + HP Deivces

Logitech Swytch adds a new way to use MTR for meetings on any video conferencing, webinar, or broadcasting service. Watch how Logitech Swytch works with Microsoft Teams Rooms here.

What's New: Chat & Collaboration

Microsoft have added new chat and collaboration capabilities to keep everyone connected. Check out the new capabilities below.

Real time presence

Stay focused throughout the day with Microsoft Teams. Whether you are free for a quick chat or presenting in a meeting, real time presence increases the accuracy of your status so others know when to reach out.

Easily access and manage Visio files in Microsoft Teams

Visio tabs in Teams allow team members to quickly access content in a dedicated space within a channel or in a chat. Adding a tab in Teams is available to all Teams users, editing, however is only available for those with a Visio Plan 1 or Plan 2 subscription. We're also releasing an enhanced set of multi-page operations in Visio for web, enabling you to view all the pages at once, reorder pages with drag and drop, insert pages at any position in the file, duplicate existing pages on a single click, and navigate non-sequential pages using the keyboard arrows.

What's New: IT Admin

Changes in Incoming IP Video policy

Microsoft are updating our meeting policies to allow IT administrators more contorl over how video is managed in Teams Meetings. Current policy can only be set to prevent outgoing video. Microsoft are extending the Allow IP Video policy to prevent both outgoing and incoming video as needed. Tenant administrators can use this policy to manage bandwidth; This item has been updated to reflect changes to the original plan.

Skype for Business Online connector consolidating to Teams module

Microsoft are simplifying the Teams administration experience with a single PowerShell module that includes complete management capabilities for Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business Online, by introducing full functionality of Skype for Business Online Connector into the Teams Module.

This means that the Skype for Business Online Connector in the Skype for Business Online Powershell, which has been a seperate product that contains many cmdlets needed to manage Microsoft Teams, now has been consolidated into a single PowerShell module.

What's New: Developer & Platform

Microsoft are announcing new features to the Teams platform to continue to provide a rich canvas for developers to build, engage, and transform workflows.

Teams Apps Submission API

We are excited to announce that the Teams Apps Submission API is now generally available. This new Graph API allows all users at any organisation to develop on the platform of the choice and submit their apps into Teams with zero friction. In turn, relieving the burden of discovering, approving, packaging, and deploying these apps by IT.

New in Teams - App Submission API

Graph Resource Specific Consent

Your Teams app can now call Teams Graph APIs from the BETA endpoint without needing admin consent. These APIs include creating, renaming, and deleting channels, reading channel messages, creating tabs, and adding/removing members from Teams. This capability will empower Team owners to install an app for their specific team and restrict the app's scope and access to data to only that one team. This allows team owners to make decisions versus needing the global IT admin to provision access.

Support for native mobile device camera and location capabilities for tabs

Support for native mobile device capabilities for Teams apps using tabs is now generally available! Developers, including those building Teams apps through Power Apps, will be able to use device permissions to build richer experiences, such as capturing images through the camera or providing GPS coordinates. This experience had been supported for the Teams desktop client and is being introduced to the Teams mobile app via new APIs.

New in Teams - Camera and Location capabilities for tabs

New Power Automate triggers for Teams

Power Automate is adding two new Teams triggers allowing you simplify even more of your work. Now, using the "for a selected message" trigger, Teams users can create customised message actions to start process directly from a message - for example, a chat about customer can easily be used to automatically create a Sales opportunity in Dynamics. Additionally, when a team member is removed from a team, specific actions can be set in motion - example, sending a message to the team owner.

New Power Automate actions for Teams

power Automate is adding two new Teams actions. You can create a flow to automatically create a team, greatly simplifying the admin work of setting up teams. Flow builders can also automatically @mention a specific user when they incorporate this action into their flows, so they can be sure that important messages are seen by their intended recipients.

What's New: Teams for Education

New expanded capabilities in Education Insights

Insights in Microsoft Teams for Education now has a new view in public preview that allows administrators to monitor digital engagement from the student to the system level, and provides visibility into educator best practices in remote instruction. It's designed to ensure equity and continuity of teaching in a remote world and comply with regulations for digital engagement reporting with a one-click data export.

Teams Education Insights

To learn more about Insights and other new features and updates coming to Microsoft Teams for Education, visit the What's New in Teams for Education | August 2020 post from Microsoft Tech Community.

Adepteq use Teams ourselves and have successfully planned, deployed, trained on and are supporting Microsoft Teams with many of our clients. 

If you would like to know more visit our Microsoft Teams page or to discuss how Microsoft Teams can improve your communication and collaboration, then please contact us or call 0800 6444 365. 

Back in 2018 GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) became enforceable across the EU, changing the way organisations handle data. It has become mandatory to know what data you have on individuals, that all data is kept secure and managed effectively, and all changes and data movements are recorded and documented accordingly.

Making sure your organisation is meeting the requirements can take up a lot of time and be rather costly. However, many people were unaware of the tools available through Microsoft 365 that are hugely beneficial when it comes to GDPR.

Below are 5 reasons why you should using Microsoft 365 for all your GDPR needs.

Controlling access to your data.

The Customer Lockbox for Microsoft 365 is a great tool to remain in control of your data when other users are required to access your environment.

When you need a service from Microsoft Support, you might need to give them access to your private data to fix the problem. The Customer Lockbox helps keep your data secure while the problem is being fixed. The Lockbox ensures that the support engineer only has access to your data for the amount of time you specify. In addition, all access by Microsoft Support is logged, so it can be audited later.

Migrate your data to the cloud

Microsoft 365 provides a service to help you move the necessary data online. Whether its into Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, or OneDrive for Business. It's an incredibly convenient and secure way to keep data organised, and moving your data over is simple. 

Control data location

GDPR compliance continues to ensure that an individuals data is stored within a country where an "adequacy decision" has been stated. This means that the country's laws in which the data is being stored in enforces the required level of data protection.

Microsoft 365 E3 licences and above allows you to check what region your data is being stored in. If the regions laws do not comply with the GDPR requirements then you can simply choose to store your data in a more suitable location.

Click the "Where is my data?" button to view the location and make the simple change if needed.

Advanced eDiscovery

Advanced eDiscovery is another tool in Microsoft 365, and gives you a powerful way to take stock of the digital data you are holding. You can easily find the data you need by using filters, allowing you to focus on key documents from Microsoft 365 applications, as well as helping keep your data optimised. It helps make sure deleted files are in fact deleted and duplicates are removed.

Encrypted Security

Encryption is the most secure way to secure any data online, and although GDPR does not mandate the use of encryption, you would be silly to move forward without it. Microsoft 365 E3 subscriptions and above provide encryption for all stored data using their BitLocker encryption tool. When using other application within Microsoft 365, such as Microsoft Teams and OneDrive for Business, Microsoft adds another layer of encryption via a system called 'Customer Key'. This monitors all access to the data and protects against unauthorised devices or users. You have the control to authorise services such as eDiscovery to use your Customer Key.

Adepteq has been migrating clients to the Microsoft Cloud for over 10 years and are experts in Cloud Security as well as Cloud Data Backup. If you are considering moving to the cloud with Microsoft 365 then we can help you with our Microsoft 365 deployment and Email migration services. We can also help you migrate your documents from a variety of sources to SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business.

Call us today on 0800 6444 365, email info@adepteq.com, or send us a message via our Contact Us page.

There is no standard handbook for reopening a business during a global pandemic. Each organisation faces the daunting task of minimising risk in conference rooms, factory floors, storefronts, and more to ensure the safety of every employee and customer.

Last month at Microsoft Inspire, the new Power Platform return to the workplace solution was introduced to help customers safely prepare for the return to physical workplaces. Designed for fast deployment and customisation, the end-to-end components provide location readiness and safety tools for facility managers, self-service health and safety tools for employees, and case management tools for health and safety leaders.

The complexities of reopening for business

Organisations across industries and around the world have had to rapidly adapt their existing processes and operations while continuing to innovate, streamline to save costs, and service their customer's needs. Many organisations closed physical locations, shops, schools, and factories per government guidelines. Now, as some organisations begin returning to the workplace, it will be a phased process with employee and organisational safety at its core.

The process will be different for everyone and will require organisations to be agile and proactive, with fast feedback loops of learning, advancing, and retreating. as a result, organisations will need to maximise resources by quickly making data-driven decisions when it matter most to maintain safe work environments. By adapting business workflows and processes to changing needs, organisations can save time and money by reducing risk and streamlining their workplace reopening process.

Return to the workplace with confidence

The Power Platform return to the workplace pre-built solution is a comprehensive, end-to-end set of modules that help organisations plan, coordinate, and manage the return to the workplace with confidence, helping to ensure the health and safety of employees. The solution is easily customisable, with fast deployment, and built on a secure and compliant platform. Together, the modules provide an end-to-end experience for executive leaders, facility managers, employees, managers, as well as health and safety leaders:

Location Readiness: Allows facility managers and task force leaders to determine the readiness of their facilities and efficiently manage their safe reopening by making informed decisions using critical factors like COVID-19 infection rates and safety supply availability. 

Location Readiness - PowerApps

Employee Health and Safety Management: empowers your workforce with self-service tools that help them work safely, confidently, and productively, including a mobile app that lets them check in to work remotely and self-screen before entering facilities.

Health and Safety Management - PowerApps

Workplace Care Management: gives health and safety leaders the tools to actively manage COVID-19 cases, identify hot spots for safety improvement, and import data from third party systems to determine exposure.

Workplace Care Management - PowerApps

Location Management (coming soon): gives facility managers the tools they need to keep locations open safely, helping to maintain a safe environment with tools for monitoring occupancy, health supplies, safety procedures, and other facility-related best practices.

CBRE integrates return to the workplace solution to Host hospitality platform

CBRE, the worldwide leader in commercial real estate services, serves clients by combining local market insight, broad services, specialised expertise and premier tools and resources. To help organisations reopen safely, CBRE is integrating the Power Platform return to the workplace solutions with Host, its powerful hospitality platform that connects the employee to the enrivonments, amenities, and communities that matter the most.

The return to the workplace solution provides an opportunity for Microsoft partners to help and support customers with customisations and deployment. It offers a foundation that partners can integrate and extend to meet unique customer requirements, with the solution available at no additional cost. Microsoft partners can also leverage a set of FY21 offers to help accelerate customer adoption. This includes funding for pre-sales activities that provide customers with insights on the solution value and demonstrate real-world business impact.

Whether you are reopening a store, a factory, an office, or a school, the Power Platform return to the workplace solution helps accelerate workplace readiness. Give people the confidence to meet in person, as needed, with this pre-built solution designed to protect teams and streamline the entire process of reopening the workplace.

Disclaimer

This solution is a sample and may be used with Microsoft Power Apps for dissemination of information only. This solution is not intended or made avaialble for use as a medical device, clinical support, diagnostic tool, or other technology intended to be used in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease or other conditions, and no license or right is granted by Microsoft to use this app for such purposes. This solution is not designed or intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or judgement and should not be used as such. Customer bears the sole risk and responsibility for any use of this app. Microsoft does not warrant that the app or any materials provided in connection therewith will be sufficient for any medical purposes or meet the health or medical requirements of any person.

We live and breath Microsoft 365 and we love it. 

Whether you want to just ask questions about PowerAutomatePowerBI or PowerApps , arrange training with one of our experts, or discuss anything Microsoft 365 related, you are welcome to get in contact with us today. It doesn’t cost anything to talk to us, and we are always happy to help.

We are available on 0800 6444 365 or you can send us a message via our contact page.

Phil Cave - Technical Director Adepteq

Working with dates has never been simple, just look at the issues surrounding the 'Millennium Bug'. There is always the time and date format to consider and then there are time zones. ISO 8601 does help by standardising the date to YYY-MM-DD, so that 2nd of March 2020 becomes 2020-03-02 no matter where you are located. Then there is the time portion, but I think i'll leave that alone for today.

Last week Microsoft announced that they will be turning off SharePoint 2010 workflows in SharePoint Online. This step will cause many organisations a huge amount of effort to identify and rectify where 2010 workflows are being used and then recreating them.

There is little point in recreating these workflows using SharePoint 2013 workflow as these are nowhere near as powerful or future proof as the Flows that can be created using Power Automate.

Power Automate also has the advantage that it is not locked into SharePoint but can work with data from over 300 other systems using the available connectors. New connected are being added all the time.

One of the things that we do at Adepteq is offer annual support contracts for SharePoint Online and also for the entire Office 365 suite. These contracts are stored in our helpdesk system which we created in SharePoint and have been using for many years now. I think we first created it on SharePoint 2010.

Our contract renewal reminders are managed using a long running SharePoint 2010 workflow. Unfortunately, this workflow will stop working in November, so I will have to rewrite it soon.

It is a simple workflow that uses the out of the box action "Find Interval Between Dates" to check how many days are remaining until the end of the contract. If there are 30 days remaining an email is sent to our sales team with a copy to the support team. We can then send a proposal for a new contract to the customer.

Extract from current 2010 workflow

Extract from current 2010 workflow

I shall recreate this functionality using Power Automate. This new Flow will run every night at 1am to check the number of days remaining. If there are 30 days remaining, then a notification will be sent to our sales team so that they can create the new proposal.

Power Automate could be used to create the proposal automatically and send it directly to the customer, but that is for a future blog post.

First create a new Flow using "Scheduled - From Blank"

Build a scheduled flow - Power Automate

We need the Flow to run once every day. Here I chose 3am as the start time but you can start at any time that is convenient, it just depends on when you want the email reminder to be delivered.

Next we need to add a step to get the list items from the contracts lists. You will then need to specify the site address and the list name.

Getting list items from contracts list - Power Automate

You need to remember that by default 'get items' will only return the first 100 items, which is not good if you have more than 100 contracts. To return more than 100 items you will need to go into settings and enable pagination and then set the threshold to a suitable value. In the example below I have used 5000.

Change the threshold for items retrieved from a list

let's initialise a variable to store the number of days remaining for the contract.

Initialising a variable

Now add an 'Apply to Each' step that we will use to enumerate each list item.

Apply to Each

We now need to calculate how many days are remaining for each contract so that we can send a reminder email when only 30 days remain.

This is more complicated than it is in the 2010 workflow because there is no 'Find Interval Between Dates' action in Power Automate. So instead we have to do the calculation using the Ticks function. This returns the number of nanoseconds since 1st January 1601. We need to get the difference in nanoseconds between now and the contract start date, then convert that into the number of days. Finally, take that number away from 365 to give the days remaining until the end of the current contract.

To convert nanoseconds to days we just have to divide by 864000000000.

This is all done using the expression 365-(div(sub(ticks(formatDateTime(utcNow(),'yyy-MM-dd')),ticks(item()?['ContractStartDate'])),864000000000)) Just remember to replace 'ContractStartDate' with the name of the column that contains your date.

Adding an expression

Now the variable 'daysLeft' contains the number of days remaining for the current contract, we can use a simple condition to check the value and take action. In my example below, if there are 30 days remaining an email reminder is sent. If not, then no action is taken. 

Condition example in a Flow

This Flow can now easily be developed further to create a task to the sales team and to follow up if the task is not completed. If the customer decides to renew the contract then the account team could be notified to raise an invoice...

Read our recent post on the retirement of SharePoint 2010 Workflows here.

If you would like to learn more about Power Automate, or any products related to Microsoft 365 please visit our website. We are also available to speak to on 0800 6444 365 or via info@adepteq.com.

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Adepteq,
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