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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
In an increasingly volatile world, organisational resilience depends upon the agility and responsiveness of your people. It's more critical than ever to connect, inspire, and activate people. But it is also more difficult than ever. While many people may have adapted to working remotely, we hear from customers that it's challenging to connect people, particularly outside of their core working groups, to drive culture and communication, and foster knowledge sharing and new innovations.
At Microsoft's recent Ignite event, they announced innovations that transform workplace communications, and empower communicators with integrated storytelling tools to inform, engage and inspire people across the organisation. Top announcements include:
For many of you, the intranet is a canvas for communications, and for nearly two decades, SharePoint has been the leading platform for intranets, enabling organisations to connect the workplace, share information, and deliver rich employee experiences. Recent innovations in SharePoint like home sites, multilingual support, and audience targeting allow customers to create award-winning intranets in Microsoft 365, with no code.
As more people use Teams as a hub for teamwork, users have asked to integrate the superpowers of SharePoint with Teams, to reach people effectively where they work.
Microsoft have announced the new home site app for Teams, which brings your home site and the best of your intelligent intranet to Teams. the app gives users 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 applications.
Sites built on modern SharePoint will render inside Teams itself. And the app makes it easy to share and discuss content from intranet sites in Teams channels and chat.
With the home site app, people can tap into news and resources across the intelligent intranet without leaving the hub for teamwork. And communicators can build and deliver rich communications experiences in Teams.
Users have also requested a global navigation experience that connects the workplace. The new SharePoint app bar brings a consistent navigation experience to every site on your intelligent intranet, featuring quick access to important sites across the organisation, personally relevant sites, and the news feed. The customisable, global navigation in the app bar is shared with the home site app, giving employees that consistent navigation experience across Teams and the browser.
Communicators told us that it's harder than ever to get the right information to the right people, at the right time, across applications and devices. Today we announced improvements to news feeds and news digests.
The news feed delivers an intelligent view of news, targeted to you based on factors like your role or location, and further personalised based on signals in Microsoft Graph about where, how, and with whom you work. But communicators have told us that not all announcements and news are equal. Sometimes you need to boost the visibility of important news articles in the feed, rather then relying solely on AI. Soon, you can boost a news post until it has been read, for a set number of impressions, or until a given date. When the criteria is satisfied, the post returns to its normal position in the feed.
We're delivering an enhanced news feed that supports boosting news in Edge, in news web parts, and in the SharePoint start page. In the future, we'll be bringing this improved news feed to other experiences, and we'll be adding new superpowers to the feed.
And employees have told us that keeping up with so much news and information can be challenging. To help you keep up-to-date with workplace communications, the automatically generated news digest will send an email summary, curated by AI, of news articles you may have missed or not read that week. The digest will help ensure people stay on top of news that you have boosted. And you can customise the news digest with your organisation's branding.
For communities in Yammer, Microsoft recently empowered community managers to pin conversations to the top of the feed, and now you can feature a conversation, which showcases the conversation in the community feed and raises its visibility in Yammer's home feed. You can also post priority announcements, which raises the visibility of notifications in community members' inboxes. Additionally, leaders can delegate the ability to post to Yammer to their communications leads, allowing communicators to post news and announcements on behalf of leaders.
Communicators have also told us that to engage an audience that represents diverse generations and work styles, you need to reach people where they are. You can share news and announcements to people and engage them across your SharePoint intranet, and now, Teams and Yammer.
You can share a news article to a Teams channel or a Yammer community, to reach your audience and encourage conversation about the item. You can spark richer engagement with the superpowers of these apps. For example, when sharing a news article to Yammer, you can add a poll to measure sentiment, or share it as a question to crowd source ideas.
Users do not want to spend precious resources and brain cycles designing intranet sites. Last year Microsoft introduced the lookbook to help you build beautiful employee experiences.
Now you can use built-in templates to give any existing site an extreme makeover. Templates, like the leadership connection template, have been purpose built to support specific scenarios. They integrate the superpowers of SharePoint and other Microsoft 365 experiences, and deliver a beautiful, out-of-box design that you can customise with no code to reflect your branding and your needs. Of course, templates are responsive and accessible, so your experiences can be inclusive of all users, across devices.
Microsoft also recently announced that SharePoint spaces reaches general availability this fall. SharePoint spaces enable anyone to create immersive and engaging mixed reality experiences that showcase 3D content, models and 360° imagery, and bring 2D content to life in stunning new ways. Spaces transform scenarios from hosting virtual events to on-boarding employees, and can be experienced across devices, with a browser or a headset.
Because customers emphasise the need to connect and engage everyone, across the organisation, Microsoft continue to invest in communities that foster a culture of inclusion, where everyone feels empowered to contribute to the conversation.
Innovations for Yammer's All Company community turn it into a powerful tool for informing and engaging the entire organisation, from the top-floor to the shop floor. Posts to the All Company community are discoverable by everyone, and anyone can engage. Now, you can customise the All Company community with your organisation's branding, and you can restrict who can post announcements or start new conversations in the community.
And when you share an announcement in Yammer's All Company community, notifications are generated for everyone in the organisation across Yammer, Outlook, and now Teams; across web, desktop and mobile. People can engage from the apps they use every day and express themselves with nuance using new reactions.
Finally, communicators have emphasised the importance of measuring the reach and effectiveness of communications. New insights include a heat map of interaction or dwell time on content. An analytics digest, powered by AI, will automatically be sent to the author of a news post one week after content is posted, and provides suggestions to increase visibility of their post. And in Yammer, updated Community Insights empower communicators and community manages with detailed analytics for Conversations, Live Events, and Question and Answers.
It has never been more critical for organisations to connect, inspire, and activate their employees. Microsoft 365 bring you innovations that transform workplace communications. Whether you're a leader, an HR or communications professional, or a communicator anywhere in the organisation, we will continue to invest in integrated storytelling capabilities that empower you to inform, engage and inspire people, and to measure and improve your impact.
Contact us today if you would like us to discuss in more detail.
Due to the wealth of information being recently released around Microsoft 365 from the recent Ignite event, we will be sharing more with you very soon.
Phil Cave - Technical Director Adepteq
We received a request to offer a solution to collect confirmations when a new starter has read and understood the company's policy documents. The policy documents are currently emailed to the new starters personal email address as they do not yet have an account in the organisations' Office 365 tenant and they then need to be printed, signed, scanned and returned. This is not a good solution because many people do not have access to a scanner.
My first thought was that either DocuSign or Adobe Sign would be the best tool for the job, but that would mean additional costs and training. They already have Office 365 and would like to use if possible.
To minimise administration and to avoid any security implications I do not want to offer a solution that includes adding the new starters as guest users to the tenant. This would mean that the user has to create a Microsoft account if they don't already have one and this can cause support issues for non-IT literate users. It would also mean that there would end up being a lot of guest accounts in the Tenant that need to be removed at some point.
The solution that I put together is quite simple and uses Outlook, Forms, PowerApps and SharePoint.
The first step was to create the form. This has only a text box for the user to type their name and a submit button. The form must allow anonymous users because the new starters will not have an Office 365 account. The form settings are shown in the image below.
For simplicity the form that I created only collects the name of the new starter to use as their confirmation that they have read and understood the policies. You could collect as much information as you require, for example, there could be a tick box for each policy included in the policy pack.
Below are images showing how the form looks on a PC and on a mobile phone.
When you create a form using the Forms App it will work great on both PC and mobile without you having to do any extra work.
Next, I created a list in SharePoint. This will probably be in the HR team site and will serve as a register of all policy read confirmation. You can see from the image below that I am only using two columns to store the name and date. If the form was collecting more information, then a column would be required for each field on the form.
Next, I created a Flow using Power Automate. The Flow needs to run whenever a response to the Form is received and then add the Form data to the list in SharePoint.
First, create the trigger
Then get the response details
Then create a new list item in SharePoint using the form response(s)
This is one of the simplest Flows that I have had to create, but it does exactly as is needed. I could easily add some additional steps to enhance functionality, for example, a notification that the response was received could be sent to the HR team.
Now that everything is in place all that remains is to send out the email with policies attached and a link to the Form.
Go to your form in the Forms App and click Share and then copy the link.
The link will look like this:
You can add the link to the email using the insert link options in Outlook.
If you would like to learn more about Forms, SharePoint, 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 email@example.com.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
In case you missed it
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.
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.
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.
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.
Microsoft continue to transform the meetings experience in Teams to include new features, settings, and devices to create a better experience.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Logitech now offers Microsoft Teams Rooms powered by HP.
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.
Microsoft have added new chat and collaboration capabilities to keep everyone connected. Check out the new capabilities below.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Microsoft are announcing new features to the Teams platform to continue to provide a rich canvas for developers to build, engage, and transform workflows.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Recently we had a customer ask us to automate the creation of structured folders with Power Automate for new projects and to also generate and assign a project number. When a user creates a new folder for the project, the folder should automatically be renamed to "UKXXXX - Folder Name". For example, if the user creates a new folder named "Important Project" then it should be renamed to "UK1234 - Important Project". Then a set of subfolders should be created within it, as shown below.
When first looking at the requirements it seems relatively simple, but I soon realised that there was a complication that I had not considered. There is no action in Power Automate to rename a folder.
Before creating the Flow, I created a document library to store the project documents and a list to store the next project number.
I called the document library "Live Projects". No metadata columns are required but I can add these in the future if needed to assist with searching.
I called the List "Next LP Number", it is very simple and only contains one item. The item has an ID of 1. It is probably a good idea to apply some permissions on the list to ensure that nobody can delete the item. The list has a number column to store the next project number. Just add the first item with the number of the first project. As below.
The first step of the Flow is to add the trigger. In this case I used "When a file is created (properties only)". This is because I want the Flow to be triggered when a new folder is created.
Then I created some variable that I will use in the Flow.
'Current Name' is initialised with the path of the folder that has triggered the Flow. This is relative to the site address.
Next the Flow needs to check that the item that was created is a folder and that the folder is at the root of the document library. This bit is important because without the check, each folder in the set that is created later will cause the Flow to trigger again and again and again... I discovered this to my cost, and I will not make the same mistake again.
Checking that the item is a folder is simple. Checking that the new folder has been created at the root of the document library is more complex.
I used indexOf(variable('Current Name'), '/') is equal to lastIndexOf(variables('Current Name'), '/') to check that there is only the one '/' in the string variable 'Current Name. This works well for me, but I am sure there are other methods.
If the result of the condition is False, then the Flow does nothing and exits. If the result is True, then the Flow continues to the next step.
First get the next project number from the list we created earlier.
Now the variable 'job' has been set to the project number, so we have enough information to create the new name for the folder.
The variable 'New Name' is now set correctly, so the project number can be incremented ready to be saved back to the list for next time.
We can now rename the new folder, but there is no action available to do this, so we need to use "Send an HTTP request" as shown here.
Now we can save the next project number back to the list. This is done by updating list item 1 with the variable 'Job'.
All that remains now is to create the set of folders using the "Create new folder" action for each of the required folders. Repeat the action as many times as needed.
That is the end of the Flow, but as usual there is more that can be added. For example, a notification could be sent out to project managers and a set of tasks created to manage the project.
Power Automate is an incredibly powerful application that offers a variety of ready made templates to help you get started.
Read our recent post on the retirement of SharePoint 2010 Workflows here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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 PowerAutomate, PowerBI 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.
July brought a multitude of innovation across Microsoft 365 and SharePoint. Microsoft have been bringing both new experiences and refinements to help improve your productivity and give users more ways to disseminate their work, voice, and consume information from colleagues.
Last month brought: A New Employee Onboarding Hub, Hub permissions for visitors, SharePoint Migration Tool (SPMT) support for SharePoint Server 2019 (GA), Microsoft Lists, Quick Edit improvements, Add to OneDrive, and more.
Build your intelligent intranet on SharePoint in Microsoft 365 and get the benefits of investing in business outcomes - reducing IT and development costs, increasing business speed and agility, and up-leveling the dynamic, personalised, and welcoming nature of your intranet.
New Employee Onboarding Hub (NEO for short).
The NEO hub helps organisations guide new employees from the onset of their first day on the job. The hub provides new employees with the resources, support, and general information they need. It also helps connect them to important people, communities, and culture awareness. It also helps stakeholders contribute to the successes of new employee onboarding.
New Employee Onboarding (NEO) hub, based on SharePoint, helps customers improve their new hire onboarding experience.
To get it, simple head over to the Look Book site: lookbook.microsoft.com - View the designs > Solutions > "New Employee Onboarding Hub".
This is an optional feature for both hubs and associated sites which allows for greater viewer access to content and improved discoverability across sites. After enabling a hub to sync to associated sites, hub owners can specify access by invidividuals, security groups, or Microsoft 365 groups. The new visitor permissions will become activated the next time the viewer accesses the hub.
Sync hub permissions to associated sites from the hub Permissions pane.
Associated site hub owners can disable the sync for sites that need to remain private from the rest of the hub.
SMPT is designed for migrations ranging from the smallest set of files to a large scale enterprise migration. Bring your information to the cloud to take advantage of the latest collaboration, intelligence, and security solutions with Microsoft 365.
This past month, Microsoft have moved beyon public preview and made migrating from SharePoint Server 2016 generally available (GA).
Use the SharePoint Migration Tool (SPMT) to migrate file shares or SharePoint Server sites to SharePoint, OneDrive, and Teams - all in Microsoft 365.
In review, SPMT lets you migrate content to SharePoint, OneDrive and Teams from the following locations:
Screenshot of the intelligent intranet resource center
Microsoft 365 is designed to be a universal toolkit for teamwork - to give you the right tools for the right task, along with common services to help you seamlessly work across applications. SharePoint is the intelligent content service that powers teamwork - to better collaborate on proposals, projects, and campaigns throughout your organisation - with integration across Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, Yammer, Stream, Planner and much more.
Microsoft Lists begins roll out starting now with the Lists app in Microsoft 365 and eight ready-made templates. The Lists app is the central place for all the lists you access across different sites, with the ability to create new lists using the + New List button.
The Microsoft Lists app in Microsoft 365 - a home for all your lists.
Use ready-made templates as you create new lists - above shows the preview when using the Event itinerary template.
Microsoft Lists is a Microsoft 365 app that helps you track information and organise work. Lists are simple, smart, and flexible, so you can stay on top of what matter most to your team. Track issues, assets, routines, contacts, inventory and more using customisable views and smart rules to keep everyone notified and in sync. With ready-made templates, you can quickly start lists online, on the coming movile app, or with Microsoft Teams. And because it's part of Microsoft 365, you can rely on enterprise-ready security and compliance.
Fixed row height | When in Quick Edit, you will see a new layout options "Fixed Height" within the view drop-down menu. This layout will adjust the height of all rows to the same height to optimise vertical spacing.
Improved Row Selection | You will see an updated way for selecting single or multiple items. this, too, supports existing copy/paste and drag-to-fill, applicable to multiple rows when using shift+selection. And when navigating and interacting via keyboard key strokes - like what we talked to John Sanders about - a consisten keyboard navigation approach.
There were also a number of visual updates | You'll see new grid lines, an improved on-hover experience when using your mouse around the grid, themed colour bars on the side of list items - including error messaging, a "Create New Item" button at the bottom of quick edit for creating new items inline, and updated column header drop-down menus.
Sticky first column appears while in Quick Edit mode | As users scroll horizontally across a list or documentary library in Quick Edit, the far-left column remains in place.
The new Quick Edit experience showing some of the innovation: updated grid lines, multiselect, Add new button, visual cues and more.
Microsoft have improved the image upload experience - including mobile camera support. You simply add a new Image column and upload images for that list item of file. This is a default column when using the new Asset manager template, and is a column type that can be added to any list or library.
The new image upload experience for lists items - shown above adding a device photo to an inventory list.
"Title" is a good column title title, and now you're en'Title'd and empowered to rename it to whatever you want. Now you can rename the default Title column title and the change will be reflected everywhere - in quick edit, on the associated view, and in the list form.
Rename the Title column to your preferred name.
Much of Windows and Microsoft 365 is navigable via keyboard, and this month, SharePoint pages joined in. This month we released a way to see all the pages keyboard shortcuts you can take advantage of when authoring text, navigating the page or performing undo/redo/ Just click Shift + ? when in page edit mode to bring up a list of available keyboard shortcuts. I'm particularly fond of Ctrl + K and Tab - huge time savers.
When in page edit mode, click Shift + ? to bring up the page keyboard shortcuts.
Learn more about working with SharePoint pages.
You can enable Data Loss Prevention (DLP) to automatically block external access to new OneDrive and SharePoint files until they have been fully scanned by the service for sensitive information - including search freshness and indexing.
Create and manage DLP policies on the Data loss prevention page in the Microsoft 365 Security and Compliance Center.
If the file has no sensitive content based on the DLP policy, then guests can access the file. If the policy identifies a file with sensitive content, then guests continue to be prohibited from access the file.
Note: There is no change to existing restrictions on guest user access to sensitive files. To mark new files sensitive by default, you will need to change a tenant property using PowerShell and cmdlet. You need to enable at least one DLP policy covering all SharePoint and OneDrive content.
It's time for a coherent task management experience in your hub for teamwork - Microsoft Teams. The new Tasks experience bring together Microsoft Planner and Microsoft To Do into Teams, giving you one place to manage your team plans and individual tasks.
Tasks in Teams, show on mobile on the left, web on the right.
This enables you to add shared folder shortcuts directly to your OneDrive. Shared folders include content that others shared with you through their OneDrive or content that is a part of your shared library in Microsoft Teams or SharePoint.
With Add to OneDrive, not only can you bring all your shared content into one place, but you can also work with the shared content with the same power and flexibility as if they are files you own. This means that the added content can be synced, shared, and collaborated on - and that it retains all existing security and compliance policies. Once added, the "Add to OneDrive" shortcuts show up in OneDrive on the web, within Windows File Explorer or Mac Finder, in Teams, and in the OneDrive mobile apps.
It's a noisy world and not every video is produced in a nice studio - often onsite and unable to get everything quiet. Noise suppression, when turned on by video owners, allows viewers to isolate speech from other sounds and music during playback. Noise suppression can be switched on or off for each newly uploaded video.
Turn noise suppression on for a video.
The outcome is the ability to focus on the person speaking, not what's happening around them. This makes things like remote workplaces and virtual classroom content much more effective. This, too, is the same technology you've been hearing about from a Microsoft Teams meetings perspective.
We would be happy to explain any of the above features in more detail and how they could benefit your organisation.