Working from home and remaining creative can sometimes come with challenges such as limited space, resources and support from co-workers. Microsoft Whiteboard is a solution that makes it easier to be creative, remotely.

Microsoft Whiteboard is a free-form, digital canvas where people, content, and ideas come together. Whiteboard integration in Microsoft Teams meetings is powered by the Whiteboard web app, which lets Teams meeting participants draw, sketch, and write together on a shared digital canvas. Users can share a whiteboard to make it available to all participants in a Teams meeting. That same whiteboard is simultaneously available in all the Whiteboard applications on Windows 10, iOS, and the web app.

How do I get started with a whiteboard in a Teams meeting?

You can share a whiteboard to make it available to all participants in a Teams meeting. After joining a Teams meeting, click the Share icon in the share tray of that meeting.

  1. In the Whiteboard section, select Microsoft Whiteboard.

Note: The ability to start a new whiteboard is currently limited to the Microsoft Teams clients on Windows 10, macOS, and for the web. The Teams apps for iOS and Android cannot initiate sharing a whiteboard, but they can collaborate once a whiteboard is shared.

How do you use the whiteboard in a Teams meeting?
A soon as the Whiteboard canvas has been started, Teams meeting attendees can ink and type collaboratively. To add ink, click the Pen icon, select a colour, and then begin to draw, sketch, or write on the board. To add text, click the Note or Text icons, and then begin to type. These objects can be moved around on the canvas.
If a Teams meeting is recorded, will it include Whiteboard as part of the recording?

If you share a whiteboard during a Teams meeting that is being recorded, it will not be part of the recording. Microsoft are yet to announce when this feature will be available.

Can I access and continue working on a whiteboard after a Teams meeting ends?

After a Teams meeting, its whiteboard will be available to all participants from the Teams meeting chat, in a tab labelled Whiteboard. The whiteboard will also be available in the Board Gallery in the Microsoft Whiteboard apps for Windows 10 and iOS, so that meeting attendees can continue collaborating on a whiteboard even after a meeting has ended.

Can anyone start or ink on a whiteboard in a Teams meeting?

Teams meeting attendees within the same Microsoft 365 tenant can collaborate on a whiteboard. Anonymous, federated, or external users are not yet supported. Microsoft are yet to announce when collaboration will be added as a feature.

So where can Microsoft Whiteboard integration with Microsoft Teams take you? At Adepteq, we are delighted that Microsoft have given organisations the resources to remain engaged, creative and experimental through a collaborative feature such as Whiteboard.

If you would like to see how your workplace can enhance creativity and productivity during the pandemic and working remotely, contact us now to discuss your options.

Click here to read the full Microsoft Whiteboard Release Article.

Our 'Protecting your Microsoft 365 Data' webinar in the first week of February was a success!

On the 2nd of February we partnered up with Datto to deliver a webinar about Adepteq Microsoft 365 data Protection. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is an intelligent way to deliver applications over the internet. These SaaS apps have revolutionised the way we do businesses. It allows companies to limit installation and maintenance of software by accessing applications with a click of a button. The most popular SaaS application suite in the commercial marketplace is Microsoft 365 (Office 365), which also means it is the most heavily targeted by bad actors. 

Feeling unsecure and want to know how we can protect your data?
Adepteq Datto SaaS Protection helps you to remove the risk of losing any or all of your data with a simple, automated and secure backup of your Office 365 Data.
The following topics were covered:
Introduction to Adepteq
Microsoft’s backup recommendation
The threat landscape
How to protect your data Ransomware in action (demo)
Recovering your data - Adepteq Microsoft 365 Data Protection
You can watch the full webinar on our Youtube Channel by clicking the following link:

If you would like to hear more about Adepteq SaaS protection, head over to our contact page and request a call.

In this atypical year, many of us have discovered a new sense of appreciation for our computers as critical tools to get work done. Now more than ever, we are looking for new ways to be productive on our laptops and desktops. Microsoft 365 delivers great experiences that help users work easier and faster on their favourite devices. With this in mind, we want to share some of the latest Microsoft 365 innovations that can make you even more productive on a Mac.

Universal app support for Macs with M1 is here

Microsoft have announced they are releasing new versions of many of their Microsoft 365 for Mac apps that run natively on Macs with M1. This means that now the core flagship Office apps - Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote - will run faster and take full advantage of the performance improvements on new Macs, making you even more productive on the latest MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini. The new Office apps are Universal, so they will continue to run great on Macs with Intel processors. The apps are not only speedy, but they also look fantastic as they have been redesigned to math the new look of macOS Big Sur. Here is a peek at Outlook on the new 13-inch MacBook Pro.

If you have automatic updates turned on, you will start to receive these updates now. Otherwise, you can go to the Mac App Store and click the updates tab, or with Microsoft AutoUpdate, you can go to your Office app's Help menu and choose Check for Updates. Plus, find more commonly asked questions on Microsoft's support page.

With more than 115M daily active users, Teams has become a critical part of the way many people are navigating the current situation. Teams allows you to meet, chat, call, and collaborate all in a single app. And, when people work in Teams, they all get the full breadth and depth of Microsoft 365. Microsoft Teams is currently available in Rosetta emulation mode on Macs with M1 and the browser. We are working on universal app support for M1 Macs and will share more news as our work progresses. Download the Teams app for your Mac here.

Universal app support for Macs

Microsoft 365 experiences made for Mac

Over the past months, Microsoft have redesigned the experiences in the flagship apps for Mac with a focus on simplicity to improve ease of use. The new Outlook for Mac looks great with a redesign that matches the new look of macOS Big Sur, and an updated Office Start experience for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote for Mac that incorporates the Fluent UI design system. This means that Microsoft 365 apps enable you to be more focused with immersive experiences that are easier to use right from the first screen. Experiences that feel both unmistakably Microsoft 365 and include elements that are native to the look of macOS so they are also unmistakably made for Mac. The new Office Start experience will be available next month.

Universal app support for Macs

Microsoft have announced support of iCloud account in the new Outlook for Mac. This will enabled you to organise work and personal emails, contacts, and calendars together in one app so it is easier for you to stay connected to what matters. We will start to roll this out using the new Outlook for Mac in the coming weeks.

Universal app support for Macs

Work your way

Another area of focus is to make Microsoft 365 apps work the way you do. Through many new innovations on Mac apps, Microsoft's goal is to help you get work done in more simple and intuitive ways.

Tell Me is a search box that quickly gets you to the Office tools you need or actions you want to take by just typing what you are looking for in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or OneNote for Mac. Microsoft Search in the new Outlook for Mac allows you to type out your query or question using language you use every day to find emails, events, and files - no fancy syntax needed. These capabilities help simplify how you use Microsoft 365 apps to achieve more and are now available to all Mac users.

A commonly used productivity hack is to use your phone to capture images of important information you want to work on. With Data from Picture, you can take a photo of a table directly on your iPhone and turn it into data you can edit in Excel for Mac. This handy new feature uses Continuity Camera on your Mac and is also available now.

Work your way​ - Microsoft 365 for Mac

Voice input is a growing part of our digital lives and can be a great way to simplify your workflow. A new dictation toolbar with voice commands for creating content with your voice is coming to Word and Outlook for Mac. In addition, to help you check spelling, correct grammar, and get writing style suggestions, Microsoft will enabled Microsoft Editor in Word for Mac. These updates will be available to users with access to Microsoft 365 for Insiders in early 2021.

New ways to work together

The shift to remote work highlights the need for teams to collaborate with agility, while ensuring sensitive data stays secure and meets compliance requirements. The Microsoft 365 app teams have been busy getting modern collaboration and compliance capabilities ready so you can work from home more effectively on your Mac.

Sharing your calendars in Outlook with your co-workers helps you manage your time more efficiently. By giving access to participants' calendars through simplified permissions, planning meetings and events is quick and easy. Based on the Microsoft sync technology and connected architecture, Outlook can provide reliable and faster synchronisation of calendar events across Mac, Windows, iPhone, Android, and Web, keeping you on track of your time your way. The new Outlook for Mac will support shared calendars for customers subscribed to the Office Insider Mac Beta Channel in the first months of next year.

When creating new content as a team, the ability to collaborate around documents and presentations becomes especially valuable when your team is not in the same location. The new modern commenting experience in Word for Mac enables a contextual view of comments that allows you to focus on your content without missing active comments by contributors and reviewers. Modern commenting also includes improved @mentions in PowerPoint and Word for Mac that make it easier to reply to comments. The new @mentions experience is available now in PowerPoint for enterprise users. Modern commenting for Word is in the Office Insider Beta Channel now and coming to Current Channel Preview in February 2021.

New ways to work together​ - Microsoft 365 for Mac

Have you ever collaborated with someone in a worksheet and suddenly your view changes and you are unable to finish you work? This can often happen when an active collaborator adds filters or sorts the data in a table of a shared worksheet. Excel sheet view is a new way to create customised views to sort and filter your data without disrupting what others see. This capability is an example of customer-driven product improvement and is now available on Excel for Mac.

Last, but certainly not least, Microsoft Information Protection sensitivity labels allow you to classify and protect your organisation's data with minimal effort through manual and automatic content labeling. Manual labeling is available on Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook for Mac. Automatic labeling is coming to these same apps for Microsoft 365 E5 customers in early 2021.

If you want to try out new Office features first and make a difference in the products you use every day, please join the Office Insiders and check out the Mac channels.

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.

This month Microsoft have announced that many top requested features - like background noise suppression in meetings - are coming to Teams and other Microsoft 365 services. Read on for details on those, plus the highly anticipated Microsoft Endpoint Data Loss Prevention and other new features across Microsoft 365 to help make it easier to pick up where you left off, keep track of your notes and tasks more easily, sketch out Amazon Web Services (AWS) application architectures in Visio for the web, and more.

New apps, noise suppression, and more for Teams

This month, Microsoft are announcing the general availability of Teams apps for meetings, expanded Forms integration, and new capabilities that make it easier to build apps and bots right within Teams.

Enrich your meeting experience with Teams app - Typically, collaborating with an app during a meeting required someone sharing their screen while they updated tasks, set reminders, managed requests, an more. This month, Microsoft have announced that you can now bring the capabilities of many of these apps directly into the meetings experience for everyone to interact with, making the time your team spends together more effective and collaborative before, during, and after your meetings. Checkout the new Teams apps for meetings now available in the Teams app store, including Asana, HireVue, Monday.com, Slido, and Teamflect (with more on the way), as well as familiar apps built by Microsoft such as Forms. If you're a partner or developer, learn more about creating Teams app for meetings here.

Teams Apps for meetings

Quickly gather feedback in Teams meetings with polls - Polls are a great way to turn passive listeners into active participants. Forms' integration with Microsoft Teams now brings the power of polls to meetings, helping you conduct more engaging, informative, and productive meetings. Meeting presenters can prepare polls in advance and launch the polls during meetings that attendees can easily view and answer. The new Forms polls for meetings is currently rolling out and will reach you soon. You can get started by updating your Teams app and adding the Forms app to your meeting tabs.

Remove unwelcome background noise in Teams meetings  - Earlier this year, Microsoft released the ability to minimise distracting background noise in videos on Microsoft Stream. They are now bringing this technology to Teams meetings. This real-time noise suppression will help remove unwelcome background noise during your meetings, making easier to hear speakers in loud and distracting environments. Noise suppression is rolling out to all users now.

Automate routine tasks without leaving Teams - Also new this month is the Power Automate app for Teams. The app provides a lightweight designer experience and a number of templates to help you quickly get started building workflows right within Teams. This new app makes it even quicker and easier to automate routine tasks within Teams. To get started, make sure you're running the latest version of Teams.

Easily build and deploy apps and intelligent chat bots in Teams - In September, Microsoft announced a new Power Apps and a new Power Virtual Agents app for Teams, running on a built-in low code data platform, now called Microsoft Dataverse for Teams - making it easy for creators to quickly build and deploy apps and bots for Teams - now those apps are generally available. Teams users can easily build applications and bots directly within Teams without needing to deal with connecting to storage, managing integration, or switching applications. Dataverse for Teams makes the back-end tech logistics of creating and deploying business process solutions in Teams easier than ever. Built-in security and governance features provide seamless control of access to apps, bots, and flows, as well as their underlying data.

Find and share information more quickly

New capabilities help make it easier to find notes while working across Microsoft 365, capture and share content, and pick up where you left off.

Easily reference your notes when working on a OneNote page - Last month, Microsoft announced the OneNote feed for Outlook on the web, which conveniently combines your notes across Sticky Notes, recent OneNote pages, and even Samsung Notes so you can easily reference them while composing you mail. This makes it easy to reference your notes when working on a OneNote page and capture any new thoughts you have by creating a Sticky Note in your feed without having to leave OneNote. The OneNote feed is available in OneNote, OneNote on the web, OneNote for Windows 10, Outlook on the web, and Outlook.com. To get started in OneNote, click the Open feed icon in the top right corner of the OneNote app window to display the feed pane.

Capture and share web content and more in Microsoft Edge - This month, Microsoft released two new features to help make you more productive and find information more easily. First, Web capture in Microsoft Edge lets you easily capture and mark up web content, and then save or share it - simply drag a box to select what you want to capture even if you need to scroll. Second, Microsoft have added news and information from your favourite content providers in a new "My Feed" section within the enterprise new tab page. This customisable feed sits alongside your Office 365 content and is deigned to keep you connected to information most relevant to your industry or your company.

Quickly pick up where you left off on recent files and more in OneDrive for iOS - A new home experience on the iOS mobile app for OneDrive will help you quickly pick up where you left off on recent files and easily re-discover memories from the past. Plus, you can now add a OneDrive widget to your iPhone home screen that displays your photo memories on this day across previous years. See your recent files and One This Day photos as soon as you open the OneDrive app. To get started, updated your OneDrive iOS app.

OneDrive family and group sharing now available

OneDrive family and group sharing now available - OneDrive has always made it easy to share docs, photos, videos, albums, and folders. But until now, sharing to a group of people meant typing in the names of all the people you wanted to share with. Last month, Microsoft simplified the process with one-click sharing to family and groups. Once you predefine your family or friend group, you'll be able to share a photo, album or important document to your group with one click. Family and group sharing are available in OneDrive for the web and included in all free and paid OneDrive consumer plans, as well in Microsoft 365 Personal and Family plans.

Hear Office documents read aloud to you on Android phones - As you move through your busy day, sometimes it's easier to hear your document read aloud to you. Now you can use Read Aloud to do exactly that in Word for Android phone and in Word on the Office app for Android. New voices offer a more natural and pleasant listening experience. You can easily pause and resume Read Aloud as well as adjust the voice speed. To get started, open the Word or Office app on your Android phone, go to the Review tab, then tap Read Aloud.

Get Yammer notifications in your Teams activity feed and more - This month, Microsoft are announcing several new and upcoming features in Yammer. Coming soon, notifications from your Yammer announcements and mentions will show up in your Microsoft Teams activity feed if you have the Communities app installed. Microsoft are also now rolling out an updated experience in the Yammer Tab for Teams that brings modern capabilities like pinning, cover photos, live events, and more. Finally, also released this month is support for Yammer Q&A insights in Microsoft Productivity Score, and interactive guide to get the most out of Yammer, and an updated experience for topics and hashtags in Yammer.

Prevent data loss and diagram your IT solutions

New capabilities make it easier to prevent data loss on endpoints and sketch out IT solutions build on ASW.

Protect sensitive information on your endpoints - In July, Microsoft announced the public preview of Microsoft Endpoint Data Loss Prevention (DLP) which extends your data protection capabilities to devices. Now generally available, Endpoint DLP enables organisations to enforce policies that identify and prevent risky or inappropriate sharing, transfer, or use of sensitive information consistently across cloud, on-premises, and endpoints. Microsoft are also adding new capabilities to a public preview based on feedback from customers - such as adding enforcement actions and locations-based sensitivity, a new dashboard in Microsoft 365 compliance center to manage DLP alerts, and more.

Watch this mechanics video or visit Microsoft's documentation page to learn more.

Sketch your Amazon Web Services (AWS) architecture in Visio for the web - Diagrams are a great way for cloud architects to visualise the degisn, deployment, and topology of IT solutions built on AWS. Microsoft have announced that they have added support to build AWS diagrams for various topologies and service interactions in Visio for the web. More than 400 shapes are available to help architects redesign existing infrastructure diagrams, conceptualise application architecture, or visualise the current state of your cloud environment and plan for the future. To help you get started easily, Microsoft have provided a few starter diagrams using various AWS services. Go the the Visio web app homepage and select your preferred diagram template to quickly start visualising your AWS infrastructure.

As you continue your navigation to a more sustainable, hybrid workplace, Microsoft are developing technologies that help your people and teams thrive. From building low code apps right within Teams to new AI capabilities to help you manage tasks more easily, all of these updates are aimed at enabling your people to collaborate productively, securely, and safely from anywhere.

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.

With today's reality of remote work and online learning, people need the ability to share content - documents, presentations, photos, videos, lesson plans, you name it - to get work done. And because of this, security around internal and external sharing is more important than ever before. While the ability to share content with colleagues both inside and outside the organisation helps people stay productive and connected, you must protect against risks. Accidental sharing of sensitive information or sharing with unintended recipients can pose a threat to the integrity and privacy of your data, people, and devices. OneDrive helps you define secure, virtual perimeters for sharing content, educate people about your policies for secure collaboration, and monitor how people share to discover and address gaps. In this practical guide, you'll learn about how you can easily manage secure external sharing.

DLP Policies - One Drive

Establishing boundaries to help prevent critical mistakes

The first things to consider when it comes to external sharing are the hard sharing restrictions for your organisation. Depending on your business or industry, you may have different requirements that you must meet for protecting sensitive information. You should also consider what behaviors you want to prevent entirely when people in your organisation share information. For example, are you worried about users enabling anonymous access to files containing sensitive information, such as financial data, or personally identifiable information, such as credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, or health records? Or are you more concerned about leaking company IP? The best first step is to talk with your Security, Legal, or Compliance teams to understand their requirements.

OneDrive Security groups

In addition, OneDrive, together with Microsoft 365, includes a robust toolset of combating ransomware, retaining critical data, and meeting litigation requirements - all of which grow more critical as more organisations shift to remote work. If you're in a highly regulated industry like Finance, Energy, or Government, tools such as Information Barriers can help you control risks like insider trading and demonstrate that control for regulators.

Another example of how OneDrive helps you establish these specific boundaries is by enabling you to limit external sharing to specific groups of users. For example, Sales and Marketing may need permission to use Anyone links to share information with a broad number of vendors and customers. One the other hand, you may want to give HR and Finance permission to share information only with external users who authenticate their identities before accessing files. Now, you can add and manage security groups to determine who can share content externally - and who they can share it with. Bottom line, setting up security groups helps reduce the chance that someone who's busy or distracted will accidentally share the wrong information with someone outside your organisation.

Sharing Setting in OneDrive

Setting people up for successful collaboration

Collaboration is absolutely critical for both remote work and online learning. But when people are working, security usually isn't foremost in their minds. The power of OneDrive is that it provides rich capabilities that enable them to share content and collaborate securely by default. In OneDrive, you can set up your organisation's policies so that people who tend to click Share and go about their business have less permissive sharing options - and you can also let people choose more permissive options as needed. You do this by specifying the type of link that's selected by default when people share files in OneDrive: anyone, people only inside the organisation, or specific people. You can also set the permission to either view or edit. This way, employees, teachers, or students can't accidentally share information with anyone outside the organisation or externally share content that is meant for internal use only.

Share error message

Another great example of helping people be successful is setting up expiration policies. This ensures that external users won't retain access to your content indefinitely, and helps prompt people in your organisations to periodically review who they've given access to their files. You can also easily revoke access that was previously granted.

Educating people about secure collaboration

With long daily to-do lists, people are often trying to get through tasks as quickly as possible and mark them complete. The last thing you want to do is slow them down by preventing them from sharing files. That's why Microsoft built quick reminders and help into the OneDrive UI to remove some of the burden from your IT help desk. So if you've set up your environment for internal sharing only, when someone tries to share a file externally, they immediately see an error message that lets them know external sharing isn't permitted. You can also set up custom help links, so employees can quickly and easily get in-context assistance and direction, such as instructions for singing up for a training course on protecting company information.

OneDrive - Audit Log

Unfortunately, shadow IT can still pose a problem. If some people need to share information or get feedback on a document quickly, they may choose more familiar apps - or an app suggested by a client, to share files. That's why you need to help people see why using unapproved commercial apps can pose a security risk - and what tools you've provided instead to help make their jobs easier. You can also offer training courses for staff or students to complete for them to be added to a group with external sharing permissions. Creating a portal that people can access for further education around the right apps to use and secure sharing policies to follow can also help to reduce risk from information leakage, especially for new hires or students.

Monitoring sharing to help keep data - and people - safe

Establishing sharing boundaries for your organisation and educating people about your external sharing policies helps you spend less time managing requests and troubleshooting issues, so you can focus on other priorities. Instead, you can monitor OneDrive activity across your organisation or school to see what people are doing. Using the information on the Productivity Score page of the Microsoft 365 Admin Portal, you can spot patterns that alert you to abnormal or suspect usage and adjust sharing and security policies to adapt or address issues. Understanding usage patterns can also help you develop and revise education materials to improve information security, which can help lessen the burden on your security team. You can also review audit logs to detect anomalies, such as people who are sharing or downloading more files than usual, and external sharing reports to help you gauge sharing behaviour and provide insights that you can use to improve best practices and education across the board.

For more information on OneDrive or anything Microsoft 365 related, call us today on 0800 6444 365 or contact us via our website!

Check out our Latest News & Blogs.

During Microsoft Ignite 2020, Microsoft announced several innovations for SharePoint administration and migration and security. In addition to this news, they produced three on-demand videos to provide a clear first look at these announcements plus showcase how to better manage and secure your productivity cloud investment.

SharePoint and OneDrive in Microsoft 365 enables enterprise-grade content security in compliance with privacy and legal requirements. Beyond innovation, take a moment to learn more about the SharePoint admin role in Microsoft 365 to best manage sites, secure content, control external sharing, move content into Microsoft 365, manage metadata, and more.

SharePoint admin, migration, and security on-demand session videos

1 | "Monitor and manage SharePoint in Microsoft 365" by Dave Minasyan, Rk Menon, and Trent Green
SharePoint admins, this session is for you. The intelligent intranet is personal, collaborative, and ever changing. This session focuses on upcoming enhancements to the SharePoint admin center - an updated home page, new site management, content services reporting, combined OneDrive admin settings, and more. Join in to see what's coming next to monitor and manage the state of your organisation's intranet get informed of all the latest enhancements, and utilise the new experiences to stay productive:

Learn more how to get started with the SharePoint admin center in Microsoft 365

2 | "What's new to easily migrate your content to Microsoft 365" by Eric Warnke and Yogesh Rat naparkhi

This is a demo-driven session on how to migrate your organisations content into Microsoft 365 with ease and speed! They focus on three areas: moving off legacy file shares, content from SharePoint Server on-premises, and other clouds storage providers like Box, Dropbox, and G Suite. Learn what's possible with our comprehensive set of first-party tools, services, and partner ecosystem to successfully migrate your content to Microsoft 365:

Learn more about Migration Manager, the SharePoint Migration Tool (SPMT), and Mover.

3 | "What's new in Security & Compliance in SharePoint and OneDrive [lead SPIN session]" by Sesha Mani

Microsoft runs on trust, as digital data grows exponentially in your organisation it is super critical to safeguard your sensitive corporate data. Microsoft is leading the way in enterprise-grade security and comprehensive compliance solutions. This session showcases what's new and upcoming for SharePoint and OneDrive services in Security & Compliance areas. It also covers how Microsoft helps you achieve zero trust security with existing controls/policies in SharePoint and OneDrive:

Learn more about the value and features of OneDrive and SharePoint security and compliance.

Bonus related session | "Microsoft Teams Administrator Updates for Compliance and Migration" presented by Jeff Teper and Jeremy Chapman.

Keep your users and data safe wherever they're working from and take a tour of all the recent upcoming updates for Microsoft 365 admins. As people work remotely or in hybrid work environments, potentially on unmanaged devices or less trusted networks, information protection is more important than ever. Jeff and Jeremy talk about and show a simple environment for everybody - from end-users to administrators, in a way where the data is secure and able to be access from any device, in any location:

Learn more about security controls in Microsoft 365 and migration options.

Contact us today if you would like us to discuss any of these topics in more detail.

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

Whether you need written acknowledgement from your manager, a formal authorisation from a diverse group of stakeholders, or an official signature from a customer, getting things approved is part of almost every workflow. However, they can be hard to track and manage when so many systems and people are involved.

Approvals in Microsoft Teams lets you easily create, manage, and share approvals directly from your hub for teamwork. you can quickly start an approval flow from the same place you send a chat, in a channel conversation, or from the Approvals app itself. Just select an approval type, add details, attach files and choose approvers. Once submitted, approvers are notified and can review and act on the request.

You can see and manage all your approvals from one place, the Approvals app in Teams. Each request is displayed along with key details such as the status, source, requestor, and approvers. You can also select a specific approval to see some more info and track its progress.

Approvals in Teams was built using the same security and compliance standards that Microsoft customers expect and rely on. Events such as creating a new approval, an approved request, and a rejected request are recorded and can be reviewed in the M365 Compliance centre. Additionally, admins can define how the Approvals app is used across the organisation from the manage apps page in the Microsoft Teams admin center.

Capture electronic signatures

There may be times when your workflow needs something beyond just approving or rejecting a request, like getting a signature. Because of this, Microsoft are working closely with key partners to allow you to create an electronic signature approvals using Adobe Sign, DocuSign, or other 3rd party providers natively within the Approval app. Simply choose your electronic signature provider and add the details. Once submitted, signers are notified with an email and can easily review and sign. Approvals will keep track of the entire workflow right in context with Teams.

Bring all your approvals in one place

Approvals in Teams is built on top of the Power Platform so you can bring all your approval flows across the company together in one place using the simple workflow and extensibility capabilities of Power Automate.

From the Power Automate design studio, you can create a new flow and select a trigger such as a system driven event from one of our 350+ connectors (e.g. a new file is created in a SharePoint Folder or an issue is assigned to you in GitHub). Then, add a workflow step to create a Start and Wait Approval by using the Approvals block as an action and fill in the relevant  approval details like approvals, attachments, etc. You can also add a condition to monitor whether the request was approved or denied to complete the next step in your workflow, like updating another system of record.

For example, when a specific form is submitted, you can create a flow to act on the request directly from Teams and define what happens after the request is approved (e.g. post a confirmation message in Teams) or rejected (e.g. create a task in Planner).

Approvals in Power Automate

The approval will automatically show up in Teams:

Approval Request in Teams

Approvals in Microsoft Teams will be available soon. For the latest status please refer to the Microsoft 365 Roadmap

For more on Approvals in Teams check out and download the Approvals Look Book PDF

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

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.

Outlook, Forms, PowerApps, SharePoint - Logos

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.

Microsoft Forms Settings

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.

Microsoft Forms Desktop Display - Solution
Microsoft Forms Mobile Display - Solution

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.

SharePoint list for confirmations

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

Power Automate Trigger - Solution

Then get the response details

Power Automate Solution - Getting Form Response Details

Then create a new list item in SharePoint using the form response(s)

Creating a list item in SharePoint with Power Automate

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.

Sharing a Form

The link will look like this:
https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=XCrnyHAiJ0uwaTIC3qHxQBx5jwCDZ4JJtd6NGALo3kNWVlZCTlBSWVdQNlA0Ti4u

You can add the link to the email using the insert link options in Outlook.

Insert Link in Outlook - Solution

If you would like to learn more about FormsSharePointPower 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.

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.

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