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August 2023 Microsoft 365 Updates

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

Hello and welcome to August! This is the 7th installment of our monthly news updates in the Microsoft 365 space. The goal of this post is to help us all wring as much value as possible from your Microsoft 365 Subscriptions as Microsoft is releasing new stuff every month!


We are kicking off a new feature: The JourneyTEAM Pro Tip of the Month. Watch for it at the end of this post.



microsoft 365 updates


Microsoft Inspire

microsoft inspire 2023

We’ll begin by mentioning Microsoft Inspire, the annual event for Microsoft Partners that happened in July. Many new feature releases were mentioned at Inspire to help us improve collaboration and productivity. Let’s start with Teams. There is a new limit of 1,000 channels in any Team, up from the previous 200. More relevant is Teams Chat in the Edge browser sidebar. This is yet another reason to try out Edge if you haven't already. To turn it on, fire up Edge, click the plus at the bottom of the right-hand “gutter,” and choose Teams from the list under “Add a site.” Once you start using it there you will not be able to stop.


Copilot and Microsoft Teams

A massively talked about topic at Inspire was, of course, AI (Artificial Intelligence), and specifically, Copilot. Copilot has been added to Microsoft Teams, Phone, and Chat. What does that mean? During a Teams call you can ask Copilot to draft notes, and highlight key information as it is shared such as names, dates, numbers, and tasks. With Copilot for Teams chat you can also get a summary of what has happened while you were away. Both new Copilot features are available to those in the Microsoft 365 Copilot Early Access Program. Once CoPilot becomes generally available, it’ll be $30 per user per month to use it. Just a note: not everyone in your organization needs to have a Copilot license!


Additionally, anyone can now use Collaborative Notes in Teams meetings, and more details can be found on this page from Microsoft. This could really change how well your team stays on task during meetings and turbocharge how well you execute on decisions made in those meetings.


Exchange

exchange august 2023

The next update has to do with Exchange and is very important if you are still using Exchange On-premises as your email solution. Starting in July, Microsoft will start blocking email to those who are on Microsoft 365 from old servers as Microsoft has determined those servers to be unsafe. If you are still sending emails from an old Exchange server, reach out to us for a strategy.



Viva

There are also new features available in Viva, starting with the news that you can now have multiple Viva Connections. This isn’t something that every company needs, but there are times when you have different groups of people who need a different Connection based on need. Think of a company that has front-line workers who have vastly different needs than the corporate staff. Viva Connections allows you to put the tools and information they need in the palm of their hands.

copilot august 2023

Viva Pulse and Viva Glint are also generally available! Both tools allow you to gather feedback from your team to measure the effectiveness of your programs. Another measurement tool is Viva Goals, which now has advanced capabilities as you can easily make goals visible, shareable, and measurable. You also now have Goal Broadcasts, a personalized activity feed, and a chart view to help you better show company progress toward your goals.


To learn more about each of the Viva Modules, click here.


Copilot

For more Copilot news, there is also Copilot in Edge in the form of Bing Chat Enterprise. This gives you the ability to use Bing Chat to ask questions that it can answer by looking at your organization’s content. As always, it won’t have access to anything you don’t have access to. To get started you’ll need one of your admins to go to https://aka.ms/TurnOnBCE and accept the Terms and Conditions. You need to be licensed for Microsoft 365 E5, E3, Business Premium, and Business Standard to use Bing Chat for Enterprise until Microsoft makes this generally available.


Journeyteam pro tip of the month

JourneyTEAM's Pro Tip of the Month

And that brings us to the JourneyTEAM Pro Tip of the Month! This month we’re discussing notification in Teams because that is something people often struggle with. I like to think of notifications as being like an onion: there are layers. Let’s start at the outer layer which are the settings for your organization, or what Microsoft calls your tenant. If you click the three dots next to your picture you will get a flyout that includes “Settings”. Click here, and then “Notifications”.The first stop is “Missed activity emails.” Further down on that page, you have the default settings for Teams and channels, Chat, Meetings and Calls, People, Viva Engage, Tasks, and Others. You should click on each and make sure you have it set correctly for your needs. Things to note:

  • “Banner” means you will get a “toast” notification in (usually) the lower right-hand corner of your computer screens and “feed” means it will show up in the activity tab under the bell.

  • If your organization lives in Teams, set your notifications so you’ll get notified often to avoid missing important activities. It is all too easy to miss important messages when you haven’t been notified.

  • An important setting under Meetings and calls is “Mute notifications during meetings and calls” which many find useful to turn on. We’ve all seen a leader share their screen in a call, only to have a parade of notifications arrive that they might not have shared otherwise.

  • If your team has migrated to Viva Engage, you’ll want to make sure those notifications are correct. You can adjust what happens for each type of post here, but if you want to change what happens for specific communities, you’ll need to do that in Engage.

  • The “Other” tab might be useful for the free version of Teams that is intended for personal networking and communication, it really doesn’t make sense in a work environment. You can ignore it.

microsoft teams august 2023

Notifications

Let’s talk about channel-specific notifications. There isn’t a way to set every channel in a Team to be the same, and different from your tenant-wide defaults, but you can change each channel to be appropriate for your needs. To do that you click the three dots next to the channel name and you will see the same options as before.


Chats

Next, we have Chats, home of one of my favorite features: the mute button. Oh, how I wished this were also available for channel messages, tragically it is not... yet. If you have been added to a group chat that is going off the rails, you can click the three dots next to the chat name and choose “Mute.” You will still be able to view all the posts, you just won’t get notified. The picture of the chat will change to the universal slash through a bell icon, so you won’t forget to turn notifications back on.


Phone Calls

Let’s finish by talking about your phone. If you open Teams on your phone and click your picture you will again find “Notifications”. The bottom three options are very important. First, if you don’t want to get notifications when you are asleep or busy “weekending” you should turn on Quiet Hours and Quiet Days. Second, there is no point getting notified on both your computer and your phone, so turn on‘Block Notifications’ when you are “active on desktop” or in meetings.


Elevate Your Use of Microsoft 365

The goal of these updates blogs is to help you and your community get maximum value from your Microsoft subscription. If you currently are using Microsoft products, or thinking about doing so, we can help you optimize it for your needs. Contact us today to get started.


See you next month!

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