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December 2023 Microsoft 365 Updates

Hello, and welcome to December!  


November was a super busy month for all things Microsoft and Microsoft 365 so buckle up, we’re going to go at warp-speed and hit the highlights. November was the annual Ignite conference and as usual, there were lots of big announcements, some of which were for features that will be released in the future. Let us know if you find these updates valuable, or if there is something we could change that would make these update blogs better for you. 



microsoft 365 updates december 2023

Microsoft Ignite 2023 Updates

Let’s start with a recap of Ignite. Ignite was held in Las Vegas over the course of four days, each of which featured a keynote session. Copilot was probably mentioned in every session. Let’s start, then, with the new Copilot features and/or updates, keeping in mind that not all of these will be available now. Let’s lead off with Copilot Studio, described as the ultimate tool for building your own version of Copilot using a variety of Azure services.  


There were also enhancements to Copilot for Microsoft 365 announced. We all have FOMO thinking everyone else must have it already, the truth is we’re just getting started on the roll out. Azure AI Studio is very similar to Copilot Studio, think of it as “roll your own AI” for developers. You can include these features in your own applications to make life easier for those who use the apps. Is it possible that every product from Redmond will eventually have Copilot added to the product name? Yes. 


SharePoint Updates 

In the more standard Microsoft 365 products we had announcements about SharePoint, OneDrive and Teams. In SharePoint-land we were promised “SharePoint Premium” which sounds like it would be the SharePoint version of “Teams Premium” where you could pay an extra amount every month to get additional functionality. Not quite. SharePoint Premium is a collection of pay-as-you-go services, many available today and some new “seat licensed services” that you will be able to add to your subscription in 2024. In short, there are some Syntex-based content processing services available now and some enhanced file management apps coming soon. We were also promised an update on “Headless SharePoint” soon.  


Teams Updates

For Teams, we are promised Immersive Spaces and Microsoft Mesh early next year. Think of this as the avatars we’ve all come to know, and love being set free to roam around “custom immersive spaces tailored to specific business needs.” Perhaps more germane to our daily productivity is the addition of new Loop Components in channels, better notification management, and keyboard shortcuts. We’ll be able to decorate our group chats with a custom picture and get this, available now we can finally forward a chat! Also, the good news is the announcement that Teams will have better “voice isolation” in meetings and on calls.  



teams 2023 updates


OneDrive Updates

In OneDrive we will soon see a “New OneDrive Experience” with a refreshed interface that will be faster, more organized, and personalized, and designed to enhance file access and collaboration. Microsoft will also simplify the file-sharing experience in both OneDrive and other Microsoft 365 apps and a “cleaner” copy-link experience. We will also see OneDrive File Cards, intended to give us “rich and contextual” information about our content. Those few who live on Linux will get their own sync client. We’ll also see some “Consumer” features arrive in the corporate world including the OneDrive Personal Vault for Business and OneDrive Camera Upload for Business. We think of the Personal Vault as DIY Sensitivity Labels. I struggle with the idea of automatic Camera Upload, but I am sure there is a use case for them. Somewhere. The Admin Crowd will soon be able to monitor and troubleshoot the health of the sync clients in their organization, allowing them to be more proactive problem solvers.  


Microsoft Planner Updates

Microsoft is bringing everything under one roof. Tasks from ToDo, Planner, and Project for the Web will show up in the Planner App in Teams next spring, allowing us to have a holistic view of what we need to accomplish each day. Later next year we will have that same experience in our browsers.  

 

  

JourneyTEAM’s Pro Tip of the Month, By Kevin Zollinger

Let’s start this month’s Pro Tip with a “day in the life.” In my current role, I have the luxury of being able to spend long periods not in meetings, but I still attend at least a few each day. Some of the meetings are entirely virtual, with all the participants remote. Others are a mix where some of us are in a conference room and some remote. Joining Teams Meetings is different for each situation, and getting it right will save some embarrassment for you so let’s review. If you’d like to play along at home pick one of the meetings on your calendar and click the link to join it. You will see the “Pre-Meeting” screen where you can make some very important choices. On the left, you will see your camera choices where you can decide if you are “camera ready” or not. On the right you have your audio options, this is where we learn the actual Pro Tip for today.


You (usually) have 3 options. If you join from your desk, you’ll want to choose “Computer audio” and then review the panel that pops open below that to make sure the proper speakers and microphone are selected. You can also choose to enter the meeting pre-muted. The second option down is “Phone audio” and I use that option quite frequently when calling into a meeting when in motion and on my phone. With this option, I’ll generally tell Teams to call my phone, answer, and be in the meeting. Friendly warning: If you’ve been in a meeting on your phone using Computer audio and changed to using Phone audio you will need to “remute” yourself. You don’t want to do what I did and learn that lesson when attending a company-wide meeting from Costco. Trust me on that one.  



So far, we’ve talked about the standard ways to join a meeting and I am going to skip the “Room audio” option as that is a rare edge case. It requires a Teams room system and, in most cases, if you are meeting in a Teams room you’ll join directly from there. If we review what that means, we then are generally in a room with the meeting on a large TV where the Teams room system is providing all the audio. In those cases, we still might wish to join the meeting from a laptop or phone to share or view shared content on our own devices. We might also just want to start the meeting chat so we can make sarcastic comments, but then again, that might be just me. In any of those cases, you will want to choose the last option of “Don’t use audio” so that you avoid the inevitable feedback loop followed immediately by someone else telling you to mute your device and turn your audio off. No one needs to be “that” person so just join without the audio and skip the whole scene.  


As we finish up the Pro Tip,  I’ll share that when you next join a meeting, it will default to your last selection. To edit settings, you simply need to click the three dots at the top of the screen, click “Settings” and then “Device Settings” to select the correct options. When you click the three dots you will also notice the “Call me” option that you can use to move the meeting from Computer audio to Phone audio. Please make sure to remute yourself if needed! 


And with that, we are done for the month, and 2023, see you next year! 

 

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