Welcome to June! Here are the most important updates coming to the Microsoft 365 platform this month. Get the most value out of your Microsoft 365 licenses with the below updates. Let’s get started!
At the Microsoft 365 Collaboration Conference in Las Vegas, some exciting things coming to SharePoint were announced. Some of those include a more modern SharePoint interface, better integration with Teams, improved communication capabilities and (finally?) a search experience that delivers. The biggest SharePoint announcement is an upcoming integration with Copilot. It allows you to describe a site and creates it for you. This could be an enormous time saver! Another announcement was the news of being able to create personal SharePoint pages that aren’t connected to a Site Collection. This was described as a personal page or pages where you can collect information relevant to you in a very personalized way.
Teams promises improvements to appearance and customization, new meeting options, and Teams Connect, all of which help make it easier to collaborate with people outside your tenant better.
The next update is the @everyone tag which is now available to all of us. You can @everyone in a group or meeting chat and everyone in the meeting or chat will get notified according to their notification settings. Also, Avatars in Teams in mostly available to the public. This will allow you to be represented by a computer driven avatar. Lastly, while the avatar will move its mouth when you talk, if you want it to wave or nod, you’ll need to pick one of the 50 available actions. You should at least check it out and setup one even if you don’t plan to use it. I will note that on my computer the avatar seems to really push my PC’s processor. Also note that avatars are not currently available in Education tenants due to age requirements.
Additionally, there are also improvements to Whiteboard; I'm to see Loop components in Teams Whiteboard. In addition to Whiteboard, you can add other apps to meetings such as Polls. If you are not seeing these in your Teams you might need to join the Public Preview: https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/MicrosoftTeams/public-preview-doc-updates
On the Outlook front we can now set both our working hours each day as well as our location. In our “new normal” of working from multiple places each day, we can now share this information with our teammates, making it easier for them to know when they can schedule meetings and choose to make them virtual or in person. This feature is rolling out now, starting with Outlook on the Web and moving to desktop and mobile soon. Expect better integrations with other Microsoft 365 services soon, including Microsoft ToDo. ToDo is now the default task manager for Outlooker, great for tracking individual tasks at work as well as personal shopping lists.
The last Outlook item is Authenticator Lite, which is the best way to get your users to use the top security option instead of the one they’ve used since 2010. Authenticator Lite is built into Outlook and, if used, makes your networks and data much safer. If your tenant is set to Microsoft Managed, it will automatically toggle to the on position on June 9th. If you don’t use Authenticator on your phone, this is the next best thing. Pass the word, let’s get those we care about to stop using SMS/Text messages to authenticate. With that, let’s talk a little Viva.
Viva Insights will soon offer a “Recurring meeting audit” in Power BI that will tell you how effective your most expensive, long, recurring meetings are. If you have a large meeting every week that isn’t very effective, insights will let you know it with a report that will help you ferret them out. Also, rolling out this month is a personalized Viva feed which Microsoft promises will be a starting place where we will see our “prioritized updates from leaders, and stay informed on the status, progress, comments/reactions from people of the goals they care about. Users can comment/react to the post in the activity feed.”
This month we’ll finish up with something a little more personal. At this month’s Build conference, Microsoft announced Copilot for Windows allowing you to “focus on bringing ideas to life, complete complex projects, and collaborate effectively instead of spending energy finding, launching and working across multiple applications.” Copilot will, of course, use the same technology that powers Bing Chat, ChatGPT, and all the other LLMs in the Microsoft world. In related news, if you use the Edge browser you might have noticed a little stylized b in the upper right-hand corner, that is where Bing Chat is hiding for your browser. The last little bit of news for Bing is that it can now be used as the source of data for Open AI’s Chat-GPT. If you are paying for a premium Chat-GPT account, you can switch to Chat-GPT 4 and change your default data source. Once you’ve done that, Chat-GPT can tell you won the basketball game last night.
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