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March 2024 Microsoft 365 Updates

Updated: Mar 22

Hello, and welcome to March! 

Microsoft continues to bring the heat, especially for Copilot. This month, we’re going to cover updates within Copilot, Teams, SharePoint, and everything else Microsoft 365 related. As always, feel free to steal this information and share it with your network so we can all maximize the value of this powerful platform. 

Copilot Updates 

I was invited to present at JourneyTEAM’s Business Technology Summit this month on the topic of Copilot (You can find a recording here). As I was talking about just how many products have acquired the Copilot label, I described a worker at Microsoft who had found a “Copilot” stamp and was stamping every product they could find with it. I don’t really think that is happening, but I also said that Microsoft has invested billions in Copilot, and I know that is true. That you can see by the constant drum beat of new Copilot capabilities coming out of Redmond. Let’s see if we can list a few of the updates.

microsoft copilot dashboard in viva insights

  1. Let’s start with the Copilot Dashboard. The dashboard is a great tool for seeing how your team is using Copilot. As we talked about at BTS, one of the very first things you should do before you start using Copilot is to decide how you’ll know if “you’ve won.” The Dashboard will allow you to know how often Copilot is being asked to reduce toil by answering questions and creating content. You will find the Dashboard in Viva Insights inside Teams.  

  2. The next Copilot news is that it will now show up in Teams Chat on your mobile devices, meaning it will be in the same place in navigation whether at your desk, or on the move. Additionally, if you have users in countries with data residency regulations, Copilot will now allow you to stay compliant by respecting Advanced Data Residency and Multi-Geo capabilities.  

  3. We all have lots of documents and other objects littered all over our OneDrives, or in SharePoint document libraries. Copilot can sort through your libraries and create content efficiently with a simple ask. For example, we can now ask Copilot “How many widgets did we sell last week,” “Show me the latest documents related to Project Victory,” “What files should I read to get started on Project Victory,” or “Using /zero_trust_security.docx create an outline of a new Estimate of Work for a new client.” You can also get feedback on something more specific, such as “What suggestions do you have to improve the deck /zero_trust_security.ppt” There is much more you can do with your files, give it a shot, and see what you can learn.  

SharePoint Updates 

  1. I’ll start with something that is near and dear to my heart: translation. New in February is the ability to translate files, both manually and automatically. If you are working with folks who speak a different language, this could be a great way to help them more easily read and understand your content. This does require SharePoint Premium.  

  2. Additionally, Copilot Studio is a quick and easy way to use Copilot to extract data that doesn’t need to live on your M365 reservation. One use case is to give your team a way to ask questions about HR Policies documented on an HR Information System like Workday. New this month, you can easily take that Copilot Studio bot and plug it into the relevant SharePoint site. This image shows how it all fits together.  

In this example, employees would only need to log in once, SharePoint would handle the rest.  

  1. Next on the list for SharePoint is the new ability to create Document Library templates. This would allow you to create a library once and then use it everywhere. For example, if you had various offices around the world and wanted to share information in a generic format, you could create a document library once and then add it to each office site! Slick, huh? 

  2. One feature of SharePoint that is often overlooked is Lists. Lists are SharePoint Lists on the back end, so you end up with all the power of SharePoint but with a friendlier look and feel. Out of the box, Lists has 14 templates you can use to get started and you can save the result in your “My Lists,” or on any SharePoint site. This month brings some new capabilities to Lists including the ability to add ratings to any lists, drag and drop images to a list, and see in real-time who else is working on that list. As before, you can add a list to your desktop as a Progressive Web App so it will always be there at your fingertips. For example, I often add a list to track any errors in Power Automate Business Processes, adding that list as a PWA means I can always see find what happened with a single click. Try it out, you’ll like it! 

  3. The next item on our list is also SharePoint Adjacent, and somewhat similar to the automagic translation feature. ClipChamp can now add subtitles for you with the power of Artificial Intelligence. This is a no-cost add on, and the captions are added to the captions panel so you can edit them to correct anything the ‘Bot got wrong. You can choose to add some or all of the captions or disregard them entirely.  

Microsoft Teams Updates

  1. You can now remove items from your activity feed. This will allow you to prune that list by removing cards you don’t really care about. As long as you are “in there” you can also change the notification settings for the channel where the message originated. Speaking of removing things you don’t need or use, you can also now hide the General Channel in any Team. There are times when all your activity happens in specific channels and the General Channel is an empty room. Hide it!  

  2. Teams Meetings have also been updated with a new layout moving meeting attendees to a common background on the bottom of the screen with shared content above. Teams Room changes also include new calendar views on Android. These Android devices also received some new ways to configure the in-room display. Those options are on Teams Room for Android, coming to your Windows PC is the ability to use the Room Remote from your computer.  

  3. We’ll finish the Teams section with something that could go also go in the Outlook section. You can now chat with Teams Meeting Participants from Outlook. If you have a meeting that is on Teams and chatting is allowed by policy, you can start a chat with that meeting from calendar peek, meeting details, My Day, and a right-click to context menu or meeting reminder. In every case, the actual chat will happen in Teams, but it is a quick and easy way to get there. If you don’t have the Teams client installed on your computer, it will surface the browser-based version on your default browser. 

Other Microsoft 365 Updates 

OneNote has a new superpower: Sticky Notes. You’ll find it in the OneNote app in Windows, strangely enough, it’s called “Sticky Notes.” I view these as a beefed-up version of Windows-Shift-S, allowing you to quickly capture information and save it for later. You can even summon it up with its own key combo: Windows-Alt-S. You can use Sticky Notes to capture screens or notes, and when you come back to what you were working on, Sticky Notes will pull your content back up for you. It’s a small thing, but if you can offload a little remembering to Sticky Notes, you can use your melon for better things. 

This month you get not one, but two tips! One for those of us who have Copilot and one for those who do not. 

  1. Let’s start with the have-nots. There are times when you have been working on a SharePoint or OneDrive document and want to share it with other members of the same Team that have access to it. You could click on “Share” in one of a dozen places and create a sharing link, but there is a better way. Open up SharePoint or OneDrive and navigate to where the document lives.  Then, select the document by clicking the radio button next to its name (green circle) and then the little round “I” in the upper right-hand corner (red circle). That will give you a new fly out panel. Scroll down to the bottom until you see “Path” (purple circle), which when clicked will copy the physical path to document in question. This is the way to share a document in Teams when everyone already has access to it.  

  2. This tip is for those who have Copilot up and are already rockin’ within Outlook. One thing Copilot does well is summarize your inbox for you, sorting the wheat from the chaff. There are two ways to do this, we’ve going to cover both. The easy button really is just a button.

If you click that button, Copilot will run off and do some research to tell you everything that has happened in that thread, and what you should really pay attention to.  

That’s cool and all, but it only reports back on that one thread. What if you want to do a deep dive into all your “things?” This prompt has been floating around LinkedIn and is one you should try out giving to Copilot right now:

“Summarize my emails, Teams messages and channel messages from the past work week. List action items in a dedicated column. Suggest follow-ups if possible in a dedicated column. The table should look like this: Type (Mail/Teams/Channel) | Topic | Summarization | Action item | Follow-up. If I have been directly mentioned, make the font of the topic bold.” 

Try it out, and then modify it as needed. That’s the beauty of sharing prompts like this, they are a starting point that allows you to fold, spindle, and mutilate until it is perfect for you. This prompt is great because it does something useful, but also because it will give you a vision of the magic that is possible with a well-crafted prompt! 

Ready to Maximize Adoption of Microsoft 365? 

We have expertise in every corner of the vast M365 platform and can help with everything from email to SharePoint, to Business Process Automation with Power Automate or a Power App. We can even create a bespoke application in Azure to help you find a way to solve your “corner-case” problems. We’re always listening at JourneyTEAM, drop us a line! 

Article by: Kevin Zollinger, Senior Solutions Architect on the Modern Work and Security Team

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