Welcome to May! Let’s spend a minute or two covering all the new “goodness” from our friends at Microsoft. We all pay the same for Microsoft 365, whether we use 7% or 97% of it, and learning updates can help you get the most value for your “spend.” Here are some features currently available, and some brief information on updates coming soon to the Microsoft 365 stack.
Microsoft Teams Updates
Let’s start with the 800 lb Gorilla that is Teams. There are several new features.
First up is Avatars. This is out in Public Preview with general availability in May. It is designed to help us combat “video fatigue.” You can custom design an avatar, choose the skin tone, hair color, shape, and size of your facial features, and what your avatar is dressed in.
The second new feature of note is the enhancements to virtual backgrounds with the new Green Screen Settings are now available in the Video Effects panel. This works best if you have a solid color wall behind you.
The last Teams update this month is Speaker View, which is intended to enhance your view of the active speaker in a meeting. This works best when you have a few speakers and many listeners. It would be ideal for a classroom, town hall, or a panel discussion. This feature puts the active speaker in a 16:9 tile and increases their resolution and audio. This allows the presenter to see a raised hand when sharing their screen.
This is a minor update, but there is an updated version of Outlook on its way to us.
If you are in the “Insider” group you’ve had access to the latest version for a year. This month, everyone else should be seeing a toggle offering to let you try the “New Outlook” on your computer. Just like in the Teams Preview, you can bounce back and forth as needed, and similarly to Teams, there are some things you just cannot do in the updated version yet. Try it and see what you think!
Another update to cover is one that isn’t going to happen right away. Microsoft is going to make a change to how Outlook handles links on Mobile devices.
After the upcoming change, when you click a link in Outlook it will use Edge to display the page, which might be the right choice if your organization has decided on Edge as your standard. Microsoft grants the ability for you to choose your personal preference for your organization. In using Mobile Device Management or Mobile Application Management your IT Administrators can choose what works for your entire organization. Once that functionality is in place, Microsoft will release the new code and you’ll see the new behavior. This shows how Microsoft can change plans based on feedback from “end users” as part of their testing process. There is no doubt Microsoft would love for all of us to use Edge, which in many cases is an efficient and performant browser.
Microsoft Purview Updates
Next on our list is Microsoft Purview, and both updates mostly apply to those responsible for the security of your organization’s information.
First off is Sensitivity Labels, which are a key component of efficient Document and Records Management. You can find a quick demo by clicking here. In addition to Documents and Records, labels can also be applied to emails, and they will do the same magic. Starting this month, you can require your users to apply a label before sending an email both on the desktop client and their mobile devices. This is a terrific way to improve the security of your organization.
The second update for this month is that Microsoft has updated the Advanced Deployment Guide. There is a lot of complexity hidden in Purview and it is important to get it right. The new improved guide will help.
Microsoft Viva Updates
If you are new to Viva, we did a Webinar in April going over all of the subtools within Microsoft Viva (click here to watch it on Youtube).
Topics will now show the Topics someone has connected with on their profile card. That means when you are working with someone in Outlook or SharePoint, you will know their areas of expertise. New this month is the Topics app within Teams. If you are using Topics make sure to install the app in Teams.
We have all seen the email from Viva Insights that tells us we spend too much time in meetings, right? Now those digest emails will show the categories of those meetings allowing you to determine if you are going to the right types of meeting.
Viva Engage has added @mentions so you can now bring someone into a conversation with an @ sign, just like in Teams or Outlook. As more parts of Viva get touched with that AI magic you know I’m going to talk about it!
Ready to Get Started?
And that concludes our tour of some of the most significant changes in the Microsoft 365 landscape. Please reach out on our JourneyTEAM contact page with any feedback or questions.
Or, check out last month's updates to learn more about recent changes to the Microsoft 365 stack!
See you next month!