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October 2023 Microsoft 365 Updates

Updated: Oct 12, 2023

Hello, and welcome to October! It’s the spookiest month of the year but we will be avoiding all Halloween puns as we review the news from Redmond. Here's how you can get the most value out of your Microsoft 365 subscription and take advantage of recent changes. Additionally, don’t forget the Pro-Tip of the Month found at the end of this post. Let’s get to it!


Microsoft Copilot and AI Updates

This month, we’re covering some items that aren’t yet available, yet we know a fair bit about them. Several experts at JourneyTEAM are solely dedicated to helping customers get the greatest value from artificial intelligence while maintaining security and confidentiality. Eric Beins, JourneyTEAM’s Chief Operations Officer, said “Artificial Intelligence is the next big shift in the way we work, similar in scope to what the Internet was. We need to get this right, and help our clients get it right.” AI is changing how we all do our jobs, so we'll continue to report on events as soon as they are announced, even before they are generally available.

Microsoft Copilot in Windows

If you have the newest version of Windows 11, you now have “Microsoft Copilot in Windows” and can find it with the Windows Key + C. If you are not on the newest version yet that will probably get you a Teams message. However, when you update to the latest version Copilot will respond to that key combo and show up in your taskbar.

Bing Chat Enterprise

Next up is Bing Chat, which has been available in the Edge browser for a while now. It is now available in a new flavor, Bing Chat Enterprise. When you ask Bing Chat a question it is added to the “Learning Model” and can be used to answer someone else's question. Bing Chat Enterprise makes your text off-limits to anyone else, including Microsoft. Your corporate secrets never leave your tenant keeping your proprietary content safe. Bing Chat Enterprise is available now and included in Microsoft 365 E3, E5, A3 Faculty, Business Standard, and Business Premium licenses. In September, it was added to the mobile version of Edge making it available on the move. If you want to license it as a stand-alone product the cost is $5 per user per month. Both Bing Chat and Bing Chat Enterprise use publicly available content to give their answers.

Microsoft 365 Copilot

Lastly, starting on November 1st, some “enterprise” customers can start using Microsoft 365 Copilot. Copilot differs from Chat because it uses content in your tenant to come up with answers. It is “security trimmed” so you only see the content you are already authorized to see. It can answer your questions based on Word documents, Excel Spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, email, Teams chats and meetings, and more. Sometimes called Microsoft 365 Chat, it will take all of your content, combine it with what is publicly available, and give you ways to solve complex problems. It will initially be available to customers with at least 300 “seats” for $30 per user per month. Not every one of your users will get $30 worth of “value” from a Copilot license each month, so you shouldn’t plan to equip your entire tenant with a license. While none of us want to “get left behind” there is also danger in overspending on technology you don’t need. See what works best for your organization and its users.


Microsoft Teams Updates

Teams has a whole collection of new features this month, starting with Town Halls. This was announced on September 28th and will go live on October 5th. Teams Town Halls are meant for large meetings, replacing Live Events which will be retired next year. Features available now for Town Hall meetings include up to 10,000 attendees (20,000 in Premium), up to 15 concurrent events, “Green Room,” and more control over how content is shared. If your group is spread across multiple locations, Town Hall could be a great way to share updates and announcements. You already know about Teams version 1 and version 2 (the newest version). The big news is that Mac users now have access to the Preview version of Teams 2.

Microsoft Loop Updates

Loop will now support Planner integration allowing you to create tasks in Loop and surface them later in Planner or ToDo. This means you can start a project definition page in the Loop app and use that same page to “seed” tasks into Planner simply by typing a task, name, and due date into a task list. Loop also now supports Trello and Jira in much the same way! As a reminder, Loop components can be surfaced in a surprising number of places including but not limited to Word, Teams, Outlook, and SharePoint. Loop is definitely starting to feel like the future of asynchronous collaboration.

Microsoft SharePoint Updates

SharePoint Portals are a great way to share company news, providing a quality starting point for employees at the beginning of their day. Additionally, a good landing page makes it easy for your team to quickly find the resources they need, leading to more informed, productive, and engaged employees. There are, however, some employees that don’t have access to a browser as part of their daily job and we want them to be just as informed and engaged. To make that easier, Microsoft released 6 new templates that make the sharing of news stories with email just as easy and attractive as posting on a SharePoint portal. Once you’ve published your new page you can choose to email those inside your organization. Page views and other analytics are stored the same whether the page is viewed in a browser or via email.


JourneyTEAM’s Pro Tip of the Month

Many of us use a signature block that is automatically added to the end of any email we send. Oftentimes it has our name, title, email address, or phone number. Some of us work at companies that require us to include a legal disclaimer. What if we could add a few links to that section that would make it easier for people to communicate with us? Today we are going to add a link that will let people chat with us directly on Teams and another that will let them find a free block of time on our calendar to request a meeting. Please note that in both cases your admin team might have turned these features off, so contact them if you have any early hiccups. Let’s start by adding a “Chat with me on Teams link.”

The chat with me link is super easy. All you need to do is open your signature editor and add a single line of text. In Outlook you click File, then Options, and then Mail. You will see a box labeled “Signatures.” You may already have some text in your default signature, you can add this there or choose New to start over. You’ll need to add some text such as “Chat with me on Teams,” highlight it, and then either click the “Insert a Link” button (globe with a chain) or press Control +K. That will present a dialog box where you should add the following:<> with your email address in between the <>. When you save the signature, anyone who gets an email from you (and has external collaboration on their tenant turned on) will be able to chat, call, or video call with you at any time. Now let’s make it easy for them to get some time on your calendar.

Start by setting up a “Book With Me” policy. To do that visit in your browser. If you click the + button next to each category you’ll be asked for a title, category, description, location, and length of time. You’ll also have a chance to automatically include a Teams meeting link in the appointment. If you have your meeting hours set, then you can choose to use them. There are also some advanced options that you can review. When you choose to save, you’ll see that meeting type in a box on the Bookings page. Click the three dots on the card and choose “Copy link.” Put that link in your signature the same way you did “Chat with me” and you are set to say something like, “There is a meeting request link in my signature block, will you use that to schedule some time for us?” Your potential meeting partner will be able to see your free and busy times, so they can pick a time to schedule the meeting. Once they send the invite, you will still have a chance to decline the appointment if your calendar isn’t up to date, and you are busy for the time they sent.

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 unique problems. We’re always listening, drop us a line!

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