There are few businesses that aren’t touched by a Microsoft product in some way. Last year alone, more than 210,000 UK companies were confirmed as Microsoft 365 users.
While the global economic climate continues to challenge Microsoft and other major technology vendors, they continue to relentlessly pursue product innovations. This means that updates come thick and fast, so we’ve pulled together the new features that are coming soon, and some you might have missed.
Let’s start with Teams. While technically part of the Microsoft 365 suite, Teams has so many updates of its own that we’re tackling it solo. Some astonishing figures have emerged: in 2022, Teams daily usership almost doubled, increasing from 145 million users in 2021 to 270 million in 2022.
Microsoft has responded accordingly by releasing one of its biggest new feature drops. Teams has 20+ new features coming in February 2023.
Perhaps the biggest update of all, Microsoft Teams Premium is coming in February. It’s being pitched as the safer and smarter way to meet digitally. But what will Premium give businesses that they don’t already have?
- Meeting guides – Define meeting types e.g. internal calls vs customer meetings and assign them at the point of scheduling. Your chosen settings for that meeting type will then be automatically assigned without you having to get set up at the top of your call.
- Personalised branding – Brand your meeting lobby, and now, create custom backgrounds and together modes for your employees to use from within the app.
- Finding your mind wandering during lengthy meetings? Fear not, with Intelligent Recap, AI-driven recording capabilities automatically log your name being mentioned, generate chapters within the call recording, and even suggests actions and owners after your call.
- Security – Restrict or prevent specified users from recording a meeting, or copying text from the meeting chat, and watermark on-screen content.
- Webinar hosting – Manage webinar waitlists with manual approvals, schedule and send automated reminder emails ahead of the event and make use of a virtual green room.
- See the full list of features here.
What does this mean for current Teams users?
Some features will move from your existing subscription into Premium. So if you use any of these features, you’ll have just 30-days after the launch to continue using them before they switch.
And for IT teams?
Regardless of whether you switch to Premium or stay where you are, system admins will have more power to push updates out to users, and prompt them to update their Microsoft Teams apps when needed. In February, the Updates Power Automate connector will be rolled out, allowing IT teams to trigger actions to individual users or organisation-wide. IT admins will also be able to configure shared device mode for Microsoft Teams via Microsoft InTune on iOS devices from February 2023 onwards.
Microsoft 365 is now used by over a million companies worldwide. So, what’s new?
- Office > Microsoft 365 app – The Office app is being replaced and overhauled. Microsoft 365 app will launch this month. It means doing all your work in one place, and allows easier collaboration and continuous working across devices and platforms, whilst using fewer apps.
- Excel – Clever new updates for easier working were released last month. Formulas are more powerful, and easier to find and use. One especially handy new feature: Formula Suggestions. Simply type = in your cell and receive automatic suggestions, which Excel determines based on the data in your worksheet. You can now also insert images in cells, which users have been long been crying out for.
Some new features are coming to Viva Outlook:
- Group mailboxes will help frontline workers streamline communication across departments.
- To the Outlook iOS app comes the new schedule send function, and to Android will be text predictions.
- Stories are coming to Viva – similar to Instagram Stories, short videos or fleeting images can be shared celebrate achievements, promote events and build community spirit amongst colleagues.
- Outlook for the web will soon begin showing Teams messages and any files shared in Teams conversations in your search results.
Out of date OS:
We can’t believe we’re saying this, but Windows 7 is still in the mix. If there are any Windows 7 devices still lurking in your business, you need to know that on 10th January, the last patch ever was issued from Microsoft. No new vulnerabilities will be supported going forwards. It’s definitely time to move on. But not to 8.1, as that won’t be far behind.
The countdown clock for Windows 10 users is now on in earnest. In 2025, this OS will no longer be supported, so Microsoft are urging users to make the switch sooner rather than later.
Our advice is to consider your upgrades carefully and invest wisely. If upgrades are on the horizon for you, it would pay off to skip Windows 10 and head straight to Windows 11, so you get all the features referenced above, and guaranteed longevity too.
And where device refresh challenges are driving your need to sweat legacy operating systems, it might be time to consider Windows 365 Cloud PC, a simplified Desktop-as-a-Service offering that delivers desktops virtually to help you get more value and better performance from older hardware.
Want to know more about how any of these updates will affect your organisation, or ready to try something new? Let us know.