New updates in Office 365

#30: Office 365: New Updates and Features!

In this episode of The Power Up Project, we cover:

>The latest updates in your Office 365 suite

>What can these new features do for your business?

Transcript:

In this episode of the Power-Up Project, we do a quick recap of the most recent Grassroots IT webinar.

Hey. Welcome to this episode of the Power-Up Project. My name is Ben Love, and I’m your host for today’s episode. What we’re going to do today is a little recap on the webinar that we hosted about a week ago now on some of the latest updates from Office 365. Now, I’m not going to take you through the entire webinar. There was a huge amount of content in there, but you know what? The recording of the webinar is up on our website. Just go to grassrootsit.com.au to the blog, and you will find the recording there.

What I did wanna do, though, is just call out a couple of the more important points that came out of that webinar, and particularly some of the ones based on the feedback we had from attendees on that webinar and from the discussions that have come out the back of it as well as to what really peeked people’s interest the most.

Probably the first thing, it’s a really important point, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Skype for Business is going away, and it is being replaced by Microsoft Teams. If you have not already started the transition from Skype for Business across into Teams, and if you do actively use Skype for Business, obviously, then now is the team. You really must be looking at this. We do have some cheat sheets up on the website, and we will link to them again in the show notes here in case you need to go and have a look at Microsoft Teams and just work out how it’s going to work for you because it will work for you, it’s a great tool.

The other really interesting point of discussion that came out of that webinar was around Microsoft’s To-Do product. It’s a little bit of software called To-Do, Microsoft To-Do. As you would have guessed, it is a to-do list manager. A very simple tool that lets you create to-do lists, add some notes to it, tick them off once you’re done, couple of other little features on the side, but in the essence, that’s what it does.

For those of you familiar with Wunderlist, which still is a very popular list tool, that’s actually owned by Microsoft. A lot of the functionality and favourite bits of that are all being brought across into To-Do. But the interesting point of the discussions that we had after the webinar was the fact that To-Do is now synchronising with Microsoft Outlook, and specifically within the tasks section in Outlook. If you are a user of tasks, or I guess if those things could be of benefit to you, have a look at that because we actually had some people on the webinar pretty excited about the fact that tasks in Outlook and To-Do items in the To-Do mobile app are now actually synchronising.

I haven’t been into the use cases with those people yet, but I will be digging into that a bit more because I am curious. But for now, that’s a really good thing for you to know.

The other interesting point that came off the back of that webinar too was a bit of discussion around where the various project management and, I guess, task management tools from Microsoft all fit in. At one of the spectrum, we have Microsoft To-Do, which I just explained. It’s a fairly simple list maker that you tick off items on the list as you go. It has some basic collaboration and sharing features in there, but not hugely intended for that sort of role. It’s sort of more for one person to keep track of their own task lists.

The next step up in the family of products from Microsoft is Microsoft Planner. Now, for those of you familiar with other [inaudible 00:03:43] style tools, such as Trello, you’ll be very familiar with Microsoft Planner. It works in the concept of buckets, and then within the buckets you’ve got cards or items. You can drag and drop those items around between lists and change their status from in progress to completed and so on. Cards and items can be assigned to other people in your team, you can have multiple people looking at this board simultaneously. It really is a very simple but very powerful and effective way of helping a small team of people really stay on point with what it is they’re meant to be working on and who’s attention is where.

We start off with Microsoft To-Do, which is the simple one person end. We take the next step up into Microsoft Planner, which is better and more capable of dealing with teams and keeping a team of people on track. Then at the next step up, we move up into Microsoft Project, which is a fully fledged project management tool with a lot of the very powerful project management features that you would expect. It is the sort of the tool that, to be honest, unless you are a project manager, unless you have a little bit of training and some experience in that area, it may be a little bit too much. It may be not what you’re after. But of course, for the project managers who are listening, you’ll probably already be very familiar with Microsoft Project and all of its bigger team and larger project capabilities up at the top end there.

They’re probably the key points I just wanted to call out from the webinar that we hosted last week. Of course, as I said, the recording of that webinar is available on our website. There will be a link in the show notes to that recording. If you do want to have a bit more of a deep dive into what the latest updates are in the Microsoft 365 family of products and services, please check out the show notes and head on over.

Thanks for listening to this episode of the Power-Up Project, brought to you by Grassroots IT and Digit IT. Please, leave us a review wherever you get your podcasts. Until next time, keep powering up.

#29: Farewell Skype for Business: Is Your Business Ready for the Change?

In this episode of The Power Up Project, we cover:

>Where is Skype for Business going, what’s it being replaced by and when is it happening.

>How will your business be impacted by the change.

>Download the Quick Start Guide to Microsoft Teams at the base of the blog post.

Transcript:

In this episode of the Power-Up Project, we talk about the impending change over from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams, and what you need to know now so that you don’t get cutoff.

Hey, welcome to this episode of the Power-Up Project. I am Ben Love, and I’m your host for this episode. Today, we’re going to touch on something that we have certainly mentioned a number of times in the past, and that is that Microsoft is actively retiring the Skype for Business product. In its place, they are pushing forward with Microsoft Teams.

Now, the two products reached what Microsoft call “feature parity” last year sometime. That basically means that Microsoft Teams has all of the features in it that Skype for Business has. What we are now seeing happen and the reason this is very important for you to hear is because we are actually seeing this happen in the wild. This is not just Microsoft talking about it, we are actually seeing clients who go to use their Skype for Business one day, and it no longer works. The reason it no longer works is because the upgrade behind the scenes for Skype to Business into Microsoft Teams within their tenant has been done without them necessarily being aware of that. So, they go to use Skype for Business one day and it simply doesn’t work.

Now, this is just part of the phase upgrading and retirement of Skype for Business, it’s something that Microsoft has been very open about, they are publicising it all. At this stage, we are not sure of when individual client tenants are going to be upgraded. We’re seeing if we can get some of that information from Microsoft. To be honest, I don’t like our chances at this stage. What it does mean is that you really need to be actively thinking about Microsoft Teams, especially if your business relies on Skype for Business.

What does that mean? It means you need to look at your usage of Skype for Business and how you’re using it. Are you using it for chatting, for meetings, for video calls? Are you using it for webinar style presentations? Are you using it for your main telephony instead of a more traditional telephone system? There’s a lot of ways in which people have been using Skype for Business.

Now, all of those things are now available in Microsoft Teams. Teams is a very good product. I use it really heavily here at Grassroots IT with my team of people. We’re spread out across three different countries, quite a number of client sites, etc. It’s a fantastic tool, and we really love it, okay?

So, if you are heavily using Skype for Business, have a think about how you’re using it and go out and have a look at Microsoft Teams. It is probably already installed on your computer, if not, it is very easy to install it.

You just go to teams.microsoft.com, and there’s a button there that you can use to install it, okay? Now, what I’m going to do in the show notes for this particular podcast episode is we’re going to leave a link to a little cheat sheet on Microsoft Teams**, and how you do various things in there, how you have a chat with somebody, how you schedule a video meeting, how you do all of these things. It should be nice and quick for you to get up and running with Microsoft Teams.

Of course, if you have any questions, just reach out. We are more than happy, of course, to help with the transition there in any way. But remember, your action point for this episode, if you are actively using Skype for Business, you must go out and look at Microsoft Teams instead because the change is coming.

Thanks for listening to this episode of the Power-Up Project, brought to you by Grassroots IT and Digit IT. Please, leave us a review wherever you get your podcasts, and until next time, keep powering up.