Featured Blog Microsoft Teams Blog
- Getting to Microsoft Teams from Skype for Business Server and hybrid configurationsby Microsoft_Teams_team on January 14, 2021 at 4:00 pm
With the retirement of Skype for Business Online in sight, we’re working to ensure customers transition to Microsoft Teams by July 31, 2021, including users homed online in hybrid configurations. But Skype for Business Online customers aren’t the only ones who can benefit from upgrading to Teams. Organizations using Skype for Business on-premises have also experienced the transformational impact Teams can have on communication, collaboration, and culture. Teams is where innovation happens. Though mainstream and extended support continues for versions of Skype for Business Server and Lync Server, our focus is squarely on Teams and its ecosystem of applications, devices, and services. We’re continually developing new capabilities in Teams to meet our customers’ evolving needs, while enabling Teams experiences to scale across devices and varying connectivity. We recently announced Microsoft Teams reached 115 million daily active users, a clear reflection of the positive impact of Teams, leading to increased efficiency and faster outcomes for organizations across the globe. Realize the full value of Teams.Customers of all sizes and technical configurations have successfully transitioned from Skype for Business Server to Teams for their communication, collaboration and platform needs. We hear example after example of Teams’ ability to bring people, data, applications, and processes together to get things done. For instance, DSM, a global nutrition, health, and sustainable living company that decommissioned their on-premises deployment of Skype for Business as part of their move to Teams. DSM’s upgrade to Teams was key to a digital transformation strategy to become more agile, connected, and empowered, while eliminating the cost and effort to maintain their Skype for Business Server setup. A successful change management strategy allowed DSM to migrate over 19,000 employees to Teams in just three months. Not ready for a full transition to Teams? No problem.We recognize some organizations may need to maintain their Skype for Business Server deployment. The great news is you can still benefit from Teams without a full transition. Whether you plan to deploy select capabilities of Teams such as collaboration and meetings while maintaining chat and calling capabilities in Skype for Business, or use the overlapping capabilities method in which access to both Teams and Skype for Business enables a broader range of Teams functionality, you can choose the path that works for your organization. Start with meetings.Though there are many possible paths to Teams, meetings can be a great way to begin. “Meetings First” is a coexistence configuration optimized for Skype for Business Server organizations with Enterprise Voice on premises who want to start using Teams meetings as rapidly as possible. In this mode, users create meetings in Teams while continuing to use Skype for Business for chat, calling, and presence. There is no overlap of modalities between Teams and Skype for Business. Chat, calling, and presence are “on” in Skype for Business and “off” in Teams. This enables unique scenarios between Skype for Business and Teams that enhance the meetings experience during coexistence, as well as interoperability scenarios with Teams Only users. Offers to help you get to Microsoft Teams.To help our customers experience the best of what Microsoft Teams can offer, we announced new promotions that customers can take advantage of today: Free Audio Conferencing FastTrack support along with great pricing offers to help you move to Teams in a cost-effective manner. Contact your Microsoft account representative for more details. Everything you need to plan a successful Teams upgrade today.Join thousands of organizations who have benefitted by upgrading from Skype for Business to Teams, through faster decision making, improved meeting quality, and more efficient communications. Whether you’re coming from a pure on-premises deployment or a hybrid configuration, technical preparation and user readiness can ensure a successful journey to Teams. Take advantage of the great resources to help plan your upgrade to Teams, configure coexistence and interoperability, and get the most from your Teams deployment. See you on Teams!
- Approvals in Microsoft Teams, Now Generally Availableby Microsoft_Teams_team on January 13, 2021 at 6:00 pm
Approvals in Microsoft Teams enables everyone, from frontline workers to corporate headquarters employees, to easily create, manage, and share approvals directly from your hub for teamwork. Approvals in Teams is currently rolling out and should be generally available by mid-January. Once the Approvals apps is automatically installed, you can seamlessly: Create an approval requestYou can quickly start an approval flow in Microsoft Teams from a chat or a channel conversation. You can also create an approval from the Approvals app. Simply fill in the name of the request, who needs to approve it, any additional information, and add an attachment if needed. Additionally, you can create custom responses to tailor your request to the needs of your business. Approve or reject a requestOnce an approval is submitted, approvers are notified. They can quickly review the details of the request and any files included in the approval. If the request was submitted in a chat or a channel, an approvals card will be displayed with all the relevant actions you can take. Track and manage your approvals You can see and manage all your approvals from one place, the Approvals app in Teams. Each request is displayed along with key details such as the status, source, requestor, and approvers. You can also select a specific approval to see some more information and track progress. Bring all your approvals in one place Approvals in Teams is built on top of Power Platform so you can bring all your approval flows across the company together in one place using the simple workflow and extensibility capabilities of Power Automate. From the Power Automate design studio, you can create a new flow and select a trigger such as a system driven event from one of our 350+ connectors including the Azure DevOps and ServiceNow connectors that were recently updated to easily be plugged into the Approvals App in Teams. Add a workflow step to create a Start and Wait Approval by using the Approvals block as an action and fill in the relevant approval details like approvers, attachments, etc. By adding this step, you will automatically start seeing approval status updates and notifications directly in Teams via the Approvals hub. Add a condition to monitor whether the request was approved or denied to complete the next step in your workflow. Capture electronic signatures (Coming soon) There may be times when you need something approved and recorded with more formal attestation, and adding signatures to the approval process is necessary. We’re working closely with key partners to allow you to create an electronic signature approval using Adobe Sign, DocuSign, and other 3rd party providers natively within the Approval app. Simply choose your electronic signature provider and add the details. Once submitted, signers are notified with an email and can easily review and sign. Approvals will keep track of the entire workflow right in context within Teams. ResourcesGet the most out of approvals in Microsoft Teams using these resources: Training videos Teams Approvals app availability Extending Approvals Installing the Approvals app manually Approvals Look Book
- 8 new productivity hacks for frontline workers, managers, and ITby Microsoft_Teams_team on January 13, 2021 at 6:00 pm
If there’s one thing we learned in 2020, it is that frontline workers are essential in today’s world. As companies realize how important they are, this time, they are bringing them along the digital transformation journey. There is no excuse for these workers to be left on the sidelines anymore. Here are 8 new features that make frontline workers, managers, and IT’s jobs a little easier. One tool to meet frontline worker needs Whether working in back-to-back shifts where hand-offs cannot occur in person, connecting with corporate employees or consulting with remote company experts – Microsoft Teams has your frontline workers covered. In fact, Teams daily active usage more than doubled since March, primarily driven by chats/channels activity, which resembles frontline worker behavior. 1. Tasks Publishing – As the need for corporate offices to better communicate and work with their frontline workforce becomes top of mind, task publishing lets companies create tasks centrally at the corporate level and publish those tasks to different locations, specific store layouts or other customizable attributes of their frontline teams. For example, leadership for a nationwide retailer can create tasks for the reopening of their stores, attach relevant documents like a planogram, send that list to only the affected store locations, and then track progress against the assigned tasks. Managers can easily assign tasks to individual employees, while frontline workers can see a simple prioritized list of those tasks on their personal or company-issued mobile device. Task publishing is now generally available. Learn more about task publishing here. 2. SMS sign-in – employees are able to sign in to their Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) account using one-time SMS codes—reducing the need to remember usernames and passwords. Once enrolled, the user is prompted to enter their phone number, which generates an SMS text with a one-time password. SMS sign-in is a single sign-on (SSO) experience, enabling frontline workers to seamlessly access all the apps they are authorized to use. This new sign-in method can be enabled for select groups and configured at the user level in the My Staff portal—helping to reduce the burden on IT. Click here to learn more. 3. @mention by shift group – Tagging by shift connects you to the right people faster. This new feature enables teams to take the guesswork out of knowing the names of on-shift employees and automatically assigns users with tags matching their schedule in the Shifts app in Teams, backed by major workforce management systems like AMiON, BlueYonder, and Kronos. Use this @mention tag to start a chat or call, or to just notify everyone on a channel. Tagging by shift is rolling out now and will be fully available by Jan 31. Learn more about how to start using @mention by shift group here. Supporting frontline managers 4. Delegated user management through My Staff portal – Frontline managers can approve password resets and enable employees to use their phone numbers for SMS sign-in, all via a single customizable portal enabled by IT. With this tool, managers can unblock staff issues—reducing the burden of identity management on IT, and keeping employees connected to the apps they need on the job. Click here to learn more. 5. Digitize manual processes with the Power Platform – Power Apps allow you to create custom low code apps for your frontline workers. The relative simplicity of building these apps allow you to be responsive to the needs of your business, including many firstline scenarios that don’t have technology solutions today. And when combined with automated workflows built with Power Automate, you can digitize and streamline entire processes. For example, Power Apps and Power Automate can totally transform a customer service recall process by alerting store members on Teams via an automate workflow of an item that needs to be pulled from shelves. The frontline workers can then monitor recall alerts and flag new issues with products using a custom app built with Power Apps. Click here to learn more! Simplifying IT Bring time to value benefits by streamlining the deployment process and tailoring a frontline team’s collaboration experience. See what Teams templates and policy packages can do for you. 6. Policy Packages – With frontline worker and frontline manager policy packages, IT administrators can easily assign pre-defined policies and policy settings tailored for their frontline workforce. Policy packages create a simple, centralized, and consistent way to manage your Frontline workforce, no matter how big. This month, we are launching group assignment for policy packages via PowerShell and coming soon, group assignment via Teams Admin center. Availability: These new policy packages are available by default in the IT Admin Center and in PowerShell. Learn more about setting up and customizing the policy packages for Firstline Workforce here. 7. Team Templates – With Teams templates, you can create effective teams faster and more easily than ever. Users can choose from common business scenarios, such as Employee Onboarding and/or industry-specific templates, like Retail – manager collaboration and Organize a store. Each team template comes with pre-defined channels, tabs, and apps. Coming soon are team template policies which allow IT administrators to hide/show specific team templates for users in their organization. This allows admins to tailor the content for business needs. For example the IT administrator could only show retail templates or only show a set of retail + custom team templates, etc. Custom team templates empower admins to create the right collaboration space for users in their organization. Learn more about creating a template from scratch, from an existing team, from an existing template, and team templates using Microsoft Graph. Teams templates policies will be rolling out soon. 8. Manage shared devices with Endpoint Manager – Microsoft Intune and Configuration Manager are now part of a unified management platform known as Microsoft Endpoint Manager. You can choose to enroll your Android Enterprise (AE) dedicated devices into Microsoft Intune with Azure AD shared mode automatically configured. For more information: Customize and configure shared devices for Firstline Workers at scale – Microsoft Tech Community Looking ahead We look forward to sharing the latest innovations as we approach Microsoft Ignite! This is just the beginning in our journey to empower every frontline worker in every organization to achieve more. We look forward to sharing more announcements in future blogs. Don’t forget to check out the newest Microsoft Mechanics video covering the latest frontline worker features in Teams!
- Connect Guru with Microsoft Teams for a Collaborative Wikiby Microsoft_Teams_team on January 12, 2021 at 5:22 pm
When communicating with teammates over chat, nothing can slow you down like having to pause your conversation and open up a new window to find the answer to a question or the right piece of information to share. The context-switching involved in jumping between applications to access the information you need to do your job can cost you and your teammates productive time. Complementing real-time communication with a collaborative knowledge base is key to keeping teams aligned and productive even when distributed. Guru’s app for Microsoft Teams can make both real-time and asynchronous collaboration easier by bringing your team’s collective knowledge right to Microsoft Teams. With the updated integration for Teams, you can now access and share verified knowledge from Guru in the same place that you chat and collaborate with your teammates – within your Teams workflow. The Guru app for Teams makes the transition from office to remote (and back again) seamless, and employees won’t feel like they’re missing information by not being in the office. Complement your real-time collaboration in Teams with expert-verified information so that regardless of where – or when – your teammates work, they are connected and aligned. Share Guru cards within conversations Here are some of the ways customers can connect Teams with Guru: Streamline your internal communications Sometimes, amidst conversations and collaboration, critical information can get lost or overlooked. By integrating Guru into Teams, you can capture updates and announcements that are shared in a Teams channel to create visibility and accountability for the entire team and make it easier for them to revisit and act upon them later. With notifications integration, a Guru bot will deliver select notifications and allow you to take action on them directly within the Teams workflow: Card Comments: Receive and reply to mentions on any comments made on Guru Cards Knowledge Alerts: Receive and read Knowledge Alerts on important knowledge that has been pushed to you and requires attention (including an in-app “I Read It” action) Notifications and updates from Guru within Microsoft Teams With Guru and Teams, you can improve your internal communications with notifications on real-time releases, company updates, and more by bringing information directly to employees where they’re already working, and giving them a way to let you know that they’ve seen it. Enable every team with the product information they needBecause product information can change rapidly, employees need access to up-to-date information as the product changes. Guru’s app for Teams makes product information accessible and shareable in the same place that employees would go to ask questions about it: in Teams chat and channels. You can save time for your frontline employees and your product experts by integrating your product delivery process into your communication workflow. When those frontline employees are empowered to find product information and answers themselves, they’ll spend less time pinging your internal subject matter experts (SMEs) with repeat questions, resulting in more focused time for everyone involved. Ramp up new hires fasterEffectively onboarding new employees is critical to their long-term success and that of your company. Teams is a great way for new employees to meet their teammates and ask questions as they get acquainted with the culture, team, and product. Guru gives these new employees a single place to find all the company knowledge they need to thrive, while you lower your costs of administrative support. Help new hires feel autonomous by allowing them to turn to Guru with all of their onboarding questions instead of having to interrupt another employee. With Guru and Teams, you can keep your new teammates productive in Teams, help existing employees stay focused on their own work, and reduce your new hire onboarding costs. Improve collaboration with Guru and Teams With Guru’s Teams integration, your teams have access to more of the information they need to stay productive within the Teams console. By bringing knowledge directly to the place where people already work, you can help make sure that important updates don’t go unnoticed and that teams spend less time searching for information and more time delivering value. Help keep your company connected, engaged, and aligned, both in real-time and asynchronously, with Guru in Teams. To get started with Guru’s Teams integration, log in to your Teams account and add Guru. To learn more about the benefits of collaborative knowledge management, visit Guru’s site.
- Enabling your organization for safe online meetings and collaboration with Microsoft Teamsby Microsoft_Teams_team on January 7, 2021 at 4:00 pm
In 2020, remote work became the norm for most organizations around the world – a trend that is likely to continue in 2021. In fact, the percentage of workers permanently working from home is expected to double this year. With more than 115 million daily active users on Microsoft Teams, we’ve seen how organizations have truly empowered their employees with remote collaboration tools such as online meetings, chat and calls, and real-time document coauthoring. As remote collaboration continues to be business critical, how can IT and security operations teams enable productivity while safeguarding enterprise assets? The Importance of end user trainingIn many ways, end users hold the key to protecting corporate assets because their actions or inactions can create inroads for cyber threats. Certainly, a data governance strategy and security tools like device management or automated information protection capabilities can help, but realistically, security operations can’t be involved in every action an end user makes. This makes end user training a vital element in any cyber security strategy. For example, training end users to use sensitivity labels to classify content appropriately can significantly improve security and compliance. Many of our customers have rolled out sensitivity labels for email and trained their users to flag emails that contain sensitive business information so that they can be appropriately restricted to specific audiences. In Teams, IT can enable easy-to-use security controls such as data encryption, data loss prevention, and secure guest access. But for these controls to work effectively, end users must be educated on when and how to appropriately use these security tools. Providing accessible and consumable end user trainingTo promote a security-conscious work environment, many organizations provide end user training through a dedicated internal site, such as a Wiki or Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page, and then amplify this training through communication channels or organizational initiatives to reiterate and reinforce a security mindset. Creating an effective end user security training program can be difficult especially for IT teams that don’t have the capacity or capabilities to do so. Microsoft Teams video training is a helpful place to start. Microsoft Teams training focused on safe online meetings and collaborationWith the influx in online collaboration, these new Microsoft Teams training assets are designed to help any user to take advantage of Teams security features and become Teams power users. Across the security-focused training, you’ll find three asset types: End user guides tailored to specific functions, such as how to mute attendees or create a new team Infographics that contain a collection of relevant actions or functions, like safe online meetings and collaboration controls Bite-sized videos demonstrating how to use Teams features Here are some of the practical topics covered in these training assets: Meeting options available to every meeting creator to control who can join the meeting directly or who can present their screen (note that some meeting option defaults are set by IT) How to mute individual attendees or mute all attendees Understanding presenter vs. attendee meeting role and how to promote/demote attendees Creating a new Team using an IT-created sensitivity label to help regulate sensitive information contained in the team How to end a Teams meeting for all attendees Understanding Teams chat policy violations, such as a message being blocked due to sharing sensitive business information or violating internal organization policies You can download and access the end user guides and infographics at the end of the post, while the bite-sized videos will be posted to the Microsoft Teams video training site. Tips on using the Microsoft Teams training assetsThe individual end user guides and bite-size training videos are ideal to host on a central training site for educating end users on how to use Teams features and functionality. The collective infographic helps group related security-focused functions together to help promote a security-conscious workforce. In addition to hosting the assets on a centralized site, end user training is often more impactful when the resources available or specific training is communicated through regular intervals. This continues to help promote any centralized training site and assets while also directly sharing a useful tip, trick, or useful feature. If you’ve recently rolled out Teams or are starting to scale adoption, more frequent communications such as a “Feature Friday” mail can help achieve a targeted training plan. This can be especially useful during an initial Teams rollout where general awareness of how to use Teams may be limited. Helping end users understand how to use Teams not only drives business productivity, but creates a frontline security defense of Teams power users! For more depth learning and interactive training make sure to check out the latest Teams training on Microsoft Learn including a specific learning path on enforcing security, privacy, and compliance in Microsoft Teams! End User Guides and Infographics Attendee Mute Meeting Options Meeting Roles Team Creation Sensitivity Safe Message Policy Data Loss Prevention End Meeting Security Tips and Tricks Infographic