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Last month, we wrote that this new service from Microsoft promised to be a disruptive technology.  We’ve since learned that discounts will soon be announced on your first year of service.  While we aren’t able to disclose those numbers or timing yet, let’s say the traditional telecom and PBX vendors should be quaking in their shoes, because the savings before the discounts are substantial. 

The convenience of being able to use your bluetooth headset with your computer, the Teams app on your phone, or a compatible desktop phone to make/receive business calls from anywhere without being tethered to the office promises to be a game-changer and key enabler for WFH moving forward.  Since it’s integrated with Microsoft Teams, you don’t need to change your mode of working from one communication device to another.   

We’ve already had several clients express interest in moving to Microsoft 365 Business Voice, and projects are starting soon.  If you want to learn more or get on the list, get in touch! 

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Many of us are still working remotely, and a lot of our communication and meetings are occurring using Microsoft Teams.  Here are some things we’re doing to try and stay better connected during this time: 

  • Add a tab to your team for a document or information you’d like to stay front and center.  This could be some key performance indicators (KPI’s), goals, core values, or some other information you’d like your team to be reminded of. 
  • “Social hour” meetings.  We hold informal get-together’s at 4:30 once every week or two.  This enables us to bond and talk about non-business issues and catch up on major developments in each other’s personal lives.  
  • Lights, camera, action!  At SpireTech, we ask our staff during scheduled meetings to have their cameras on.  We don’t require it for quick 1:1 teams calls, but for scheduled meetings it is preferred.  This really helps bring people together during an otherwise fairly isolated time and is a nice replacement while we’re lacking the ability to meet in a conference room. 
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It used to be that if you wanted to record a video of your screen, you had to buy some commercial software.  Not anymore.  Microsoft Stream (included in many M365 subscriptions) recently released a feature to allow you to record your screen, we have found this useful for training or marketing activities.  You can optionally record yourself at the same time with a front-facing camera, if you want a view of the person speaking. 

Videos are stored on Stream, and privacy settings can be controlled for each video before it is uploaded.  Videos can be downloaded, and the format they are stored in is compatible with YouTube, so if you want to record something for later upload to YouTube you can do that as well. 

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Many things are changing in the world right now, and technology is no exception.  As usual, we are spending a lot of time on R&D, training, and investigating new technology.  Why do you care?  Because we see certain technologies being key enablers for our clients moving forward.  We’re already using most of these technologies (accelerated by WFH), and many clients are rethinking the way they want to work.  

If you don’t know about these key enablers, you should, because they are disruptive technologies.  We’ll give you a primer here, with the “why” for each.  

WhatWhy
Azure ADEnables security in a WFH, cloud-first workplace 
IntuneAutomatic software deployment, enforcement of company IT standards, mobile device security 
AutopilotAutomatic setup and configuration of new computers, anywhere 
SharePointFile sharing without a server, simultaneous document editing 
OneDriveEasy access to SharePoint and backup of local documents 
TeamsTeam chat, meetings, calls, and collaboration 
Microsoft 365 Business VoicePotentially disruptive extension to teams calling and traditional business phone systems 

Many of these features are things you’re already paying for, and others present minimal additional cost.   Read more...


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Apr 1, 2020 

Portland, OR. – for immediate release 

In response to an uptick in demand for customers to work from home, SpireTech has developed some new technology to rapidly move legacy servers to the cloud.  For a quick demonstration video, please see our YouTube Channel: 

PS – This is meant to add a laugh to everyone’s day – even April fool’s day is not quite the same this year! Be safe, and let us know if we can be helpful to you.  Read more...


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“Co-authoring” is available in Office365, which is the ability for multiple people to edit a file at the same time.  The file must be stored on Sharepoint or Onedrive for this feature to be available (not an internal file server).  To see it in action, along with sharing and invites, please watch this video:

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Several years ago, we hated OneDrive and had massive problems with efforts to implement it with our clients. We’re happy to say now that it works, and works well.  Microsoft has made great strides in improving the product and it is now a valid replacement for third party solutions like Box, Dropbox, FileCloud, and for many small businesses, even an on-premise file server. 

Recently, we’ve been working with clients to remove other collaboration solutions and get them onto SharePoint/OneDrive, and they’ve been happy with the results.  SharePoint allows you to setup shares for teams of people and integrates well with the windows 10 file explorer and OneDrive.  It even allows multi-user editing of documents at the same time with others, much like google docs has for years.  You can tell it to backup your personal documents folder and make it available on all your devices.  

“Syncing” of all the data is not required – you can have access to far more data that is available on your local hard drive – but you can tell it to keep certain files available locally if you want, for offline use and editing.   Read more...


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SpireTech is continually seeking innovative solutions to keep our clients up to date with current options. One of the products we’ve been offering is called FileCloud, which can serve as a file server replacement (when only cloud is needed), or as a hybrid that combines both cloud and on-premises file access that is compatible with Windows servers, workstations, and also Macs. It enables employees to work anywhere, anytime, without the need for VPN software that can sometimes be slow and/or clunky.

Why Might You Choose to Use FileCloud?

FileCloud brings Enterprise level features and capabilities without complex or costly software licensing requirements. The FileCloud price is competitive with other major file sharing platforms, and at the same time allows you to meet data security or compliance requirements in a variety of ways.

FileCloud Sync

The FileCloud Sync app provides the same features you see in some of the major file sharing applications that you may have used in the past, without the worry of not knowing where your data is actually stored and who it is that can access it.  Read more...


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used with permission from Microsoft US Small and Midsize Business Blog

Remote employees have come a long way since the days when trying to work while away from the workplace was like a sentence in solitary confinement. Thanks to the Cloud, they no longer have to use cumbersome methods to access office computer files or receive access codes from special devices just to make a phone call. But, do your remote employees really feel like they are part of the team?

There’s a lot to be said for the sense of community formed by team members who are all in the same physical location. Here are four pitfalls of working remotely and how Microsoft* tools can help employees from San Francisco to South Beach collaborate as if they are all sitting around the same table.

#1. Access to files and software

When attending meetings, the people in the office conference room have an advantage over remote employees.  Read more...


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used with permission from HP Technology at Work

Is your team having a communications breakdown? Or maybe just leaning too heavily on endless email threads? From workflow management apps to all-in-one collaboration tools, here are some of the many services available to help your colleagues cut down on email (yay!), get work done more efficiently, and—here’s the best part—have more fun.

Group messaging

  • Slack: is so popular that there’s a good chance your office is already using it. If not, this cloud-based tool should be the first one you look into. Its themed channels for teams, customizable alert settings, archiving, and search capabilities make it a robust tool for both real-time messaging and storing old conversations for easy reference. Many people are also using Slack channels for personal use outside of work, so your team will probably adapt to it easily.
  • Workplace by Facebook: Speaking of systems that are popular outside of work, Workplace by Facebook lets your staff instant message, group chat, create team groups, and use newsfeed features with tools they are already familiar with from social media.
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