SpireTech Blog - Category: Office 365
Office 365 tips, tricks, and updates
Microsoft has notified partners that they are implementing a new commerce experience starting January 2022. They had also announced in August 2021 that a change with pricing to certain subscription packages was coming in 2022. SpireTech has been tracking these changes as Microsoft has already adjusted some of their terms after announcement in August 2021.
At this time, we can share what we know and how that may affect your existing subscriptions and will keep you updated as we learn more.
What is changing that impacts our clients:
- You can still pay monthly for annual term licenses, but cannot reduce the quantity purchased during that term.
- Microsoft will now enforce subscription terms to all subscriptions
- Microsoft will implement premium pricing for month-to-month terms
- Microsoft is raising the rate on certain subscription options regardless of terms
- Microsoft will implement a pro-rated refund for the first 72 hours of term only
- To date, Microsoft has allowed Partners to provision subscriptions for clients and raise and lower subscriptions counts at their leisure.
Microsoft recently released a new feature for M365 that automatically converts word documents to PowerPoint presentations. Why is this useful?
Perhaps you have prepared a proposal for a client that you’re going to be reviewing in Teams. Instead of going over a boring Word document, you can convert it to a PowerPoint! This feature is only available in Word online.
The AI uses what your document “says” to choose icons and images. Headers and document formatting is used as a clue to create new slides for each header section. Bullet lists often become stylized lists, sometimes with images.
Try it out in Word online by going to File->Export->Export to PowerPoint (preview). Choose a theme and watch what happens – it’s pretty handy!
Microsoft Teams continues to get better. Microsoft has introduced several new features:
- Together mode– puts everyone in the meeting in a virtual room together, instead of the usual “box for each person”. You can customize the setting for the room. We thought this was sort of cheesy, but we might try this feature again during our virtual Covid-era Christmas party.
- AI-based noise suppression – reduces unwanted background noise during meetings.
- Polls during meetings – to use this feature, you’ll need to add the Forms app as a Tab to your meeting. Learn how.
- Improved iOS functionality, including the ability to view shared content, speaker view, and Apple CarPlay support.
We have been rolling out Microsoft 365 Business voice to clients that are transitioning to a work-from-home, virtual workplace. It has been a resounding success so far – and clients are loving the flexibility and savings it has offered them.
Let us know if you are interested in transitioning your current phone system solution to M365 business voice!
Microsoft announced changes coming to their Stream video product to better integrate it with the rest of the M365 ecosystem. Currently, recordings are stored in Stream, which requires accessing a separate site to view recordings of teams meetings. The service will be revised starting in October to store Recordings in OneDrive or SharePoint. Here are the guidelines and timing we’ve been provided:
- Early October (October 5, 2020) – You can enable the Teams Meeting policy to have meeting recordings saved to OneDrive and SharePoint instead of Microsoft Stream (Classic). Requires use of powershell to enable this policy.
- End of October (October 31, 2020) – Meeting recordings in OneDrive and SharePoint will have support for English captions via the Teams transcription feature.
- Early to mid-November (Rolling out between November 1 -15 , 2020) – All new Teams meeting recordings will be saved to OneDrive and SharePoint .
Microsoft has issued guidance around the changes in behavior you will notice:
- Meeting storage:
- Non-Channel meetings will be stored in the OneDrive of the person who clicked the record button in a special folder labeled “Recordings” – that sits at the top of the recorder’s OneDrive.
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.
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.