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Let’s start by describing what an app registration is:  An app registration happens when you allow an external program to integrate with your Microsoft 365 tenant.  A common example might be allowing a scheduling tool like Calendly to access your companies’ calendars stored in M365. 

What we are noticing more of is the requirement for mobile phones to require an app registration to be able to access company email if the employee is not using the mobile Microsoft Outlook app  (eg, when using the mobile phone’s built in mail client).   

It is also possible for these permissions remain after the application is no longer needed or in use.  Because app registrations are persistent, they may present a security risk long after the permissions have been forgotten about. 

Examples of things we’ve seen include: Zoom, Samsung email, Apple Business Manager, Quickbooks desktop (for email), Zapier, Smartsheet, Addevent, Calendly, Atlassian, LinkedIn, Polly, Doodle, and so on.   Read more...

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We’d like to take this opportunity to remind clients about the price increases to all Microsoft 365 packages on a monthly term and commitment effective July 1, 2022.  

We wrote about this in our February blog post, please refer to that article for further explanation and information.   

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We learned late last month that as part of the price increases to certain M365 packages, Microsoft added audio conferencing as part of the base package when Teams is also part of the package.

Previously, this was a $4 add-on – so this helps offset some of the price increases.

Audio conferencing allows people to call into Teams meetings with a regular phone line – much like the capability of being able to dial into a zoom meeting.

If your meeting invites do not automatically include a dial in number and you need assistance turning on this new feature, please let us know – this feature is still rolling out, and we may need to change some settings in your tenant.

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As previously advised in this newsletter, SpireTech has been tracking Microsoft’s upcoming price increases.  There are two types of increases, and effective dates for these increases.

The first price increase is effective March 1, 2022 affects six popular M365 packages listed below:

PackageOld PriceNew Monthly Term PriceNew Annual Term Price (Billed annually x 12)
Microsoft 365 Business Basic$5$7.20$6
Microsoft 365 Business Premium$20$26.40$22
Office 365 E1$8$12$10
Office 365 E3$20$27.60$23
Office 365 E5$35$45.60$38
Microsoft 365 E3$32$43.20$36

The second price increase takes effect July 1, 2022 and is a 20% increase to all packages with a monthly term and payment.  In part, this increase is due to a change in contract term enforcement behavior with Microsoft.  Until now, it was widely practiced in the industry to use the annual discount price (billed monthly) and allow customers to change/cancel/downgrade their subscriptions without penalty.   Read more...

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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.

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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!

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Our client, VLMK Engineering + Design, came to us looking for help with their phone systems in their office. As a structural and civil engineering firm, they are constantly fielding client calls, coordinating with contractors, and connecting internally to bring their projects to completion. For them, communication is important. We were able to set them up with Microsoft 365 Business Voice, a cloud-based calling solution that fits their needs and has already been happily adopted by their team.

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Facilitating collaboration amongst both remote and in-person teams can be challenging. It is easy for meetings to get derailed and difficult to evolve your conversation into results. However, with the help of SharePoint you can easily align your team and quickly create documentation that is accessible to and able to be edited by everyone.

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Our Client, a local Non-Profit here in Portland, Oregon, wanted to consolidate their IT infrastructure and move to a fully remote work model. Though they already had Microsoft 365, they knew they were underutilizing it and paying for multiple redundant services.

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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. 

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