News From Microsoft: Better Integration

news from microsoft

Recent news from Microsoft will be impacting business around the globe shortly, with changes to their communications platforms, planned integrations, and new tools offered at no cost.

✅ Better Integration Coming for Teams, Outlook, and Dynamics 365  

Microsoft announced last week that it plans to extend collaboration capabilities across some of their most popular solutions.

Think about the time spent between the moment you open an email or chat, find, and reply with the requested information, and then get back into the flow of your work. Add up those minutes-long interruptions, and you begin to realize why we often can’t finish everything on our to-do lists.

Brenda Bown, General Manager, Microsoft Business Applications

To maximize efficiency, they’re planning several integration updates to Teams, Outlook and Dynamics 365. Their planned integrations between MS Dynamics 365 and Teams will allow users to use the full convenience of Teams (meet, call, chat, etc.) within the Dynamics workspace. The convenience of having Outlook, Teams and Dynamics talk to one another is something we know many business users will appreciate.

What does this mean for your business?

If your business uses Dynamics 365, you’ll be happy to see an improved flow between the different components, as well as communication capabilities with Teams and Outlook. If you’re curious about any of the business applications available in the Dynamics 365 portfolio, contact us to learn more and see if this is something that could benefit your business. Our licensing experts will provide options and help you weigh the pros and cons of the different applications.

✅ New Version of Office Won’t Require a Microsoft 365 Subscription

Business owners have spoken, and Microsoft is listening. They recently announced the release of their newest product – Microsoft Office Long Term Servicing Channel (LSTC). This product aims to fill the prevalent need for a Microsoft Office solution that isn’t tethered to the cloud.

We have built Office LTSC for a limited set of specific situations: regulated devices that cannot accept feature updates for years at a time, process control devices on the manufacturing floor that are not connected to the internet, and specialty systems that must stay locked in time and require a long-term servicing channel.

Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365

Many businesses have opted not to migrate to the cloud – whether by choice or by necessity – and Microsoft’s shift to the cloud had left them with few options. The new version of Office does not require an Office 365 subscription, and can be used on systems that stay offline for long periods of time. It will be governed by the Fixed Lifecycle Policy, and be supported for 5 years after release. Not surprisingly, there will be limitations to the LSTC version of office compared with the app offerings included in the Office 365 subscription.

A commercial preview is coming in April. Want to know how to deploy this new solution in your business? Let’s talk!

What does this mean for your business?

Does your business have systems that operate offline? This option may prove beneficial for certain cases, as it provides a viable, secure version of this application specifically designed for such situations. Not sure if this applies to you? Give us a call and we’ll be happy to talk through it.

✅ Microsoft’s Robotic Process Automation Tool Now Free for Windows 10 Users

Power Automate Desktop, an enterprise-level automation tool, is now free for Windows 10 users and available for download. Until now, this tool would have cost at least $15 a month for each per-user license. Microsoft originally launched what they called their “attended Robotic Process Automation” solution in September of 2020. It allows users to create workflows and save time by automating repetitive tasks. Power Automate includes 370 prebuilt actions to help you get started – and these include workflows across different applications. It also lets you build your own scripts, for the more advanced users.

What does this mean for your business?

Most of us have daily work tasks that are repetitive, time-consuming, but still important. This automation tool allows people to set some of those tasks on ‘auto-pilot’ with an easy-to-use interface that simplifies the process even if you have no scripting experience. Curious? Click here to watch an overview and learn more.

✅ Reminder: Skype for Business Online Retires July 31, 2021

Microsoft originally announced in July of 2020 that it will be retiring its Skype for Business online service effective July 31, 2021. If your company is using Skype for Business, you will no longer have access to the service after its retirement date. Microsoft Teams is effectively replacing this service, so you will be able to use Teams under the same licensing agreement.

Prepare your business for this change, if you haven’t already, by making plans to upgrade to Teams. Microsoft provides several transition resources, to include an upgrade framework.

Our special projects engineers have already helped many clients successfully transition to Microsoft Teams. We can do the same for you!

What does this mean for your business?

If your company is one of the many that use Skype for Business as a communication tool for your staff, the time to plan for the transition is now. Give us a call  or send us a note to learn what your options are.

From licensing to migration planning (and everything in between), we are here for you! Our team of talented technicians are experts at maneuvering the Microsoft Office 365 licensing landscape and will make sure your business is given the tools it needs to communicate effectively!

Call us at 937-490-5600 or Contact Us to learn more.

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