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Microsoft Teams news from Microsoft Inspire 2020

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Last week Microsoft held its much anticipated annual partner conference, Microsoft Inspire. Due to the Covid-19 travel and social distancing restrictions, Microsoft delivered the whole conference online and completely free of charge. Having attended Microsoft’s summer conferences for over a decade – first as an employee, now as a partner – I found the experience a refreshing change. In particular, I was able to share the full schedule of sessions with my colleagues, so they could follow their specialist areas of interest. In turn, I had a great opportunity to zero in on those topics about which I was particularly keen.

As usual there was a ton of great content as well as product updates. Here is a summary of some of the key points I think are most critical for organizations and users of Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft commits to helping 25 million people acquire new digital skills needed for the Covid-19 economy

Reflecting on the impact of Covid-19 on society and our economy it is clear that part of the recovery will involve future investment in people around the world to ensure they have the digital skills needed to fill new jobs. Microsoft is focused on what it terms an “inclusive recovery” and programs designed to provide “easier access to digital skills for people hardest hit by job losses, including those with lower incomes, women, and under-represented minorities.”

Microsoft Teams and front-line workers

Recognizing the vital role played by front-line workers, Microsoft has invested heavily in making Microsoft Teams a formidable tool for these evolving jobs in the workforce. New capabilities in Microsoft Teams help front-line line workers connect and engage with information, apps and co-workers while enabling organizational agility. The new Communities feature provides access to Yammer announcements, updates, discussions and events directly from Teams. The Walkie Talkie feature, now in public preview, enables secure push-to-talk communication. Other new features streamline shift scheduling and task publishing for managers from front-line teams.

Microsoft Teams and Data Visualization

New enhancements to the Power Platform experience within Teams makes Teams an even more powerful hub for teamwork and business processes. Microsoft Dataflex is a relational database now built into Teams at no additional cost and enables customers to create, deploy, and manage apps and chatbots with Power Apps and Power Virtual Agent, without ever leaving Teams. This new functionality will empower business users to rapidly respond to changing business needs and create customer solutions within the collaboration app they use every day to get work done.

Microsoft Teams Rooms

In general, Teams Room Premium provides a cloud-based IT service that includes 24/7 proactive management and monitoring delivered by Microsoft experts. Teams Rooms Premium gives customers the option to shift the operational burden of their rooms to Microsoft. Or instead to a certified Microsoft partner. This solution is suited for customers who would like to modernize and expand their Microsoft Teams Rooms without scaling or ramping their internal resources to manage the demand. Customers can realize a range of benefits in this way. These include freeing up IT, gaining peace of mind, improving efficiency, and – very importantly – delighting end-users.

Wrapping up this wrap up…

As the image above shows, Microsoft Teams has seen some huge momentum over the last six months. It’s very clear Microsoft is focused on adding new features and functionality to support a variety of new use cases.

For more details on all that emerged from Microsoft Inspire 2020, do check out the aptly named Microsoft Inspire Book of News.

As always, the Cloud Communications division of NTT Ltd. will keep you up to date and help you get more value out of your Microsoft Teams investment. Do subscribe to the blog to receive further updates, and you can learn more about our Microsoft Teams solutions via the link below.

About the author

Andrew McGlone is a Director of Marketing at Arkadin, focusing on Arkadin’s Cloud Transformation Services which include Microsoft Teams, Calling Plans, Managed Services, Professional Services, Contact Center, Video Interoperability and Organizational Change Management. Andrew is passionate about ensuring Arkadin customers are able to gain authentic business value from their investments in Unified Communications technology and services. He previously spent 15 years in Marketing and Operations Roles at Microsoft.

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