As of April 22, 2020, Microsoft rolled out the new Microsoft 365 product line to everyone across the computing spectrum, from single-user consumer licenses to organizations at the enterprise level. While the Microsoft 365 rollout has been ongoing to Business accounts for some time, Microsoft made a bold move by giving consumers many of the same products in a package under the same name. It’s not only good branding for Microsoft, but good for your business, as well.
What You Need To Know
- Existing licenses don’t change in price. The change is purely in the name of each license type and the addition of features and tools meant to offer more value to each type of user.
- Microsoft 365 Business is now renamed “Microsoft 365 Business Premium”
- Microsoft 365 Business Premium Users will now get Azure AD Premium P1 Licensing bundled into their license– an upgrade from previous Microsoft 365 Business licenses which only included Conditional Access, self-service password reset, and Multi-Factor Authentication. The new features are touted to provide a changing workforce with the most secure access to your business systems and accounts, even when working from home.
- New Azure AD P1 features include:
- Azure AD Application Proxy An Azure Active Directory service used for verifying access to your organization’s applications used by remote workers. According to Microsoft, Azure AD Application Proxy is more secure than VPN and reverse proxy solutions and easier to implement.
- Dynamic Group Access An Azure AD capability that lets your IT pros set custom rules to grant group membership automatically for users or devices, “Users and devices are added or removed if they meet the conditions for a group,” according to Microsoft’s Dynamic Group documentation.
- Passwordless Authentication via: Microsoft Hello (facial recognition), FIDO2 key fobs, Microsoft Authenticator App
Noteworthy New Features
New AI Tools: Office gets powerful editing and researching sidebars that can make all your communications stronger with Microsoft Editor. Improvements to the Editor now include full sentence rewrites with a simple right click and a Similarity Checker to help prevent accidental plagiarism. The Editor will now also provide suggestions on clarity, conciseness, and overuse of jargon or acronyms, and can even call attention to words or phrases that might unintentionally project bias.
PowerPoint has a new Presentation Coach that listens while you do a dry-run of your presentation, then offers feedback on pacing, filler words, grammar tips, and other public-speaking skills. In addition, PowerPoint Designer will boost the production value of your presentations, suggesting modern and professional designs and assets you can use.
Excel gets a neat Photo Import feature to import a spreadsheet of data from a photo of the columns and rows– great for businesses that are finally digitizing all those old records.
Outlook Mobile gets a Cortana-fueled boost with a new feature called “Play My Emails”. Think of Play My Emails like the old answering machine you used to listen to when you got home from work, except Cortana is reading your new emails and changes to calendar events to you with a natural voice, so you can get a jump on your day while using your hands for other tasks, like your commute, or pouring that first cup of coffee in your kitchen.
Stream: Organize an internal video library for your company, such as recordings of meetings or live events, HR onboarding, training videos, and personal messages of support from leadership. Since Stream is connected to your Sharepoint libraries, it can be accessed across all devices and embedded into many other digital spaces that your employees interact with in their Microsoft Teams workflow.
Yammer: Think of Yammer like a LinkedIn community just for people inside your organization. It fosters employee engagement and cross-department pollination while your company isn’t able to mull around the office or have lively lunchroom discussions about the latest management bestseller. It’s different from your Microsoft Teams Channels and Chats because it’s a company-wide space. Yammer shines as a high-level company social media channel, rather than niche dialogues and conversations.
Microsoft To-Do: Wunderlist is getting shuttered next month (May 6, 2020) so now is a great time to embrace Microsoft To-Do. Outlook Tasks has also been rolled into To-Do, which is available via web, desktop for both Mac and PC, Live Tiles on Windows10 machines, iOS, and Android phones. To-Do gains new collaboration/shared lists features, as well as steps within to-do list items, making it a capable but nimble personal task management tool.
Upgrades to Consumer Accounts: Consumer accounts (paid subscribers on Microsoft 365 Personal and Family licenses) will now include 1TB of cloud storage per user, one hour per month of Skype calling to landlines or mobile numbers, video-calling tools such as Skype’s Meet Now, Microsoft’s AI-fueled tools for Office, and a new app to manage screen time and boundaries called Microsoft Family Safety. Skype Meet Now will enable users to make secure video-calls to multiple users without needing to download any software–a tricky feature which people may have grown accustomed to when using Microsoft competitor Zoom.
The Office apps are also getting a massive refresh of new templates across the suite, including new Excel tools to aid in household accounting, and integration with Plaid, a secure data aggregator for connecting existing finance accounts to other platforms. These new tools are aimed at helping families stay organized and engaged in a new educational and professional landscape. With so many students enrolled in online/distance learning, parents can leverage the tools to be more involved in their students’ classes, and stay seamlessly connected to the Microsoft Ecosystem they use for their own work.
Microsoft365 is Good News for Everyone – Especially Businesses on the Microsoft Cloud
Microsoft has been refining and expanding the suite of tools in their ecosystem for years, and Microsoft 365 reflects a paramount accomplishment. While you may think only Windows users are using the Microsoft ecosystem, the odds are strong that any potential customer or client of yours, even if they don’t use Windows, already has a Microsoft account– making collaboration on existing projects, sales prospecting with Meetings, and audience-building through Live Events a seamless process. If your client or partner uses any of these services, they already have a Microsoft account:
- Skype account
- XBox Live account
- Microsoft To-Do App
- Office Online or Office Web Apps (basic Office apps have been available as free web apps since 2010)
- OneDrive storage account
- MSN email
- Bing account
- Outlook.com email
- When setting up their most recent Windows computer, they probably created one
Want to know what new features your company can leverage for growth in a cloud-based business world? Windows Management Experts has over 30 years combined experience as a leader in Microsoft Infrastructure & Cloud. WME is proud to be a Microsoft Certified Partner with gold competency in datacenter, device and deployment and we get the job done right the first time, guaranteed! Call (888) 307-0133 to speak with Windows Management Experts today for a free Cloud Licensing consultation.