5 Ways to Leverage Microsoft 365’s New AI Innovations

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Microsoft 365 has a powerful suite of cloud-based productivity tools. They can help you work smarter and faster. Microsoft has consistently been at the forefront of innovation. M365 was one of the very first all-in-one cloud tools, introduced as Office 365 in 2013. Now, Microsoft and its business tools are at the leading edge of generative AI.

The Microsoft 365 platform has been adding some amazing AI innovations. They sit inside tools like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams, and more. If you know how to use them, these smart features can enhance your experience. As well as significantly boosting your productivity.

Next, we will explore some of the ways you can leverage Microsoft 365’s new AI innovations. So that you can get more out of your work.

Microsoft Copilot: A Game-Changer in Collaboration

Microsoft Copilot is the crown jewel of Microsoft’s AI innovations. It’s designed to be your virtual collaborator. It can help you generate code, write documents, and even craft emails more efficiently. This AI-powered tool is built on the foundations of OpenAI’s ChatGPT technology. This enables it to understand context and anticipate your needs. As well as generate content in a remarkably human-like manner.

Here are some of the tools in the Microsoft universe that incorporate Copilot:

  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • Outlook
  • Teams
  • Edge
  • Windows
  • Bing
  • Dynamics 365 Sales

How can you take advantage of the benefits offered by Microsoft Copilot? Here are a few ways to jump on the added efficiency and time-savings they bring.

1. Speed Up Document Creation

In the realm of document creation, Copilot shines as a versatile writing companion. It helps when drafting a report, crafting a presentation, or composing an email. Copilot provides intelligent suggestions, helping you articulate your thoughts more effectively. It speeds up the writing process. It also ensures that your content is clear, concise, and tailored to your audience.

2. Enhance Your Teams Meeting Experience

One of the key strengths of Copilot is its ability to enhance collaboration across teams. It can create coherent and context-aware responses. Such as a summary of meeting notes and an action item list.

Another helpful feature is the ability to catch up on what you’ve missed. Have you arrived late to a Teams meeting? You can just ask it to summarize the important points of the conversation so far.

3. Create PowerPoints with Ease

More people can become “PowerPoint Masters” with Copilot. The AI-infused features in PPT can create a slide deck for you based on text prompts.

It can tap into Microsoft’s stock images to fill your slides. Copilot will also suggest text to use based on your presentation topic. Do you have a PowerPoint that you need help with? The tool can reorganize your slides for a better presentation flow.

4. Enjoy Smart Business Insights in Excel

Another new AI innovation in Microsoft 365 is Excel Ideas. This feature can help you analyze and visualize your data with ease. Excel Ideas can automatically detect patterns and trends in your data. It will suggest charts, tables, and summaries that best suit your needs.

You can also use Excel Ideas to ask natural language questions about your data. Such as, “What is the average sales by region?” or “Which product has the highest profit margin?” You’ll get instant answers in the form of charts or formulas.

5. Save Time in Outlook with AI Help

We all get those long emails from time to time. The ones that you push to the bottom of your inbox for when you have more time. Well, the new Copilot feature in Outlook can help. Just ask it to summarize the key points of an email for you to save yourself reading time.

You can also use Copilot in Outlook to help write emails. It will save help by providing a first draft. As well as suggesting responses to emails in your inbox.

A Future of Intelligent Productivity

As we embrace the era of intelligent productivity, Microsoft 365 becomes more powerful. Its new AI innovations pave the way for a more efficient work environment.

By incorporating these capabilities into your daily workflow, you’re staying competitive. As well as setting the pace for the future of work.

Tap into the Future with Our M365 Services

Microsoft 365’s commitment to continuous improvement ensures that you have cutting-edge tools. The ones needed to stay ahead, innovate, and thrive. Especially in a rapidly evolving digital landscape. Embrace the power of AI. Unlock a new dimension of productivity with Microsoft 365.

Our team of M365 experts can help you ensure you’re getting the full benefit of these features. As well as new ones Microsoft is developing and rolling out in the coming months. We’ll help your team save time and improve your bottom line.

Give us a call today to schedule a chat.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

How Can You Leverage the New MS Teams Payment App?

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Are you a small business owner or a freelancer who offers services online? If so, you might be wondering how to get paid by your customers in a fast and convenient way. You might have tried different payment platforms. But they often require you to switch between different apps or websites. This can be time-consuming and confusing.

There is now another option to streamline the payment process. Microsoft has launched the Teams Payments app. This is a new feature that allows you to request and receive payments from your customers. You do it within Microsoft Teams meetings.

The Teams Payments app is currently available in the United States and Canada. Subscribers to Teams Essentials and Microsoft 365 Business get it at no charge.

How Does the Teams Payment App Work?

The Teams Payments app is simple to use. You can get the app from the Microsoft AppStore. You add it to your Teams account and connect it to your preferred payment service. You can choose from:

  • Stripe
  • PayPal
  • GoDaddy

Once you have set up the app, you can start requesting payments from your customers in Teams meetings.

How Do You Send a Payment Request?

To send a payment request, you just need to open the meeting chat. Then, select the Payments icon from the messaging extensions. Then, you can fill out a simple form. It includes the amount, currency, description, and recipients of your request.

You can send the same request to several people if you want. The app will generate a card that shows the status of each payment, whether it is unpaid or paid.

Meeting chat

Image credit: Microsoft

Your customers will see the same card in their meeting chat. They can click on the Pay Now button to complete their payment. The system will redirect them to the payment service that you have connected to the app. There, they can enter their payment details and confirm their transaction.

Once they have done that, they will see a confirmation message in the chat. You will receive a notification that your payment has been processed.

Payments

Image credit: Microsoft

Benefits of Using the Teams Payment App

The Teams Payments app has many benefits. Both for small businesses and freelancers who offer online services. Here are some of them:

It saves time and hassle.

You don’t need to switch between different apps or websites. You can easily request and receive payments from your customers. You can do everything within Teams meetings. This makes it more convenient and efficient for both parties.

It increases customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Your customers will appreciate the ease of paying you through Teams meetings. They don’t need to create an account or download an app to pay you. They can complete their transaction in a few clicks right inside the meeting.

It boosts your revenue and cash flow.

You can get paid faster and more securely by using the Teams Payments app. You don’t need to wait for invoices or checks to clear. You can receive your money within minutes of completing a service. Either directly into your bank account or PayPal account.

It enhances your professional image and credibility.

You can show your customers that you are using a reliable and trusted payment platform. One built by a well-known company that has been a technology leader for decades. You can also add a seller policy to your payment requests. Here you can specify your terms and conditions, cancellation policy, refund policy, etc.

It helps you keep track of payments.

Keeping track of payments is crucial for financial management. With the Teams Payments App, you can track transactions in real-time. You’ll receive instant notifications for successful payments. It will help you maintain a comprehensive record of your financial interactions.

It’s seamlessly integrated with Microsoft 365.

The Teams Payments App seamlessly integrates with Microsoft 365. You can leverage the power of Microsoft’s ecosystem. Using it to manage your communications, collaborations, and payments together. No need for more logins or complicated setups – it’s all within one platform.

It increases productivity.

Efficiency is the key to productivity. You reduce the time spent on payment-related tasks by integrating Payments into Teams. This efficiency translates into increased productivity. It allows you and your team to focus on core business activities and driving growth.

The Teams Payments app marks a significant leap in digital business transactions. By leveraging this powerful tool, you’re simplifying payments. You’re also enhancing customer experiences, ensuring data security, and boosting productivity.

We Can Help You Get More Out of Microsoft 365

The Teams Payments app is a great way to simplify and streamline your payment process. It can help you save time, increase customer satisfaction, and boost revenue.

Need help with this or other Microsoft 365 tools? Our experts can work with you to help you make the most out of your Microsoft subscription.

Give us a call today to schedule a chat.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

7 Helpful Features Rolled Out in the Fall Windows 11 Update

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In a world where technology constantly evolves, Microsoft stands at the forefront. It continues to pioneer innovations. Innovations that transform how we interact with our digital universe.

The fall Windows 11 update is a testament to Microsoft’s commitment to excellence. It’s more than just an upgrade. It’s a leap into the future of computing. Microsoft touts it as “The most personal Windows 11 experience.”

Let’s explore some of the great features that make this update so significant.

Microsoft Copilot: Your Intelligent Partner in Creativity

A standout feature of the fall Windows 11 update is Microsoft Copilot. This AI-driven marvel is like your personal PC assistant.

Need help summarizing a web page? Want to change to dark mode, but forgot how? Looking for a quick custom image for a social media post? Microsoft Copilot can do all that and more.

Microsoft Copilot
Image Credit: Microsoft

Copilot is seamlessly integrated into Windows 11. It offers real-time suggestions and turns ideas into reality with remarkable ease. Ask it what you need, and the AI engine gets to work.

Updated Apps (Paint, Snipping Tool, Clipchamp & More)

Have you ever wished that Windows’ Snipping Tool could do more? This update grants that wish. The Snipping Tool is just one of many to get an AI upgrade.

Look for new capabilities in Paint, Clipchamp, and Photos. Get a unique image from inputting a text prompt and style. The Cocreator tool in Paint makes it easy to jumpstart your creativity. It will generate the image, then you can edit it in the same app.

Microsoft Clipchamp is one of the easiest video creator tools out there. You can now just drag in your assets and clips. Then, click to have the AI engine work its magic to create a video for you.

The new Clipchamp Auto Compose feature can:

  • Recommend scenes
  • Make edits
  • Create a narrative based on your inputs

Easy Data Migration with Windows Backup

When you buy a new computer, moving data can be a pain. It can take hours to move your “pc life” between devices. And there’s always the risk you’ll miss something.

The new Windows Backup feature makes moving between computers easier. You can choose backup options and folders. When ready to move, it’s a simple process. You can restore the new PC from another backed-up PC.

Microsoft Edge: A Faster and More Secure Browsing Experience

Microsoft Edge received significant enhancements. These focus on speed, responsiveness, and security. The Edge Secure Network feature offers more gigabytes. Microsoft increased user storage from 1GB to 5GB. This function encrypts your internet connection to secure data.

Edge Secure Network has many features of a VPN. This is great for extra online security. It’s also helpful for companies trying to prevent breaches from clicks on phishing links.

Save Energy & Battery Power

A feature called Adaptive Dimming is another enhancement of this update. Your screen slowly dims if you’re no longer paying attention. This has the dual benefit of saving energy and helping you refocus.

PC sensors power this feature as well as two others. So, it’s going to be more common with newer computers.

The other two features that use sensors are:

  • Wake on Approach
  • Lock on Leave

A More Personal Windows 11 Experience

Beyond the technical innovations, this update brings more. Including a more personal touch to the user experience. Tailored to individual preferences, Windows 11 becomes an extension of the user’s identity.

This includes things like:

  • Personalized themes
  • Custom widgets
  • Intelligent assistants

Every interaction feels curated and intuitive. It makes for a truly personalized operating system.

Other Cool Enhancements

There’s a lot of excitement packed into Windows 11. Here are a few more new features you can explore.

  • Copilot in Microsoft Shopping: Find what you need fast when shopping online. Bing will provide tailored recommendations based on your requests.
  • Content Credentials: Add an invisible digital watermark to your AI-generated images in Bing. Cryptographic methods help you tag your work.
  • Bing Chat Enterprise Updates: Boost work creativity and enjoy multimodal visual search. Find information using only images.
  • DALL.E 3 Model from Open AI: Use the Image Creator in Bing and you’ll likely be impressed. It’s had an upgrade and uses the DALL.E 3 model to render images from text prompts.

Harness the Power of Microsoft Products

Microsoft is definitely a leader in work productivity tools. And it has been for a long time. If you’re still working like it was 2020, let us help you upgrade. Employees can be more efficient than ever with the right apps.

We’ve got your back with Microsoft 365, Windows 11, and other solutions. Our experts will guide you, so you can gain an edge on the competition.

Give us a call today to schedule a chat.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

What Is Microsoft Sales Copilot & What Does It Do?

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The use of AI-driven processes is exploding. Every time you turn around, software has gotten more intelligent. Harnessing the power of AI and machine learning is crucial for staying competitive.

Microsoft is a pioneer in the tech industry and this new AI era. It continues to lead the way with innovative solutions designed to empower businesses. One such innovation is Microsoft Sales Copilot.

This is a tool poised to reshape the future of business. Next, we’ll delve into what Microsoft Sales Copilot is. As well as how it is revolutionizing the world of sales and customer insights.

The Birth of Microsoft Sales Copilot

Microsoft Sales Copilot is the latest addition to the company’s robust portfolio. It was officially introduced in July 2023. It represents a significant leap forward in leveraging AI and machine learning. It’s designed specifically to enhance sales processes and customer engagement.

This groundbreaking tool is built on the foundation of Dynamics 365 Customer Insights. This is Microsoft’s platform for unifying customer data and delivering actionable insights. The tool combines the capabilities of Customer Insights with AI-driven features. Sales Copilot offers sales teams a comprehensive and intelligent solution. Both for customer engagement and relationship management.

What Can Microsoft Sales Copilot Do?

Personalized Customer Insights

Personalized customer insights is one of the core features of Microsoft Sales Copilot. It achieves this by leveraging AI and machine learning to analyze a wide range of data sources. This includes:

  • Customer behavior
  • Buying history
  • Customer interactions

By aggregating and processing this data, Sales Copilot saves salespeople time. It can provide sales professionals with a 360-degree view of their customers. As well as help them understand preferences, needs, and potential pain points.

AI-Driven Recommendations

Sales Copilot doesn’t just stop at providing insights. It goes a step further by offering AI-driven recommendations. These recommendations guide sales teams in their interactions with customers.

For example, the tool can suggest things like:

  • The most appropriate communication channels
  • Timing for follow-ups
  • Tailored, client-specific content recommendations

This level of personalization enables sales teams to engage with customers more effectively.

Enhanced Collaboration

Collaboration is a cornerstone of successful sales processes. Sales Copilot recognizes this by facilitating collaboration among team members. It provides a centralized platform where sales professionals can do things like:

  • Share customer insights
  • Discuss strategies
  • Collaborate on deals

This improves internal communication. It also ensures sales team alignment in the approach to engaging with customers.

Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics is another powerful aspect of Microsoft Sales Copilot. The tool analyzes historical data and customer behavior patterns. This allows it to predict future customer actions and trends.

This empowers sales teams to make informed decisions. As well as proactively address customer needs, rather than simply reacting to them.

Seamless Integration

Sales Copilot seamlessly integrates with other Microsoft tools and services. This creates a unified ecosystem. This integration allows for a smooth flow of data between applications. It eliminates the need for manual data entry, reducing the risk of errors. It also ensures the consolidation of all customer interactions and data. Having customer information in one place makes for easy access and analysis.

Cloud Migration Program

Besides Sales Copilot, Microsoft also introduced a new cloud migration program. This is in conjunction with Dynamics 365 Customer Insights. This program aims to simplify the process of migrating customer data to the cloud. The integration of Sales Copilot with this program further enhances its capabilities. It does this by providing access to a wealth of cloud-based data.

How Does Sales Copilot Benefit Your Business?

Microsoft Sales Copilot holds immense promise for businesses across various industries. It enables sales teams to work more intelligently and efficiently. The tool has the potential to drive revenue growth and enhance customer satisfaction. Here are some ways in which Sales Copilot can benefit your business.

Improved Customer Engagement

Personalized insights and AI-driven recommendations have many benefits. For one, they enable sales professionals to engage with customers more meaningfully. This can lead to higher conversion rates and increased customer loyalty.

Streamlined Sales Processes

The tool’s predictive analytics and collaboration features can streamline sales processes. It can make them more efficient and effective. This, in turn, can reduce the time and effort required to close deals.

Data-Driven Decision-Making

Sales Copilot provides access to a wealth of customer data and insights. This empowers businesses to make data-driven decisions. This can lead to better-targeted marketing campaigns, product development, and customer service strategies.

Enhanced Competitive Advantage

Businesses that leverage Sales Copilot can gain a competitive advantage. It helps them stay ahead of customer trends and needs. This can be particularly valuable in fast-paced and competitive industries.

Scalability and Flexibility

Microsoft’s cloud-based solutions, including Sales Copilot, offer scalability and flexibility. This allows businesses to adapt to changing market conditions and customer demands.

You Don’t Have to Face the AI Frenzy Alone

AI and machine learning are transforming business tools rapidly. This can cause business owners to worry about falling behind competitors.

You don’t have to figure this all out yourself. We can help. Give us a call today to schedule a chat.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

Should Your Business Upgrade to the New Microsoft Intune Suite?

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Endpoint management has changed a lot over the last two decades. There was a time when companies housed all endpoints in the same place. This made managing them simpler. But it held offices back from being mobile and flexible.

Today’s office can include endpoints around the globe. Remote teams can work from anywhere. And people often prefer doing things from their mobile devices. Such as checking email or managing tasks.

The average enterprise endpoint makeup is 60% mobile devices. And it’s estimated that they handle about 80% of the workload. What does this mean for security? That an endpoint device management solution has become a necessity.

One that might be on your radar is the new Microsoft Intune Suite. It bundles several areas of endpoint management into a single platform.

Wondering whether it’s worth taking the plunge and upgrading? Stick around as we break down the what, why, and how of this cloud-based management solution.

What is Microsoft Intune Suite?

First things first, what is Microsoft Intune? It’s a software tool that helps you manage your company’s devices and apps all in one place. Whether your employees use PCs, Macs, smartphones, or tablets, Intune’s got your back.

So, what’s the deal with the upgrade? Microsoft has been hard at work improving Intune. The latest version brings some exciting new features to the table.

The core capabilities of Microsoft Intune include:

  • Cross-platform endpoint management
  • Built-in endpoint security
  • Mobile application management
  • Endpoint analytics
  • Microsoft Configuration Manager

Here’s a comparison of the subscription options you now have with Intune:

  • Microsoft Intune Plan 1: Microsoft Intune core capabilities are included with various subscriptions. (Microsoft 365 E3, E5, F1, and F3; Enterprise Mobility + Security E3 and E5; and Business Premium plans)
  • Microsoft Intune Plan 2: An add-on to Microsoft Intune Plan 1. It offers advanced endpoint management capabilities.
  • Microsoft Intune Suite: An add-on to Microsoft Intune Plan 1. Includes:
    • Plan 2 features
    • Microsoft Intune Remote Help
    • Microsoft Intune Endpoint Privilege Management
    • Microsoft Tunnel for Mobile Application Management
    • Management of specialty devices
    • Select Microsoft Intune advanced endpoint analytics features.

Advantages of Subscribing

So, should you subscribe or upgrade to the suite? Before you rush in, let’s consider some key factors to help you decide if it’s the right move for your business. First the advantages of subscribing.

Streamlined Device Management

We all know how chaotic device management can get. With the new Intune Suite, you get a centralized dashboard. It gives you full control over your devices.

You can set up policies and enforce security measures. You can even wipe data remotely if needed. Plus, it’s compatible with both Windows and macOS. So, you won’t have to worry about compatibility issues.

Provide Secure Helpdesk Support

Keep your employees productive by giving them help when they need it. Intune Suite includes Microsoft Intune Remote Help. This feature allows you to deliver simple and secure help to your team anywhere, anytime.

The platform reinforces a Zero Trust security model. It also enables fast response to issues. You can address employee device roadblocks no matter where your team is working.

Enhanced Security and Compliance

Data breaches and cyberattacks are real threats to businesses of all sizes. With Intune’s advanced security features, you can breathe a little easier. It offers robust encryption and secure access controls. Including the ability to quarantine risky devices.

Do you deal with sensitive information or have compliance requirements? Intune has got you covered with its auditing and reporting capabilities.

App Management Made Easy

Applications are the lifeblood of modern businesses, and Intune understands that. With its app management features, you can do a lot. Including easily deploying, updating, and retiring applications across all devices.

Intune keeps everyone organized and on the same page. Whether your team is using Microsoft 365 apps or third-party software.

BYOD-Friendly

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies have become a popular trend in the corporate world. If your company is open to BYOD, Intune can be a game-changer. It enables you to separate personal and corporate data on employee devices. This helps ensure that sensitive company information remains secure.

The Intune Suite includes Microsoft Tunnel for Mobile App Management. This lightweight VPN solution connects corporate resources from personal iOS and Android devices. Device enrollment is not required. So, employees can have quick and secure access to company resources when needed.

Scalability and Cost-Effectiveness

As your business grows, so do your tech needs. Thankfully, Intune scales effortlessly, accommodating new devices and users without breaking a sweat. Plus, it operates on a subscription-based model, allowing you to pay for only what you need. No more hefty upfront costs, just a predictable monthly fee.

What Do You Need to Consider?

Alright, those are some pretty compelling reasons to consider Microsoft Intune Suite. But let’s take a moment to address some potential downsides you need to consider as well.

Learning Curve

One common concern is the learning curve. If your team uses a different management solution, they might need some time to get the hang of Intune. Luckily, we can help you with training and support to ensure a smooth shift.

Do You Have Legacy Systems?

Does your business rely on legacy systems or run a large number of on-premises servers? Then integrating Intune into your existing setup may take some extra effort. It’s essential to assess your current infrastructure and compatibility requirements before diving in.

Improve Security & Operations by Properly Managing Endpoints

Upgrading to the new Microsoft Intune Suite could be a game-changer for your business. But it’s crucial to carefully evaluate your specific needs. We can help you make an informed decision that aligns with your unique business goals.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

Have You Tried Out Microsoft Designer Yet? (Get the Scoop Here)

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As technology continues to advance, so does the landscape of design tools. Microsoft has been a company at the forefront of business apps. Microsoft 365 began with about seven apps. It now offers new users access to over 20.

One of the newest ones added is Microsoft Designer. This quick-and-easy design tool has caught the attention of designers and professionals alike. You can use it whether you’re a graphic pro, marketer, or small business owner. Or someone that simply wants to make a funny meme.

Microsoft Designer offers a range of features to streamline your design process. If you haven’t used it yet, you may want to check it out. With AI features and an easy interface, it can elevate your design game. Not to mention saving time and money creating business graphics.

Let’s explore the key features.

Intuitive and User-Friendly Interface

Microsoft Designer boasts an intuitive and user-friendly interface. This makes it accessible to both beginners and experienced designers. The tool provides a clean and organized workspace. It allows you to focus on your design without distractions.

Its user-friendly features include things like:

  • Drag-and-drop functionality
  • Contextual menus
  • Easy navigation
  • Text prompts to start your design

The first prompt it asks is “Describe the design you’d like to create.” This makes it simple for someone with no design experience to use it. Based on your prompt, the system can leverage AI to generate graphics. You can also upload your own.

Microsoft Designer
Microsoft Designer Interface

Comprehensive Design Templates and Assets

Microsoft Designer has several stand-out features. One of them is its extensive collection of templates and assets. It has a wide range of professionally crafted templates. These enable you to kickstart your design projects quickly.

Whether you need a business card, flyer, or social media post, this app has you covered. Additionally, the tool offers a vast library of assets. These include:

  • High-quality images
  • Icons
  • Fonts
  • Color palettes

You can use these to create visually stunning designs. Ones that align with your brand identity. The abundance of design assets gives you creative freedom and flexibility. You can have fun bringing your vision to life.

Smart Layout Suggestions and Design Recommendations

Microsoft Designer goes beyond being a mere design tool. It’s a knowledgeable design assistant. The tool employs artificial intelligence. It can analyze your design and provide smart layout suggestions and recommendations. So even if making images isn’t “your thing,” you can make something decent.

The AI help is useful for those who may be new to design or seeking inspiration. Your “design assistant” can offer optimal font pairings, appropriate image placements, and more.

Microsoft Designer helps you make informed design choices. This elevates the visual impact of your creations. It also keeps you from spending hours on one design.

Seamless Collaboration and Integration

Collaboration is essential in today’s digital workspace. Microsoft Designer understands this need. The tool offers seamless collaboration capabilities. It allows several users to work on the same design project simultaneously.

You can easily share your designs with team members or clients. As well as get real-time feedback and edits. Furthermore, Microsoft Designer integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft Office applications. Such as PowerPoint and Word. This creates a cohesive workflow across different design and documentation tasks. The ability to collaborate ensures efficient teamwork. The integration with other tools enhances productivity.

Accessibility and Cross-Platform Support

Microsoft Designer recognizes the importance of accessibility and cross-platform compatibility. The tool is available both as a web application and as a desktop application. You can use it on Windows and Mac.

Use it working on your desktop computer or from a mobile device. The tool also adheres to accessibility standards. This means it’s inclusive and usable for individuals with diverse needs.

What Does It Autogenerate?

Just for fun, let’s see what we get with the AI-generated option. We’ll describe our design as, “a sales ad for orange juice with palm trees.”

In just a few seconds, this is what Microsoft Designer generated as options.

AI-generated

While some images might not be relevant, it gives many options that are. If you’re not getting what you want the first time, rephrase your prompt.

If you’re seeking a user-friendly design tool, Microsoft Designer is worth exploring. Whether you’re a seasoned designer or a beginner, it can save you time and money.

Learn More About Our Microsoft 365 Support

Microsoft 365 is a vast universe of apps. Ones that can lower costs and boost your productivity. From the Office suite to Intune for endpoint management, it’s a valuable asset.

Need help with M365 questions? Looking for setup and security support? We can help. Give us a call today to schedule a chat about our Microsoft support services.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

Have You Tried Microsoft Universal Print? (Learn What It Can Do for You)

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In today’s digital workplace, printing remains an essential function. This is true for just about all businesses. But keeping up with your print infrastructure can be a time-consuming task. One printer down can mean work comes to a standstill.

Another issue is keeping up with all those printer drivers. If firmware updates aren’t done, vulnerabilities exist. One unprotected printer can cause an entire network malware infection.

Microsoft has come up with an answer to streamline print management. This solution is called Microsoft Universal Print. It offers a modern answer to age-old print problems.

Looking to improve how you handle document printing? Do you wish you could avoid printer problems? Below, we’ll explore the benefits and features of Microsoft Universal Print. We’ll also help you discover how it can enhance your printing environment.

What Can Microsoft Universal Print Do for You?

Microsoft Universal Print leverages the power of Microsoft 365 and Azure. It eliminates the need for complex on-premises print infrastructure. Here are some of the ways that it can improve your document handling.

Simplifying Print Management

Microsoft Universal Print eliminates the need for on-premises print servers. Print management becomes more simplified and all in one place. Organizations can centrally manage their printing needs from the cloud.

This ease of use removes the need for complex print server configurations. As well as driver installations and print queue management. This results in significant time and cost savings.

Seamless Integration with Microsoft 365

A key advantage of Universal Print is its seamless integration with Microsoft 365. It works in tandem with Azure Active Directory. This ensures a secure and authenticated printing experience for users.

This integration allows users to print from any device, whether it’s a Windows PC, Mac, or mobile device. There’s no need for complex setup or driver installations. It simplifies the printing process. It also enhances productivity for employees working across different platforms.

Flexibility and Scalability

With Microsoft Universal Print, organizations gain flexibility and scalability in their print activities. It supports both modern and legacy printers. This allows businesses to leverage their existing printer fleet.

Universal Print enables easy connectivity. This is true whether it’s a local printer or a network printer. As well as management through the cloud. Additionally, it offers centralized control and monitoring of printers. This makes it effortless to scale up or down based on business needs.

Streamlined Printer Deployment

Deploying printers across an organization can be a time-consuming task. Microsoft Universal Print simplifies this process. It does this by providing a centralized portal for printer management.

Administrators can easily add and configure printers. They can assign them to specific users or groups. As well as manage printer settings from a single interface. This eliminates the need for manual configuration on individual devices. Which can be very time-consuming and fraught with issues. It also ensures a consistent printing experience across the organization.

Enhanced Security and Compliance

A big benefit of using Microsoft Universal Print is its security capabilities. Print security is a critical concern for businesses, especially in today’s threat landscape. Microsoft Universal Print enhances security by leveraging Azure Active Directory. It’s used for authentication and access control.

It also supports secure print release. This means that sensitive documents are only printed under certain circumstances. Namely, when the authorized user is physically present at the printer.

Moreover, Universal Print integrates with Microsoft Endpoint Manager. This gives organizations even more capabilities. They can enforce security policies and manage print-related settings from a centralized location.

Insights and Analytics

Understanding print usage and optimizing print infrastructure is essential for efficient cost management. Microsoft Universal Print provides insights and analytics that help organizations gain visibility. They’re able to see print usage patterns. As well as track printing costs and identify opportunities for optimization.

With detailed reporting and analytics, businesses can make informed decisions. Reporting enables better print resource allocation. As well as the implementation of strategies to reduce printing costs.

Is Microsoft Universal Print for You?

Microsoft Universal Print offers a modern and efficient approach to print management. It streamlines the printing experience for organizations. It also eliminates the need for complex on-premises print infrastructure. There are also important benefits from the boost in security.

But is it for you?

We can help you understand the full capabilities of Microsoft Universal Print. Including the costs versus the benefits. Whether the solution is for you will depend on your printing needs. Extra factors to consider will be how often you print and your number of endpoints.

Get Cost-Efficient Technology Answers

It’s not easy to make software decisions on your own. That’s why we’re here to help! We can sit down with you to discuss your current infrastructure. We’ll help you evaluate solutions, like Microsoft Universal Print. Then, we’ll tell you straight up what makes the most sense for you.

Give us a call today to chat about your technology needs.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

Learn How Microsoft 365 Copilot Is Going to Transform M365 Apps

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Advanced AI is a new buzzword in cloud computing. The launch of tools like ChatGPT and Bard have made big waves. Developers are now racing to introduce the next level of features to apps. Features that do part of your work for you. Such as writing emails or making follow-up checklists based on contact data.

These AI-based applications do much more than automate processes. People are using them to write business correspondence, create websites, and write scripts. AI is also quickly transforming the everyday office workflow.

Microsoft is one of the biggest players in the office application field. It’s at the forefront of introducing transformative technology. The company is about to transform Microsoft 365 in a huge way with its new Copilot tool.

Microsoft 365 Copilot is a new tool designed to help users get the most out of their Microsoft 365 apps. This revolutionary tool is an intelligent, personalized assistant. It’s designed to help users navigate and use M365 more efficiently.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Microsoft 365 Copilot. And tell you the key ways it’s going to improve M365 apps and your business workflows.

What is Microsoft 365 Copilot?

Microsoft 365 Copilot is an AI-powered assistant. It helps users with their day-to-day tasks in M365 apps. It’s like having a personal assistant right in your Office apps. Users can ask questions, get help with tasks, and receive personalized recommendations. Copilot responds leveraging the context of their usage patterns.

Microsoft 365 Copilot works across all M365 apps. This includes:

  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • Outlook
  • Teams
  • and more

Whether you’re doing any number of tasks, Microsoft 365 Copilot is there to assist you. This includes working on a document, meeting scheduling, or collaborating with a team.

How Does Microsoft 365 Copilot Work?

Microsoft 365 Copilot uses AI and machine learning to understand users’ needs. It provides personalized help. It uses data from users’ interactions with M365 apps. It learns a user’s usage patterns and offers recommendations based on their preferences.

For example, say you frequently use certain features in Excel. Microsoft 365 Copilot will learn this. It will offer suggestions when it detects that you’re working on a similar task.

Say that you’re working on a presentation in PowerPoint and struggling with design. Microsoft 365 Copilot can offer design suggestions based on your company’s brand guidelines.

Microsoft 365 Copilot can also help users with common tasks. Tasks such as, scheduling meetings and managing emails. Users can simply ask Copilot for help. They can ask it to schedule a meeting or find an email from a specific person, and Copilot will take care of the rest.

Why is Microsoft Copilot Important?

Copilot is important because it can help users be more productive and efficient. By providing personalized support, the tool can save users time and reduce frustration.

Imagine you’re working on a report in Word and you’re struggling to format a table. Instead of spending time searching for a solution online. Or trying to figure it out on your own, you can simply ask Microsoft 365 Copilot for help. Copilot can offer suggestions. It can even walk you through the process, saving you time and reducing frustration.

Microsoft 365 Copilot is also important because it can help users get more out of their M365 apps. Many users may not be aware of all the features and capabilities of their M365 apps. But with Copilot, they can discover new ways to work more efficiently and effectively.

The capabilities of Copilot go even further. Say that you need to give your team an update on a marketing strategy. You won’t need to dig out emails, chat threads, or meeting notes. Instead, you can ask Copilot to “tell my team how we updated the marketing strategy.” The app will then search all those places for you and craft an update for your team.

Need a first draft of a meeting agenda or presentation? Just ask Copilot. It can access existing M365 documents and content and craft an initial draft for you.

Benefits of Using Microsoft 365 Copilot

Personalized Help

Microsoft 365 Copilot provides personalized help based on users’ usage patterns and preferences. This means that users get the help they need when they need it, without having to search for solutions on their own.

Time-Saving

Microsoft 365 Copilot can help users save time on common tasks. Such as scheduling meetings and formatting documents. It can take on many information gathering tasks, like summarizing meeting notes. This saves users considerable time. Especially for manual tasks such as searching for information.

Knowledge workers spend an average of 2.5 hours per day searching for information.

Reduced Frustration

Microsoft 365 Copilot can help reduce frustration. It provides solutions when users are stuck on a task. The tool can also help users struggling with an Excel chart or table. Instead of having to figure out how to generate it, they can simply give a command to Copilot to do it for them.

Improved Productivity

Microsoft Copilot handles tasks that go beyond what business apps have historically done. For example, you can use it in PowerPoint to create a presentation for you. Use a command such as, “Create a six-slide presentation based on (this) document.” You can also tell it to find appropriate Microsoft stock photos and insert them.

The sky is the limit right now for how much this tool is going to impact office productivity.

When Will Microsoft 365 Copilot Be Available?

At the writing of this article, Microsoft hasn’t announced a release date yet. It is currently testing Copilot with a limited number of users. You will most likely see it coming out sometime soon.

Improve Your Microsoft 365 Value & Security

Need help with security or setup in Microsoft 365? Give us a call today to talk to one of our cloud app experts.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

How to Create Insightful Dashboards in Microsoft Power BI

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Data visualization is a powerful tool for communicating complex data. It presents it in a simple, easily understandable format. But it is not enough to simply create a graph or chart and call it a day. To truly make use of information, it is important to create insightful reports. Reports that effectively communicate the story behind the data.

Insightful reports help decision-makers understand key trends and patterns. As well as identify areas of opportunity and make informed decisions. If analytics graphs and bar charts are only telling part of the story, it can lead people to wrong decisions.

Creating holistic and insightful reports requires the use of several data points. One tool that enables this is Microsoft Power BI.

What Is Microsoft Power BI?

Microsoft Power BI is a business intelligence tool. It allows you to connect many data sources to one dashboard. Using Power BI, you can easily model and visualize data holistically.

The platform has over 500 different data connectors. These connectors can tap into sources such as Salesforce, Excel, Azure, and more. Users can leverage pre-built report templates to save time in creating data-rich reporting. Teams can also collaborate and share dashboards virtually.

Microsoft Power BI
Image is from Microsoft

Tips for Designing Great Data Visualization Reports

Getting started in Microsoft Power BI entails:

  • Signing up for the software
  • Connecting your data sources
  • Using its tools to create report visualizations

But creating great reports goes beyond that. Below, we’ll go through several tips and best practices for getting the most out of your Power BI output.

Consider Your Audience

You should design reporting dashboards with the end user in mind. What is it that this audience wants to see? Are they looking for bottom-line sales numbers? Or do they want to cover insights that can help target productivity gaps?

The use of clear and concise language and effective visualizations are important. These help to highlight the key takeaways from the data. Customize reports to the audience’s level of technical expertise and business goals.

Don’t Overcomplicate Things

Many times, less is more. If you find that your dashboard looks crowded, you may be adding too many reports. The more you add, the more difficult it is to read the takeaways from the data.

Remove all but the most essential reports. Look for ways to include different data sets in a single report, such as using stacked bar charts. Dashboards should show important data at a glance, so do your best to avoid the need to scroll.

Try Out Different Chart Types

Experiment with presenting your data in different ways. Flip between bar, pie, and other types of charts to find the one that tells the story the best. When building a new dashboard for your organization, get some input. Ask those who will review the reports which chart type works best for them.

Get to Know Power Query

Power Query is a data preparation engine. It can save you a lot of time in developing insightful reports. This engine is used in Microsoft tools like Power BI and Excel.

Take time to learn how to leverage this tool for help with:

  • Connecting a wide range of data sources to the dashboard
  • Previewing data queries
  • Building intuitive queries over many data sources
  • Defining data size, variety, and velocity

Build Maps with Hints to Bing

Bing and Power BI integrate, allowing you to leverage default map coordinates. Use best practices to leverage the mapping power of Bing to improve your geo-coding.

For example, if you want to plot cities on a map, name your columns after the geographic designation. This helps Bing identify exactly what you’re looking for.

Tell People What They Are Looking At

A typical comment heard often when presenting executives with a new report is, “What am I looking at?” Tell your audience what the data means by using features like tooltips and text boxes to add context.

Just one or two sentences can save someone 5-10 minutes of trying to figure out why you gave them this report. That context can get them to a decision faster. It also helps avoid any confusion or misunderstandings about the data.

Use Emphasis Tricks

People usually read left to right and from top to bottom. So put your most important chart at the top, left corner. Follow, with the next most important reports.

If you have specific numbers that need to stand out, increase the font size or bold the text. This ensures that your audience understands the key takeaways.

Use can also use colors to emphasize things like a “High, Mid, Low.” For example, a low level of accidents could be green, a mid-level in yellow, and a high colored red. This provides more visual context to the data.

Need Help with Power Bi or Other Microsoft Products?

We can help you get started or improve your use of Microsoft 365, Power BI, and more. Give us a call today to schedule a chat about leveraging this powerful platform.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

How to Use the New Virtual Appointments in Microsoft Teams

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Scheduling appointments is a common activity. Salespeople often set up virtual appointments to answer questions about a product. Software companies allow people to schedule live demos. Telehealth therapists allow clients to book video sessions.

Those are just a few examples of some groups that are going to love a new Microsoft Teams feature. Virtual Appointments was recently added to the platform. It adds a new meeting style tailored for engagements with customers.

Have you’ve been using Teams and a different online appointment app? This new feature will streamline the experience.

What Is Virtual Appointments in Teams?

Virtual Appointments gives you an all-in-one meeting platform for customer engagements. You can schedule, manage and conduct B2C meetings in Microsoft Teams.

This new feature brings together the scheduling component with the video conference interface. Anyone with the link can join the virtual appointment. They do not need a Teams account.

The power of Microsoft’s scheduling app, Bookings, connects to Teams. This makes the Virtual Appointments function as seamless as possible.

Some of the features below will be available with any Microsoft 365 plan. Some are available with a premium plan.

Teams Virtual Appointments Features

Manage Scheduled Appointments

You can see your scheduled appointments in a single view. Manage cancellations and time changes easily.

Send Customized Confirmations & Reminders

You can send customers a customized message via SMS or email. This personalizes the experience for them. You can also use automation to give that personal touch without having to send each one manually. Automated appointment reminders are another time-saving function.

Customized Waiting Room

Add a personal touch to your virtual engagements. You can customize the Teams waiting room. You can use themes and logos to brand your business. You can also chat with attendees while in the lobby waiting room. This is helpful if your current appointment is running a little long. You can let them know you’ll be right with them.

Meeting Follow-ups

You can send meeting follow-ups after a virtual appointment. This helps you reduce the time it takes to send any promised follow-up information. You also keep all details in a single place. This makes your client communication trail easier to follow.

Organization & Department Analytics

How effective are your appointments? It’s hard to know if your demos are resulting in sales if you don’t have a good tracking system. It’s also important to have visibility into customer appointments across the organization.

You can do this with a premium analytics feature. It gives you helpful reporting. The reporting provides insights into B2C virtual appointments in all departments.

How to Use Virtual Appointments

To start using Virtual Appointments in Teams, admins must set up a few things. Note, they must be a Bookings admin to access these settings.

Create a Calendar

In the Virtual Appointments app choose to “Create a calendar.” You can find this option on the Home tab.

Larger organizations may wish to create different calendars for different departments.

Add Staff

Next, add staff members. You can add up to 100. You will also need to assign them a role. Once you’ve added your staff, you can view their availability in both Teams and Outlook.

What’s another nice thing about using an integrated platform like M365? It’s the cross-app compatibility. Your calendar syncs across apps.

Create Appointment Types

You’ll next set up your appointment types. You can choose from these two options:

  • Scheduled: You schedule the day/time. The system adds this information to the email confirmation.
  • On-demand (Teams Premium): Customers can choose when to meet from your booking calendar.

Set Up SMS Notifications (If desired)

If you choose to use SMS notifications and have the right Teams plan, you can set this up next. This allows you to easily send appointment confirmations and reminders via text message.

Note: Attendees currently need a valid U.S., Canadian, or U.K. phone number to receive the SMS notifications.

Link Forms (If desired)

If you would like your attendees to fill out any forms, you can link them now. Virtual Appointments allows linking up to four cloud-based forms. These would be forms you have created in Microsoft Forms.

Publish Your Booking Page

If you want to give customers the ability to book on-demand appointments, take this next step. You will need to publish the booking page. You do this on the “Manage” tab of Virtual Appointments. Select “Booking page,” and turn on “Publish booking page.”

Get Help Using Your Microsoft 365 Tools More Effectively

Microsoft 365 is a platform with many possibilities. Often, companies aren’t using all the features they could. As a result, their team may be less effective. They could also be wasting money on apps they don’t need.

Are you interested in help supercharging your Microsoft 365 experience? Give us a call today to set up a meeting.


Featured Image Credit

This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.