Everyone, at some point in their busy lives, has been working hard on their device only to be blindsided by an alert telling you that updates are required.

Traditionally, this has been as well-received as finding out the arrogant, tanned fellow from Love Island is turning on your town’s Christmas lights. People have work to do and while updates are necessary, time is precious and the last thing anyone wanted to do was sit there, clicking for hours and staring at their screen waiting for it to all be over.

Thankfully, Office 365 has dived head-first into the river of responsibility and does all that for us. Much less manual labour, much more lying awake at night wondering who’s turning on the Christmas lights….

But for now, we are into July. The sun still shines, football continues to make its way home and Office 365 has some great new updates for you:

Ribbon Interface

The ‘top bar’ on your document applications in O365 is getting a nice tidy-up with a view to make things more streamlined and more customized to your way of working. Two lines containing many unused options is now one line containing more pertinent options, recognized by how often you use them. This gives you more document space instead of unnecessary editing choices. Format Paint and No Space until your mouse breaks, it’s all right in front of you. If you prefer the minefield of all the options squeezed onto your page, simply revert back to the original set-up at the click of a button! Word Online (in my opinion, the Queen Elizabeth of Office apps) deservedly gets the honor of being the first to receive this update.

Planner integrated into SharePoint sites

Embedding Planner into your SharePoint sites is now possible thanks to the recent updates. Choose between adding existing plans or creating new ones directly in SharePoint and manage tasks which are visible to everyone (even the ones people want to pretend aren’t there!) This is another form of streamlining which Microsoft are always keen to offer. It also gives people more options, allowing further productivity, which has always been a key element of Office 365. Another big plus for me.

Microsoft Teams

Teams has been given the Beyonce treatment in this round of updates. Lots of attention and pampering which will no doubt help towards increasing its presence in the marketplace!

· Link your entire SharePoint library into Teams. Get your documents and workloads in front of your workforce. Communicate and collaborate centrally in Teams and take even more time out of the equation.
· Chat Options – Mute or leave chat threads if they are no longer useful or applicable to you. Stop continuous notifications interrupting your work and only keep what you need. I think this is a great option to have as sometimes notifications can be confusing and distracting if lots come through all at once. (Better still, stop Alan in Marketing from sending you pictures of his new Audi once and for all!)
· Combined Teams and Skype For Business Admin Centre – Manage both solutions in one unified portal. Another push for ensuring productivity and efficiently managing workloads.
· Assign Delegates
· Share files from laptop/mobile device
· Cloud recording

Sway for iOS

Toggle between edit and preview mode on your Apple device. Create your Sway document simply and quickly. Keeping everything together on one screen for easier editing and previewing how your Sway project will be seen by others. This is ideal for people working off-site or those who just need to make some last minute changes.
You can also add pictures from your camera roll as well as add emphasis, bullet points and other text-related modifications.

Microsoft 365

The original admin center focused on security, compliance and device management, but not on Office 365. The July update has now changed that. The Admin Center has now been updated to encompass Office 365. This offers a simpler experience for O365 admin users without relinquishing control of their O365 set-up. Again, Microsoft have found a way to facilitate a far easier user experience. This is great for those unsure of Microsoft 365 and integrating it into their IT infrastructure.

I think the focus of these updates was centered around productivity and ease of use. Something Microsoft wants to get right at every possible turn. I am inclined to agree with them and I believe users will only continue to embrace Office 365 as part of their daily working environment. It wouldn’t be a big surprise to see the next waves of updates featuring similar changes to the O365 application portfolio.

So let’s wait and see what the next month or so brings. Rain? Probably. World Cup agony? Almost certainly. Discussions on Office 365 and cloud transition? Most definitely. Just don’t mention Love Island. Remember, I only auditioned to be ironic…
Change is a big part of these solutions and how they stay vital to our business. Ways of working are constantly shifting from one path to another and Office 365 certainly knows how to keep up.

Want to know more on the Surface Go?
Contact Joe Matthews today: joe.matthews@848.co

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