Like Power BI, Microsoft Teams is another popular service that benefits from monthly update cycles, designed to enhance the user experience.

Implemented in direct response to customer feedback, the updates come during a period of widespread remote working, improving collaboration and communication for employees in different locations.

With the Teams userbase constantly growing due to the Covid-19 disruption, Microsoft is keen to retain its newest users by adding exciting features, making remote working a viable long-term solution for organisations.

Therefore, it’s vital that businesses take the time to familiarise themselves with the latest update cycles, so they can extract maximum value from their investment in technology.

In this blog, we’ve analysed some of August’s most significant updates, exploring the impact these will have on new and existing users.

Meetings, calls and devices

One of the biggest appeals of Teams is the ability to host meetings and calls with multiple participants, providing a sophisticated alternative in the absence of face-to-face meetings.

Microsoft understand this, as they look to implement new and exciting features each month to enhance the meetings experience. Spotlight is one of the latest meetings features to be introduced, allowing organisers to lock their video as the main view for all participants.

Allowing the presenter to control the main video feed for other participants, this feature ensures people remain focussed on the host and are not distracted by what other participants are doing.

Meanwhile, a new admin setting has been added, allowing users without Microsoft Stream availability in their country, to save meeting recordings in the closest data centre.

This is a significant improvement for users without Microsoft Stream access, as they now have the tools needed to store important recordings, should they need to revisit the minutes at another time.

Chat and collaboration

In the past month, Microsoft has introduced a handful of important chat and collaboration capabilities to help keep users connected.

One such feature is ‘real time presence’, which lets people know your current availability through an accurate status update that constantly changes depending on your activity.

Although it may sound like a relatively straightforward improvement, this new feature will let colleagues know if you’re free for a quick chat or if you’re in a meeting that’s scheduled to finish in an hour or two.

Microsoft has also made it easier for Teams users to manage Visio files, allowing employees to quickly access content in a dedicated space within a channel or chat.

This update includes the release of an enhanced set of multi-page operations in Visio for web, enabling users to view, reorder, insert and duplicate pages through an easy-to-use navigation

interface. This update will give enhance collaboration in Teams, allowing users to access and share files efficiently.

IT Admin improvements

From an admin perspective, Microsoft has also updated its meeting policies in Teams, giving IT administrators more control over how video is managed during meetings.

Previously, policies could only be set to prevent outgoing video, but now, Teams has extended the allow IP Video policy to prevent both outgoing and incoming video if needed.

Meanwhile, the Teams administration experience has been simplified with a single PowerShell module that includes complete management capabilities for Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business Online.

This means Skype for Business Online Connector in the Online PowerShell has now been consolidated into a single PowerShell module, instead of it being a separate product.

Designed to give business greater technical control over the Teams meeting experience, these admin improvements demonstrate Microsoft’s attention to detail when announcing the monthly updates.

Keep the wheels turning…

Although some businesses are trialling a socially distanced return to work, there are a lot of organisations looking to implement a long-term culture of flexible working.

Using services like Microsoft Teams, remote working can be practiced productively, allowing colleagues in different locations to collaborate and communicate seamlessly.

These monthly update cycles ensure that ongoing issues are addressed, and the Teams service is improved to benefit those employees working from home for the foreseeable future.

If you haven’t yet implemented Teams for your business, then contact our in-house team for help finding a solution that meets your unique requirements.