4 Ways Small Businesses Can Leverage Copilot for Microsoft 365

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What are some of the key differentiators that can propel small businesses forward? They include efficiency, productivity, and innovation. Microsoft has expanded the availability of one of its most dynamic tools to SMBs. A tool that can be a real game-changer for growth.

Copilot for Microsoft 365 is a powerful new addition to the M365 suite. It was first offered to enterprise customers only. But Copilot is now open to businesses of all sizes. As long as they have Microsoft 365 Business Standard or Business Premium.

Microsoft has positioned Copilot to revolutionize the way SMBs work. This innovative AI tool empowers users to generate creative content. It also streamlines workflows and unlocks new levels of productivity.

Let’s explore the exciting possibilities Copilot unlocks for your growing business.

How Copilot Streamlines Workflows

Copilot leverages the power of large language models (LLMs). LLMs are AI models trained on massive datasets. This enables Copilot to understand natural language and generate contextual responses. It offers intelligent suggestions and content within your Microsoft 365 applications.

Here’s how Copilot translates this technology into real-world benefits for your small business:

Effortless Content Creation

Struggling with writer’s block or repetitive tasks like email writing? Copilot can suggest text responses and complete sentences. It can even draft entire emails based on your initial input.

With just a few guiding prompts, your team can:

  • Craft compelling marketing copy
  • Write concise customer service responses
  • Create dynamic PowerPoint presentations

Enhanced Productivity

Copilot automates repetitive tasks and streamlines workflows by offering intelligent suggestions. This can free up valuable time for your employees. It allows them to focus on more strategic initiatives. As well as high-value projects or core business activities. Imagine automatically generating reports or automating data entry tasks. This unleashes your team’s energy for creative problem-solving and innovation.

Improved Communication and Collaboration

Clear and concise communication is vital for any successful business. Copilot facilitates this by doing things like:

  • Suggesting relevant phrases
  • Correcting grammatical errors
  • Ensuring consistent messaging across different applications

Improved communication fosters better collaboration within teams. This can lead to streamlined project execution and enhanced client interactions.

Reduced Learning Curve for New Technologies

Copilot provides context-aware guidance and suggestions. All while you work with your familiar Microsoft 365 applications. This can significantly reduce the learning curve for new employees. It allows them to become proficient in using the full potential of the suite more quickly. Imagine onboarding new team members with ease. As well as empowering them to contribute meaningfully from day one.

Real-World Applications of Copilot within Your SMB

Copilot’s capabilities extend beyond generic productivity enhancements. Here’s a glimpse into how different roles within your SMB can leverage Copilot:

Marketing and Sales Teams

Generate compelling marketing copy for social media campaigns. Craft tailored sales emails with targeted messaging. Develop engaging presentations with Copilot’s creative text suggestions and language model capabilities.

Customer Service Representatives

Respond to customer inquiries with increased efficiency and accuracy. Use Copilot’s AI-powered suggestions for crafting clear and concise responses. Imagine resolving customer issues faster and fostering a more positive customer experience.

Project Managers

Develop comprehensive project plans. Automate progress reports with a few text prompts. Collaborate seamlessly with team members using Copilot’s intelligent features. Streamline project management. Ensure everyone is on the same page from conception to completion.

Content Creators

Overcome writer’s block and generate fresh ideas for website copy. Teams can leverage Copilot’s help in brainstorming and content creation in many areas. Imagine producing high-quality content consistently. All while keeping modern audiences engaged and driving brand awareness.

Finance and Accounting Teams

Automate data entry tasks and improve data analysis with Copilot’s intelligent features. Generate reports with prompts for enhanced clarity. Imagine no more struggling to create reports. Gain valuable insights from data faster.

Getting Started with Copilot for Microsoft 365

The good news is that Copilot for Microsoft 365 is readily accessible to SMBs. It integrates seamlessly with your existing environment. Here’s how you can empower your team to leverage this powerful tool:

  • Ensure Compatibility: Copilot is currently available for businesses with Microsoft 365 Business Premium or Business Standard.
  • Activate Copilot: Buy the Copilot add-on to your subscription. Then, as needed, contact your IT support team for help using it within your Microsoft 365 apps.
  • Explore and Experiment: Microsoft Copilot offers intuitive features. All within your familiar Microsoft 365 applications. Start experimenting with its capabilities. Discover how it can enhance your workflow and productivity.
  • Invest in Training: Copilot is user-friendly. But you should still consider providing brief training sessions for employees. This helps ensure they understand the tool’s full potential. As well as assists them with leveraging its capabilities effectively.

Improve Your Team’s Use of Microsoft 365

Copilot for Microsoft 365 is not just another software update. It’s a game-changer for small businesses. By embracing this innovative AI tool, you can unlock a new level of efficiency. As well as empower your employees to achieve more.

Need some help from Microsoft 365 experts? Our team can guide you in using this resource to the fullest.

Contact us today to learn more.


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Introducing the New Microsoft Planner (Everything You Need to Know)

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Calendars, task lists, and project planning are important business tools. Many people use Microsoft’s apps to power these processes. Including Planner, Microsoft To Do, and Project for the web.

These tools help keep processes on track and enable task accountability. But they’re separate apps. Switching between apps can be cumbersome. It adds more complexity to a workflow.

On average, employees switch between 22 different apps 350 times per day.

Microsoft is putting a dent in app overload. The company is rolling out a brand-new version of Microsoft Planner in early 2024. It’s packed with exciting features designed to simplify your project management journey.

What apps does the new Planner include?

The new Microsoft Planner combines:

  • The current Planner’s collaboration features
  • The simplicity of Microsoft To Do for task management
  • The capabilities of Microsoft Project for the web
  • The automation of Microsoft Copilot (the company’s AI companion)

The new Planner promises to be a powerful tool for staying organized. As well as boosting collaboration and achieving your goals with more ease.

Unifying Your Workflow: Tasks, Plans & Projects in One Place

Say goodbye to juggling several apps and hello to a streamlined experience. The new Planner goes beyond basic to-do lists. It seamlessly integrates tasks, plans, and projects under one roof.

This means you can manage everything from large to small. Including simple daily tasks to complex multi-phased projects. And do it all within a single, intuitive interface.

You can use the new Microsoft Planner from within Microsoft Teams or via a web browser. Here are some of the exciting things you will be able to do with it.

Enhanced Collaboration: Working Together Made Easy

Collaboration is key in today’s fast-paced world. Working remotely has become the new normal. Meaning tools need to keep people coordinated wherever they are.

The new Planner empowers teams to work together seamlessly. Real-time updates ensure everyone stays on the same page. Features like shared task ownership and comments foster clear communication and efficient collaboration.

AI-Powered Insights: Your Smart Copilot for Success

The new Planner incorporates the power of AI with Microsoft Copilot built in. This intelligent assistant helps you stay on top of your work. It can suggest relevant plans, tasks, and goals based on your needs and context. It can even analyze your progress and suggest adjustments to keep you on track.

Scaling with Your Needs: From Simple Tasks to Enterprise Projects

One size doesn’t fit all. The new Planner understands that. It offers flexibility to cater to both individual needs and complex enterprise projects. Microsoft Planner can adapt to your specific requirements. It’s flexible for use to fill big or small needs. Use it for managing a personal grocery list. Or to plan and deploy a large-scale company transformation.

Pre-Built Templates: Get Started Fast & Save Time

You don’t have to start from “square 1,” unless you want to. Microsoft Planner provides several ready-made templates. You can use these to get started on a new project or goal quickly.

You’ll see templates for things like:

  • Project Management
  • Software Development
  • Sprint Planning
  • Marketing Campaign
  • Commercial Construction
  • Employee Onboarding
  • and more

Here’s a sneak peek at some key features of the new Microsoft Planner 2024:

  • Improved Navigation: A redesigned interface makes finding what you need faster and easier.
  • Enhanced Task Views: It has different views, like grid and board views. These let you customize how you see and organize your tasks.
  • Microsoft App Integration: Planner integrates with many Microsoft tools. Including, Power BI, Teams, Microsoft Viva Goals, Power Automate, and more.
  • Customizable Fields: Add custom fields to tasks. Use them to capture specific information relevant to your project needs.
  • Goal Setting: Define clear goals and track progress visually within your plans.
  • Critical Path: Identify the essential tasks needed to complete your project on time.
  • Improved Search: Find the information you need quickly and easily. The app has powerful search functionality.

Access and Availability

Mark your calendars! The new Planner will be available in preview in early 2024. It will become generally available soon after. Some features will roll out later in the year. You can visit Microsoft’s site to sign up for updates and see a feature roadmap.

The Future of Tasks, Planning & Project Management

The new Microsoft Planner 2024 is an example of a trend we’ve seen in the digital world. Less is more. Meaning, fewer apps to juggle and more streamlined interfaces.

Planner’s powerful features make it an invaluable tool. One that both individuals and teams alike can leverage to streamline workflows. It also has an intuitive interface and AI-powered assistant to drive productivity.

Get Expert Business Software Support & Management

Managing both legacy and new cloud tools can be complex. Features often go underutilized. And security can be a big problem if it’s not done right. Our team of business software experts is here to help you.

Contact us today to schedule a chat.


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What Is Microsoft Security Copilot? Should You Use It?

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It can be challenging to keep up with the ever-evolving cyber threat landscape. Companies need to process large amounts of data. As well as respond to incidents quickly and effectively. Managing an organization’s security posture is complex.

That’s where Microsoft Security Copilot comes in. Microsoft Security Copilot is a generative AI-powered security solution. It provides tailored insights that empower your team to defend your network. It works with other Microsoft security products. It also integrates with natural language to generate tailored guidance and insights.

In this article, we will explain what Microsoft Security Copilot is. We’ll explore its benefits and whether it’s the right choice to enhance your digital defenses.

What Is Microsoft Security Copilot?

Microsoft Security Copilot is a cutting-edge cybersecurity tool. It leverages the power of AI and machine learning for threat detection and response. Copilot aims to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of cybersecurity operations.

Microsoft Security Copilot helps security teams:

  • Respond to cyber threats
  • Process signals
  • Assess risk exposure at machine speed

It works with other Microsoft security products as well. A big benefit is that it integrates with natural language. This means you can ask questions plainly to generate tailored guidance and insights.

Security Copilot can help with end-to-end scenarios such as:

  • Incident response
  • Threat hunting
  • Intelligence gathering
  • Posture management
  • Executive summaries on security investigations

How Does Microsoft Security Copilot Work?

You can access Microsoft Security Copilot capabilities through a standalone experience. As well as embedded experiences available in other Microsoft security products.

Copilot integrates with several tools, including:

  • Microsoft Sentinel
  • Microsoft Defender XDR
  • Microsoft Intune
  • Microsoft Defender Threat Intelligence
  • Microsoft Entra
  • Microsoft Purview
  • Microsoft Defender External Attack Surface Management
  • Microsoft Defender for Cloud

You can use natural language prompts with Security Copilot. This makes it easy to ask for information or guidance on various security topics.

For example, you can ask:

  • What are the best practices for securing Azure workloads?
  • What is the impact of CVE-2024-23905 on my organization?
  • Generate a report on the latest attack campaign.
  • How do I remediate an incident involving TrickBot malware?
Security Copilot
Image source: Microsoft

Should You Use Microsoft Security Copilot?

The Pros:

  1. Advanced Threat Detection
    Microsoft Security Copilot employs advanced algorithms. These detect and analyze threats that may go unnoticed by traditional security measures. It has the ability to adapt to new threats in real time. This enhances the security posture for organizations.
  1. Operational Efficiency
    Copilot automates threat analysis. This allows security teams to focus on strategic decision-making. It also reduces the time and effort spent on manual data analysis. The tool streamlines workflows, enabling quicker responses to potential threats.
  1. Integration with Microsoft Products
    Microsoft Security Copilot seamlessly integrates with several Microsoft products. This creates a comprehensive cybersecurity ecosystem. The synergy between these tools enhances threat visibility as well as response capabilities.
  1. Continuous Learning
    The AI and machine learning components of Copilot continuously learn from new data. This improves their ability to identify and mitigate emerging threats over time. This adaptive learning approach ensures that the tool evolves. Which is important to do alongside the ever-changing threat landscape.
  1. Reduced False Positives
    Copilot’s advanced algorithms contribute to a more accurate threat detection process. This minimizes false positives that can overwhelm security teams. The result is a more focused and efficient response to genuine threats.

The Considerations:

  1. Integration Challenges
    Microsoft Security Copilot seamlessly integrates with Microsoft and other security products. But organizations using a diverse range of cybersecurity tools may face integration challenges. Consider the compatibility of Copilot with your existing cybersecurity infrastructure.
  1. Resource Requirements
    The deployment of advanced AI and machine learning technologies may demand extra resources. Companies should check if their existing infrastructure supports the requirements of the tool.
  1. Training and Familiarization
    Successfully leveraging the benefits of Copilot requires training. As well as familiarization with the tool’s functionalities. Ensure that your security team is adequately trained. This will maximize the potential of this cybersecurity solution.

The Bottom Line

Microsoft Security Copilot represents a leap forward in the realm of AI-driven cybersecurity. It has an advanced capacity for real-time threat detection and operational efficiency. As well as extensive integration capabilities. These factors make it a compelling choice. Especially for businesses seeking to fortify their
digital defenses.

Your unique business needs should guide the decision to adopt Microsoft Security Copilot. Consider factors such as existing cybersecurity infrastructure and resource availability. As well as the commitment to ongoing training.

Get Expert Microsoft Product Support Here!

Microsoft is a vast ecosystem of interconnected business tools. Security Copilot is one of the newest to help you secure your online landscape. If you need some help leveraging these tools for your company, let us know. We are experienced Microsoft service providers. Our team can help you make the most of these tools.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation.


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Workspaces, a VPN & More – Learn the Newest Microsoft Edge Features

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Microsoft Edge continues to redefine user experiences. This is due to Microsoft’s commitment to innovation. The latest updates bring a host of features. These are designed to enhance productivity, security, and browsing satisfaction.

Chrome may have been number one for years. But Edge has been steadily gaining popularity. It is now the third most popular browser worldwide. Overtaking Firefox a while back, it’s now just behind Chrome (1) and Safari (2).

From personalized workspaces to a built-in VPN, Microsoft Edge is not just a browser. It’s a comprehensive toolkit for users navigating the digital landscape. Let’s delve into the newest Microsoft Edge features. They promise to elevate your online journey.

A New Era of Productivity: Microsoft Edge Workspaces

Introduction to Workspaces

Workspaces in Microsoft Edge represent a paradigm shift. A shift in how users organize and manage their online tasks. Imagine having a dedicated space for each project. One that seamlessly integrates relevant tabs, documents, and websites.

Microsoft Edge Workspaces makes this a reality. It allows users to create custom workspaces. Each workspace represents different aspects of their digital lives. Whether you’re working on a project, planning a trip, or pursuing a hobby. Workspaces offer a tailored and organized browsing environment.

Workspaces
Image source: Microsoft

Key Features of Microsoft Edge Workspaces

  1. Personalization: Users can customize Workspaces with a unique name and color. This makes it easier to distinguish between different projects or activities.
  2. Easy Access: With a single click, users can switch between Workspaces. This instantly transitions them between different sets of tabs and online resources. Users associate each Workspace with specific projects or interests.
  3. Persistence: Workspaces keep their configurations. This is the case even when users close and reopen the browser. This ensures that users can seamlessly resume their work. There is no need to reconstruct their customized environments each time.
  4. Efficient Task Management: Workspaces make task-focused browsing easier, minimizing distractions. This helps users maintain focus on the specific project or activity at hand.

Enhanced Security with Edge Secure Network VPN

Built-in VPN

Microsoft Edge takes a giant leap in prioritizing user privacy and security. The Edge Secure Network uses a new built-in VPN. VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, encrypt internet connections. This helps ensure a secure and private browsing experience. Microsoft Edge now provides users with 5GB of free VPN data per month. This further protects their online presence.

Key Benefits of the VPN in Microsoft Edge

  1. Enhanced Privacy: VPNs mask users’ IP addresses. This makes it challenging for malicious actors to track their online activities. This is particularly crucial when accessing public Wi-Fi networks. As well as sensitive information.
  2. Secure Browsing: The VPN has an encrypted connection. This ensures that data transmitted between the user’s device and internet is secure. It reduces the risk of interception by hackers.
  3. Geographic Consistency: Edge’s VPN will mask your specific location. Websites will see a location similar to yours. So, when you look up movie times or nearby services, you see what you expect. You cannot choose a specific region to route traffic from.
  4. Complimentary 5GB Data: Microsoft Edge users receive 5GB of free VPN data each month. To conserve the data limit, content streaming sites aren’t routed through the VPN. These are sites like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, etc.

Other New Features Added to Microsoft Edge Browser

Microsoft is continuously updating Edge. Here are a few more new features you can enjoy.

  1. Autofill for Forms: Edge makes filling out forms online easier. It will suggest completions when you start typing into fields. This includes name, email, address, etc.
  2. Web Capture: Using Web Capture in Edge makes it easy to take a screenshot. You can select an area or a full page. Then paste it into any of your files.
  3. Copilot: Use the Copilot icon at the top of Edge to access AI features. This includes creating AI-generated images as well as creating quick email drafts and more.
  4. Read Aloud: Need to step away from the screen for a moment? Let Edge read content for you out loud. Enabling you to multi-task like there’s no tomorrow!

Get Help Exploring Your Microsoft Services

Microsoft Edge establishes itself as a comprehensive solution. It’s great for those seeking a more productivity-focused browser. As well as a secure and private online environment. Microsoft Edge’s latest features enhance the way we work, explore, and connect.

Is your company in need of help exploring what Microsoft has to offer? From Edge enhancements to Microsoft 365 tools, we have experts to guide you.

Don’t miss out on all that these solutions have to offer. Our Microsoft experts can help set up, manage, and secure your digital workflows.

Give us a call today to schedule a chat.


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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

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
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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.


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

Best Ways to Use ChatGPT at Your Business (Without Things Getting Out of Hand)

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It’s hard to turn around online these days without running into ChatGPT. Both Bing and Google are levering this advanced artificial intelligence language model. And you can expect it to show up in more business and personal tools that you use every day.

ChatGPT has revolutionized the way businesses interact with their customers. It has also affected how they get things done. Teams are using it for everything from emails to generating ideas for product names.

The tool’s personalized and informative responses in real-time definitely draw you in. But integrating ChatGPT into your business operations requires careful consideration. You want to ensure that things don’t get out of hand with employees using the tool irresponsibly.

In this article, we explore the best practices for using ChatGPT at your business.

Best Practices for Responsible Use of ChatGPT & Other AI

Understand ChatGPT’s Weaknesses

This is still very new technology, and it makes mistakes. When you first use ChatGPT, you’ll see a warning about this. You shouldn’t use the responses it provides you without human review and editing.

Yes, it can write you an employee device use policy if you ask. But, there may be things in that auto-generated policy that aren’t quite correct. Use it as a prompt, but not as a replacement for human-generated content.

Another weakness is potential bias. As the engine trains on vast amounts of content, it can pick up some bad habits. Thus, you could get biased or shocking responses from ChatGPT. Understand that in human terms, the tool is still a toddler that needs supervision.

Define ChatGPT’s Role

Before integrating ChatGPT into your business, it’s essential to define its role. The role can range from answering customers to generating ideas for new products.

Defining ChatGPT’s role helps you leverage its power. But also ensures you put in guard rails. The technology still is very new, so you don’t want your employees using it for everything.

Determine exactly which tasks the company approves for ChatGPT use and which it does not. This empowers your team to use it where you deem best and avoids improper use.

Consider Customer Privacy

Privacy is a crucial aspect of any business, and ChatGPT should not be an exception. As you integrate the tool into your work, it’s important to consider customer privacy. In fact, in March, Italy banned ChatGPT due to data privacy concerns.

Be aware of any exposure of employee or customer data to ChatGPT. Limit the potential for data leakage.

For example, you can configure ChatGPT to stop collecting customer data. Such as, after data collection reaches a particular threshold.

Ensure Human Oversight

ChatGPT is a powerful tool, but it’s not a substitute for human interaction. It’s crucial to have human oversight to ensure the output it gives is relevant and accurate. Human oversight can help stop inappropriate responses that may negatively impact your business.

Integrate ChatGPT Into Your Existing Customer Service

Integrating ChatGPT into your customer service channels can benefit customers. It can improve customer experience while also reducing workload. You can integrate it into your website, social media, and other support channels. It can provide real-time responses to customer queries. But, again, human beings need to watch ChatGPT and its responses.

Leveraging it intelligently reduces the waiting time for customers. It can also improve their experience with your business.

Measure Performance and Optimize

Measuring ChatGPT’s performance is crucial to ensure that it’s providing value. Measure its performance by analyzing customer satisfaction, response time, and responses handled.

You can also look at productivity statistics. Is using ChatGPT to write the framework for customer emails saving time? Or does it take just as much time for your team to edit responses?

Based on the analysis, you can optimize ChatGPT to improve its performance. This helps it to be a better support for your business.

Be Transparent About Using It

Be transparent if you’re using ChatGPT for email responses or other things. Your customers will appreciate your honesty. For example, you could simply state in your policies the following.

“We leverage AI for certain content, and always edit and fact-check its outputs.”

The use of AI-generated content is a murky area right now. Responsible companies tell their customers exactly where and how they are using it.

Get Help Navigating the Changing World of Business Technology

ChatGPT is an excellent tool for businesses looking to leverage its AI power. But this tool is still in its infancy. Integrating ChatGPT into your business requires careful consideration. You need to ensure that it’s effective and secure.

Need help navigating the changing technology landscape? Give us a call today to schedule a chat about AI, where to leverage it, and business concerns.


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