On the show this week – Entra ID is the new name for Azure AD, and with that news, it gets some new features. But should they be part of the identity suite?
Microsoft 365 Copilot pricing is announced, and we explore whether this is going to be value for money in a reasonably objective manner.
Bing Chat Enterprise is somewhat harder to be objective about, but we try – and Syntex Backup and Archive are more interesting than may first appear. We discuss this in detail. Plus, great new features on the Roadmap are highlighted that will be coming to Microsoft 365 tenants soon.
Azure Active Directory Gets a (Mostly) Welcome Re-name
A new day and a new name. By now, you’ll be familiar with Entra, Microsoft’s branding for the overall identity suite – so it comes as no surprise to anyone that Microsoft has rebranded Azure Active Directory to… Entra ID. Paul makes the excellent point that Azure Active Directory never made a whole load of sense; as it wasn’t charged the same way as Azure; didn’t originate as part of Azure, and isn’t Active Directory either. It causes (or caused) confusion – take Active Directory domain controllers running in Azure, for example.
As well as the new name, Entra receives several new features, including Entra Internet Access, which is a Secure Web Gateway product. This is welcome – but we ask whether this should be part of Defender?
Syntex Backup and Syntex Archive are Microsoft 365 Backup and Microsoft 365 Archive
Syntex, for many, is still categorized under SharePoint Syntex – as the document processing capabilities, whereas Microsoft Syntex covers a little more ground. Clarifying things a little more, Microsoft has re-positioned the upcoming Backup and Archiving add-on capabilities and announced that ISV (Independent Software Vendors) will be integrating their software with the Backup and Archive products in the suite.
Coming in Q4 to Public Preview, we discuss some of the (surprising and not surprising) vendors working with Microsoft to interface with the backup and archiving capabilities, and Paul – as a Microsoft 365 backup expert – lends his view on where this benefits customers in terms of the scenarios for recovery that either Microsoft 365 Backup and ISV products will best meet needs.
Microsoft 365 Copilot: Pricing Released
Inspire, Microsoft’s partner conference, had a big focus on AI this week, as predicted in the last episode. We didn’t know that the pricing for Microsoft 365 Copilot would be released, though.
The biggest question on people’s lips about Copilot has, of course, been – how much it will cost – and at $30 a month, it’s not immediately unfathomably high when you compare costs for ChatGPT Plus; however, a dependency upon Microsoft 365 “M” licensing – rather than just Office 363 licensing, means the step-up is not a simple decision.
Not only that, add-ons like SharePoint Advanced Management (so you can look for excessive sharing), and a potential journey to protect sensitive data and better curate your information that will be used by Copilot mean it’s not quite a no-brainer. Given that it’s entirely possible – even before the final product is launched – to make a good business case (as we discuss in detail on the show), then that probably says one thing: Microsoft has priced it right.
Plus: Bing Chat Enterprise Offers a Taste of ChatGPT-style Functionality
It’s difficult to criticize Microsoft for providing additional functionality for no extra cost in the Microsoft 365 E-plans, so we won’t – however, that said, you might want to be wary of the Bing Chat Enterprise add-on and give it a test run before enabling it.
It’s not quite as “secure” Chat GPT for your users, and you can’t access your own data. You are likely far better using Azure OpenAI to deliver such a service; and because of the dependencies required (such as managed desktops and mobile devices) to enforce usage of Bing Chat Enterprise so that users do not mistakenly end up at the consumer version and the lack of auditing and other features, you might need to think twice about this before allowing it to auto-enable.
Fundamentally though – if you have the right environment and licenses, it could be valuable in helping people learn “the art of the possible” and the limitations of ChatGPT-powered services before building your own internal apps based on Azure OpenAI or buying Microsoft 365 Copilot.
Roadmap and Message Center
And finally, this week, we discuss two key items arriving on the roadmap. Teams Cross Cloud Guest Access Public Preview and the ability to enable a second video stream for Teams Content Camera on desktops.
The first will be useful for organizations with users in a GCC (or another non-commercial cloud) Microsoft 365 tenant when there’s been a need to work as or with Guests from the standard commercial cloud service. The second feature brings the Microsoft Teams Room “Content Camera” feature that brings a physical whiteboard into a Teams call. We see this as being especially useful to educators who use Teams to support distance learning.
Join us in two weeks’ time for Season 4 Episode 1, when Paul and I will be joined by our new co-host, Rich Dean. Until then, let us know your thoughts about the announcements and topics discussed in the comments below.