Join us for this week’s episode where we talk AI – or rather, machine learning and clever software that can regurgitate known information in a variety of ways – yep, you’ve guessed it – OpenAI, ChatGPT, and where Microsoft is using this.

We discuss where this is being used in Microsoft 365 apps like Teams, Viva, the Power Platform, Outlook, and even Bing! 

And in sad, sad news… Yammer is dead,  but fortunately, it is reborn as Viva Engage. We thought that had already happened but clearly not. Don’t worry, we don’t discuss whether it will be the “Year of Viva Engage” (It won’t be).

Plus, in other news – Teams gets some really useful features, such as targeted release – we explore that, and more Teams news. We also talk about the new, long-awaited features are coming to Intune, including one we’ve been waiting around 6 years for.

AI: GPT-3 & ChatGPT in Microsoft 365, Viva, Power Platform & Bing

In a flurry of blog posts and announcements from Microsoft, services leveraging OpenAI (via Microsoft’s exclusive partnership) have been announced – many already that already exist, and some new launches.

In particular, Microsoft expands details about the AI technology being used to deliver Teams AI functionality, and inside Viva Sales, email content will be suggested to reply to messages.

Meanwhile, in supplementary blog posts, Microsoft also details how to add this functionality to Outlook yourself for general business emails, and how to use the OpenAI connector in the Power Platform.

It certainly seems that it’s no coincidence that with the current interest in ChatGPT and other OpenAI tools such as DALL·E – with some technologists predicting that ChatGPT could kill Google Search, Microsoft leap-frogs the competition by adding this functionality to Bing.

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Yammer is Dead: Long Live Viva Engage!

Evolving. Not dead. Re-branding may be a better word, although Microsoft is continuing to add features to Yammer Viva Engage; and with more pace than we’ve traditionally seen.

The main news, though, is simply the name is changing, So if you do re-launch Yammer Viva Engage with the hope of avoiding the bad name it had the first time you tried – at least attempt to do it properly. That generally means – alignment to a communications team need, or culture change for cross-organization knowledge sharing and reduction of silos, followed by a hard-won business change project to deliver it with success and measurable value.

Read Microsoft’s tech community and Microsoft 365 blog posts on the subject, and Tony Redmond’s Office 365 for IT Pro’s commentary.

Exchange February 2023 Security Updates

More updates for Exchange Server on-premises – applicable to, the soon to be out of support, Exchange Server 2013 (CU23), Exchange Server 2016 (CU23), and 2019 (CU11 and CU12). These are applicable both to Exchange On-Premises when you run Mailbox servers, and Hybrid mail relay/management servers.

Read more

Intune Windows Desktop & Mobile Improvements

On the roadmap are two interesting features that have been long-awaited. Although there are scant details right now, if you’ve been hoping or waiting for this functionality, it will be welcome.

On mobile devices, we’re assuming from the roadmap that you’ll be able to use multiple MAM or MDM accounts in apps like Outlook & Teams, which currently only support one managed account.

This will be most useful to a small subset of users, such as board members who work across multiple businesses, or potentially folks in more secure environments who have to use several tenants, such as a GCC and commercial one.

Expect to wait a while, as this comes to preview in July, with a potential GA date of December 2023.

And, if you have a subset of users, such as developers, who need occasional admin access on their managed devices, then the ability to elevate end-user privileges in Intune will be welcome. To meet this need today, you usually need a third-party app, or something developed in-house. This is coming much sooner – with a potential preview date of March 2023, with GA in April.

New Webinar experiences and Elgato Stream deck support

The big news, as far as Paul is concerned, is not the Streamdeck support – but the API that underpins it. The API is a webhook API using a key generated by the local Teams client, will allow actions like mute and unmute. Presence and other controls remain performed via the Graph API.

This is useful for folks using the Webinar features in Teams, as this means they can have a hardware device available at a low cost that provides the key controls that streamers enjoy.

Read more

Could Microsoft Places arrive this summer: Outlook improvements are on the way to support working hours & location

It’s no certainty that this roadmap item means Microsoft Places is coming around June this year, but it certainly indicates Microsoft looks to be working on dependencies for the new app. Outlook will receive the ability for users to set their working hours and location; naturally, this means attributes in the Exchange Online mailbox should contain this information too, which would most likely be consumed by Microsoft Places – but hopefully by other tools like Teams or when scheduling meetings.

This isn’t coming very soon – it’s expected to arrive in GA (which might be the targeted release version) in June 2023.

Pronouns in Outlook & Teams contact cards on the way

Both Paul and I have had customers request the ability for users to add pronouns to their profile information. Whilst this might not be a feature all users or organizations value, those that do want this are often passionate about having the ability. Therefore it is great news that this will arrive next month, in March 2023.

Control over who gets updates first in Teams: Support for Targeted release

And finally – in both senses. Teams will support Targeted release settings for Microsoft 365 apps. A long requested and long overdue feature, this will help organizations avoid all-too-common scenarios like the CEO getting a feature (or bug) before folks in IT have seen it for themselves in Teams.

Generally, this will mean you can either test new great features in the targeted release first before communicating them to users, or, more commonly, have the opportunity to raise a support case before the updates hit the rest of your Teams users. This will arrive in March 2023, hopefully for both your targeted and non-targeted release users.

That’s all for the show this week – so catch us in two weeks’ time for our next episode of the Practical 365 Podcast!

Cybersecurity Risk Management for Active Directory

Discover how to prevent and recover from AD attacks through these Cybersecurity Risk Management Solutions.

About the Author

Steve Goodman

Technology Writer and Chief Editor for AV Content at Practical 365, focused on Microsoft 365. A 12-time Microsoft MVP, author of several technology books and regular Microsoft conference speaker. Steve works at Advania in the UK as Field Chief Technology Officer, advising business and IT on the best way to get the most from Microsoft Cloud technology.

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