Microsoft / Office 365 News

Microsoft Bookings comes to Enterprise Plans – with access in Microsoft Teams

Microsoft have finally uplifted and released Microsoft Bookings for the enterprise. This was originally aimed at smaller businesses, for example, if you wanted to book an appointment with your hairdresser. Now it’s available to Enterprise customers and Microsoft are recommending use cases integrated with Microsoft Teams, like virtual consultations with clinicians.

In the Healthcare post, Microsoft shows how this can be used by someone to book a slot with a doctor and once it’s confirmed, they’ll get an invite to a Teams meeting they can join. In addition, Microsoft have a preview program for an API for businesses that want to use the Bookings API as part of their workflow, via custom or line of business applications.

You can find out more about Bookings here.

And, you can find out more about the specific healthcare use cases and Teams announcement here.

The updated Microsoft Stream mobile app is out – with support for recording video, editing and uploading direct from your phone

This is a big and some may say overdue update for Microsoft Stream. Now, people can not only use the application on mobile to watch videos but use it as a publishing application.

Around 5 years ago I first had a request for people to be able to use Microsoft 365 in this way – that company’s use case was to allow their field workers to record complex tasks and publish them for other people to see. Back then it would have required a custom application that recorded the video and published it to a SharePoint document library.

This not only makes it easy to record video, but also comes with functionality to annotate and edit the video before publishing it directly from the application.

Scenarios like the one above will make it much simpler to document what people are doing and share video like YouTubers to share how-to and other information within the company. I’d see it really being useful to FirstLine workers who will benefit from showing on-the-job tasks to others who’ll also consume from mobile devices.

Microsoft release the Crisis Communications app

This release demonstrates how quickly people can use the Power Platform to build out simple but enterprise-ready applications. The Crisis Communications app is a PowerApp, available as a template, that you can download and deploy quickly to your organization.

Guidance from Microsoft shows instructions on how to install this into your tenant, and then deploy the PowerApp as a Teams application that’s available to all users.

Overall, this is a straightforward process – though it requires some knowledge of various Office 365 services. You’ll need to, naturally, create a SharePoint site to host the application’s data, create SharePoint Lists (though a Flow is available to automate this), import the sample PowerApp and connect it to the data sources back to the SharePoint lists you’ve created and updated permissions for.

As it’s reliant on various functionality, like sending adaptive cards to users within the business you’ll also need to define and set various values for contact information and who will receive urgent requests for assistance. Microsoft suggest this will take 25 minutes to set-up end-to-end, but I’d budget half a day of time excluding ensuring you’ve got all the right people aligned within the business.

We talked about it just last week, but the guide also recommends using the new admin functionality to pin apps in Teams for everyone. It’s a great example of how the new pinning app functionality makes a lot of sense.

Read more on the announcement and install instructions for Teams here.

Read the setup instructions for PowerApps, SharePoint and Azure AD in the documentation here.  

Microsoft to go into private preview next month for Microsoft Teams Rooms accessing WebEx and Zoom meetings

Announced at Ignite, Microsoft will launch a feature called Direct Guest join. This partnership, with vendors including Cisco will leverage web-based join functionality from Cisco and Zoom to allow a Microsoft Teams Room to recognise an invite from one of these third-party cloud-based solutions and join via their web-based meeting mechanisms, without installation of additional software. We had little update of when this would arrive, however when asking Microsoft earlier in the week, Microsoft staff mentioned publicly on Twitter that they are planning to move this into a private preview beginning next month.

Read more about the Ignite announcement here.

Launching this month – Teams/Skype Consumer chat and calling interop

This was announced via the Message Center but it’s actually quite an important improvement people have wanted for some time – especially those wanting feature parity between Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams.

This is apparently rolling out to tenants this month and has been seen in the wild.

What this enables you to do is chat and call with people using Consumer Skype. This might become quite important for certain scenarios especially if people need to regularly work with customers remotely and potentially in scenarios like education. For example, this potentially enables calling scenarios like calling a Teams person from an Alexa device that’s connected to a Skype Consumer account.

This will be disabled by default in the Teams Admin center and will be enabled in Org-Wide Settings > External Access, with a specific option to enable users to communicate with Skype users. It appears though, that if you enabled it for Skype for Business in the past, then this setting is carried over.

From a user perspective, they’ll see a new message from user with a Skype logo, with the prompt this person wants to chat with you, with the option to Block or Accept the message. If you are adding by the user, the it doesn’t appear you can add via Skype ID at the moment and you’ll need to add them via their Microsoft account name. From some quick testing, if that’s been used to setup a Teams Free subscription, then it appears to default to that ID first. Use this with caution and remember people can join a Teams meeting without any credentials!

Microsoft to disable administrators using New-MoveRequest for internal moves in Exchange Online

It’s an open secret that you can use the New-MoveRequest cmdlet within Exchange Online to force the move of a mailbox within your own Office 365 tenant from one Exchange Online Mailbox Database to another.

This is useful in a number of scenarios – such as expediating multi-geo moves, but most commonly to use as a way of re-stamping attributes to mailboxes and solving various quirky issues without calling Microsoft support. As long-time Exchange admins will be aware – moving a mailbox between databases can solve a multitude of issues users have very quickly.

Microsoft believe that in many cases it will actually be quicker to log a support ticket, and support will be able to solve the issue very quickly without a mailbox move being required.

Already in the comments there’s a little skepticism, however it may be that Microsoft have developed some tooling their side to assist with these types of issues without resorting to potentially drastic action. It may also be that administrators doing this on a regular basis affect the operation of the service and how Microsoft are load balancing mailboxes.

Read more about it here.

The Microsoft Teams PowerShell module 1.0.4 and 1.0.5 has been released

Last week we talked about how the batch application of policies has been delayed whilst Microsoft make sure that the new functionality works well.

It appears that version 1.0.4 was launched early in the week, and mid-week, 1.0.5 was released. First, in the very latest version we finally get the batch application of policies – in the form of New and Get CsBatchPolicyAssignmentOperation.

There is a new RetainCreatedGroup parameter to keep the Office 365 Group if Team creation fails. When adding an Owner to a Team, it will also add them as a member of the Team – which makes sense. You will also see updates to make the behavior of removing Team members and owners, and also updates to harden Get-Team when retrieving large numbers of Teams.

Intune gets a long-requested feature – change the primary user of a managed device

In Public Preview, this feature allows you to change the assigned user from one to another or change it to a shared device (“none”). This light up various functionality, such as the list of devices assigned to a user and self-service functionality to wipe that device if it’s lost or stolen. From an IT support perspective, it’s also a lot easier to troubleshoot and help a user if you can choose the user then see all the devices assigned to them.

Read more here.

New on the Roadmap

We’ve got a couple of new items worthy of mention on the roadmap this week:

  • Outlook for iOS and Android get Suggested keyword spelling corrections – rolling out in April and designed to improve the ability to find the right results, for example if you search for “invioce” and meant “invoice”.
  • Safe Links Protection for Microsoft Teams is arriving for Office 365 ATP users. This will mean if a link is pasted into a Teams chat or channel, it will be run through the ATP protection service to scan it. That’s in development and arriving in April.
  • An interesting one for document reviews – Tasks in Word and Excel – this is targeted for next month, and based on the improvements to @-mentions in comments (where the context and ability to reply in Outlook is coming), expect this to arrive in Word and Excel online first, before the desktop versions.

Message Center Updates

  • It’s a fairly slow week this week in the message centre – we have guidance published for the ongoing COVID-19 situation, including Microsoft’s documentation on their business continuity planning and how they’ll manage the service whilst they are remote. And of course, links to guidance on rolling out remote working capabilities in Microsoft 365.
  • Of note for Exchange Online – as per the Exchange Team Blog post last year, Outlook on the Web will block download of additional file types. You can read the original Exchange Team blog here.
  • And, finally – Microsoft Forms gets activity reports in the Microsoft Admin Centre. You’ll be able to view a new report to view usage of Forms within the organization. This is rolling out right now and completes today.

About the Author

Steve Goodman

Chief Editor for Audio and Video Content and Technology Writer for Practical 365, focused on Microsoft 365. A nine-time Microsoft MVP, author of several Exchange Server books and regular conference speaker, including at Microsoft conferences including Ignite, TechEd and Future Decoded. Steve has worked with Microsoft technology for over 20 years beginning and has been writing about Exchange and the earliest iterations of Office 365 since its inception. Steve helps customers plan their digital transformation journey and gets hands on with Microsoft Teams, Exchange and Identity projects.

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