Microsoft Teams Mixed Meetings – Cisco WebEx and Zoom

Meetings make only sense if there is a defined meeting goal to get a specific outcome and of course if all required (!) stakeholders (can) attend the meeting. In the past it probably happened that you invited someone which might not yet have Microsoft Teams but other meeting technology, e.g. Cisco Webex. So, the invited participant was than unable to join with his/her meeting solution which might not really caused a delightful user meeting experience. To cope with this challenge, there are video interop service for Microsoft Teams which mitigate this, as I wrote in the “Microsoft Teams Video Interoperability” post.

erik365 – What’s video interop?

However, that’s not all, the meeting capabilities were improved and getting improved, as it looks like. Microsoft, Cisco and Zoom announced a partnership and demoed it on Ignite 2019 to provide a better user experience for mixed meetings, e.g. Microsoft Teams and Cisco WebEx.

Conclusion, opinion and summary

In my opinion it’s a good idea to support and allow “cross-technology” online meetings just because there are many users on different technologies. It helps users stay productive by just attending online meetings with their commonly used tech/app/device instead of insisting to join a meeting in unfamiliar way.

Additional resources

What you should you know about Microsoft Teams Voice

In this post I like to highlight six Microsoft Teams (Voice) sessions from Microsoft Ignite 2019 which provide you with knowledge on what you should know about calling capabilities on Microsoft Teams. These sessions are very valuable and you should watch them if you plan, deploy or operate Microsoft Teams including voice workloads (telephony, contact center, …) in your enterprise. If you don’t have much time you might want to download the sessions’ slide decks, if available.

Source: https://pixabay.com/de/illustrations/lernen-hinweis-schule-betreff-3245793/

Microsoft Teams Voice Sessions Highlights

At Ignite 2019 there were so many sessions regarding Microsoft Teams with all kind of aspects and focus areas, e.g. adopting, planning, implementing, servicing, troubleshooting, developing etc. Hereinafter, I point you to six excellent sessions held by Microsoft employees from Ignite 2019.

Additional resources

What’s Microsoft Power Virtual Agents?

In this post I describe what Microsoft Power Virtual Agents are and what’s the benefit of using Power Virtual Agents.

What are Power Virtual Agents?

At Ignite 2019 I heard the first time of Power Virtual Agents.
It’s a service and it’s part of Microsoft’s Power Platform (Power Automate, Power BI, PowerApps). Currently, Power Virtual Agents are in preview.

Power Virtual Agents enables you to build bots to serve your business. It can be done with no-code, within little time and deploy it where ever you need it. For example, you can deploy the Power Virtual Agents in Teams, Skype, Facebook, any website, PowerApps etc. Just awesome!

To give you some quick overview how it looks like, some screenshots:

Screenshot – Eriks Demo Bot – Power Virtual Agent (Preview)
Screenshot – Eriks Demo Bot – Power Virtual Agent (Preview) – Bot conversation flow
Screenshot – Eriks Demo Bot – Power Virtual Agent (Preview) – Built/train/teach the bot/flow
Screenshot – Eriks Demo Bot – Power Virtual Agent (Preview) – Deploy (overview)

Advantages and benefits of Power Virtual Agents

  • Part of Microsoft’s Power Platform
  • No need to be a app developer
  • No-coding skills required to begin with
  • Easy to setup and start with
  • Fast “configuration”
  • Fast deployment and publishing into Teams, websites etc.
  • Easy to modify
  • Easy to extend (teach/train contents to give the bot more “knowledge”)

Conclusion, opinion and summary

Power Virtual Agents can deliver great benefit for your business, internally as well as externally.
You could, for example, build a bot for your web shop,
you could create a FAQ bot (if you have not already one),
you could set up a troubleshooting bot for (end user) support or any other scenario. All this might help to reduce repetitiv and boring tasks for your employees getting these questions asked and allow them to focus on what’s more important for your business success.

It’s really straightforward and it work’s like charm. I’m really excited what I’ve seen and could test in the preview of this service.

Additional resources

Audiocodes White Paper – Software-Defined Voice Networks (SDvN)

This post is about a newly released white paper by Audiocodes on software-defined voice networks to optimize network performance and reduce operational costs for communication, especially voice, solutions.

The white paper points out the challenge on managing complex (voice) networks and versatile workloads in times in which businesses have to master their digital transformation. Audiocodes emphasizes that many carriers abandon their legacy PSTN technology backbone to transition from ISDN to All-IP. This also causes a change at the enterprises. Therefore, software-defined voice networks is described as an approach to cope with the technology change by to keep voice networks manageable and cut operational costs.

Source: https://pixabay.com/de/illustrations/netzwerk-erde-blockchain-globus-3537401/

The advantages of software-defined (voice) networks [SDvN] as mentioned in the white paper are:

  • decoupled voice network infrastructure and voice control layer
  • APIs
  • overlay network
  • agil and dynamic
  • vendor agnostic
  • centralized network and call routing management
  • optimized call routing

Conclusion, opinion and summary

As I wrote in the past network reliability and performance for your communication and collaboration services (incl. voice) are essentials.

SDN can provide options to reduce operational costs and make your network more reliable and perform better. Audiocodes’ white paper outlines what SD(v)N in complex voice networking environments could offer to fulfill today’s and tomorrow’s business requirements in the digital era. SD(v)N, definitely something you should consider in case you have large and multi-national/-site (voice) network.

Additional resources

Deliver learning contents to your users with Microsoft 365 learning pathways

In this post I describe what Microsoft 365 learning pathways is and how it can help your company to increase your Microsoft 365 user adoption and productivity.

Source: https://pixabay.com/de/illustrations/lernen-hinweis-schule-betreff-3245793/

What’s Microsoft 365 learning pathways?

Learning pathways is a service by Microsoft which offers steadily updated and rich learning content delivery which you can add in your Microsoft 365 tenant. You can implemented for your tenant by using the SharePoint Online Provisioning Service. The goal is to increase your user’s productivity by showing them how to use and adopt available Microsoft 365 services.

Can I provide customized content to my users?

Yes, you can provide customized and tailored contents to be consumed on users’ demand.

How does the user get the learning contents?

By default, it’s a SharePoint Online communication site where users can access contents. Instead, you can also just manually install the Microsoft 365 learning pathways web part into a existing SharePoint Online site to integrated it there.

Can I integrate it into my Teams?

It’s a SharePoint Online site, so there are plenty of options!!!
And of course you can integrate it in Teams.

For example, you could
a) add the SharePoint Online site into a certain Teams Team as a tab or
b) add it as an app in the left navigation rail.

What about multi-language support?

Multi-language support is planned for (Jan) 2020.

What if I do not have people + time to provide customized contents for our users?

There are Microsoft partners out there which can help you to deliver what you need. Please be aware that Teams is no fixed app which never changes, on the contrary, that’s why it is significant that you or your partner updates your customized contents as needed and as Microsoft Teams changes.

Conclusion, opinion and summary

Microsoft 365 learning pathways is ideal to drive user adoption within your company. It provides your users learning contents to increase adoption and finally productivity due to knowing how things work in Microsoft 365.

Additional resources

Microsoft Ignite 2019 Recap

In this post I summarize my Microsoft Ignite 2019 (user) experience and highlight some additional resources (links) regarding Microsoft 365, Office 365 and especially Teams which is ideal to read for the weekend.

Now, that Microsoft Ignite 2019 ended there was and still is a lot of information to digest. A considerable amount of announcements were made and published during the week. At the bottom of this post I provide you some cross-references to resources where you get details on product and service announcements which were made.

The conference took place from 04. – 08. November 2019 in Orlando, FL, USA in the Orange County Convention Center (OCC) and attached buildings. Before, I was told that the OCC is the second largest conference venue (in size) in the US. Before being onsite I thought, ok, well. Than, finally, being on the venue and already getting there was “wow”. The venue is really beyond XXL. My step counter displayed more than 13.000 steps each day, except on Friday/last day. Thanks to my comfortable running shoes my feet are fine and alright. 😉

I’m still impressed, of the logistics to get all people, things and services organized. It was excellent organized. It was a pleasure to attend the Microsoft Ignite 2019. Lots of valuable and rich learning content first-hand, conversations, ideas, tips & tricks, and, of course, road maps on what’s about to come for products and services in the near or “far” future. Fantastic event!

Additional resources

Microsoft Teams Adoption Resources

In this post I want to emphasize the importance, again, of adoption and training and point out where the central adoption hub for Microsoft Teams is.

Source: https://pixabay.com/de/illustrations/lernen-hinweis-schule-betreff-3245793/

Conclusion, opinion and summary

In my opinion and based on what I see, Microsoft invests heavily in Microsoft Teams and a required adoption practice and material. If you use or plan to use Microsoft 365/Office365 and Teams you might only know some features and capabilities. That’s why it is so important that you learn and know what you don’t use and might could use to make your job and business more valuable, e.g. discover what you can do with certain tools, services and apps might bring up ideas on new business models in the digital era. Or it just helps to digitize and automate some as-is paper-based processes to get things done faster, be more productive and forget about repeatable, boring and required tasks because you’ve just automated them. Wow, now you can focus on what’s more important at your job and drives value for your job role and business. But how?

Well, you need to know what’s there. Moreover, your co-workers need to know. That’s why you must steadily inform them on what’s there, what’s new and how it works. Long story short, adoption is key to success.

For Teams you can find lots of resources on the adoption hub “Adopt Microsoft Teams”.

Additional resources

Microsoft Teams Adoption Flipbook

Due to the fact that you need a proper change management to rocket your Microsoft Teams adoption within your enterprise, don’t forget about to check out on available adoption material for Microsoft Teams.

Source: https://pixabay.com/de/illustrations/herunterladen-wolke-icon-netzwerk-2013195/

Microsoft gives you a Teams Adoption Flipbook. It’s a toolkit for enabling users with Microsoft Teams in your enterprise. The goal is not to replace any existing technology with a new technology!!!

It’s about people and how Microsoft Teams can empower them to reach their targets, both, professional and personal ones. E.g. if an sales analyst needs to get his report review done on time but also has to cope with some personal things during afternoon he/she needs a solution to get this done, both, at work and at home. Therefore the flip book points you to resources how you can design a modern workplace to provide your employees with the right solution and do it the way that people adopt the solution because cause the recognize the added value it delivers to get their job done.

Remember, it’s about enabling people getting things done. We experience a cultural change, we have several generations in the workforce, different “work styles”, how we work, therefore different capabilities are needed and must be provided to satisfy the users needs. This change must not end up with employees fearing or rejecting this change, so plan for change to make a transition from legacy to new for your users as smooth as possible. The adoption resources from Microsoft support you with this but its and permanent endeavor, not just a one time investment and project, to be clear.

Additional resources

Microsoft 365 and Teams Architecture Posters

In this post I point you to some valuable Microsoft 365 and Teams architecture posters which support you to learn, understand and plan Microsoft 365 and Teams.

Source: https://pixabay.com/de/photos/netzwerk-erde-blockchain-globus-3524352/

Teams IT architecture and telephony solutions posters

At docs.microsoft.com you can get many great posters which you can download as PDF as well as VSDX (Visio). The latter enable you to modify the architecture posters as you need them, so you can edit the posters if you, for instance, need them for documentation/presentation purposes.

Microsoft 365 enterprise solution series

The Microsoft 365 enterprise solution series posters depict different Microsoft 365 capabilities and how they are tied together. Helpful to build a better understanding of Microsoft 365 capabilities and facts you must know about if you are an IT/Solution/Technical Architect and deliver concepts for implementing, adopting … Microsoft 365.

Conclusion, opinion and summary

The architecture posters are a useful asset to learn, understand and plan Microsoft 365 and Teams. These posters illustrate what and how components and capabilities are linked and related to each other with different views.

Additional resources

What’s new in Microsoft Teams in October 2019?

In this post I like to highlight some new and planned features for Microsoft Teams based on the latest roadmap updates by Microsoft. The last few days many updates were made to the Microsoft Teams roadmap. So exciting times and Ignite is still ahead!

Source: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/landscape-hill-sky-clouds-hilly-922581/

So, what’s new or what planned? It’s a lot and that not all, just a few new and planned features I like to highlight:

  • Teams Delegation Enhancements: Other delegates can add/remove other delegates of a user and/or change a users call forwarding. | Launched | Oct 2019
  • Teams Music on Hold: Default music is played if an incoming PSTN caller is on hold. Applies for PSTN-2-Teams and PSTN-2-CallQueueAgent calls. | Launched | Oct 2019
  • Teams Audio Calling for the Chrome Browser: Calling via Chrome Browser | Launched | Oct 2019
  • Teams Phone System Administration Enhancements | Development | ~ Nov 2019
    • Better admin experience for managing Calling Plan, especially phone number management for Calling Plan users via WebUI
    • Custom dial plans via WebUI
    • Dynamic Emergency Calling via WebUI
    • Auto Attendants and Call Queues config enhancements via WebUI
  • Teams Direct Routing (TDR) Enhancements | Wow, this is a set of things which add new capabilities and/or improve TDR | Development | ~ Nov 2019
    • Media Relay Override
    • Missed Call Message Surpression
    • SIP Tester
    • Ringback Bot
    • PSTN Reporting
  • Pin apps to Teams left navigation rail: User can directly pin an app to the Teams navigation bar | Development |~ Nov 2019
  • Teams teams auto-renewal: In case expiration policy is set to a Team, already a “visit” of member instead of an owner avoids that the Team expires and so gets “renewed” | Development | ~ Nov 2019
  • Teams Presenter and Attendee roles for Meetings: Presenters have full control in meetings and attendees permissions are limited. | Development | ~ Nov 2019
  • Teams Manage discovery of private teams: Admin and owners can disable/enable this per Team to make a Team appear in the discoverable. … |Rolling out | ~ Nov 2019

Conclusion, summary and opinion

The amount of features which were/are and going to be released is massive. This is pretty impressiv because this indicates the efforts and investments which Microsoft puts into Teams and that the listen to their customers and don’t stop to make Teams (and all other services) better to finally help all to achieve more, be more productivity because you can do what you need to do.

Additional resources