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Microsoft 365

From collaborative apps in Microsoft Teams to Windows 365—here’s what’s new in Microsoft 365 at Inspire

This post was co-authored by Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365, and Alysa Taylor, Corporate Vice President for Industry, Apps, and Data Marketing.

With 145 million daily active users (and growing) Microsoft Teams is where people start their day and stay in the flow of work. Over the past 18 months, people have come to rely on Teams to meet, chat, call, collaborate, and—increasingly—automate business processes. In a very real way, Teams has become the new front end for a new world of work. But empowering people for flexible work isn’t easy. Every organization will need to build a new operating model across people, places, and processes.

This year at Inspire, we shared three ways that we are innovating to create new categories for a new world of hybrid work with the Microsoft Cloud:

  • A new Dynamics 365 + Microsoft Teams experience demonstrates the power of collaborative apps and enables organizations to activate this capability at no additional licensing cost.
  • Windows 365, which takes the PC to the cloud, gives people the ability to connect to their content, applications, data, and settings without limiting them to any single device.
  • New partner integrations with Microsoft Viva enhance the employee experience.

We’re also announcing additional innovations across Microsoft 365—including new security capabilities, new app monetization capabilities in the marketplace, and Microsoft 365 Lighthouse. In a changing world of work, these announcements bring opportunities for our partners and customers. Let’s take a look.

Collaborative apps: Activate the flow of work with Dynamics 365 in Teams

Hybrid work requires a new class of apps that surface in rich ways across all the places people work – within chat, channels, and meetings. These apps are a fusion of people and business process, and we call them simply “collaborative apps.” They also present an incredible opportunity for our partners to connect with the 145 million daily active users in Teams and expand their total addressable market.

Together, Dynamics 365 and Teams offer powerful new ways for everyone across an organization to seamlessly exchange and capture ideas right in the flow of work. Today we announced a new collaborative app that brings together the best of Dynamics 365 and Teams. We’re also eliminating the licensing tax that has historically held organizations back from this kind of integration, making these experiences available within Teams to any user, at no additional cost.

No other technology vendor offers this kind of integration and accessibility across the organization without the need to pay for multiple underlying software licenses.

View and edit Dynamics 365 records right within your Teams workflow

Dynamics 365 users can now invite anyone in the organization to view and collaborate on customer records right within the flow of a Teams chat or channel, ensuring the right individuals can take the next best action—faster and more efficiently without needing to switch context across multiple apps and data sources. For sellers, this includes sharing information like details on the sales opportunity, customer history, health of the customer relationship, key contacts, and more. For customer service representatives, this could include sharing the customer case record, sourcing troubleshooting steps, and tracking follow-up tasks.

View and edit Dynamics 365 records right within your Teams workflow

Add a Teams meeting to appointments and capture notes

Dynamics 365 users can now add a Teams meeting when creating an appointment, enabling access to key customer information during a Teams call. Users can also capture notes directly with the Teams call, which is automatically saved in the timeline of the Dynamics 365 record. Only users with appropriate permissions can access the data, helping to ensure the most appropriate employees are viewing, interacting with, and sharing customer records. 

Add a Teams meeting to appointments and capture notes

Stay up to date on records with automated notifications and connected workflows

With more employees collaborating on records, it’s critical for stakeholders to know when colleagues make key changes as they happen. Automatic notifications keep stakeholders alerted to updates. Users can select specific chats and channels through which notifications are sent, as well as the frequency of notifications. In addition, specific adaptive cards can be sent based on the notification type, enabling more connected workflows.  

Stay up to date on records with automated notifications and connected workflows

Break down barriers with collaborative apps from our partners

Our new integrated experiences between Teams and Dynamics 365 represent just one example of a collaborative app. Today, we also announced a host of new and enhanced collaborative apps from market-leading independent software vendor (ISV) partners including Atlassian Confluence, SAP Sales Cloud, Salesforce, ServiceNow, and Workday. All these integrations bring structured business processes and data together into the context of collaborative work.

Manage your Teams app purchasing across the enterprise more easily

ISVs will also soon be able to sell their apps directly within Teams, offering new economic opportunities and providing a simplified experience for Teams IT admins to purchase apps and subscriptions directly from the Teams admin center on behalf of their organization.

Windows 365 Cloud PC: Hybrid Windows for a hybrid world

The past year has shown us the PC’s central role in keeping people connected, productive, and secure while they work, create, and learn. Last month, we introduced Windows 11, which reimages everything from the operating system to the store to provide real choice to users.

Today, we introduced Windows 365a cloud service that offers a new way to experience Windows 10 or Windows 11 (when it becomes available later this year). From interns and contractors to software developers and industrial designers, Windows 365 gives users agency to connect to their apps, data, and settings from any device and any endpoint. It creates a new category called Cloud PC, which uses both the power of the cloud and the capabilities of the device to provide a full, personalized Windows experience, anywhere.

Log on to your PC from any device

Log on to your Cloud PC from any device

With an instant-on boot experience, users can stream all their personalized applications, tools, data, and settings from the cloud across any device. The Windows experience—whether you’re using Windows 10 or the upcoming Windows 11 available later this year—is consistent, no matter the device. You can pick up right where you left off, because the state of your Cloud PC remains the same, even when you switch devices.

Log on to your PC from any device

Provision Cloud PCs in minutes with no virtualization experience

A Cloud PC can be provisioned from the Microsoft Endpoint Manager dashboard. With provisioning policies, a group of Cloud PCs can be provisioned within minutes—including defining which version of Windows, assigning specific users or groups, and more.

Provision Cloud PCs in minutes with no virtualization experience

Windows 365 is not just for enterprises; it has been designed to be approachable for businesses of all sizes. In fact, for small to medium-sized businesses, there are simple to use tools for helping citizen admins choose and configure their own cloud environments, ensuring everyone gets the opportunity to pick the right PC and bring the power of the cloud to their users.

Stay protected wherever you access your Cloud PC

Windows 365 is built on the principles of Zero Trust and is secure by design, helping solve today’s critical security challenges. Information is stored and secured in the cloud, not on the device. Windows 365 utilizes multifactor authentication (MFA) to explicitly verify any login or access attempt to a Cloud PC through integration with Microsoft Azure Active Directory (Azure AD). And within Microsoft Endpoint Manager, you can pair MFA with dedicated Windows 365 conditional access policies to assess login risk instantly for each session.

Stay protected wherever you access your Cloud PC

With Windows 365, you can bring collaborative apps, Microsoft Teams, Dynamics 365, and Power Platform—plus your security and identity credentials—with you anywhere, anytime. Access your Cloud PC no matter where you are—at home, the office, worksite, or on the go. Windows 365 will be generally available on August 2, 2021, and you can learn more in the Microsoft 365 blog from Wangui McKelvey.

Microsoft Viva: Employee experience in the flow of work

Microsoft Viva puts people at the center, connecting them to company information, communications, workplace insights, knowledge, and learning to help them achieve their very best. Powered by Microsoft 365, Viva is an employee experience platform designed to work with your existing solutions and can be easily customized and extended to be part of any company’s portfolio to help drive its culture transformation. Today, we shared new partnerships, development tools, research on employee experiences, and more. Read more about the news across the Microsoft Viva modules—Viva Learning, Viva Connections, and Viva Topics.  

Enrich your employee experience with new Viva partner integrations

Earlier this year, we announced a number of Viva partner integrations, ranging from content providers to learning management systems to wellbeing tools that make it easy for customers to connect employees with the solutions they use every day. Today, we announced 21 new partner integrations including Workday, Qualtrics, and ServiceNow. These partner integrations, in addition to the ones we announced earlier this year, will be available later this year.

Microsoft Viva Partner Ecosystem

Bring your solutions into Viva

We also introduced new tools to help our partners and developers integrate with, build on, and extend their solutions into Viva. Available later this year, Viva Connections APIs enable partners to integrate with the Viva Connections dashboard enhancing the discoverability and engagement of their tools directly within the Viva experience. Viva Learning APIs, available later this year as a preview, can be used to integrate content from learning providers, as well as due dates and assigned content from learning management systems where they can be accessed in Teams, Office.com, SharePoint, and Microsoft Search in Bing.

Manage customers’ security posture at scale

We are excited by the momentum we are seeing from our customers in their adoption of Viva. Customers like Old Mutual in collaboration with PwC are using Viva to empower managers to better understand employee behavior so they can foster a more inclusive and connected experience.

To help our partners build and market apps for Teams and Viva, we are also introducing a new set of benefits to build Microsoft 365 apps. These benefits include access to Microsoft technology, one-to-one consults with Microsoft experts to help our partners design, and build collaborative applications and employee experience solutions—marketing resources to scale to new customers, and support to achieve co-sell status to increase visibility with our 15,000 plus Microsoft field sellers.

As hybrid work becomes our new normal, ensuring your people feel engaged, achieve balance, and are empowered to be their best from anywhere is critical to success. In a recent study, we found that companies with best-in-class Employee Experience programs were 2.2 times more likely than peers to exceed financial targets and 5.1 times more likely to engage and retain employees. Read an executive summary of the report we commissioned with the Josh Bersin Academy for more information.

Secure your digital transformation

We are also empowering our partners to build trust with customers through new security offerings that prioritize inclusion, accessibility, and sustainability. Highlights are below—read our colleague Vasu Jakkal’s blog for full details.

Manage customers’ security posture at scale

We announced today that Microsoft 365 Lighthouse is entering preview. It provides managed service providers with one central location and standard security configuration templates to secure devices, data, and users for small and medium business customers that are using Microsoft 365 Business Premium. Specifically, Microsoft 365 Lighthouse empowers partners to quickly identify and act on threats, anomalous sign-in, and device compliance alerts. Reducing management complexity as our partners scale, and driving standardization across customers will allow partners to proactively manage risks and improve the security posture for the customers. You can learn more about Microsoft 365 Lighthouse in today’s Tech Community blog post.

Manage customers’ security posture at scale

Protect end customers against fraud

For partners who already help Azure AD business-to-consumer (B2C) customers manage identity and access for their customer apps, we are extending the scope of protection to include fraudulent activities by integrating Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection with Azure AD B2C.

Get visibility across more applications

We have built the app governance add-on feature to Microsoft Cloud App Security, entering preview today. Partners, who already manage Microsoft Cloud App Security for customers, can use app governance to monitor, protect, and govern Microsoft 365 apps and quickly identify, alert, and prevent risky behaviors.

Identify risky activities for users with critical positions

We extended the priority user group capability in Insider Risk Management to include fine-grained role-based access control (RBAC), now also in preview. It adds permissions to priority user groups to further limit alerts and cases to specific individuals instead of the whole group.

Customize regulatory assessments to fit unique requirements

New universal regulatory templates for non-Microsoft cloud in Compliance Manager enable partners to utilize the more than 300 templates available to manage customers’ compliance posture across different clouds and apps.

The future of work

As we emerge from this time of incredible challenges, we are optimistic that together we can empower people across the world for the flexible work of the future. We see an era ahead where people can have breakfast with the kids and quickly catch up on any missed meetings. Where organizations of all sizes—from a locally owned bike shop to a massive multinational corporate—can harness the full power of the cloud, from anywhere. And where every employee feels included and engaged, whether they’re working onsite, remotely, or some combination of the two.

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