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8 new ways to empower Firstline Workers and transform the way they work with Microsoft 365

Companies at the forefront of digital transformation recognize how critical it is to enable all of their people with the right technology and tools. That’s why, in industries like retail, hospitality, and manufacturing, there’s a movement underway to digitally empower the Firstline Workforce—the more than 2 billion people worldwide who work in service- or task-oriented roles.

With Microsoft 365, the world’s productivity cloud, we’re in a unique position to help companies of all sizes and across all industries provide their employees the tools and expertise they need to do their best work, without sacrificing the security of their organization or customers’ data. Giving Firstline Workers the tools they need requires companies to address unique user experience, security and compliance, and IT management.

Microsoft 365 for Firstline Workers

Microsoft 365 combines intuitive best-in-class productivity apps with intelligent cloud services to empower your Firstline Workforce.

Learn more

It’s inspiring to see how industry leaders, like IKEA and Mattress Firm, are driving higher levels of employee engagement and enhancing the customer experience by putting tools like Microsoft Teams into the hands of their Firstline Workforce. IKEA is connecting everyone in the organization with familiar features like chat and video calls and digitizing firstline processes such as shift management to save time and cost.

This video was created by Microsoft, with the agreement of Ingka Group.

Mattress Firm is empowering Firstline Workers with real-time access to the information, resources, and expertise they need to delight customers and provide a better shopping experience.

Ahead of next week’s National Retail Federation (NRF) tradeshow, we are excited to introduce new capabilities for Firstline Workers coming to Microsoft 365. Here’s a look at what’s coming soon:

New tools that make it easier for Firstline Workers to communicate and manage tasks

  1. Walkie Talkie in Teams—This new push-to-talk experience enables clear, instant, and secure voice communication over the cloud, turning employee- or company-owned smartphones and tablets into a walkie-talkie. This functionality, built natively into Teams, reduces the number of devices employees must carry, and lowers costs for IT. Unlike analog devices with unsecure networks, customers no longer have to worry about crosstalk or eavesdropping from outsiders. And since Walkie Talkie functions over Wi-Fi or cellular data, this capability can be used across geographic locations. Walkie Talkie will be available in private preview in Teams in the first half of this year.

Image displaying the intuitive push-to-talk experience to connect team members in Microsoft Teams. Three phones are displayed at various stages in connecting a manager to her team of cashiers.

Intuitive push-to-talk experience to connect team members across departments and locations.

  1. Tasks targeting, publishing, and reportingWith Tasks in Teams, now customers can drive consistent execution of store operations at scale across all of an organization’s locations. Corporate and regional leadership can send task lists targeted to the relevant locations, such as specific retail stores, and track their progress through automatic real-time reports. Managers have tools to easily direct activities within their stores, and Firstline Workers have a simple prioritized list available via their personal or company-issued device showing them exactly what to do next. Tasks targeting, publishing, and reporting is coming to Teams in the first half of this year.

Image of tasks being assigned to teams in Microsoft Teams.

Corporate headquarters can target, assign, and track tasks across locations. Firstline Workers can view tasks assigned to them and across the store.

  1. Workforce management integrations—Customers using leading third-party workforce management systems—such as Kronos and JDA—for scheduling and time and attendance can now start integrating directly with Shifts via Shifts Graph APIs and SDK. Supported scenarios include management of shifts, schedules, schedule groups, swap requests, time off requests, and open shift requests. The JDA connector for Shifts is open sourced and available on GitHub. The Kronos connector for Shifts will also be available on GitHub later this quarter.

Enhanced identity and access management features that make it easier for IT pros to keep Firstline Workers productive and secure

  1. SMS sign-in—With SMS sign-in, Firstline Workers are able to sign in to their Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) account using one-time SMS codes—reducing the need to remember usernames and passwords for all their Microsoft 365 and custom applications. Once enrolled, the user is prompted to enter their phone number, which generates an SMS text with a one-time password. SMS sign-in is a single sign-on (SSO) experience, enabling Firstline Workers to seamlessly access all the apps they are authorized to use. This new sign-in method can be enabled for select groups and configured at the user level in the My Staff portal—helping to reduce the burden on IT.

Image of one-time SMS codes being used to sign in to a device. Three phones display a code received and used by a Firstline Worker.

One-time SMS codes on mobile devices to streamline the sign-in experience for Firstline Workers.

  1. Shared device sign-out—Many Firstline Workers use a single tablet or mobile device that is shared between shifts. This can pose unique security challenges to the organization when different employees who have access to different types of data use the same device over the course of a day. With shared device sign-out, Firstline Workers will be able to log out of all their Microsoft 365 and custom applications and browser sessions with one click at the end of their shift—preventing their data as well as any access to customer data from being accessible to the next user of that device.

Image of shared device sign-out used on a shared Android device used as a scanning tool.

With one click, Firstline Workers can sign out of a shared Android device and log out of all applications and browser sessions to prevent sensitive data being shared with another device user.

  1. Off-shift access controls for Teams app—IT administrators can now configure Teams to limit employee access to the app on their personal device outside of working hours. This feature helps ensure employees are not involuntarily working while not on shift and helps employers to comply with labor regulations. This feature will begin rolling out to customers this quarter.

Image of off shift being used in Microsoft Teams. Three phones display various messages from the new feature.

Display a message and/or disable access to Teams app when Firstline Workers are off shift.

  1. Delegated user management—Firstline Managers can approve password resets and enable employees to use their phone numbers for SMS sign-in, all via a single customizable portal enabled by IT for Firstline Managers. Delegated user management can give Firstline Managers access to the My Staff portal, so they can unblock staff issues—reducing the burden of identity management on IT, and keeping employees connected to the apps they need on the job.

Image of the My Stage portal accessed from a tablet.

Through the My Staff portal, delegated user management enables a Firstline Manager to manage their team’s credentials and assist with password resets.

  1. Inbound provisioning from SAP SuccessFactors to Azure AD—Azure AD’s user provisioning service now integrates with SAP SuccessFactors, making it easier than ever to onboard and manage Firstline Workers’ identities at scale, across any application using Azure AD. This feature—in public preview—builds upon the ability to provision users to Azure AD from Workday, another popular human capital management (HCM) system, already generally available. Integrating with these systems of record helps IT to scale Firstline Workers’ onboarding and productivity from day one.

Image of Azure AD's user provisioning service integrated with SAP SuccessFactors and Workday used to check status on a laptop.

With Azure AD’s user provisioning service now integrated with SAP SuccessFactors, as well as Workday, it’s easier than ever to onboard Firstline Workers user identities at scale. Shown here, you can start the provisioning cycle and use the progress bar and provisioning logs to track the provisioning process.

All of these capabilities are expected to roll out in the first half of this year except where noted.

Empowering Firstline Workers to gain a competitive advantage

New research in partnership with Harvard Business Review Analytic Services highlights the untapped potential of Firstline Workers in retail.

Learn more

Looking ahead

This is just the next step in our journey to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. We aim to build tools and experiences for the modern workplace and for workers at all levels of the organization. We’ll continue to develop and bring to market purpose-built Firstline Worker capabilities and experiences in partnership with our customers and industry leaders. And we’ll continue to innovate and build features that simplify work, bring people together, and help organizations big and small achieve more. Come see us next week at NRF 2020 in booth #4501.

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KPMG expects to invest US$5 billion in digital strategy and expand Microsoft alliance to accelerate professional services transformation

New innovations built on Microsoft cloud and AI technologies help clients achieve greater accuracy and decision-making capabilities, increased productivity, and cost efficiencies.

AMSTELVEEN, Netherlands and REDMOND, Wash. — Dec. 5, 2019 — KPMG and Microsoft Corp. are strengthening their global relationship through a five-year agreement to accelerate digital transformation for KPMG member firms and mutual clients. As part of its announcement to significantly invest in technology, people and innovation,, KPMG is modernizing its workplace using the Microsoft 365 suite of cloud-based collaboration and productivity tools, including Microsoft Teams. KPMG is also utilizing Microsoft Azure and its AI capabilities as the backbone for a new common, global cloud-based platform. The platform will strengthen KPMG’s range of digital offerings with new innovations in cloud-based audit capabilities, tax solutions and risk management. Clients in all sectors, including those in highly regulated industries, benefit from globally consistent and continuous service delivery that enables greater speed of deployment while adhering to industry-leading compliance and security standards.

“Together with KPMG, we’re accelerating digital transformation across industries by bringing the latest advances in cloud, AI and security to highly regulated workloads in tax, audit and advisory,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “KPMG’s deep industry and process expertise, combined with the power of our trusted cloud — spanning Azure, Dynamics 365 and Microsoft 365 — will bring the best of both organizations together to help customers around the world become more agile in an increasingly complex business environment.”

New business-critical solutions

As organizations expand to new geographies, develop new products and recruit new talent, processes can become increasingly complex and harder to scale. Market forces, such as evolving data protection laws, currency fluctuations and geopolitical tensions, increase the complexity and require a greater responsiveness for systems and tools.

The strong portfolio of KPMG and Microsoft alliance offerings can help address these challenges more quickly by building applications on demand, automating manual processes, and continuously analyzing information to minimize the risk of errors and increase the ability to make smart decisions.

“Our alliance with Microsoft has become a critical component in helping us deliver industry-leading solutions and services to clients. Our significant multiyear investment continues to empower our people to work more efficiently and collaboratively while maximizing the power of a workforce that blends people and technology,” said Bill Thomas, Global Chairman, KPMG International. “By harnessing Microsoft’s intelligent and trusted cloud, we aim to help clients be at the forefront of change and better prepared for a digital-first future.”

Combining industry expertise with advanced technology

Through a jointly funded incubator, KPMG and Microsoft are co-developing a robust portfolio of solutions and managed services in the areas of cloud business transformation, intelligent business applications and smart workplace solutions.

For example, KPMG in the U.S. and Microsoft are working together to bring the power of Azure to the healthcare and life sciences industries. This collaboration is enabling organizations within this highly regulated sector to maximize their clinical, operational and financial performance with an easily scalable solution that helps improve deployment speed, accelerate ROI and increase data-driven insights.

In addition, KPMG in the Netherlands has developed risk management, compliance and internal audit solutions that leverage discovery tools to enable the digitization of risk and compliance processes across domains such as finance, legal and IT. Designed by KPMG and built on Microsoft Azure, the solutions provide seamless and cost-efficient policy and controls automation, putting smart analytics directly in the hands of business and IT operators so they can make timely, corrective actions when deviations occur.

Smart audit platform

KPMG, with the launch of its smart audit platform KPMG Clara in 2017, became the first of the Big Four to take its audit workflow to the cloud. Based on Microsoft Azure, KPMG Clara is an automated, agile, intelligent and scalable platform that allows KPMG professionals to work smarter, bringing powerful data and analytics capabilities into one interface, while allowing clients to interact on a real-time basis with the audit process.

By enriching the audit mandate with AI, KPMG enables its professionals to make decisions based on real-time data. This further reinforces KPMG’s commitment to maintaining and enhancing audit quality and building a future where technology continually enriches the audit through the introduction of new digital advancements.

KPMG Clara will integrate with Microsoft Teams, providing a platform for audit professionals to centrally manage and securely share audit files, track audit-related activities, and communicate using chat, voice and video meetings. This helps simplify the auditors’ workflow, enabling them to stay in sync throughout the entire process and drive continuous communication with the client.

Empowering workforce transformation

Through its common, global cloud platform, KPMG will create a set of cloud-based capabilities ranging from hosting infrastructure based on Microsoft Azure to more than 50 advanced solutions, such as AI, cyber and robotic process automation (RPA). KPMG will further empower its global workforce of over 207,000 employees across 153 countries with Microsoft 365, including Teams, to better meet the needs of clients through increased collaboration, improved productivity and data-driven insights. In addition, more than 30,000 KPMG professionals across 17 member firms have been equipped with Dynamics 365, a suite of powerful customer relationship applications.

To read more about the KPMG and Microsoft alliance, visit the Microsoft Transform blog.

About KPMG International 

KPMG is a global network of professional services firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. We operate in 153 countries and territories and have 207,000 people working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

For more information, press only:
Microsoft Media Relations, WE Communications for Microsoft, (425) 638-7777,
Mark Walters, KPMG International, (646) 943-2115,

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at

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New research measures how IT can positively impact employee sentiment and loyalty

There’s been a lot written about how Microsoft’s huge turnaround under Satya Nadella is the result of a culture change. When we analyze the things that drive culture and look for ways we can support other organizations who are making changes of their own, we consistently find that IT has an outsized number of opportunities to positively impact employee sentiment and loyalty—both of which are critical parts of any organization’s cultural transformation.

Improving employee sentiment and employee loyalty is also a critical way for an organization to attract winning talent. When workers have a modern workplace experience that is connected, flexible, and empowering, it sends a clear signal that they’re valued and they work for a forward-leaning organization.

Cultivating and positively reinforcing these attributes within your workforce is obviously valuable, but to make these changes replicable and actionable among our customers worldwide, we needed to study and quantify how this happens. We worked closely with leading experience management company, Qualtrics, as they’ve exhaustively studied how to do this.

Here’s what we learned.

Modernize the workplace experience

It’s not particularly revolutionary to say that some of the most advanced tools for productivity and user experience are found in Microsoft 365. This platform empowers users to work anywhere across their devices—and it has been built to meet and exceed the needs and expectations of users, IT, and security, so that it is valuable to every stakeholder in your organization. I like to refer to Microsoft 365 as loved by users, loved by IT, and trusted by all.

To really make the most of Microsoft 365 value, we worked with organizations to help them modernize their workplace experiences by deploying Microsoft 365 through our Microsoft Managed Desktop service. With Microsoft Managed Desktop, we manage these PCs on behalf of the customers, and they use Microsoft 365 as the foundation for their productivity/management/security. This setup is something I call “Microsoft 365 native.”

A Microsoft 365 native PC:

  • Is a modern device with touch capabilities.
  • Runs the Office 365 ProPlus cloud-attached apps.
  • Is managed and secured with Microsoft 365.
  • Provides a fast, responsive work experience that isn’t bogged down by extra agents that slow down the way you work.

The result can be seen in something I like to call “the most boring demo in the world,” which I think will blow you away.

For these customers, we deployed the Microsoft Managed Desktop baseline and set of policies to manage and secure the environment. The Microsoft Managed Desktop service leverages the built-in capabilities of Microsoft 365. We consider it the gold standard when it comes to the architectural approach, the required policies needed to secure devices, and the ways we believe PCs should be deployed, managed, and operated to exceed the expectations both users and IT.

As these initial organizations were moving into the Microsoft Managed Desktop service, we had an interesting opportunity to work with a few organizations to measure and concretely quantify the difference in employee sentiment between the users with a modern workplace and the Microsoft 365 native experience delivered by Microsoft Managed Desktop. Accounting for dozens of variables, the impact and results of this study were impressive.

Adopt what works at work for workers

One of the biggest things we learned had to do with the reaction to changes in the technology experience. Comparing the two control groups, the Microsoft 365 native devices (managed by the Microsoft Managed Desktop service) had a boot time that was 85 percent faster, an immediate resume experience, 2x the battery life, and 85 percent fewer crashes. Users of these Microsoft Managed Desktop-based Microsoft 365 native devices definitely noticed these improvements:

Infographic showing employee impact of Microsoft 365 native. 38% are more likely to feel that their PC experience helps them best serve customers/stakeholders. +75 increase in net promotor score. 121% more likely to feel valued by their company.

The real question, however, is how this kind of change in technology impacts employee sentiment and loyalty. This question is an area where Qualtrics’ expertise in measuring, analyzing, and understanding employee experiences discovered some fascinating data on just how significant the impact was.

Below is a page I took directly from the report they delivered to us:

Key takeaways infographic. 15% increase in employee engagement. 31% improvement in employee effectiveness. 59% accelerated employee impact. 121% increase in employer ratings and brand image. 74 point increase in PC experience recommendation rates. 80% increase in PC experience recommendation rates.

The measurement I found most impactful deals with how much more valued these employees feel by their company when they have that Microsoft 365 native work environment. This increase in employee sentiment translates into happier and more fulfilled employees. Having happier employees directly impacts the customer experience your organization delivers, which in turn increases long-term employee loyalty.

The data from the couple of organizations in which we deployed the survey indicates that loyal employees stay with an organization longer, and this results in less employee churn, which results in the entire organization operating at a higher and more productive level. One of the most rewarding things we’ve done with this research is to show the results to the senior leaders of these companies and emphasize to them the impact of their IT organization.

Make it real for your organization

These insights from Qualtrics really illustrate the impact of modern management. When you deploy modern technology and manage it in a modern way, you can extend this same experience to your users. The Microsoft Managed Desktop service uses System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr) and Microsoft Intune—what we now call Microsoft Endpoint Manager—to simplify management and ensure your users are having a great experience.

Announcing Microsoft Endpoint Manager

Learn how we’re integrating Microsoft Intune, Configuration Manager, and more into a single solution called Microsoft Endpoint Manager.

Watch the video

Through Microsoft Endpoint Manager, we’re also making it easier for you to manage Office 365 ProPlus across devices to ensure your employees are secure and productive no matter how they need to work. In addition to providing device health insights that let you monitor the upgrade readiness of your devices to the latest feature update of Office 365 ProPlus, we also announced deeper integration for managing Office 365 using Jamf Pro. Our integration with the new Application and Custom Settings experience (demonstrated at the Jamf Nation User Conference (JUNC) 2109 a few weeks ago) allows you to easily set Office 365 policies using a familiar forms-based interface.

If you’re administering Mac devices, you centrally configure security, privacy, and update policies to deliver the very best Office 365 experience on a Mac to your users. We’re committed to helping you to provide a great employee experience, no matter the device.

Next steps

The question you’re likely asking right now is, “How do I get this kind of experience into the hands of my users?” First, if you want to take advantage of the Microsoft Managed Desktop service and offload this work to the experts at Microsoft, you can easily learn more.

Microsoft Managed Desktop

Delight users, protect devices, and focus on your core business by modernizing your workplace with Microsoft Managed Desktop.

Learn more

The new Productivity Score, announced last month, is being built to help guide you use the insights from both Employee Experience and Technology Experience to quantify the cultural impact of technology on your users. It also helps you understand the specific actions you can take to improve the management of each device to ensure your users are having a great experience.

To take advantage of Productivity Score, make sure you have enabled co-management by connecting ConfigMgr and Intune—now known as Microsoft Endpoint Manager. If you’re curious how to do this, check out my Mechanics video to learn how. In the meantime, work you can be doing is to take a hard look at three things, which are the most common causes of poor performance on your PCs:

  • Take a deep look at all the agents you are deploying. The single largest cause of poor boot, resume, and battery life is loading the PC with too many agents. Do you really need what you have? Does what is built-in and part of Microsoft 365 meet your needs?
  • Look at how many Group Policies are you applying. This has an impact the boot-to-productive time.
  • Are you giving good hardware to your user? For example, if your devices have HDD drives instead of SSDs the performance impact is significant.

You can also benefit from your own research from Qualtrics. Like what we did with our Microsoft Managed Desktop service, you can gather a group of users to test the Microsoft 365 native deployment and then use Qualtrics to help you to measure the impact this native experience can have in your organization.

Learn more

To learn more about the Qualtrics data and Microsoft Managed Desktop, visit the Tech Community blog. Check out this overview of Productivity Score, and learn more about the Microsoft Managed Desktop.

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What’s new to Microsoft 365 in November: customize Excel, track notes in Outlook and more

In today’s workplace, change is the new normal. To keep up, we all need to evolve and improve. Last month at the Ignite conference in Orlando, Florida, we announced a ton of Microsoft 365 innovations designed to put artificial intelligence (AI) and automation technologies to work for you. And we’ll continue to innovate across the Microsoft 365 experience, so our customers always have the best tools to navigate an increasingly distributed and fast-paced world. But to succeed at work today, organizations need more than great tools. They need to foster a culture of learning where their people can continue to develop essential skills. We want to help, so this month we introduced The Art of Teamwork toolkit, an interactive curriculum that uses the five attributes of the world’s most successful teams to help your team create and foster healthy team dynamics. We hope you’ll use it—and future educational support coming your way in 2020—to help your organization continue to succeed.

Let’s take a look at what else is new in November.

New features for personal productivity and collaboration

App updates to give you more choice and help you stay in the flow of work across devices and apps.

Keep track of Sticky Notes in Outlook on the web—Sticky Notes allows you to capture ideas, notes, and important info across the apps you already use. Now you can conveniently view, edit, and create notes directly in Outlook for the web, making it easier than ever to keep track of your notes as you go through email. Sticky Notes in Outlook for the web will begin rolling out next month to all users.

Animated image of Sticky Notes being used in Outlook on the web.

Switch to a darker OneNote canvas with Dark Mode—From complex travel schedules to killer meal plans, OneNote is like a second brain to help you track it all. So it should look the way you want. We’re excited to announce that a Dark Mode option is now rolling out for OneNote 2016. Using Dark Mode helps make both the product and your notes more legible, and can improve readability in low light environments, provide better contrast, and reduce eye strain. Dark Mode is available for all Office 365 subscribers and non-volume licensing Office 2019 customers.

Also, in response to feedback over the past year, we’re pleased to announce that we’re continuing mainstream support for OneNote 2016 beyond October 2020—so you can continue using the version of OneNote that works best for you.

Animated image of Dark Mode being used in OneNote.

Collaborate without disrupting a shared workbook with Sheet View—Earlier this month, we announced Sheet View in Excel, a new way of letting users create customized views without disrupting others, so collaboration is seamless. Sheet View allows users to sort and filter the data they need, and then select an option to make those changes visible just to themselves or to everyone working in the document. Once selecting to make changes just for yourself, that filter and sort will not affect other collaborators’ view of the workbook. All your cell level edits propagate through the file regardless of your view, so you can make all your edits right in your personal Sheet View. Sheet View is rolling out to all users using Excel on the web over the next few weeks.

Animated image of Sheet View being selected by an Excel user.

Upload files to Forms questions for added context—Sometimes you’d like respondents to a form to upload or attach files to provide important information or context when answering questions. Now Microsoft Forms enables you to allow users to include file uploads. With this new feature, you can easily create a resume collection form, a claim form, or a photography competition form. To get started, click the drop-down menu to add advanced question types and select File upload. Once you successfully add a file upload question, a folder will be automatically created in your OneDrive or SharePoint.

Animated image of a file being uploaded in Microsoft Forms.

The new Productivity Score, simplified licensing, and the latest Windows 10 release

New capabilities to help you transform workplace productivity, tap into the power of the cloud, and simplify licensing.

Transform how work gets done with insights from Microsoft Productivity Score—At Ignite, we announced Productivity Score to help deliver visibility into how your organization works. Productivity Score identifies where you can enable improved employee and technology experiences—so people can reach their goals, and actions to update skills and systems, so everyone can do their best work.

For example, Productivity Score can recommend user training around how to better collaborate as well as provide IT with documentation to configure external sharing and fine-tune policies, remove problem agents, or upgrade hardware to reduce friction. Join the private preview by filling out the form and see your score in the first week of December 2019.

Screenshot of Productivity Score in the Microsoft 365 admin center.

Leverage advanced security offerings with the U.S. Government Community Clouds—Earlier this month, we announced the general availability of Microsoft Cloud App Security and Azure Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) for U.S. Government GCC High customers. The release of these services delivers advanced security functionality for customers while enabling them to meet increased compliance and security standards. Eligible customers will need a GCC High account or an Azure Government account to purchase Microsoft Cloud App Security and/or Azure ATP licenses. To start a trial for either service within EMS E5, please work with your account team.

Simplified licensing for Windows 10 co-management—We’re bringing System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr) and Microsoft Intune together in a new, unified product called Microsoft Endpoint Manager that delivers a seamless, end-to-end management solution without the complexity of a migration or disruption. We’re also excited to announce that the simplified licensing makes Microsoft Intune user licenses available to ConfigMgr customers to co-manage their existing Windows 10 PCs. The change in licensing terms are expected to go into effect in early December 2019.

Announcing Microsoft Endpoint Manager

Learn how we’re integrating Microsoft Intune, Configuration Manager, and more into a single solution called Microsoft Endpoint Manager.

Watch the video

Get the latest version of Windows 10—Windows 10 version 1909 is now available—offering new capabilities and enhancements, intelligent security, simplified updates, flexible management, and enhanced productivity. Highlights include the new Windows Search experience in Explorer, the new cloud clipboard with history viewing, support for third-party digital assistants, processor enhancements, additional customization for kiosk mode, and more. Version 1909 is rolling out now for consumers and IT admins.

As always, everything we create for Microsoft 365 is designed to help you and your organization achieve more by being more productive. Over the last 12 months, we worked hard to build an increasingly seamless experience that uses AI and automation to help you collaborate across platforms, streamline your workflow, harness organizational knowledge, and stay ahead of ever-evolving security threats.

We look forward to bringing you so much more innovation and educational tools in the year to come. Equipped with incredible tech and the right educational support, there’s no end to what you can achieve.

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Microsoft 365 CVP Jared Spataro: 5 attributes of successful teams

The way we work has changed. Today, winning in business requires constant innovation, and this innovation in turn requires collaboration across disciplines, geographies, and cultures. Prior to this seismic shift in the workplace, the atomic unit of productivity was the individual. Now it’s the team. A high-performing team brings together talented individuals and operates as more than the sum of its parts. It draws on the strengths of each member and compensates for individual limitations. But in an increasingly distributed and fast-paced world, even the perfect team chemistry isn’t enough. Today’s teams also need collaboration tools that help them put that chemistry to work. They need technology that can reach across space and time and help team members feel like they’re just a few feet away, even when they’re worlds apart.

At Microsoft, we’re on a mission to help every team become a successful team. And so, we partnered with IDEO, a global design company known for its human-centered, interdisciplinary approach. Together, we researched successful workplace teams to find out what they had in common. Then we used what we learned to create The Art of Teamwork—a new digital curriculum built around the five attributes of a successful team.

And that’s not all. We’re also using the findings from the research to refine Microsoft Teams, the hub for teamwork in Microsoft 365. What’s clear from the data is that the future of workplace collaboration won’t be defined by any one technology. Instead, successful teams need collaboration tools that combine a wide range of technologies in new and innovative ways. Teams brings together chat, meetings, calling, document collaboration, and workflow into a single app—and this unique combination is catching fire.

In fact, today Teams has more than 20 million daily active users. What’s more, while these users start with simple text-based chat, they quickly move on to richer forms of communication and collaboration. For instance, last month Teams customers participated in more than 27 million voice or video meetings and performed over 220 million open, edit, or download actions on files stored in Teams.

The five attributes

Partnering with IDEO, we researched diverse workplace teams—including astronauts, chefs, television producers, and nurses—to understand what high-performing collaborators have in common. With a variety of workplace teams as our subjects, we used in-context observation, expert interviews, secondary research, and prototype activities to identify the specific dynamics that high-performing teams had in common. We found that successful teams shared five attributes:

  1. Team purpose—Keeps teams focused, fulfilled, and aligned on achieving their objectives.
  2. Collective identity—Fosters a sense of belonging and helps team members work together as a unit.
  3. Awareness and inclusion—Enables teams to navigate interpersonal dynamics and value everyone’s perspective.
  4. Trust and vulnerability—Encourages interpersonal risk-taking in teams.
  5. Constructive tension—Serves as a generative force for new ideas, driving better outcomes.

To learn more about the framework, check out the video below:

Teams customer success stories

With Teams, our customers are breaking through the artificial boundaries created by standalone or loosely coupled collaboration tools and working together in new ways. Their stories bring the five attributes of successful teams to life and paint a picture of what is possible.

Bold beauty: L’Oreal

At L’Oreal, the global beauty company, Chief Technology and Operations Officer, Barbara Lavernos explains, “Our momentum is driven by people interacting, putting ideas on the table, and jumping on them through spontaneous discussion. The new technology that allows for personality, contributions, and real innovation is Microsoft Teams.” With Teams, L’Oreal employees have a space to be creative while moving at the speed and scale needed to deliver over 7 billion products to customers annually.

From the factory floor to the C-Suite: Alcoa

Firstline Workers at Alcoa, a global leader in bauxite, alumina, and aluminum production, have embraced Teams to access business information on their own mobile devices while working at their remote Iceland facility. Before using Teams, when managers needed someone to come in for a shift, they had to call them, often late at night. Now with Teams, managers schedule plant employees using Shifts, which they can access on their mobile devices. With Shifts, the problem of workers missing scheduled assignments has resolved, with the absentee rate falling to nearly zero. “Shifts in Teams is much more efficient for organizing people,” says Friopjófur Tómasson, a plant supervisor. “If I had to use one word to tell you what Teams means to me, it’s ‘efficiency.’ Shifts saves me at least an hour a day.”

Simplified collaboration: Telefónica

At telecommunications company Telefonica, employees conduct business-building projects in Teams. An offsite meeting of executives can now be coordinated in a highly secure, centralized hub. This simple meeting used to be a coordination nightmare, with up to 20 colleagues from several departments focusing on various workstreams. “Before Teams, we had to integrate different aspects of a project that had been created in isolation from each other. Now, a group of colleagues can build on the documents in a collaborative way and edit the project directly. This process used to take four weeks, now we can accomplish it in a matter of days,” says Jamie Rodriguez-Ramos Fernandez, Director of Strategic Analysis at Telefónica.

Putting patient care first: St. Luke’s University Health Network (SLUHN)

St. Luke’s University Health Network providers are replacing different third-party collaboration apps with Teams, simplifying their lives with a single workspace for anytime, anywhere conversations about patients. “Even as we look to secure text messaging as one of the advantages of the ubiquitous cellphone, we still have to comply with HIPAA and other privacy requirements,” says Dr. James Balshi, MD, Chief Medical Information Officer and Vascular Surgeon at SLUHN. “But we don’t have to worry about that with Teams. It’s equally functional on the smartphone, tablet, and desktop computer. I use the camera technology on the phone to share patient information in a more secure and HIPAA-compliant manner with colleagues during a Teams video call. I’ve also shared EMR notes and X-ray images.”

Connecting across the globe: Trek

Trek is a leading bicycle designer, manufacturer, and retailer that is adapting quickly to a fast-changing environment. Some U.S.-based employees work in locations other than the company’s Waterloo, Wisconsin, headquarters, including at other facilities, home, or retail locations. Trek’s international business has also grown quickly with the company expanding its operations to 17 established offices around the world. “Having good connectivity and digital meeting experiences is critical in making the way we work a success,” says Nathan Pieper, IT Business Applications and Collaboration Manager at Trek. The meetings capabilities in Teams “was the carrot that got people in,” says Pieper. “Teams adoption grew because people used it, told other people to use it, and invited them to online meetings on it.”

A high-performing team can do what otherwise would be impossible. And with Teams, there’s no limit to what you and your team can achieve at work. To improve teamwork in your organization, check out the digital teamwork guide at the Art of Teamwork home page. And if you’re not using Teams yet, get started today!

Note: Customers are ultimately responsible for their own HIPAA compliance.

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From new Microsoft Teams experiences to the all-new Project Cortex—here’s what’s coming soon to Microsoft 365

Today at the Microsoft Ignite conference in Orlando, Florida, we announced new Microsoft 365 innovations in six key investment areas: productivity, knowledge, workflow, security, compliance, and management. Microsoft 365 is the world’s productivity cloud, and the consistent theme across these new features is how we’re using artificial intelligence (AI) to deliver amazing new experiences that push the boundaries of productivity. From new Microsoft Teams enhancements to the first new service we’ve launched since Teams, we have a lot to share with you—so let’s get to the news.


Microsoft 365’s productivity tools use AI to help people create, collaborate, analyze, write, present, organize, and manage their work. Our innovations in core productivity are focused on two opportunities: creating entirely new experiences that take advantage of the latest innovations and breathing new life into familiar apps and experiences with powerful cloud services.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is the hub for teamwork. In response to requests from Teams customers, we’re pleased to announce Private channels, Multiwindow chats, meetings and calls, pinned channels, and task integration with To Do and Planner. We’re improving collaboration capabilities between Outlook and Teams, making it easy to send an email thread to a Teams channel for further discussion.

And we’re bringing the Yammer app into Teams, adding the ability for users to pin the app to the left-hand rail and making Teams the hub for both focused team collaboration and broad, open communities. We are also delivering new industry-tailored innovations and experiences including tools for Healthcare and Firstline workers. Healthcare providers can now schedule and conduct B2C virtual consultations through Teams with new Virtual Consults capabilities, and new features like SMS Sign-In and Global Sign-Out make it quick and easy for Firstline workers to securely access Teams from their mobile devices.

The New Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge and Microsoft Bing are the web browser and search engine for business. We are pleased to announce that the general availability of the all-new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser is targeted for January 15, 2020. You can download the release candidate today.

The all-new Microsoft Edge offers the enterprise new tab page, where you’ll have direct access to your Microsoft 365 files, sites, and intranet search, making every tab you open a portal to productivity. And with the new Microsoft Search in Bing integration, searching for information at work is as easy as searching the web. You can now access files, people, office floorplans, acronym definitions, and more company information from across your Microsoft 365 ecosystem right from the search bar.

Finally, Microsoft Edge is now available across all your devices—including Windows 10, Windows 8x, Windows 7, macOS, iOS, and Android. Your passwords and favorites will roam seamlessly across all your devices—and with native Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) sign-in, you can search for work files right from your phone.

GIF showing new Microsoft Edge Search

The Office mobile app

We all want to be able to work on the go from mobile devices and we’re always looking to simplify and improve the experience. Today, we’re announcing a new mobile experience for Office that combines three of the suite’s most popular apps—Word, Excel, and PowerPoint—into a single go-to app for mobile productivity. Now you no longer need to download each app separately and will have everything you need to be productive on the go. And with the new Actions pane, you can intuitively complete a variety of common on-the-go tasks, such as creating and signing PDFs and sharing files between devices.

The new Office app uses the unique advantages of mobile devices to make content creation easier. You can snap a picture of a document and turn it into an editable word file, for instance, or transform tables from a printed page into an Excel spreadsheet. Launched today as a public preview, the Office app is available to Android users through the Google Play Store and to iOS users through Apple’s TestFlight program.

Animated image of Office app icons on a desk, coming together in stop motion photography, finally joining together to create a Home screen in the new Office Mobile App.

Fluid Framework

At Build 2019, we announced Fluid Framework, a new technology and set of experiences that will make collaboration seamless by breaking down the barriers between apps. It offers three key capabilities. First, experiences powered by the Fluid Framework will support multi-person coauthoring on web and document content at industry-leading speed and scale. Second, it provides a componentized document model that allows authors to deconstruct content into collaborative building blocks, use them across applications, and combine them in a new, more flexible kind of document. Third, the Fluid Framework makes room for intelligent agents to work alongside humans to translate text, fetch content, suggest edits, perform compliance checks, and more.

Today, we are announcing a public preview of the Fluid Framework end user experience and a private preview for developers. Over time, we expect these capabilities to light up in experiences across Microsoft 365, including within chat in Teams, mail in Outlook, portals in SharePoint, notes in OneNote, and documents in Office.

Animated image of a laptop morphing into a desktop PC, followed by a number of Office app screens appearing, illustrating the power of the Fluid Framework.


We’re using AI to bring you personalized experiences in Outlook and making Cortana your personal productivity assistant. Today, we announced Play My Emails in Outlook for iOS to help you catch up and act on emails hands-free. With new natural voice and language recognition, Cortana can intelligently read out your new emails and share changes to your day. A masculine voice option is also now available with Play My Emails, further customizing your personal productivity assistant experience. We’re also announcing that Scheduler in Outlook is shipping in preview; you can use it to hand off scheduling meetings and coordinating participants to Cortana.

Beginning next month, Cortana can also help you prepare for your day by sending you a briefing email that includes a summary of your meetings, relevant documents for your day, and reminders to follow up on commitments you’ve made in email.

Image of four phones side by side illustrating the power of Cortana as a personal assistant. One shows an Outlook inbox, the next two a mobile meeting, and finally an email being flagged by Cortana.

AI in Office

You’re busy and have a lot on your mind—and even more on your to-do list. We get it, and over the past year, we brought the magic of AI to Office to help you get more done. With innovations that include entering data into Excel with a digital pen, audio transcription in Word—which converts a new or existing audio file into a written transcription—and Presenter Coach in PowerPoint (in public preview for the web), which helps business professionals, teachers, and students become more effective presenters, we committed to enlightening Office with AI to help you be more productive.

Today our journey continues. Now Excel supports natural language queries, so users can now ask a question of their data, just like they would if they were talking to a person, and get quick answers—all without having to write a formula. Available to Office Insiders, this new natural language ability is another step towards making data insights and visualization more approachable and accessible to users with various levels of Excel experience.

We’re also making it easier for you to plan time away from work and continue to improve your work best practices. For example, MyAnalytics can help you prepare for time off by automating out of office notification setup, informing collaborators of your time away, resolving meetings you’ll miss, and more. Integrated into the Insights pane in Outlook, MyAnalytics is now able to encourage best practices like booking meetings promptly, adding an agenda, and meeting follow ups, and adding new AI-powered suggestions in Outlook that allow you to delay email delivery when working outside the recipient’s working hours.

Animated image showing Ideas (now in preview) being used in Excel.

Microsoft Project

Last week, we announced a major step toward achieving our new vision for project management with the general availability of the new Microsoft Project. The new Project offers a redesigned user experience that is simple and intuitive. Teams can quickly add new members and set up tasks, and then easily switch between grids, boards, or timeline (Gantt) charts to track progress. And because Project is part of the Microsoft 365 family, project teams can save time and do more with built-in connections to familiar apps like Teams and Office. In addition, the new service provides greater visibility into your projects and powerful tools to help you anticipate future needs. Create stunning interactive reports in Power BI, so you can visualize every aspect of each project at a glance. And get the big picture view of all your projects across your organization with visual, interactive cards.

Over the next year, we’ll release more exciting capabilities in the new Project, including resource management, budget analysis, and time and expense tracking. These powerful features will enable you to streamline more complex initiatives and help your business maximize ROI.


We’re excited to announce a brand-new investment area for Microsoft 365—knowledge. Moving your productivity infrastructure to the cloud has many benefits, including cost savings and streamlined operations. But it also unlocks new scenarios. Using AI, Microsoft 365 will now be able to identify, organize, and deliver knowledge across your organization—providing just the right information at just the right time. Productivity isn’t just about being more efficient. It’s also about aggregating and applying the collective knowledge of your organization so that together you can achieve more.

Project Cortex

Today, we’re announcing Project Cortex, the first new service in Microsoft 365 since the launch of Teams. Project Cortex uses AI to create a knowledge network that reasons over your organization’s data and automatically organizes it into shared topics like projects and customers. It also delivers relevant knowledge to people across your organization through topic cards and topic pages in the apps they use every day.

In addition, Project Cortex enables business process efficiency by turning your content into an interactive knowledge repository—with innovations in smart content ingestion—to analyze documents and extract metadata to create sophisticated content models; machine teaching, to allow subject matter experts to teach the system how to understand semi-structured content; and knowledge retrieval, to make it easy for people to access the valuable knowledge that’s so often locked away in documents, conversations, meetings, and videos. Building on the content you already have in SharePoint, Project Cortex connects content across Microsoft 365 and external systems and enables you to manage information and streamline processes with built-in security, compliance, and workflow.

The new Yammer

Yammer has been completely redesigned, with dozens of new capabilities that empower people to connect, build communities, and share knowledge across the organization. The new Yammer delivers a beautiful, intelligent experience across devices and introduces new integrations with Teams, SharePoint, and Outlook. You can now use Yammer to broadcast live and on-demand events with a streamlined production option that uses webcams and desktop sharing. And you can also share video shorts directly from the Yammer mobile app. In addition, we’ve now centralized e-Discovery, data governance, and Yammer administration in the Microsoft 365 admin center.

Microsoft Search

Today, we announced new innovations for Microsoft Search to enhance productivity; empower greater discovery of information, insights, and people; develop search driven applications; and extend the benefits of Microsoft Search to content outside of Microsoft 365. We recognize search works best when it brings together information from across your organization. Now with over 100 new Microsoft Search connectors from Microsoft and our partners, you can consolidate information from disparate system into a single search experience in Microsoft 365.

In addition, you can use our new Graph APIs to develop custom applications on top of Microsoft Search to tailor search to your organizations’ needs. We’re also bringing more powerful search experiences to Microsoft 365, including advanced people search using attributes and skills, video search, acronym search, and semantic search.

Screenshot showing a user using Search in SharePoint.

Microsoft Stream

Video is an increasingly powerful medium for capturing and sharing knowledge and learning. Microsoft Stream applies AI to unlock the content in video—including meeting recordings—with automatic transcription. AI also powers the new voice enhance feature, allowing you to focus on the spoken word by reducing background noise. And now people can create short videos from mobile devices and share in Yammer, Teams, and PowerApps, mainstreaming video as the new content type for communications and learning.

Workplace Analytics

Workplace Analytics is making it even easier to gain knowledge about the way people work and its impact on business and organizational outcomes. Business leaders will get at-a-glance insights to quickly understand and improve meeting culture, manager practices, organizational networks, and customer relationships. Industry benchmarks help contextualize common patterns that influence productivity, such as focus time and the ability to unplug outside of working hours. We also enriched the analyst toolset. AI-driven process analysis uses key words like “quarterly business review” to shed light on time and resources invested in specific business activities, enabling improvement over time.


Workflow innovations empower you to streamline and improve business processes with little or no code. This approach not only saves time and money, it also ensures process automation is done by the people who are closest to the way things actually work.

Power Platform integration with Teams

With Power Platform, users can automate routine tasks, create custom apps, and easily engage with data. Power Platform integration with Teams makes these tools more discoverable and accessible to users and unlocks a conversational approach to streamlining productivity scenarios—from managing approvals directly in chat to pinning a custom app where a team needs it.

Today, we announced new features to enhance these capabilities. Power Apps creators can now publish their apps as Teams apps, and users will be able to pin those apps to their left rail in Teams. We’re also adding new Power Automate triggers and actions, allowing users to streamline the completion of common team and personal tasks, such as setting custom message actions and sending notifications. And coming soon, rich Power BI previews in Teams chat and an enhanced Power BI tab will allow users to see all their data in Teams and effortlessly discuss data, to speed data-driven decision making.

Office Scripts

Office Scripts simplifies clunky processes and automates repetitive tasks so you can work less while doing more. Today, we introduced scripting in Excel, a new process automation feature that allows you to record your actions inside a workbook and save it to a script. The saved script can then be integrated with Power Automate and scheduled to run automatically or integrate with a larger flow. Office Scripts will be available as a public preview by the end of the year.

Animated image of Office Scripting being used in Microsoft Excel. In the right pane, the user opens a script recorder.


New AI-powered features make it easy for you to secure your organization’s valuable assets while empowering employees to collaborate freely.

Microsoft Authenticator

Any customer with any Azure AD plan, including a free plan, can now use the Microsoft Authenticator app for secure, passwordless access to both Microsoft and non-Microsoft apps. Passwords continue to be the weakest link in cybersecurity. With Azure AD and Microsoft Authenticator, enterprises can go passwordless for a great user experience and lower support costs while also implementing two-factor or multi-factor authentication (MFA) for greater security. Deploying MFA reduces the risk of phishing and other identity-based attacks by 99.9 percent and is the best thing you can do to improve your security. Customers with more than 150 seats can also now contact Microsoft to set up the capability via FastTrack.

New value in Azure AD

Azure AD Cloud Provisioning now makes it easier to move identities to the cloud by eliminating the need for an on-premises sync server though a lightweight on-premises agent. This enables provisioning from multiple, disconnected on-premises Active Directory (AD) forests and harnesses the power of the cloud to tackle common directory challenges like sync complexity and data transformation logic. This capability addresses one of the top needs for large enterprise customers that manage complex organizations or mergers and acquisitions and enables greater availability and decreases implementation and operation costs.

Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP)

Microsoft Defender ATP endpoint detection and response (EDR) capabilities are now available in preview for Mac OS devices. We’ll be adding support for Linux servers next. This is part of our commitment to extending multi-platform coverage in our threat protection solutions. Our customers depend on Microsoft for world-class endpoint protection and EDR capabilities for Windows, and most large organizations manage a complex mix of technology platforms, including several operating systems. They need coverage for the full breadth of their environment. This ongoing investment gives them the breadth of coverage they need, with a single unified view for administrators and security operations professionals, enabling enterprise-wide investigation and response to security incidents.

Application Guard for Office

Now available in private preview, Application Guard for Office provides hardware-level and container-based protection against potentially malicious Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. It utilizes Microsoft Defender ATP to establish whether a document is either malicious or trusted.


Simplify and automate risk management with new innovations that use AI as a force multiplier to keep you one step ahead of the increasingly complex compliance requirements and ever-evolving insider threats.

Insider Risk Management

A staggering 53 percent of organizations have experienced an insider attack in the last 12 months. The effort required to identify these risks and violations is not trivial, and it requires effective collaboration across security, human resources (HR), and legal—as well as a balanced approach across privacy and risk management. Today, we announced Insider Risk Management in Microsoft 365 to help organizations quickly identify and remediate insider threats, risks, and code of conduct policy violations across Office, Windows, Azure and third-party apps such as HR systems. Insider Risk Management leverages the Microsoft Graph and other services to intelligently correlate multiple signals to identify hidden patterns and potential risks, and provide real-time insight into file activity, communications sentiment, and abnormal user behaviors. Insider Risk Management includes a set of configurable playbooks tailored specifically for risks—such as digital IP theft and confidentiality breach—to help you effectively identify threats and take action. We also designed for privacy, so display names for risky users can be anonymized by default at early stages of investigation.

Compliance Score

It’s more important than ever to have the knowledge and tools you need to work across compliance and risk management teams to effectively assess and monitor risks. To help you implement more effective data protection controls, we’re announcing the public preview of Microsoft Compliance Score, which enables you to simplify and automate risk assessments. With Microsoft Compliance Score, you can now continuously assess and monitor data protection controls, get clear guidance on how to improve the score, and leverage the built-in control mapping to scale your compliance efforts across regulations and standards.

Even if you’re not an expert in complex regulations like General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or ISO 27001, you can still quickly learn the actions needed for compliance and contribute towards progress. We also introduced new assessments for California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and for other GDPR-style regulations. Compliance Score is available now in public preview for all Microsoft 365 enterprise plans in the Microsoft 365 compliance center.

Image showing a Microsoft Compliance Score dasy, now in preview.


With new management innovations, Microsoft 365 puts the cloud and AI to work to help you set-up, secure, monitor, and manage all your devices.

Microsoft Endpoint Manager

Microsoft Endpoint Manager is an integrated solution to centrally and securely manage all the endpoints in your technology estate. Bringing together Microsoft Intune and System Center Configuration Manager functionality and data—plus new intelligent actions and analytics—Endpoint Manager delivers seamless, end-to-end management for Windows, Android and Apple devices, apps, and policies without the complexity of a migration or disruption to productivity. Look for Microsoft Endpoint Manager features and experiences to appear in the product over the coming months. And, to help ensure that all our customers are able to take advantage of Microsoft Endpoint Manager, we’re making Intune available to our existing SCCM customers for Windows PC management. Starting December 1, 2019, you can co-manage these devices in Microsoft Endpoint Manager, and start using cloud-powered features like Autopilot and Desktop Analytics.

Microsoft Productivity Score

Microsoft Productivity Score focuses on two areas: the Employee experience and the Technology experience. Both provide visibility into how your organization works, insights to identify where you can enable improved experiences, and actions you can take to update skills and systems—so everyone can do their best work.

The Employee experience shows you how Microsoft 365 is helping to create a productive and engaged workforce. By quantifying how people are collaborating on content, working from anywhere, developing a meeting culture, and communicating with each other, you can see the different ways that work gets done. Meanwhile, the Technology experience provides insights by assessing policies, device settings, and hardware and application performance within the organizational environment and recommends actions in Microsoft Endpoint Manager.

Managed Meeting Rooms

Productive meetings are essential to success in the modern workplace. Coupled with the rise in remote collaboration, business leaders increasingly associate more effective meetings with having the right meeting room technology and environment. Today, we’re announcing a private preview of Managed Meeting Rooms from Microsoft, a new offer for managing meeting rooms. This cloud-based IT management and security monitoring service ensures that Teams meeting rooms are secured, up to date, and proactively monitored for a great in-room experience. To date, we’ve been working with more than 100 customers to manage more than 1,500 meeting rooms. Now, a private preview is opening this experience to more of you! If you’re interested in participating, let us know.

Global reader

You told us you want to improve your security posture by scoping admin permissions to only those needed to do their jobs. In fact, this is one of our top customer requests. We’re announcing new admin roles in Azure AD and the Microsoft 365 admin center to help you reduce the number of Global admins in your organization. For example, the Global reader role lets an admin view information across Microsoft 365, but does not allow the admin to change any settings or data. Now you can assign the Global reader role to admins in your organization to support reporting, planning, audits, and investigations, without having to grant a higher level of privileges than is necessary. The Global reader role can also be combined with other administrative roles (for example, Exchange admin) to more granularly control and scope the assignment of admin privileges in your organization.

Onboarding Hub

You also told us that you want guidance from Microsoft for improving security and increasing admin efficiency. The Onboarding Hub, in the Microsoft 365 admin center’s setup area, includes new experiences to help you discover, learn about, and use features across Microsoft 365, including Azure AD and other admin portals such as the Security and Compliance Center. We provide intelligent recommendations—based on your current configuration and admin activities—to help you improve your security posture, maintain compliance with data regulations, keep apps up to date, and reduce costs.

Screenshot of the Onboarding hub in the Microsoft 365 admin center.

New recommendations in the Microsoft 365 admin center (

Using the Global reader role to access the Onboarding Hub is a powerful and safe way to perform planning and auditing activities for Microsoft 365, as a Global reader can view and assess the recommendations, learn about implementation steps and user impact, and see current administrative assignments without making any tenant or configuration changes.

Office 365 Groups

Office 365 Groups is the membership service that powers collaboration and drives teamwork across Microsoft 365. It’s a core underpinning of more than 20 applications, including Teams, SharePoint, Outlook, Yammer, Microsoft Stream, and more. We’re pleased to announce a number of improvements to the Groups admin experience with new lifecycle management and compliance capabilities, including the ability to quickly create teams for a group, browse and restore deleted groups, edit the group email alias, and use sensitivity labels. You can also enable self-service group creation and management, which empowers users to create teams and Yammer channels that are controlled with guardrails and policies set by IT.

Send us your feedback

Every innovation we make with Microsoft 365, the world’s productivity cloud, is designed to help you and your organization unlock new forms of productivity to achieve more. We’re excited to share these new features with you, and look forward to your feedback and insights.

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Porsche Holding shifts to a digital future with Microsoft 365 productivity cloud

Workplace transformation addresses industry disruptors
Global collaboration is even more important today, when the automotive industry faces disruptors such as electric and self-driving vehicles, shared cars, and connected fleets of vehicles. With Internet of Things (IoT) opportunities for data collection and machine learning, the industry is set to revolutionize services for customers who want to optimize their driving resources while reducing their impact on the environment.

“Tech-driven industry disruptors are rapidly changing how people purchase, drive, share, and service their vehicles,” says Peter Friedwagner, Head of Infrastructure and Common Platforms at Porsche Informatik. “And customers’ expectations for flexible, cloud-based online services are evolving just as quickly. We must keep up through a renewed emphasis on software development and flexible online customer service. But to make that happen, our global workforce needed better mobile and cloud-connected business productivity tools. That’s why we deployed Microsoft 365.”

Including Microsoft Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security, Microsoft 365 is the productivity cloud that connects people and information in intelligent, highly secure new ways. Using Windows 10 Enterprise as the operating system of choice means Porsche Holding can take advantage of the interoperability between Windows 10 and Microsoft Intune for modern workplace management. Using Intune for unified endpoint management will simplify operations while speeding up delivery of workstations to users.

As Porsche Holding positions itself as a tech-savvy organization that’s capable of taking on the world of digital automotive services, Eder reaffirms the concept of open communications and business opportunity. “Our future is all about company-wide collaboration via a standard set of tools,” says Eder. “Porsche Holding chose Microsoft 365 to connect people and information intelligently so that we can work together to grasp business opportunities without worrying about the technology.”

Given the diversity of services that Porsche Holding provides, it’s even more important to offer a standard set of productivity tools so that employees in dealerships, headquarters, warehouses, and logistics centers, including a significant cadre of software developers, can all connect and work at the same high level of productivity. “It’s a significant part of our employer branding strategy to offer a cool workplace for all employees,” says Herbert Lohninger, Head of Digital Workplace Services at Porsche Informatik. “We see the physical office environment as a critical factor for recruiting new talent. Employees need a mobile way of working that empowers them to interact easily with colleagues, partners, and customers through simplified knowledge sharing. Office 365 ProPlus fills that role.”

Porsche Holding started to build awareness of the upcoming changes in its business technology by putting an Office 365 demonstration booth next to the cafeteria at its headquarters. The company worked with the Microsoft FastTrack team to streamline mailbox migration from on-premises IBM Notes to Microsoft Exchange, and peer counselling and workshops introduced the other apps and services to the workforce. To date, 6,000 office workers and software developers now use Office 365 ProPlus, with a further 20,000 employees expected to join them by the end of 2019.

Enhanced security powers mobile productivity
Porsche Informatik chose Microsoft 365 for Porsche Holding not only for its interoperable business tools, but for its state-of-the-art security features. Porsche Informatik defined the company’s top security requirements as identity, data, and device protection. For each area, the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security component in Microsoft 365 offers a solution that works well in the Office 365 environment. “The intersection of security and usability is a key benefit of Microsoft 365,” says Lohninger.

Interoperable security services also simplify the delivery of a mobile-first workplace. “Compared to building a mobile device management solution on top of our Office 365 environment, Microsoft Intune provides what we need with no extra work,” says Friedwagner.

For identity protection, key capabilities within Microsoft Azure Active Directory Premium, such as Azure Multi-Factor Authentication and conditional access, work with Intune to dynamically adjust security requirements depending on an employee’s device and environment. “Today, we require multi-factor access for all employees,” says Friedwagner. “This works well with conditional access policies, which allow seamless and highly secure usage of both private and company devices. A practical example of conditional access policies is the use of encrypted app containers, which do not allow data processing of company data with unmanaged apps on private devices. And we use Azure Information Protection for data classification to protect our documents. These overall security improvements to our organization can be accomplished within an integrated system that understands the context of a device and the location of the user.”

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Microsoft acquires Mover to simplify and speed file migration to Microsoft 365

I’m excited to announce that Microsoft has acquired Mover, a leading provider of cloud file migration, including admin-led and self-service offerings. As customer demand to move content to the cloud continues to grow, Mover will help make it easier than ever for customers to migrate files to Microsoft 365.

Our goal is to help customers move to the cloud with confidence. Today, we offer several options to support cloud file migrations, including FastTrack and offerings from trusted Microsoft partners, as well as the SharePoint Migration Tool for migrating content from on-premises SharePoint sites and file shares to Microsoft 365. Mover will enhance these offerings with proven tools, plus more self-service options over time.

Today, Mover supports migration from over a dozen cloud service providers – including Box, Dropbox, Egnyte, and Google Drive – into OneDrive and SharePoint, enabling seamless file collaboration across Microsoft 365 apps and services, including the Office apps and Microsoft Teams. The Mover team also brings deep expertise and migration technology, which advances Microsoft’s commitment to providing organizations of all sizes with the right tools, people and partners to successfully migrate to the Microsoft Cloud.

Together with Mover, we’ll continue to provide customers with fast and reliable migrations to the cloud, with best practices and security and more connectors to more source systems, ultimately making the move into Microsoft 365 as seamless and cost effective as possible.

We are excited to welcome Mover to Microsoft and encourage you to get started on your migration today at Learn more here about how to use and adopt Microsoft 365 with Microsoft FastTrack.  Stay tuned for updates at Ignite 2019 (November 4-8, 2019), where we plan to share more details about Mover integration and new capabilities to make it easier to plan, analyze, and move your content into Microsoft 365.

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IT pros: Newly available Desktop Analytics service helps you take a data-driven approach to managing Windows endpoints

Today, we’re thrilled to announce the general availability of Desktop Analytics—the cloud-connected service that integrates with System Center Configuration Manager to help IT professionals take a data-driven approach to their management of Windows endpoints. Since announcing public preview in July, thousands of organizations have already benefited from the intelligence and insights generated by millions of enrolled endpoints. We’ve been hard at work delivering new features and improvements that address your feedback on the service.

Gain insight and intelligence with Desktop Analytics

The purpose of Desktop Analytics is simple: To provide insight and intelligence you can use to make informed decisions about the update readiness of your Windows endpoints. By combining the data specific to your organization with aggregated insights from the millions of Windows devices connected to Microsoft’s cloud services, you can do some remarkable things:

  • Get a comprehensive view into the endpoints, applications, and drivers under management in your ecosystem.
  • Assess application and driver compatibility with the latest Windows feature updates and receive mitigation recommendations for known issues, as well as advanced insights for line of business apps.
  • Optimize the set of pilot devices that adequately represents your overall estate using the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and the Microsoft cloud.

Image of the Microsoft 365 Device Management dashboard, with Desktop Analytics.

What’s new in Desktop Analytics

Since announcing the public preview of Desktop Analytics, we made a point to deliver new features on a regular basis. For example, in August we helped streamline the workflow by eliminating the need to manually evaluate applications (such as system components published by Microsoft) that are known to be compatible with new feature updates. Then, in September, we delivered on one of our most requested features: The ability for customers to migrate existing data from Windows Analytics Upgrade Readiness to Desktop Analytics during the onboarding process.

In addition to these updates, the 1906 release of System Center Configuration Manager further integrated Desktop Analytics with phased deployments, which means you can automate your pilot and production deployments with the health insights from Desktop Analytics. Looking ahead, we’ll soon enable customers who have already onboarded to migrate their administrator data. And we’re constantly investing in longer-running service enhancements like performance and reliability improvements.

Customers can upgrade faster with Desktop Analytics

We love hearing stories from customers, like Sandvik, who integrated Desktop Analytics into their update workflow and are excited about the results they’re seeing.

“Desktop Analytics provides us valuable information and insights about our devices, giving us confidence to move at a high pace with Windows 10 feature updates.”
—Ola Ström, Solutions Architect, Devices and Platform Services, at Sandvik

In talking with more than a dozen customers over the last month, I have consistently heard that the work of application and driver validations takes as much as 40 percent of the overall time and 60 percent of the overall budget of an upgrade to a new version of Windows. With Desktop Analytics, we automate this work and can remove most of the time and expense.

Start using Desktop Analytics today

As we’ve shared before, Desktop Analytics builds on what we developed with Windows Analytics by adding deeper integration with Configuration Manager and provides a ring-based approach to deployment using health signals. Soon we’ll also integrate Desktop Analytics into Microsoft Intune.

As you onboard and use the tool, don’t forget to give us your feedback on UserVoice or offer it directly in the Desktop Analytics portal—we look forward to reading it!

Learn more about Desktop Analytics and start using Desktop Analytics today.

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New innovations in voice, digital ink and touch make working and playing in Microsoft 365 more natural

Today at our Surface event, we announced several new devices to help make modern work more natural and intuitive for everyone, including busy professionals, parents, students, and teachers. Over the past several years, our engineering teams have invested countless hours of user research into understanding how people work in our apps and what they would like to see from Microsoft.

Last week, we announced several new capabilities that bring new inking capabilities to our Office apps, including inking in Slide Show while in PowerPoint on the web and Ink Replay to bring your presentations to life. Today, I’m excited to share our progress with you on a set of innovations to help people be more productive when away from their desk, utilizing voice, digital pen, and touch across Office 365 and our Surface devices.

Transcribe audio files or record your own while staying in the flow in Word

Image of an audio file being transcribed in Microsoft Word.

We spoke with researchers, reporters, lawyers, and teachers, and learned that people spend a ton of time recording audio interviews on their phone, and then spend even more time transcribing those conversations into Word.

Today, we’re announcing a solution that helps busy professionals upload their own audio files or record new ones on the fly, all within Word. Once your audio has been uploaded or recorded, Word—leveraging your OneDrive account to securely store the audio files and Azure Speech Services under the hood—displays a written audio transcription in the side panel and allows you to quickly and easily bring relevant snippets or the entire transcript into your document to edit. The transcript itself is automatically separated by speaker and into relevant chunks of content, and the interactive panel allows you to easily jump around the recording to find and verify the perfect quote.

Audio transcription in Word will be available in early 2020 in Word for the web, with integration into the Word desktop and mobile apps following in the spring. Exact plans and pricing will be announced closer to general availability.

Input data directly into your Excel workbooks with your digital pen

Animated image of a digital pen erasing and writing content in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.

Excel is an extremely powerful tool to do complex data analytics, but that doesn’t mean you need to be sitting at a desk to use it. Today, people fill out checklists, research reports, and more using paper and a clipboard and then must type those results into their computer later. Or they fumble to balance a computer to type while walking around. To address these issues, we’re elevating what your digital pen can do in Excel so Firstline Workers, busy professionals, students, and researchers can easily write, edit, or delete values using only their digital pen and tablet. Now it will be easier than ever to be productive and stay connected for workers who aren’t always able to find a desk to work.

Data entry using a digital pen will be available in Excel for the web and desktop in spring 2020 for Office 365 subscribers.

Create and reply to comments from anywhere using pen or voice

Image of a note written in digital ink in a sales analysis file.

With Ink Editor we’ve made it so that editing your documents is easier and more natural than ever, and now we’re extending those intelligent capabilities and the expressiveness of digital ink into the realm of commenting as well.

On devices with a touch interface and/or supported microphone, people will be able to create expressive ink comments directly from within the comment pane, or use dictation to provide feedback. Together, and combined with existing Ink Editor capabilities, anyone reviewing a document can now complete that task end-to-end using just their tablet, digital pen, and voice.

Expressive ink comments and easy entry to dictation in comments will be available starting with Word desktop in Spring 2020 for Office 365 subscribers.

Office + Surface are better together

Today at the Surface event, we showcased several new enhancements to Office that leverage the unique capabilities of Surface’s latest hardware advancements.

The new Studio Mics in the Surface Pro 7 offer best-in-class audio-capture with no additional hardware, which makes Office features such as dictation and transcription work at their best.

Image of Earbuds and the Surface Pro 7 displaying PowerPoint.

When using your Surface Earbuds together with PowerPoint, you get the benefit of incredible microphones to hear you clearly even as you walk around, allowing Live Captions and Subtitles and Presenter Coach in PowerPoint for the web to operate with better accuracy. The intuitive gestures can be used to navigate Slide Show and start/stop video without having to buy a separate clicker. You can even have just one in your ear for the best mic capture while keeping the other invisibly hidden in your hand to navigate slides.

Surface Earbud gesture support will be available in November, alongside the general availability of the Earbuds, in PowerPoint desktop for Office 365 subscribers.

Image of a hand removing a pen from the new Surface Pro X.

The ultra-portability of the Surface Pro X allows you to be productive on the go, whether that’s using Excel to enter data or Word to review documents. The Pro X offers a revolutionary new storage mechanism for your pen so you’ll always have it handy when you need it. Office leverages the fact that the Pro X knows when the pen is removed from its storage to automatically bring your inking tools front and center.

In addition, Office will now showcase everything you can do with your Surface accessories within each app, whether that’s the Surface Pen, Earbuds, or the Dial. If there are new capabilities available in an Office app you’re using, they will be displayed, so you always know you’re getting the best out of your Office + Surface combination.

Support for reacting to the Surface Pen being removed from its storage location is available now in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook for Office 365 subscribers. Surface tips in Office will first be available in November in PowerPoint desktop for Office 365 subscribers.

Listening to customers to improve the ink in PowerPoint experience

We recently announced a set of improvements to Office, including several additions to the overall inking experience in PowerPoint based directly on what we’ve heard from customers. This includes support for replaying pre-drawn ink in Slide Show, myriad improvements sourced primarily from educators who ink in Slide Show on Windows and Mac to teach their classes, and the beginning of bringing ink to Office for the Web, starting in PowerPoint Slide Show.

We’re happy to announce that all these capabilities are now rolling out to everyone.

Animated image of animated lettering being added to a slide in Microsoft PowerPoint.

Ink Replay is available in PowerPoint for Windows and Mac for Office 365 subscribers.

Animated image of inking used in a PowerPoint slide. It is a pop quiz about the solar system.

Inking is now available in Slide Show mode in PowerPoint for the web. Inking in PowerPoint Editor on the web will be available by the end of the year.

New templates for Microsoft Whiteboard

Microsoft Whiteboard helps you collaborate more effectively—whether you’re trying to brainstorm your next big idea or get everyone on the same page. New templates for Whiteboard can help you run more effective meetings with KANBAN sprint planning, SWOT analysis, project planning, learning, and more.

Animated image of sticky notes being arranged in Microsoft Whiteboard.

Pre-created layouts provide an immediate structure, so you don’t have to start from scratch. They’re perfect for collaboration scenarios like ad-hoc brainstorms, running meetings, and project planning. The Whiteboard canvas also dynamically expands to fit all your content. Read more about the new Microsoft Whiteboard templates.

Microsoft Whiteboard templates are in public preview for Windows 10 and rolling out to iOS this week. To add templates, click or tap the Insert button in the toolbar.

Microsoft Whiteboard

Meet the freeform digital canvas where ideas, content, and people come together.

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