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Microsoft 365 Simplify Modern Workplace with AI-powered Intelligent & Secure Solutions

Microsoft 365 a suite of Windows 10, Office 365 and Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) now has a strength of over 135 million commercial monthly Office 365 users.

On the other hand, Windows 10 is now active on about 200 million commercial devices, and an install base of over 82 million for EMS, share Microsoft at the Ignite Conference in Orlando, Florida.

With Microsoft 365, the company aims to make it easier for a user to shift to a modern desktop and make their modern workplace a reality.

Microsoft touts Windows 10 and Office 376 ProPlus as the perfect apps for the modern desktop.

“These are the only apps with an artificial intelligence (AI) that can do the hard work of security while simultaneously improving and beautifying documents and presentations,” stated Microsoft.

Here are some new artificial intelligence (AI) features and capabilities rolled out to Microsoft 365:

Microsoft Excel gets the new Ideas, data types, insert data from picture and dynamic arrays.

Ideas follow along as a user create a document and make intelligent suggestions, like in PowerPoint, it recommends designs, layouts, and images, while in Excel, it recognizes trends, suggests charts, and identifies outliers in the data.

Ideas will soon generally available in Excel. Microsoft will also roll out a preview of Ideas to other apps starting with PowerPoint Online.

New data types in Excel turn references to stocks and geographies into rich entities that can be used to build powerful, interactive spreadsheets.

The Stocks and Geography data types make getting updated stock prices, company information, population, area, and easier than ever. It will be generally available, soon.

Finally, image recognition in Excel take a picture of a hand-drawn or printed data table and turn it into a fully editable table in an Excel spreadsheet.

To use Insert Data from Picture user need to simply take a picture of a printed data table with an Android device and convert that analog information into an Excel spreadsheet with a single click.

Insert Data from Picture will be available in preview for the Excel Android app soon.

Here is a GIF animation demonstrating this feature:

Insert Data from Picture in Microsoft Excel

With dynamic arrays, to solve a multi-cell problem user can write one simple formula to get an array of values returned.

Any formula that returns an array of values will seamlessly “spill” into neighboring unoccupied cells, making it as easy to get an array of values returned as it is to work on a single cell.

The following functions can be used to take advantage of dynamic arrays FILTER, UNIQUE, SORT, SORTBY, SEQUENCE, SINGLE, and RANDARRAY.

Here is a GIF of Dynamic Arrays:

Dynamic arrarys in Microsoft Excel

In addition, Microsoft also made some improvements to existing Excel features that include:

VLOOKUP, HLOOKUP, and MATCH functions on large data sets will now execute in seconds instead of minutes.

Also, performance on many key operations such as copy/paste, undo, conditional formatting, cell editing, cell selection, filtering, file open, and programmability is improved.

An animated image shows the LOOKUP function in Excel:

LOOKUP unction in Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Teams, a fastest growing business app today has 329,000 plus organizations worldwide that include 87 companies from the Fortune 100 list.

“54 customers have over 10K active users of Teams,” share Microsoft, while announcing new capabilities, like background blur and meeting recording.

Background blur using facial detection blurs the background of a live video meeting, while the new “meeting recording ” feature playbacks recorded meeting content at any time with captions and a searchable, time coded transcript.

With these tools, users can create and stream live and on-demand events in Teams, Yammer and Microsoft Stream.

Starting in October, Stream mobile app for iOS and Android will let work staff watch videos on the go, with offline viewing support as well.

Microsoft also is working with device manufacturers to deliver optimized Teams meetings and calling to more new devices including new Surface Hub 2.

Microsoft 365 will get live event worldwide as generally available later this year.

An animated image of a man blurring his background in Teams:

Background Blur in Microsoft Teams live meeting

Teams also is empowering first-line workers with new experiences specifically tailored for industry-specific and role-based workflows.

For example, new capabilities in Teams help allow first-line Workers to do their best work.

“Schedule management” tools allow managers to create and share schedules, and employees can easily swap shifts, request time off, and see who else is working as well as important announcements.

These new features will now be available in November.

“Care coördination” solution in private preview provides a secure hub to healthcare teams for coordinating care across multiple patients.

Once integrated with electronic health records (EHR) systems, care providers can communicate about patient care in real-time within Teams’ secure platform.

Additionally, two new secure messaging features particular with relevance in healthcare settings available as well, “image annotation” generally available now, while “priority notifications,” will be rolling out at the end of this year.

All HIPAA compliance doctors, nurses, and other clinicians can communicate about patients without any privacy risks.

Over the past year, Microsoft has moved Mac and Windows versions of the Office app on to a single code base as well as released new experiences like Touch Bar integration.

Moving towards the company has released “OneDrive Files On-Demand for Mac,” that displays users their files from the cloud in OneDrive files in Finder.

Users can use them without using their storage space and can also download files when required.

An image below shows OneDrive Files On-Demand on an open Mac.

OneDrive Files On-Demand for Mac

New LinkedIn features in Office 365 help users build relationships and better collaborate with their entire network with LinkedIn in Outlook and Office web apps.

Here are two new additions to Microsoft 365 integration:

First up, by connecting the LinkedIn account to Microsoft account, users will be able to coauthor documents (in Word, PowerPoint or Excel) , or seek help from people in their LinkedIn network by sending emails directly from Outlook without needing their email addresses stored in Outlook.

And, second LinkedIn highlights in the meeting invites will give information about attendees directly in Outlook calendar.

LinkedIn and Outlook Integration

Once an admin has enabled the integration a user would then need to open a person’s Profile Card and click on the LinkedIn profile match. Once it’s done, the Outlook calendar insights and access to LinkedIn connections will become available.

LinkedIn and Office web apps integration will gradually be rolling out in the “coming months” for Office 365.

And, users who have opted into the new Outlook on the web and worldwide availability will happen in 2019.

A look at a video of the new LinkedIn and Office web apps integration:

Microsoft 365 admin center too received new features for monitoring and managing applications, services, data, devices, and users across Microsoft 365 subscriptions, Office 365, Windows 10, and EMS.

Microsoft 365 Admin Center

The Microsoft 365 admin center has several new capabilities to help you better manage your environment, including insight-based recommendations, a more consistent UI, and customized views for each of your admins.

  • Admin roles allow managing access and control for a focused experience with reduced risk.
  • A system of configurable cards allows pinning most commonly accessed information and actions right on to the home screen as well as grouping into common themes.
  • The left navigation menu offers an easy way to click down on other common settings like Users and Devices and provides access to the specialist workspaces.
  • Bulk managing users is now easier as admins can now select multiple users at once and do quick actions such as assigning licenses or resetting passwords, all from the user list view.
  • Advanced filtering let find all users who match a certain characteristic. The filter can be saved in a view to use next time.

Head over to this page for a full list of features available in Admin Center.

A look a the bulk manager feature in admin center:

Bulk Manage users in Microsoft 365 Admin Center

A public preview of these features is rolling out now to targeted release, with a preview to all admins coming soon.

Once the preview is available, a toggle in the top right corner of Admin Center will appear, with an option to revert back.

Advancing Security for IT Professionals

Several new enterprise-class features that leverage Microsoft intelligent cloud and operational learnings available now, including:

Passwordless sign-in via Microsoft Authenticator app for all Azure Active Directory connected apps.

A powerful way to begin cloud-connecting existing infrastructure is to link on-premises Active Directory with Azure Active Directory (Azure AD). Microsoft strongly encourages to cloud-connect ConfigMgr with Microsoft Intune.

Cloud connect ConfigMr with Microsoft Intune

In addition, to support for Win32 app deployment in Intune, Microsoft also announced Intune security baselines.

Baselines are pre-configured, customizable and published every month.

Microsoft Secure Score expands to cover all of Microsoft 365, as well as now available to hybrid cloud workloads in the Azure Security Center.

Secure Score is an enterprise-class dynamic report card for cybersecurity guides to take steps such as securing admin accounts with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), securing users accounts with MFA, and turning off client-side email forwarding rules.

Microsoft Threat Protection in the Microsoft 365 admin console offers an integrated experience for detection, investigation, and remediation across endpoints, email, documents, identity, and infrastructure.

This will save analysts thousands of hours as they automate the more mundane security tasks.

Here is an image that shows a Secure Score in Microsoft 365:

Microsoft Secure Score in Microsoft 365

Desktop Analytics in private preview automates the work required to validate the compliance of hardware, drivers, applications both third-party and internally developed, as well as the Office add-ins.

A public preview will be coming soon. The Windows Analytics service is available to use right now.

Desktop Analytics in Microsoft 365

Compliance for General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and More

Compliance Manager now includes 12 assessments across different industries. It can be accessed from the Security & Compliance Center to create, configure, and automatically apply policies to make sure the protection and governance of sensitive data.

This unified labeling experience needs no plug-ins or add-ons as it’s natively built into Office apps on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.

It also supports a growing list of third-party apps and security solutions. Soon a preview ability to open protected PDF files directly within Adobe Acrobat on Windows will available.

A screenshot below shows the new Compliance Manager:

Compliance Manager in Microsoft 365 now includes 12 assessment

Additionally, Information Protection SDK is generally available now. And, Microsoft 365 data governance also has received several updates:

First, auto-apply to label Exchange Online content and files associated with a specific content type in SharePoint Online, such as tax documents or human resources information.

File plan capability let configure complex record retention schedules for departments, locations, and categories are in public preview.

Long-term audit log availability for Microsoft 365 and Office 365 E5 subscribers in public preview. The audit log availability has now increased from 90 days to one year.

Zero-standing Access to Sensitive Data

Generally available now privileged access management in Office 365 enable governing privileged access by requiring admins to go through an approval process and gain temporary permissions to do high-risk tasks like a journal rule.

Privileged access management in Microsoft 365 Admin Center let manage Customer Lockbox requests and Data Access requests from Azure Managed Apps from a single management pane for privileged access to Microsoft 365 data.

Proactively Safeguard Sensitive Emails with Insights

Office 365 Message Encryption now allow encrypting attachments for the encrypt-only template.

While, reporting dashboard in public preview offer granular details like message ID, along with sender and recipient information.

Streamline compliance investigations process with enhanced Search & Tagging capabilities

Now, generally available the new Search & Tagging feature in Advanced eDiscovery let streamline the process of identifying relevant data using keywords, metadata, and analytics capabilities such as Themes and Relevance Score.

Additionally, data can also be previewed and organize using case-specific tags.

Multi-Geo Capabilities

Multi-Geo Capabilities in Office 365 can help meet global data residency needs and allow every worker with a modern productivity experience.

Multi-Geo Capabilities was first launched for Exchange Online and OneDrive earlier this year. Starting in 2019, it will also be rolling out in SharePoint Online and Office 365 Groups.

The will enable controlling country/region of SharePoint Online Team Sites and Office 365 Group content such as files, associated SharePoint Sites, and group mailboxes.

Microsoft Search, a new cohesive search capability, makes it easier for you to find what you need without leaving the flow of your work.

Lastly, Microsoft also introduced Windows Virtual Desktop, a cloud-based service that delivers a multi-user Windows 10 experience, optimized for Office 365 ProPlus and includes free Windows 7 Extended Security Updates.

Lastly, Microsoft also highlighted the way to shift from Office perpetual to Office 365 ProPlus with the Office Customization Tool in ConfigMgr.

“This is proof of how easy it now is for your on-premises infrastructure and the cloud to work together to cut the complexity of what would otherwise be arduous manual tasks—e.g., migrating from MSI deployments of Office perpetual editions in favor of Office 365 ProPlus Click-to-Run,” stated Microsoft.

Only the Office ProPlus apps offer the AI required for these scenarios.

Check out this page for more information on the Office Customization Tool for Click-To-Run.

Update 10/02: Microsoft has released updates making it even easier to showcase ideas, stay organized, and create surveys and polls.

Here is a quick overview of the new features releasing today:

  • AI-powered inking and 3D in Word and PowerPoint allow touch-enabled device and digital pen to ink ideas and transform them into perfectly formatted content. Also, available are 30 new 3D models with built-in animations.
  • Two new updates in Outlook.com: integration with Microsoft To-Do lets manage tasks without leaving inbox. Another new experience helps easily interact with the brands in Outlook.com.
  • Ability to update tasks using ink using a digital pen and a touch-enabled Windows device. Simply add a task to the list using ink, and then strike out when complete.
  • Microsoft Forms Public Preview is now available to consumer customers as well as to Education and commercial customers.
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