4 Ways Small Businesses Can Leverage Copilot for Microsoft 365

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What are some of the key differentiators that can propel small businesses forward? They include efficiency, productivity, and innovation. Microsoft has expanded the availability of one of its most dynamic tools to SMBs. A tool that can be a real game-changer for growth.

Copilot for Microsoft 365 is a powerful new addition to the M365 suite. It was first offered to enterprise customers only. But Copilot is now open to businesses of all sizes. As long as they have Microsoft 365 Business Standard or Business Premium.

Microsoft has positioned Copilot to revolutionize the way SMBs work. This innovative AI tool empowers users to generate creative content. It also streamlines workflows and unlocks new levels of productivity.

Let’s explore the exciting possibilities Copilot unlocks for your growing business.

How Copilot Streamlines Workflows

Copilot leverages the power of large language models (LLMs). LLMs are AI models trained on massive datasets. This enables Copilot to understand natural language and generate contextual responses. It offers intelligent suggestions and content within your Microsoft 365 applications.

Here’s how Copilot translates this technology into real-world benefits for your small business:

Effortless Content Creation

Struggling with writer’s block or repetitive tasks like email writing? Copilot can suggest text responses and complete sentences. It can even draft entire emails based on your initial input.

With just a few guiding prompts, your team can:

  • Craft compelling marketing copy
  • Write concise customer service responses
  • Create dynamic PowerPoint presentations

Enhanced Productivity

Copilot automates repetitive tasks and streamlines workflows by offering intelligent suggestions. This can free up valuable time for your employees. It allows them to focus on more strategic initiatives. As well as high-value projects or core business activities. Imagine automatically generating reports or automating data entry tasks. This unleashes your team’s energy for creative problem-solving and innovation.

Improved Communication and Collaboration

Clear and concise communication is vital for any successful business. Copilot facilitates this by doing things like:

  • Suggesting relevant phrases
  • Correcting grammatical errors
  • Ensuring consistent messaging across different applications

Improved communication fosters better collaboration within teams. This can lead to streamlined project execution and enhanced client interactions.

Reduced Learning Curve for New Technologies

Copilot provides context-aware guidance and suggestions. All while you work with your familiar Microsoft 365 applications. This can significantly reduce the learning curve for new employees. It allows them to become proficient in using the full potential of the suite more quickly. Imagine onboarding new team members with ease. As well as empowering them to contribute meaningfully from day one.

Real-World Applications of Copilot within Your SMB

Copilot’s capabilities extend beyond generic productivity enhancements. Here’s a glimpse into how different roles within your SMB can leverage Copilot:

Marketing and Sales Teams

Generate compelling marketing copy for social media campaigns. Craft tailored sales emails with targeted messaging. Develop engaging presentations with Copilot’s creative text suggestions and language model capabilities.

Customer Service Representatives

Respond to customer inquiries with increased efficiency and accuracy. Use Copilot’s AI-powered suggestions for crafting clear and concise responses. Imagine resolving customer issues faster and fostering a more positive customer experience.

Project Managers

Develop comprehensive project plans. Automate progress reports with a few text prompts. Collaborate seamlessly with team members using Copilot’s intelligent features. Streamline project management. Ensure everyone is on the same page from conception to completion.

Content Creators

Overcome writer’s block and generate fresh ideas for website copy. Teams can leverage Copilot’s help in brainstorming and content creation in many areas. Imagine producing high-quality content consistently. All while keeping modern audiences engaged and driving brand awareness.

Finance and Accounting Teams

Automate data entry tasks and improve data analysis with Copilot’s intelligent features. Generate reports with prompts for enhanced clarity. Imagine no more struggling to create reports. Gain valuable insights from data faster.

Getting Started with Copilot for Microsoft 365

The good news is that Copilot for Microsoft 365 is readily accessible to SMBs. It integrates seamlessly with your existing environment. Here’s how you can empower your team to leverage this powerful tool:

  • Ensure Compatibility: Copilot is currently available for businesses with Microsoft 365 Business Premium or Business Standard.
  • Activate Copilot: Buy the Copilot add-on to your subscription. Then, as needed, contact your IT support team for help using it within your Microsoft 365 apps.
  • Explore and Experiment: Microsoft Copilot offers intuitive features. All within your familiar Microsoft 365 applications. Start experimenting with its capabilities. Discover how it can enhance your workflow and productivity.
  • Invest in Training: Copilot is user-friendly. But you should still consider providing brief training sessions for employees. This helps ensure they understand the tool’s full potential. As well as assists them with leveraging its capabilities effectively.

Improve Your Team’s Use of Microsoft 365

Copilot for Microsoft 365 is not just another software update. It’s a game-changer for small businesses. By embracing this innovative AI tool, you can unlock a new level of efficiency. As well as empower your employees to achieve more.

Need some help from Microsoft 365 experts? Our team can guide you in using this resource to the fullest.

Contact us today to learn more.


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Introducing the New Microsoft Planner (Everything You Need to Know)

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Calendars, task lists, and project planning are important business tools. Many people use Microsoft’s apps to power these processes. Including Planner, Microsoft To Do, and Project for the web.

These tools help keep processes on track and enable task accountability. But they’re separate apps. Switching between apps can be cumbersome. It adds more complexity to a workflow.

On average, employees switch between 22 different apps 350 times per day.

Microsoft is putting a dent in app overload. The company is rolling out a brand-new version of Microsoft Planner in early 2024. It’s packed with exciting features designed to simplify your project management journey.

What apps does the new Planner include?

The new Microsoft Planner combines:

  • The current Planner’s collaboration features
  • The simplicity of Microsoft To Do for task management
  • The capabilities of Microsoft Project for the web
  • The automation of Microsoft Copilot (the company’s AI companion)

The new Planner promises to be a powerful tool for staying organized. As well as boosting collaboration and achieving your goals with more ease.

Unifying Your Workflow: Tasks, Plans & Projects in One Place

Say goodbye to juggling several apps and hello to a streamlined experience. The new Planner goes beyond basic to-do lists. It seamlessly integrates tasks, plans, and projects under one roof.

This means you can manage everything from large to small. Including simple daily tasks to complex multi-phased projects. And do it all within a single, intuitive interface.

You can use the new Microsoft Planner from within Microsoft Teams or via a web browser. Here are some of the exciting things you will be able to do with it.

Enhanced Collaboration: Working Together Made Easy

Collaboration is key in today’s fast-paced world. Working remotely has become the new normal. Meaning tools need to keep people coordinated wherever they are.

The new Planner empowers teams to work together seamlessly. Real-time updates ensure everyone stays on the same page. Features like shared task ownership and comments foster clear communication and efficient collaboration.

AI-Powered Insights: Your Smart Copilot for Success

The new Planner incorporates the power of AI with Microsoft Copilot built in. This intelligent assistant helps you stay on top of your work. It can suggest relevant plans, tasks, and goals based on your needs and context. It can even analyze your progress and suggest adjustments to keep you on track.

Scaling with Your Needs: From Simple Tasks to Enterprise Projects

One size doesn’t fit all. The new Planner understands that. It offers flexibility to cater to both individual needs and complex enterprise projects. Microsoft Planner can adapt to your specific requirements. It’s flexible for use to fill big or small needs. Use it for managing a personal grocery list. Or to plan and deploy a large-scale company transformation.

Pre-Built Templates: Get Started Fast & Save Time

You don’t have to start from “square 1,” unless you want to. Microsoft Planner provides several ready-made templates. You can use these to get started on a new project or goal quickly.

You’ll see templates for things like:

  • Project Management
  • Software Development
  • Sprint Planning
  • Marketing Campaign
  • Commercial Construction
  • Employee Onboarding
  • and more

Here’s a sneak peek at some key features of the new Microsoft Planner 2024:

  • Improved Navigation: A redesigned interface makes finding what you need faster and easier.
  • Enhanced Task Views: It has different views, like grid and board views. These let you customize how you see and organize your tasks.
  • Microsoft App Integration: Planner integrates with many Microsoft tools. Including, Power BI, Teams, Microsoft Viva Goals, Power Automate, and more.
  • Customizable Fields: Add custom fields to tasks. Use them to capture specific information relevant to your project needs.
  • Goal Setting: Define clear goals and track progress visually within your plans.
  • Critical Path: Identify the essential tasks needed to complete your project on time.
  • Improved Search: Find the information you need quickly and easily. The app has powerful search functionality.

Access and Availability

Mark your calendars! The new Planner will be available in preview in early 2024. It will become generally available soon after. Some features will roll out later in the year. You can visit Microsoft’s site to sign up for updates and see a feature roadmap.

The Future of Tasks, Planning & Project Management

The new Microsoft Planner 2024 is an example of a trend we’ve seen in the digital world. Less is more. Meaning, fewer apps to juggle and more streamlined interfaces.

Planner’s powerful features make it an invaluable tool. One that both individuals and teams alike can leverage to streamline workflows. It also has an intuitive interface and AI-powered assistant to drive productivity.

Get Expert Business Software Support & Management

Managing both legacy and new cloud tools can be complex. Features often go underutilized. And security can be a big problem if it’s not done right. Our team of business software experts is here to help you.

Contact us today to schedule a chat.


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How Can You Leverage the New MS Teams Payment App?

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Are you a small business owner or a freelancer who offers services online? If so, you might be wondering how to get paid by your customers in a fast and convenient way. You might have tried different payment platforms. But they often require you to switch between different apps or websites. This can be time-consuming and confusing.

There is now another option to streamline the payment process. Microsoft has launched the Teams Payments app. This is a new feature that allows you to request and receive payments from your customers. You do it within Microsoft Teams meetings.

The Teams Payments app is currently available in the United States and Canada. Subscribers to Teams Essentials and Microsoft 365 Business get it at no charge.

How Does the Teams Payment App Work?

The Teams Payments app is simple to use. You can get the app from the Microsoft AppStore. You add it to your Teams account and connect it to your preferred payment service. You can choose from:

  • Stripe
  • PayPal
  • GoDaddy

Once you have set up the app, you can start requesting payments from your customers in Teams meetings.

How Do You Send a Payment Request?

To send a payment request, you just need to open the meeting chat. Then, select the Payments icon from the messaging extensions. Then, you can fill out a simple form. It includes the amount, currency, description, and recipients of your request.

You can send the same request to several people if you want. The app will generate a card that shows the status of each payment, whether it is unpaid or paid.

Meeting chat

Image credit: Microsoft

Your customers will see the same card in their meeting chat. They can click on the Pay Now button to complete their payment. The system will redirect them to the payment service that you have connected to the app. There, they can enter their payment details and confirm their transaction.

Once they have done that, they will see a confirmation message in the chat. You will receive a notification that your payment has been processed.

Payments

Image credit: Microsoft

Benefits of Using the Teams Payment App

The Teams Payments app has many benefits. Both for small businesses and freelancers who offer online services. Here are some of them:

It saves time and hassle.

You don’t need to switch between different apps or websites. You can easily request and receive payments from your customers. You can do everything within Teams meetings. This makes it more convenient and efficient for both parties.

It increases customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Your customers will appreciate the ease of paying you through Teams meetings. They don’t need to create an account or download an app to pay you. They can complete their transaction in a few clicks right inside the meeting.

It boosts your revenue and cash flow.

You can get paid faster and more securely by using the Teams Payments app. You don’t need to wait for invoices or checks to clear. You can receive your money within minutes of completing a service. Either directly into your bank account or PayPal account.

It enhances your professional image and credibility.

You can show your customers that you are using a reliable and trusted payment platform. One built by a well-known company that has been a technology leader for decades. You can also add a seller policy to your payment requests. Here you can specify your terms and conditions, cancellation policy, refund policy, etc.

It helps you keep track of payments.

Keeping track of payments is crucial for financial management. With the Teams Payments App, you can track transactions in real-time. You’ll receive instant notifications for successful payments. It will help you maintain a comprehensive record of your financial interactions.

It’s seamlessly integrated with Microsoft 365.

The Teams Payments App seamlessly integrates with Microsoft 365. You can leverage the power of Microsoft’s ecosystem. Using it to manage your communications, collaborations, and payments together. No need for more logins or complicated setups – it’s all within one platform.

It increases productivity.

Efficiency is the key to productivity. You reduce the time spent on payment-related tasks by integrating Payments into Teams. This efficiency translates into increased productivity. It allows you and your team to focus on core business activities and driving growth.

The Teams Payments app marks a significant leap in digital business transactions. By leveraging this powerful tool, you’re simplifying payments. You’re also enhancing customer experiences, ensuring data security, and boosting productivity.

We Can Help You Get More Out of Microsoft 365

The Teams Payments app is a great way to simplify and streamline your payment process. It can help you save time, increase customer satisfaction, and boost revenue.

Need help with this or other Microsoft 365 tools? Our experts can work with you to help you make the most out of your Microsoft subscription.

Give us a call today to schedule a chat.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

7 Helpful Features Rolled Out in the Fall Windows 11 Update

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In a world where technology constantly evolves, Microsoft stands at the forefront. It continues to pioneer innovations. Innovations that transform how we interact with our digital universe.

The fall Windows 11 update is a testament to Microsoft’s commitment to excellence. It’s more than just an upgrade. It’s a leap into the future of computing. Microsoft touts it as “The most personal Windows 11 experience.”

Let’s explore some of the great features that make this update so significant.

Microsoft Copilot: Your Intelligent Partner in Creativity

A standout feature of the fall Windows 11 update is Microsoft Copilot. This AI-driven marvel is like your personal PC assistant.

Need help summarizing a web page? Want to change to dark mode, but forgot how? Looking for a quick custom image for a social media post? Microsoft Copilot can do all that and more.

Microsoft Copilot
Image Credit: Microsoft

Copilot is seamlessly integrated into Windows 11. It offers real-time suggestions and turns ideas into reality with remarkable ease. Ask it what you need, and the AI engine gets to work.

Updated Apps (Paint, Snipping Tool, Clipchamp & More)

Have you ever wished that Windows’ Snipping Tool could do more? This update grants that wish. The Snipping Tool is just one of many to get an AI upgrade.

Look for new capabilities in Paint, Clipchamp, and Photos. Get a unique image from inputting a text prompt and style. The Cocreator tool in Paint makes it easy to jumpstart your creativity. It will generate the image, then you can edit it in the same app.

Microsoft Clipchamp is one of the easiest video creator tools out there. You can now just drag in your assets and clips. Then, click to have the AI engine work its magic to create a video for you.

The new Clipchamp Auto Compose feature can:

  • Recommend scenes
  • Make edits
  • Create a narrative based on your inputs

Easy Data Migration with Windows Backup

When you buy a new computer, moving data can be a pain. It can take hours to move your “pc life” between devices. And there’s always the risk you’ll miss something.

The new Windows Backup feature makes moving between computers easier. You can choose backup options and folders. When ready to move, it’s a simple process. You can restore the new PC from another backed-up PC.

Microsoft Edge: A Faster and More Secure Browsing Experience

Microsoft Edge received significant enhancements. These focus on speed, responsiveness, and security. The Edge Secure Network feature offers more gigabytes. Microsoft increased user storage from 1GB to 5GB. This function encrypts your internet connection to secure data.

Edge Secure Network has many features of a VPN. This is great for extra online security. It’s also helpful for companies trying to prevent breaches from clicks on phishing links.

Save Energy & Battery Power

A feature called Adaptive Dimming is another enhancement of this update. Your screen slowly dims if you’re no longer paying attention. This has the dual benefit of saving energy and helping you refocus.

PC sensors power this feature as well as two others. So, it’s going to be more common with newer computers.

The other two features that use sensors are:

  • Wake on Approach
  • Lock on Leave

A More Personal Windows 11 Experience

Beyond the technical innovations, this update brings more. Including a more personal touch to the user experience. Tailored to individual preferences, Windows 11 becomes an extension of the user’s identity.

This includes things like:

  • Personalized themes
  • Custom widgets
  • Intelligent assistants

Every interaction feels curated and intuitive. It makes for a truly personalized operating system.

Other Cool Enhancements

There’s a lot of excitement packed into Windows 11. Here are a few more new features you can explore.

  • Copilot in Microsoft Shopping: Find what you need fast when shopping online. Bing will provide tailored recommendations based on your requests.
  • Content Credentials: Add an invisible digital watermark to your AI-generated images in Bing. Cryptographic methods help you tag your work.
  • Bing Chat Enterprise Updates: Boost work creativity and enjoy multimodal visual search. Find information using only images.
  • DALL.E 3 Model from Open AI: Use the Image Creator in Bing and you’ll likely be impressed. It’s had an upgrade and uses the DALL.E 3 model to render images from text prompts.

Harness the Power of Microsoft Products

Microsoft is definitely a leader in work productivity tools. And it has been for a long time. If you’re still working like it was 2020, let us help you upgrade. Employees can be more efficient than ever with the right apps.

We’ve got your back with Microsoft 365, Windows 11, and other solutions. Our experts will guide you, so you can gain an edge on the competition.

Give us a call today to schedule a chat.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

Should Your Business Upgrade to the New Microsoft Intune Suite?

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Endpoint management has changed a lot over the last two decades. There was a time when companies housed all endpoints in the same place. This made managing them simpler. But it held offices back from being mobile and flexible.

Today’s office can include endpoints around the globe. Remote teams can work from anywhere. And people often prefer doing things from their mobile devices. Such as checking email or managing tasks.

The average enterprise endpoint makeup is 60% mobile devices. And it’s estimated that they handle about 80% of the workload. What does this mean for security? That an endpoint device management solution has become a necessity.

One that might be on your radar is the new Microsoft Intune Suite. It bundles several areas of endpoint management into a single platform.

Wondering whether it’s worth taking the plunge and upgrading? Stick around as we break down the what, why, and how of this cloud-based management solution.

What is Microsoft Intune Suite?

First things first, what is Microsoft Intune? It’s a software tool that helps you manage your company’s devices and apps all in one place. Whether your employees use PCs, Macs, smartphones, or tablets, Intune’s got your back.

So, what’s the deal with the upgrade? Microsoft has been hard at work improving Intune. The latest version brings some exciting new features to the table.

The core capabilities of Microsoft Intune include:

  • Cross-platform endpoint management
  • Built-in endpoint security
  • Mobile application management
  • Endpoint analytics
  • Microsoft Configuration Manager

Here’s a comparison of the subscription options you now have with Intune:

  • Microsoft Intune Plan 1: Microsoft Intune core capabilities are included with various subscriptions. (Microsoft 365 E3, E5, F1, and F3; Enterprise Mobility + Security E3 and E5; and Business Premium plans)
  • Microsoft Intune Plan 2: An add-on to Microsoft Intune Plan 1. It offers advanced endpoint management capabilities.
  • Microsoft Intune Suite: An add-on to Microsoft Intune Plan 1. Includes:
    • Plan 2 features
    • Microsoft Intune Remote Help
    • Microsoft Intune Endpoint Privilege Management
    • Microsoft Tunnel for Mobile Application Management
    • Management of specialty devices
    • Select Microsoft Intune advanced endpoint analytics features.

Advantages of Subscribing

So, should you subscribe or upgrade to the suite? Before you rush in, let’s consider some key factors to help you decide if it’s the right move for your business. First the advantages of subscribing.

Streamlined Device Management

We all know how chaotic device management can get. With the new Intune Suite, you get a centralized dashboard. It gives you full control over your devices.

You can set up policies and enforce security measures. You can even wipe data remotely if needed. Plus, it’s compatible with both Windows and macOS. So, you won’t have to worry about compatibility issues.

Provide Secure Helpdesk Support

Keep your employees productive by giving them help when they need it. Intune Suite includes Microsoft Intune Remote Help. This feature allows you to deliver simple and secure help to your team anywhere, anytime.

The platform reinforces a Zero Trust security model. It also enables fast response to issues. You can address employee device roadblocks no matter where your team is working.

Enhanced Security and Compliance

Data breaches and cyberattacks are real threats to businesses of all sizes. With Intune’s advanced security features, you can breathe a little easier. It offers robust encryption and secure access controls. Including the ability to quarantine risky devices.

Do you deal with sensitive information or have compliance requirements? Intune has got you covered with its auditing and reporting capabilities.

App Management Made Easy

Applications are the lifeblood of modern businesses, and Intune understands that. With its app management features, you can do a lot. Including easily deploying, updating, and retiring applications across all devices.

Intune keeps everyone organized and on the same page. Whether your team is using Microsoft 365 apps or third-party software.

BYOD-Friendly

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies have become a popular trend in the corporate world. If your company is open to BYOD, Intune can be a game-changer. It enables you to separate personal and corporate data on employee devices. This helps ensure that sensitive company information remains secure.

The Intune Suite includes Microsoft Tunnel for Mobile App Management. This lightweight VPN solution connects corporate resources from personal iOS and Android devices. Device enrollment is not required. So, employees can have quick and secure access to company resources when needed.

Scalability and Cost-Effectiveness

As your business grows, so do your tech needs. Thankfully, Intune scales effortlessly, accommodating new devices and users without breaking a sweat. Plus, it operates on a subscription-based model, allowing you to pay for only what you need. No more hefty upfront costs, just a predictable monthly fee.

What Do You Need to Consider?

Alright, those are some pretty compelling reasons to consider Microsoft Intune Suite. But let’s take a moment to address some potential downsides you need to consider as well.

Learning Curve

One common concern is the learning curve. If your team uses a different management solution, they might need some time to get the hang of Intune. Luckily, we can help you with training and support to ensure a smooth shift.

Do You Have Legacy Systems?

Does your business rely on legacy systems or run a large number of on-premises servers? Then integrating Intune into your existing setup may take some extra effort. It’s essential to assess your current infrastructure and compatibility requirements before diving in.

Improve Security & Operations by Properly Managing Endpoints

Upgrading to the new Microsoft Intune Suite could be a game-changer for your business. But it’s crucial to carefully evaluate your specific needs. We can help you make an informed decision that aligns with your unique business goals.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

Have You Tried Out Microsoft Designer Yet? (Get the Scoop Here)

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As technology continues to advance, so does the landscape of design tools. Microsoft has been a company at the forefront of business apps. Microsoft 365 began with about seven apps. It now offers new users access to over 20.

One of the newest ones added is Microsoft Designer. This quick-and-easy design tool has caught the attention of designers and professionals alike. You can use it whether you’re a graphic pro, marketer, or small business owner. Or someone that simply wants to make a funny meme.

Microsoft Designer offers a range of features to streamline your design process. If you haven’t used it yet, you may want to check it out. With AI features and an easy interface, it can elevate your design game. Not to mention saving time and money creating business graphics.

Let’s explore the key features.

Intuitive and User-Friendly Interface

Microsoft Designer boasts an intuitive and user-friendly interface. This makes it accessible to both beginners and experienced designers. The tool provides a clean and organized workspace. It allows you to focus on your design without distractions.

Its user-friendly features include things like:

  • Drag-and-drop functionality
  • Contextual menus
  • Easy navigation
  • Text prompts to start your design

The first prompt it asks is “Describe the design you’d like to create.” This makes it simple for someone with no design experience to use it. Based on your prompt, the system can leverage AI to generate graphics. You can also upload your own.

Microsoft Designer
Microsoft Designer Interface

Comprehensive Design Templates and Assets

Microsoft Designer has several stand-out features. One of them is its extensive collection of templates and assets. It has a wide range of professionally crafted templates. These enable you to kickstart your design projects quickly.

Whether you need a business card, flyer, or social media post, this app has you covered. Additionally, the tool offers a vast library of assets. These include:

  • High-quality images
  • Icons
  • Fonts
  • Color palettes

You can use these to create visually stunning designs. Ones that align with your brand identity. The abundance of design assets gives you creative freedom and flexibility. You can have fun bringing your vision to life.

Smart Layout Suggestions and Design Recommendations

Microsoft Designer goes beyond being a mere design tool. It’s a knowledgeable design assistant. The tool employs artificial intelligence. It can analyze your design and provide smart layout suggestions and recommendations. So even if making images isn’t “your thing,” you can make something decent.

The AI help is useful for those who may be new to design or seeking inspiration. Your “design assistant” can offer optimal font pairings, appropriate image placements, and more.

Microsoft Designer helps you make informed design choices. This elevates the visual impact of your creations. It also keeps you from spending hours on one design.

Seamless Collaboration and Integration

Collaboration is essential in today’s digital workspace. Microsoft Designer understands this need. The tool offers seamless collaboration capabilities. It allows several users to work on the same design project simultaneously.

You can easily share your designs with team members or clients. As well as get real-time feedback and edits. Furthermore, Microsoft Designer integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft Office applications. Such as PowerPoint and Word. This creates a cohesive workflow across different design and documentation tasks. The ability to collaborate ensures efficient teamwork. The integration with other tools enhances productivity.

Accessibility and Cross-Platform Support

Microsoft Designer recognizes the importance of accessibility and cross-platform compatibility. The tool is available both as a web application and as a desktop application. You can use it on Windows and Mac.

Use it working on your desktop computer or from a mobile device. The tool also adheres to accessibility standards. This means it’s inclusive and usable for individuals with diverse needs.

What Does It Autogenerate?

Just for fun, let’s see what we get with the AI-generated option. We’ll describe our design as, “a sales ad for orange juice with palm trees.”

In just a few seconds, this is what Microsoft Designer generated as options.

AI-generated

While some images might not be relevant, it gives many options that are. If you’re not getting what you want the first time, rephrase your prompt.

If you’re seeking a user-friendly design tool, Microsoft Designer is worth exploring. Whether you’re a seasoned designer or a beginner, it can save you time and money.

Learn More About Our Microsoft 365 Support

Microsoft 365 is a vast universe of apps. Ones that can lower costs and boost your productivity. From the Office suite to Intune for endpoint management, it’s a valuable asset.

Need help with M365 questions? Looking for setup and security support? We can help. Give us a call today to schedule a chat about our Microsoft support services.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

Have You Tried Microsoft Universal Print? (Learn What It Can Do for You)

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In today’s digital workplace, printing remains an essential function. This is true for just about all businesses. But keeping up with your print infrastructure can be a time-consuming task. One printer down can mean work comes to a standstill.

Another issue is keeping up with all those printer drivers. If firmware updates aren’t done, vulnerabilities exist. One unprotected printer can cause an entire network malware infection.

Microsoft has come up with an answer to streamline print management. This solution is called Microsoft Universal Print. It offers a modern answer to age-old print problems.

Looking to improve how you handle document printing? Do you wish you could avoid printer problems? Below, we’ll explore the benefits and features of Microsoft Universal Print. We’ll also help you discover how it can enhance your printing environment.

What Can Microsoft Universal Print Do for You?

Microsoft Universal Print leverages the power of Microsoft 365 and Azure. It eliminates the need for complex on-premises print infrastructure. Here are some of the ways that it can improve your document handling.

Simplifying Print Management

Microsoft Universal Print eliminates the need for on-premises print servers. Print management becomes more simplified and all in one place. Organizations can centrally manage their printing needs from the cloud.

This ease of use removes the need for complex print server configurations. As well as driver installations and print queue management. This results in significant time and cost savings.

Seamless Integration with Microsoft 365

A key advantage of Universal Print is its seamless integration with Microsoft 365. It works in tandem with Azure Active Directory. This ensures a secure and authenticated printing experience for users.

This integration allows users to print from any device, whether it’s a Windows PC, Mac, or mobile device. There’s no need for complex setup or driver installations. It simplifies the printing process. It also enhances productivity for employees working across different platforms.

Flexibility and Scalability

With Microsoft Universal Print, organizations gain flexibility and scalability in their print activities. It supports both modern and legacy printers. This allows businesses to leverage their existing printer fleet.

Universal Print enables easy connectivity. This is true whether it’s a local printer or a network printer. As well as management through the cloud. Additionally, it offers centralized control and monitoring of printers. This makes it effortless to scale up or down based on business needs.

Streamlined Printer Deployment

Deploying printers across an organization can be a time-consuming task. Microsoft Universal Print simplifies this process. It does this by providing a centralized portal for printer management.

Administrators can easily add and configure printers. They can assign them to specific users or groups. As well as manage printer settings from a single interface. This eliminates the need for manual configuration on individual devices. Which can be very time-consuming and fraught with issues. It also ensures a consistent printing experience across the organization.

Enhanced Security and Compliance

A big benefit of using Microsoft Universal Print is its security capabilities. Print security is a critical concern for businesses, especially in today’s threat landscape. Microsoft Universal Print enhances security by leveraging Azure Active Directory. It’s used for authentication and access control.

It also supports secure print release. This means that sensitive documents are only printed under certain circumstances. Namely, when the authorized user is physically present at the printer.

Moreover, Universal Print integrates with Microsoft Endpoint Manager. This gives organizations even more capabilities. They can enforce security policies and manage print-related settings from a centralized location.

Insights and Analytics

Understanding print usage and optimizing print infrastructure is essential for efficient cost management. Microsoft Universal Print provides insights and analytics that help organizations gain visibility. They’re able to see print usage patterns. As well as track printing costs and identify opportunities for optimization.

With detailed reporting and analytics, businesses can make informed decisions. Reporting enables better print resource allocation. As well as the implementation of strategies to reduce printing costs.

Is Microsoft Universal Print for You?

Microsoft Universal Print offers a modern and efficient approach to print management. It streamlines the printing experience for organizations. It also eliminates the need for complex on-premises print infrastructure. There are also important benefits from the boost in security.

But is it for you?

We can help you understand the full capabilities of Microsoft Universal Print. Including the costs versus the benefits. Whether the solution is for you will depend on your printing needs. Extra factors to consider will be how often you print and your number of endpoints.

Get Cost-Efficient Technology Answers

It’s not easy to make software decisions on your own. That’s why we’re here to help! We can sit down with you to discuss your current infrastructure. We’ll help you evaluate solutions, like Microsoft Universal Print. Then, we’ll tell you straight up what makes the most sense for you.

Give us a call today to chat about your technology needs.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

Learn How Microsoft 365 Copilot Is Going to Transform M365 Apps

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Advanced AI is a new buzzword in cloud computing. The launch of tools like ChatGPT and Bard have made big waves. Developers are now racing to introduce the next level of features to apps. Features that do part of your work for you. Such as writing emails or making follow-up checklists based on contact data.

These AI-based applications do much more than automate processes. People are using them to write business correspondence, create websites, and write scripts. AI is also quickly transforming the everyday office workflow.

Microsoft is one of the biggest players in the office application field. It’s at the forefront of introducing transformative technology. The company is about to transform Microsoft 365 in a huge way with its new Copilot tool.

Microsoft 365 Copilot is a new tool designed to help users get the most out of their Microsoft 365 apps. This revolutionary tool is an intelligent, personalized assistant. It’s designed to help users navigate and use M365 more efficiently.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Microsoft 365 Copilot. And tell you the key ways it’s going to improve M365 apps and your business workflows.

What is Microsoft 365 Copilot?

Microsoft 365 Copilot is an AI-powered assistant. It helps users with their day-to-day tasks in M365 apps. It’s like having a personal assistant right in your Office apps. Users can ask questions, get help with tasks, and receive personalized recommendations. Copilot responds leveraging the context of their usage patterns.

Microsoft 365 Copilot works across all M365 apps. This includes:

  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • Outlook
  • Teams
  • and more

Whether you’re doing any number of tasks, Microsoft 365 Copilot is there to assist you. This includes working on a document, meeting scheduling, or collaborating with a team.

How Does Microsoft 365 Copilot Work?

Microsoft 365 Copilot uses AI and machine learning to understand users’ needs. It provides personalized help. It uses data from users’ interactions with M365 apps. It learns a user’s usage patterns and offers recommendations based on their preferences.

For example, say you frequently use certain features in Excel. Microsoft 365 Copilot will learn this. It will offer suggestions when it detects that you’re working on a similar task.

Say that you’re working on a presentation in PowerPoint and struggling with design. Microsoft 365 Copilot can offer design suggestions based on your company’s brand guidelines.

Microsoft 365 Copilot can also help users with common tasks. Tasks such as, scheduling meetings and managing emails. Users can simply ask Copilot for help. They can ask it to schedule a meeting or find an email from a specific person, and Copilot will take care of the rest.

Why is Microsoft Copilot Important?

Copilot is important because it can help users be more productive and efficient. By providing personalized support, the tool can save users time and reduce frustration.

Imagine you’re working on a report in Word and you’re struggling to format a table. Instead of spending time searching for a solution online. Or trying to figure it out on your own, you can simply ask Microsoft 365 Copilot for help. Copilot can offer suggestions. It can even walk you through the process, saving you time and reducing frustration.

Microsoft 365 Copilot is also important because it can help users get more out of their M365 apps. Many users may not be aware of all the features and capabilities of their M365 apps. But with Copilot, they can discover new ways to work more efficiently and effectively.

The capabilities of Copilot go even further. Say that you need to give your team an update on a marketing strategy. You won’t need to dig out emails, chat threads, or meeting notes. Instead, you can ask Copilot to “tell my team how we updated the marketing strategy.” The app will then search all those places for you and craft an update for your team.

Need a first draft of a meeting agenda or presentation? Just ask Copilot. It can access existing M365 documents and content and craft an initial draft for you.

Benefits of Using Microsoft 365 Copilot

Personalized Help

Microsoft 365 Copilot provides personalized help based on users’ usage patterns and preferences. This means that users get the help they need when they need it, without having to search for solutions on their own.

Time-Saving

Microsoft 365 Copilot can help users save time on common tasks. Such as scheduling meetings and formatting documents. It can take on many information gathering tasks, like summarizing meeting notes. This saves users considerable time. Especially for manual tasks such as searching for information.

Knowledge workers spend an average of 2.5 hours per day searching for information.

Reduced Frustration

Microsoft 365 Copilot can help reduce frustration. It provides solutions when users are stuck on a task. The tool can also help users struggling with an Excel chart or table. Instead of having to figure out how to generate it, they can simply give a command to Copilot to do it for them.

Improved Productivity

Microsoft Copilot handles tasks that go beyond what business apps have historically done. For example, you can use it in PowerPoint to create a presentation for you. Use a command such as, “Create a six-slide presentation based on (this) document.” You can also tell it to find appropriate Microsoft stock photos and insert them.

The sky is the limit right now for how much this tool is going to impact office productivity.

When Will Microsoft 365 Copilot Be Available?

At the writing of this article, Microsoft hasn’t announced a release date yet. It is currently testing Copilot with a limited number of users. You will most likely see it coming out sometime soon.

Improve Your Microsoft 365 Value & Security

Need help with security or setup in Microsoft 365? Give us a call today to talk to one of our cloud app experts.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

How to Create Insightful Dashboards in Microsoft Power BI

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Data visualization is a powerful tool for communicating complex data. It presents it in a simple, easily understandable format. But it is not enough to simply create a graph or chart and call it a day. To truly make use of information, it is important to create insightful reports. Reports that effectively communicate the story behind the data.

Insightful reports help decision-makers understand key trends and patterns. As well as identify areas of opportunity and make informed decisions. If analytics graphs and bar charts are only telling part of the story, it can lead people to wrong decisions.

Creating holistic and insightful reports requires the use of several data points. One tool that enables this is Microsoft Power BI.

What Is Microsoft Power BI?

Microsoft Power BI is a business intelligence tool. It allows you to connect many data sources to one dashboard. Using Power BI, you can easily model and visualize data holistically.

The platform has over 500 different data connectors. These connectors can tap into sources such as Salesforce, Excel, Azure, and more. Users can leverage pre-built report templates to save time in creating data-rich reporting. Teams can also collaborate and share dashboards virtually.

Microsoft Power BI
Image is from Microsoft

Tips for Designing Great Data Visualization Reports

Getting started in Microsoft Power BI entails:

  • Signing up for the software
  • Connecting your data sources
  • Using its tools to create report visualizations

But creating great reports goes beyond that. Below, we’ll go through several tips and best practices for getting the most out of your Power BI output.

Consider Your Audience

You should design reporting dashboards with the end user in mind. What is it that this audience wants to see? Are they looking for bottom-line sales numbers? Or do they want to cover insights that can help target productivity gaps?

The use of clear and concise language and effective visualizations are important. These help to highlight the key takeaways from the data. Customize reports to the audience’s level of technical expertise and business goals.

Don’t Overcomplicate Things

Many times, less is more. If you find that your dashboard looks crowded, you may be adding too many reports. The more you add, the more difficult it is to read the takeaways from the data.

Remove all but the most essential reports. Look for ways to include different data sets in a single report, such as using stacked bar charts. Dashboards should show important data at a glance, so do your best to avoid the need to scroll.

Try Out Different Chart Types

Experiment with presenting your data in different ways. Flip between bar, pie, and other types of charts to find the one that tells the story the best. When building a new dashboard for your organization, get some input. Ask those who will review the reports which chart type works best for them.

Get to Know Power Query

Power Query is a data preparation engine. It can save you a lot of time in developing insightful reports. This engine is used in Microsoft tools like Power BI and Excel.

Take time to learn how to leverage this tool for help with:

  • Connecting a wide range of data sources to the dashboard
  • Previewing data queries
  • Building intuitive queries over many data sources
  • Defining data size, variety, and velocity

Build Maps with Hints to Bing

Bing and Power BI integrate, allowing you to leverage default map coordinates. Use best practices to leverage the mapping power of Bing to improve your geo-coding.

For example, if you want to plot cities on a map, name your columns after the geographic designation. This helps Bing identify exactly what you’re looking for.

Tell People What They Are Looking At

A typical comment heard often when presenting executives with a new report is, “What am I looking at?” Tell your audience what the data means by using features like tooltips and text boxes to add context.

Just one or two sentences can save someone 5-10 minutes of trying to figure out why you gave them this report. That context can get them to a decision faster. It also helps avoid any confusion or misunderstandings about the data.

Use Emphasis Tricks

People usually read left to right and from top to bottom. So put your most important chart at the top, left corner. Follow, with the next most important reports.

If you have specific numbers that need to stand out, increase the font size or bold the text. This ensures that your audience understands the key takeaways.

Use can also use colors to emphasize things like a “High, Mid, Low.” For example, a low level of accidents could be green, a mid-level in yellow, and a high colored red. This provides more visual context to the data.

Need Help with Power Bi or Other Microsoft Products?

We can help you get started or improve your use of Microsoft 365, Power BI, and more. Give us a call today to schedule a chat about leveraging this powerful platform.


Featured Image Credit

This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.