April 2017 - updates for Microsoft Office 365

Ross MacKenzie
Tags: Microsoft Microsoft 365

This month's series of updates for Microsoft's Office 365 are set to prove useful for organisations of all size. The big changes include the worldwide release of Outlook Customer Manager, the introduction in Preview of Microsoft To-Do and the addition of extensions to Designer for PowerPoint on iPad. On top of these Microsoft's Office 365 updates for April 2017 include various smaller adjustments which will contribute to the smooth flow of business life. We summarise the main product updates.

Outlook Customer Manager

For April 2017, Microsoft is rolling out Outlook Customer Manager on a global basis. Outlook Customer Manager has been designed to allow for the efficient tracking and growing of customer relationships while still inside the Outlook interface. Changes since the first release in November 2016 include automatic reminders, suggested company information (via Bing) and Microsoft Flow integration. All of these will add to the dynamic management of customers and prospective deals. For the growing number of us for whom work happens on the go and often without a desk, Outlook Customer Manager has also developed a mobile app that gives immediate access to all the customer information available on your desktop, with the facility to check customer information, create new contacts by scanning a business card and jot down important notes. Initially available for iOS, but to be rolled out over other mobile platforms, the Outlook Customer Manager app is looking to prove a must-have tool.

Microsoft To-Do in Preview

To-Do brings an aspect of perception into day-to-day time management with its Intelligence Suggestions which, as the name infers, suggests tasks, such as birthdays or phone calls, that might be appropriate for that day. To-Do is integrated with Office 365 and allows for successful management and prioritisation of daily and one-off tasks from both home and work.

Microsoft Planner

Task assignment for team tasks in Microsoft Planner has been made easier with the addition of the facility to assign multiple users to a single task.

My Analytics Add-In Update

A new workflow assistance feature is being included in the new worldwide rollout for MyAnalytics Outlook. This has been designed to feed productivity insights which will help you to prioritise time and give you summaries of emails from selected senders.

Designer extensions for PowerPoint on iPad

Designer for PowerPoint has been with us for some time but Microsoft has now released it for iPad to allow for the pain-free creation of design and image strong presentations while on the go. Design options can be added to a blank presentation after the addition of just one suitable image, allowing the user to concentrate on developing great presentation content.

Additional App support for Office 365 Groups

Office 365 Groups is a workspace tool that allows multiple users to collaborate and utilise group documents and data. Within Microsoft's 2017 updates Microsoft has included extensions to the Groups facility for the web and Windows desktops in order to improve group access. Updates include the opening and saving of Excel, Word and PowerPoint documents within the Groups app allowing for greater efficiency and smoother sharing.

For Groups users in Mac, iOS and Android there is now a Groups in Outlook facility which allows the viewing of groups lists, responses to group conversations and the addition of group events.

Skype for Windows 10 - General Availability

The April 2017 Microsoft 365 updates has brought Skype for Windows 10 into general availability. Skype users can now use features including SMS relay for Windows Phone, Skype translator for mobile and landline calls and mini view which overlays a small Skype window onto the screen.

Security and Compliance Updates for Microsoft 365

Office 365 Threat Intelligence gives users the ability to maintain awareness of threat issues and respond accordingly. To help prevent damage from malicious link clicks Microsoft offers Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) Safe Links for Excel, PowerPoint and Word. Data protection, compliance and risk reduction is boosted by Advanced Data Governance and policy development in this area is assisted by the new Data Loss Protection (DLP) policy management page.

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