Microsoft releases a long-awaited update to Teams for firstline workers. Unlike most office workers, firstline workers are constantly on the move, whether they are retail associates running around the sales floor, or service team members driving across town on a client call. The latest Teams update takes advantage of this mobility. Smart camera, location sharing, and audio messages are now live for Teams customers.
Teams itself was created to combat security risks of workers using consumer chat apps like Whatsapp and Telegram for work-related messaging. Such apps, though convenient, pose security risks, as well as compliance questions. However, what steps has Microsoft taken to ensure security of their new mobile-only features? Just how secure is smart camera, let alone sensitive location data used by Teams?
While the security questions remain, Microsoft is definitely taking steps in the right direction with customization and integration into current systems. This update includes customizable mobile templates for each employee role, as well as the first Teams-related API: Graph API for Shifts. Graph API will let your IT department connect Shifts (Teams' built-in schedule management tool) to your enterprise scheduling system, letting your managers access it directly from Teams. At the same time, your IT department can perfectly tailor the appropriate Teams modules to your firstline worker needs. We looks forward to further API and customization options to be released by Microsoft.
The final feature announced for Teams is the new Praise tool. This simple tool lets your managers assign badges, such as "Problem Solver" and "Team Player" to individual employees directly in Teams, essentially giving unavoidable public praise for that employee. This seems like a technical solution to an organizational problem. Microsoft itself claims that recognizing and engaging employees, especially those in high turnover positions like retail associates, can "go a long way to improving their satisfaction and reducing turnover", and that Praise lets managers do exactly that. However, such a system would only work for employees who have already completely immersed in the business' corporate culture. New hires, or those who feel alienated from the company and the management, will take Praise as a attempt to bring them on their side without improving administrative conditions, and reject the culture even further. This is a problem that requires individual attention from the managers to welcome the employee into the company, and not something that can be solved with an app. However, Praise seems like an excellent way to maintain the corporate culture, if not to foster it.
All in all, this seems like a solid update from Microsoft. We look forward to further Teams development.
Next week, on December 12th, AntexCloud will take part in ICT WINTERFAIR 2018 in Utrecht. This is the first time we participate in an IT fair in Holland, so wish us luck! We will present our workflow business applications for Office365, our educational chatbot for MicrosoftTeams to train Office 365 users, and the new addition to our product line – eCalma. eCalma is an Azure-native SaaS financial application designed for measuring and reporting on an institution’s exposure to interest rate risks. Looking forward to see you there, at our stand #35!
We've just developed a new small utility for Office 365 - a script on PowerShell, which moves contacts from the on-premise Active Directory to the "Contacts" section of Exchange Online. This acts as one-way contact synchronization to cloud mail. This is useful when adding a new partner company or branch to your current O365 subscription. It is also possible to run the script periodically on schedule, in order to add new contacts that appeared in AD at some point after the first synchronization.
A customer wanted to transfer Teams content when moving to a new tenant. We found an interesting tool, allowing them to migrate Teams data (at least partially), it turned out like this:
1. Files are migrated, channels are migrated.
2. The content of chats are uploaded to an HTML file.
While it is currently impossible to restore the saved chat to Teams in the new tenant, we hope that in the future the developers will add this feature.