Why you should get to know Microsoft Teams

Microsoft claims that Teams is its fastest growing business app in its history.  As of 11th March 2020, Microsoft reported 32 million daily active users but this jumped by 12 million to 44 million daily active users in just one week amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.  By April the number was 75 million.  Teams is used by organisations large and small and has come into its own as businesses suddenly adapt to working remotely.  So, what makes it so popular?

Teams is Microsoft 365’s baby

Being one of the most widely used business tools in the world, it is highly probably you have heard of Microsoft 365 (formally Office 365) - or are already using it.  Microsoft 365 is a subscription-based service providing a collection of software and cloud services that offer a highly adaptable, scalable and reliable solution to business productivity and collaboration needs.

Launched in 2011 Microsoft 365 has grown enormously and whilst under constant development, new features and tools have appeared monthly.  This is both good and bad.  It is good because the value of your subscription just keeps improving and the service becomes more useful.  It can be a bad thing due to difficulties in keeping up with the changes and being sure you are making the best use of your investment.  It can be hard to know how best to use the tools in context with the rest of your team – especially as individuals can often have different methods of working.

Microsoft Teams is the answer.  Part of Microsoft 365, and now available as a stand-alone solution it offers a single “pane of glass” that provides access to (almost) everything.  Helpfully it runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone and Android (or failing that there is the web browser!).

How does it work?

Created in 2016 Teams is centred around members organised within defined teams and channels.  For example, in a small business you might have sales, marketing and finance teams.  Within the sales team you might have a channel for proposals and prospects.  The marketing team might have channels for certain campaigns, asset libraries, etc.

Divided into “tabs,” each channel includes a conversation tab where team members can “chat” together (instant messaging style), and a Files tab.  The Files tab is where any documents (such as Word or Excel sheets) can be uploaded, shared and collaborated upon by the team, and easily referenced within chat.  Files can be edited right within Teams using the power of Office Online, all without having Word etc. installed (though if you do have these you can instantly launch into them for your full Office editing experience).  Teams keeps everything in one place, reduces “chat over email” and other clutter.

At the top of Teams is an incredibly powerful search, command and contact box – where just about anything (and anyone) you could need is a few taps away…and indeed it works very well (sadly unlike some of Microsoft’s other search offerings).

The methodology of Teams goes a long way and can be applied effectively to a vast array of needs.  It can be adapted to suit many individual organisational approaches.  However, the magic really starts to happen when you add custom tabs and connectors.

If you had a channel concerning the delivery of a project to a customer, you might have a tab which had the original proposal.  You might have another tab holding a live Microsoft Planner document that everyone can share and keep up-to-date.  Perhaps a tab containing a OneNote notebook so that you can see field sales’ notes in real time.  Another tab might contain a Microsoft Form to be completed to then trigger other actions.

There is a rapid growth of third-party tools appearing in the Teams store to bring in data and functionality from apps you already use such as Trello, Smartsheet, SurveyMonkey, Evernote, Wrike, social networks and more.  For example, in our Marketing team general channel we have the Mailchimp connector installed, which means “the chimp” drops in to the chat regularly with a report on the performance of our latest campaigns.  The possibilities are pretty endless!

It also does the Skype thing

Teams has replaced Skype for Business and improves on its predecessor:

  • One to one and group online audio and video calls
  • Screen sharing
  • Instant online meetings and presentations
  • Scheduled meetings for up to 300 people (meaning arranged ahead of time)
  • Meeting polls and hand-raising
  • Breakout rooms *
  • Meeting recording *
  • Phone calls and audio conferencing *

* Not available in the free version

How do I get Microsoft Teams?

If you already have an Microsoft 365 subscription, you most likely already have Microsoft Teams.  Visit https://teams.microsoft.com and sign in.

If you do not have Microsoft 365 you can sign up for Teams for free here:
https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?linkid=869675

Microsoft 365 subscriptions including Microsoft Teams and its many other benefits starts from less than £5 per user per month (excluding VAT).  Sign up for a free trial here:
https://ibizify.net/go/365trial/

iBizify can help

iBizify have been helping its clients make the best of Microsoft 365 since 2012, providing specialist setup, email and data migration, support and training services based on the world’s best business productivity platform.

To discuss how you can benefit please get in touch (https://ibizify.net/contact/).

Further resources

Free Office 365 trial:
https://ibizify.net/go/365trial/

Sign up for Teams free:
https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?linkid=869675

More about Office 365:
https://ibizify.net/products/office365/

iBizify Office 365 admin and support services:
https://ibizify.net/connectflex/

iBizify Business Services:
https://ibizify.net/products/business_services/

Getting started with Microsoft Teams free:
https://support.office.com/en-us/article/welcome-to-microsoft-teams-free-6d79a648-6913-4696-9237-ed13de64ae3c

Help and training for Teams:
https://support.office.com/en-gb/teams

The easy way to make your computer much faster from just £125

Does your computer take more than five or ten seconds to start up from a complete shutdown?  Does it take a while to get the applications you want running?  If so, it’s likely that your PC or Mac is not using a Solid-State Drive (SSD).

Most older computers use a Hard Disk Drive (HDD) which are a slow mainly because they employ moving parts.  This results in sluggish performance, especially when firing up the operating system or starting applications.

The great news is that quality SSDs are now cheaper than ever, and that most computers can be upgraded to make use of one.

iBizify is pleased to offer an upgrade service which simply returns your PC or Mac exactly as it was before – just a lot faster!  The service includes:

  • Supply of a Crucial MX500 SSD drive
  • A full “image” backup of your existing drive – including your operating system, software, and files
  • The physical removal of your old drive, and installation its replacement
  • A full restore of all your stuff onto the new drive
  • Optimising and testing

What capacity should I choose?

Firstly, choose as much as you can get for what you are willing to spend.

Secondly, see how much you are using now, then add at least 300 GB for breathing space.  However, if your drive is full of things you don’t need – then a clear-out could save you money.

To check how much you are currently using:

On Windows: Open File Explorer, go to This PC.  Under drive C:, take the free GB away from the capacity noted under the drive label.  In this example, 144 GB is used.

On a Mac: Open the Apple menu (top left), then About this Mac, click the Storage tab.  Take the available GB away from the capacity noted under the drive icon.  In this example, 147 GB is used.

How much does it cost?

Capacity

500 GB

1 TB (1,000 GB)

2 TB (2,000 GB)

Price

£125

£160

£250

Prices include the replacement hardware.  They don’t include collection, delivery, or VAT.

How long does it take?

Scheduled ahead of time, an SSD upgrade is typically turned around on the same day.  Collection and delivery time should be factored in.

Get in touch to claim this offer

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Microsoft 365 update Aug 2020 for iBizify customers

External email forwarding being disabled by default

Like most email services, it’s possible to configure Microsoft 365 email to be automatically forwarded to another address.  This is useful if you want to see all your incoming Microsoft 365 email in another inbox.

Increasingly, this feature is being taken advantage of by attackers.  If they gain access to a business email account and enable this feature, they can then forward incoming mail to an external address of their choice.  This then means they can reset passwords, receive security tokens, and more.  For this to happen, an attacker needs to gain access to an account in the first place.  Therefore, there is no immediate threat.

However, since automatic email forwarding is not a feature everyone uses, from 1st September Microsoft will be disabling this feature by default – as a precaution.  iBizify is of course applying this recommendation to all client accounts – unless we know there is a need for automatic forwarding within that organisation.

For this reason, if you knowingly automatically forward your emails to an address that is outside of your Microsoft 365 organisation (such as a personal email address) then please reply to this message and let us know.

If this is not the case, then you do not need to take any action.

If you do use external mail forwarding and do not take action, the forwarding will cease from 1st September.

Some important changes

Due to an increase in demand, we are making some significant changes which will take effect on 1st September.

  1. It will no longer be possible to call us directly without a Premium subscription. It will be possible to leave a voicemail, and to schedule a call back via https://ibizify.net/callback/
  2. The WhatsApp facility to 01296 252 010 (the main number) will no longer be available

Why are we making these changes?

We appreciate this might seem like a backward step to some.  However, we believe that scheduling a call in advance – in most cases – will result in customers being able to actually talk to us sooner than if we instead play “phone tag” (calling back and forth in the hope that the other is available).

It’s very important to us that those who are paying for our time do indeed get our undivided attention, and get the level of service they expect and deserve.  We no longer feel just having a human answer the phone who can’t actually help (i.e. a call centre) – is a better solution than call scheduling.

We have been using call scheduling for some time now and found that most customers appreciate knowing in advance when their call will be, and that it will happen at a convenient time.

What about urgent support requests?

If you are likely to need urgent support, we recommend signing up for iBizify Premium.  With this service, you will get a dedicated phone number answerable during extended hours, WhatsApp messaging, and priority booking.

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NEW! iBizify Premium support

Designed for individuals and small teams, Premium support melds the best features of long-term support packages, with the convenience of a “pay-as-you-go” solution.

One low monthly fee ensures you’re always connected to support when you need it. Direct support is charged per hour, so you only pay for what you use.

No setup fees. No long-term commitment. Cancel any time.

Boost iBizify support packs with a Premium subscription from just £60 + VAT per month.

Find out more about Premium, calculate your estimated fee and apply here:

Go Premium

Microsoft 365 update July 2020 for iBizify customers

New password reset facility

We have set up a “self-service password reset” facility on all our customer’s Microsoft 365 services (a few had it already).

This means that if you ever find yourself locked out perhaps due to a forgotten password, you can now reset your password at office.com, without needing to contact iBizify.

To make sure this is ready for use, please log in to office.com using your Microsoft 365 credentials.  If you are prompted to enter and verify a mobile number and alternative email address, please do so.  This information will then be used to contact you should you find yourself locked out of your account.  It won’t be used for any other purposes.

If you need any assistance getting this set up do get in touch.

We’ve increased the security of your Microsoft 365 service

iBizify regularly performs an internal security audit on its own and third-party systems that its customers depend upon.

We are always keeping up to date with the latest threat landscape and making relevant improvements to the security policies we apply to our own information systems as well as those of our managed client’s.

iBizify’s security policies always meet or exceed the baselines that Microsoft define – which are also updated regularly.

For example, we recently implemented a policy to disable by default “integrated apps” within our client’s Microsoft 365 systems, because this feature was being readily used as a mechanism to trick end user’s into granting access to their systems via rather convincing “phishing” emails.  We noted that almost all our clients were not using this functionality, so we disabled it to thwart this attack.

Whilst we carefully consider the policy changes we make to avoid significant impact on usage or convenience of the affected services, sometimes these adjustments might not suit you.  If you find yourself missing required functionality then do get in touch to discuss this.

A reminder of our privacy and data handling statement

All the changes we make are made within the scope of iBizify’s data handling and privacy statement, as well as any additional agreements you have made with iBizify.

To see the latest statement please see here: https://bit.ly/ibizifyprivacy2

If you have any concerns please do contact us.

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Microsoft Office 365 is now….Microsoft 365

Microsoft are constantly evolving, and this is often reflected in their surprisingly regular need to change the name of their products.

You will soon start to see these new names reflected in your iBizify billing.  This does not affect or change the products you are subscribed to, the service you receive, or their price you pay.

Old name

New name

Office 365 Business Essentials

Microsoft 365 Business Basic

Office 365 Business

Microsoft 365 Apps

Office 365 Business Premium

Microsoft 365 Business Standard

The names of component products such as “Microsoft Exchange Online”, “SharePoint”, etc. are not affected by these changes.

Development and consultancy hours - simplified

We've simplified our pricing structure for development and consultancy services.

Previously only usable for technical support, support packs can now also be used for software / web development, consultancy / technical writing, and reports.

We simply apply a 1.5 multiplier.  For example: 2 hours of development would use 3 units; 5 hours would use 7.5 units.

This means it’s now really easy to purchase one or two ten-packs and use them for a variety of projects and support all through one simple billing process.

Buy support packs

NEW! Instant support connection now free of charge

iBizify Connect software allows iBizify to instantly connect to your desktop when you request support.  Previously, this service was only available to customers with a Connect Premium subscription.  I am pleased to announce that instant connection is now available to anyone – including Pay-as-you-Go customers.

If you’d like to install Connect instant support, please fill in the form:

Sign up for Connect

NEW! iBizify Remote – your office anywhere

iBizify Remote allows you to connect to your Mac or Windows PC desktop from anywhere, providing a familiar environment with access to all the applications and services you need to be productive anywhere.  Work at the office – from home – on your Mac, Windows PC, iPad, iPhone, Android phone.

Usually priced at £12 + VAT (£14.40) per desktop, per calendar month, we are offering Remote for £10 + VAT (£12) through to the end of June 2020.

About Remote

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