Valto Top Tips – Microsoft Teams Praise

As Office 365 specialists, we aim to give you all the best hints and tips from the wide range of apps available. In this video, we show you how to praise a colleague in Microsoft Teams.

New Marketing and Business Development Manager joins Valto to help grow the business.

We’re pleased to announce a new member to our team. Dan Felix joins us as our new Marketing and Business Development Manager. Dan spent the last three and a half years’ as the Marketing Manager of a managed IT service provider, where he was responsible for the Marketing function. Prior to that, Dan worked at Iceland Foods and Samsung where he was involved in Marketing & Communications.

With experience in managing and delivering campaigns, as well as exploring new branding boosting and sales opportunities, Dan will be responsible for Valto’s marketing and business development and will help to continue the business growth that we have seen over the last 2 years.

Speaking on his appointment, Dan said:

“I’m delighted to be joining Valto at such an exciting time. The business has seen great growth year-on-year since its founding, and I am excited to help that growth continue. I have a passion for technology and the important role it can play within a company.”

Hugh Valentine, managing director of Valto, commented;

“We are delighted that Dan has joined the business. We’re always looking to see where we can grow the business and believed that it was the right time to bring in someone to help us with our marketing and business development. With Dan now with us, we can look to where we can grow our business and start the next chapter of the Valto story.

Find out more

We’re always looking for talented people to join the Valto team. If you feel that you could make the difference then contact us or call on 03335 779 009

Valto achieves additional Microsoft competencies

We’re always working hard to make sure we keep up to date with the latest technologies and solutions by striving to achieve more Microsoft competencies.

Over the last couple of months, we’ve been able to achieve Silver Cloud Platform, Cloud Productivity and ISV competencies,  all of which have been achieved by reaching milestones and passing exams.

Valto's Competencies

The Silver Cloud Platform competency demonstrates our continuing experience and growth by helping businesses migrate and utilise the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. Silver Cloud Productivity shows our experience with successfully deploying and implementing Office 365 across all businesses regardless of their size. Whilst our Silver ISV competency demonstrates our ability to build and publish packaged applications of Microsoft technologies.

In order to pass each of these competencies, not only do we need to pass exams and achieve critical milestones, but we also need be to provide references from many of our customers that show our ability to complete projects.

But we’re not planning on stopping there! 2019 will see us achieve many new competencies and, in some cases, turn our Silver competencies into Gold.

Find out more

Looking to deploy Office 365 or make the most of your Azure infrastructure? How about working with an accredited Microsoft partner! Get in touch with us today or call on 03335 779 009

Valto becomes an award-winning business!

We’ve now become award-winning Valto, after being crowned Micro Business of the Year at the High Sheriff of Cheshire Enterprise Awards, with our award now taking pride of place in our office.

On receiving the award, Managing Director Hugh Valentine, said “I’m absolutely thrilled that we’ve won such a fantastic award. Our plan has always been to be the best at what we do and the winning of this award has recognised this. It’s a real team effort at Valto and we are all extremely proud.”

Beating off competition, which included a producer of tonic water syrups, a business magazine publisher and an aviation training provider, the Micro Business Award is aimed at recognising start-up and small businesses, with 4 or less employees, with the amazing work that they do.

Formed in 2017 with the aim of providing the best technology and customer service compared to many other managed IT service providers in the market we’ve continued to grow in turnover, customers, partners and projects and 2019 is projected to see this growth continue as we aim to continue to provide the best managed IT services with the best customer service.

Take a look at our video entry.

Find out more

Want to know what it’s like working with an awarding winning managed IT service provider? Get in touch with us today or call us on 03335 779 009.

Microsoft 365, SharePoint, Teams & Azure Upcoming Changes

Microsoft recently held their annual tech and development conference at Orlando Florida and there are a lot of exciting changes coming to the Microsoft platforms. We’ve summarised a few of the key developments in our blog post and what we’re most excited about.

SharePoint Online

Intranet

There are a huge number of features coming to the platform these range from functionality, branding and mobile improvements. A few of the upcoming changes can be found below.

  • Branding – Improvements to the layout options including the ability to add a header, footer and mega menu.
  • Personalised Web Parts – That will show information tailored to that user rather than generic information for the whole company.
  • New Web Parts – Countdown Timer, Events Roll Up
  • Improved Mobile Capabilities – Accessing Documents, News and Information from the SharePoint application

OneDrive Mac

Microsoft’s fantastic OneDrive on Demand tool allowing for users to sync live copies of SharePoint Document libraries to their PC without consuming storage (effectively replacing file shares) is now available in Beta for the Mac platform. This has been one of the most requested features for Macs for Office 365 and will be a huge step forward for Microsoft and Macs.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft are investing heavily into their Microsoft Teams platform. Here at Valto we’re huge fans of Microsoft Teams and have been deploying this for many organisations and applying our best practices and governance. A few of the key announcements can be found below.

Background Blur

This fantastic feature will make remote and home working much easier and potentially less embarrassing! Microsoft have released a video demonstrating the capabilities of this below.

Teams & SharePoint Integration

Microsoft Teams and SharePoint are already integrated allowing for Teams to display SharePoint sites within the app and visa versa.

 

The new changes will bring much deeper integrations allowing for Lists, Libraries and Web Parts to be displayed within Microsoft Teams directly. More bots and connectors are being worked on to allow for News to automatically be displayed within Channels and Teams. More details from Microsoft on the SharePoint Blog.

Recording Meetings & Stream

Another brilliant feature we’ve been making extensive use of at Valto is the ability to record meetings and have the videos automatically sent to the attendees at the end of the meeting. 

This will be extended further in the future to use Artificial Intelligence to automatically detect actions and create meeting minutes that can be used following the meetings.

Replacing Skype for Business

New tenants will no longer include Skype for Business and will be given Microsoft Teams by default. On top of that, new tools have been created to migrate existing tenants to a Teams Only environment.

Microsoft Azure

Windows 10 Desktop in the Cloud

One of the most exciting announcements for Microsoft Azure and the Modern Workplace is the new capabilities of being able to launch a Windows 10 Desktop in the cloud. In other blog posts predicting the future of the Cloud and Microsoft we talked about the ability to use a mobile device to replace your PC with a dock and monitor. Having the ability to spin up a Windows 10 Desktop in the cloud brings this further to reality.

There are a lot of organisations out there that use thin clients and don’t have a requirements for running a desktop 24/7 this new functionality could potentially save enterprises a lot of money.

Office 365

Artificial Intelligence

This is a big focus for Microsoft at the moment as gleamed from the Microsoft Inspire and Ignite Conferences. There is a huge focus on delivering AI that will improve the modern workplace. A lot of the current announcements are about building the platform for this including,

Office 2019

With Office 365 you always get the latest version of Office features as they are rolled out. Microsoft have released the latest on-premise version of Office to the general public which contains a lot of the improvements of the Office 365 version.

Microsoft Teams Best Practices Top 10 Tips

We’ve been deploying Microsoft Teams since its inception for a range of clients from SMEs to Enterprise and developing a set of Microsoft Teams Best Practices that can help your organisation with Microsoft Teams implementation. We’ll soon be launching our Microsoft Teams Governance Whitepaper for free. To keep you going in the meantime we’ve got our Microsoft Teams Best Practices Top 10 Tips.

Microsoft Teams Best Practices Tip #1 – Replacing SharePoint Team Sites

For organisations that are ready to start with Teams straight away and are embarking on a SharePoint Project the default deployment is to create Microsoft Teams for the users within each team or department. This provides all the functionality of SharePoint and the enhanced capabilities of Microsoft Teams. As part of the build and architecture we scope out the required teams and deploy these as part of the roll out. We help organisations adopt a proven governance and control plan for the deployment of Teams. Look out for our Microsoft Teams Governance White Paper due to launch soon.

Microsoft Teams Best Practices SharePoint Page

Microsoft Team SharePoint Page

Microsoft Teams Best Practices Tip #2 – Naming Standards

One of the challenges when rolling out Microsoft Teams in a larger organisation is the creation of a Team also creates an Office 365 Group which requires an email associated with it. Many organisations already have group email accounts such as Finance, Sales, etc. so when creating a Microsoft Team these may conflict with the group. Having many email accounts with similar names can also cause confusing. We recommend that a prefix or suffix be appended to the creation of all Microsoft Teams for example Finance could become Finance Team and Sales would become Sales Team. This naming standard will prevent issues and confusion with similar sounding email accounts and ensure that finding these teams later will be much easier.

Microsoft Teams Best Practices Duplicate Warning

Microsoft Teams Duplicate Warning

Microsoft Teams Best Practices Tip #3 – SharePoint Intranet Hub Sites Configuration

Teams are very easy to navigate and find within the Teams Client and Web however there are still many organisations that rely on SharePoint as an intranet or central access point. Every Microsoft Team by default creates a SharePoint Site that is associated with it. Its important that while users can easily use Microsoft Teams that users can still access this through SharePoint. With the new hub sites its possible to create a central hub site and link the existing Microsoft Team SharePoint sites to this hub site. Hub sites provide users a central area with consistent navigation and branding as covered in our previous post on this.

Microsoft Teams Best Practices SharePoint Hub Sites Navigation

SharePoint Hub Sites Navigation

Microsoft Teams Best Practices Tip #4 – Managing Teams

Defining and creating the architecture design for Microsoft Teams is an important factor in success and adoption. Many users we’ve worked with have highlighted issues where they are unsure which Microsoft Team they should be using especially when users have created multiple teams for their department or group. However, the power of Microsoft Teams is still the ability for users to create a Team where they feel this would be worthwhile or there is a gap currently. By defining a simple structure that covers all of the base teams, any externally shared teams if required and by creating a centralised SharePoint site that is easy to navigate and training the users on this will simplify the experience.

Some organisations with this in place are then happy for users to create Microsoft Teams on an ad-hoc basis without any approval process however for many of our enterprise organisations a key control is having an approval step prior to a Microsoft Team creation. We have created an automated system using Microsoft Flow and SharePoint that can simplify the Microsoft Teams request process.

Microsoft Teams Best Practices Request Form

Microsoft Team Request Form

Microsoft Teams Best Practices Tip #5 – Chatting Thread/Replies

Within Microsoft Teams a key step for user training is the ability to have threaded conversations. Its often a step that is missed from the users training and adoption that can vastly improve the user experience. Threads allow for users to contain all of their conversations around particular topic within one area and allow for users to reply and keep everything contained. It’s a simple but overlooked step in our training process that improves the overall user experience of Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams Best Practices Conversation Threads

Microsoft Teams Conversation Threads

Microsoft Teams Best Practices Tip #6 – Fun Stuff

Depending on your organisation there are a number of settings that can be enabled or disabled these include the options for disabling emojis, memes, GIFS and stickers and increasing the strictness of the GIF searching within the platform. Many organisations may enjoy the fun components of Microsoft Teams whereas other organisations may find these are inappropriate for their workplace. Working with the management teams in the organisation to understand what is an acceptable level and tweaking these settings is another key step in the adoption and removal of a potential barrier to utilising Microsoft Teams in the business.

Microsoft Teams Best Practices Fun Stuff Settings

Microsoft Teams Fun Stuff Settings

Microsoft Teams Best Practices Tip #7 – External Sharing

Microsoft Teams Best Practices External Access

Microsoft Teams External Access

If your organisation is using Teams successfully and would like to involve other organisations such as clients or partners then enabling the guest functionality for Microsoft Teams. Again, this should refer to your Microsoft Teams, Office365 & SharePoint Architecture design as to which Teams will be shared externally and any naming standards they might follow. External Sharing can be a fantastic way of integrating your clients and suppliers into your organisation and streamline your processes and flows with them, it can also show that you are leading the way with technology and impress the people you are working with. We’d recommend that as an organisation you get used to using Teams internally and then trial the external sharing before rolling out across the organisation.

Microsoft Teams Best Practices Tip #8 – Automatic Bots & Posts

Microsoft Teams is all about sharing information and collaborating better. We’ve found great success with organisations by identifying automated points where sending information to a Team is very useful. An example of this would be when invoices are sent or paid from applications such as Xero or Sage that they automatically notify all of the relevant people. We have configured an automation that posts in our Customers Team when an invoice has been paid or becomes overdue. Identify where your teams get asked many of the same questions and see if a Bot or Flow can be created to automatically provide the information to the relevant Team.

Microsoft Teams Best Practices Xero Bot

Microsoft Teams Xero Bot

Microsoft Teams Best Practices Tip #9 – Tabs

Microsoft Teams can be extended even further by including any tabs for other applications you might use and become a one stop shop application for your organisations Team. Include relevant 3rd Part Web Applications, Planner, a Wiki, PowerBI or any other tab that would be useful for your Team and provide a centralised area for all users.

Microsoft Teams Best Practices Tabs

Microsoft Teams Tabs

Microsoft Teams Best Practices Tip #10 – Additional Resources

Finally, our last tip on the Microsoft Teams Best Practices is additional resources that will kick start your Microsoft Teams project!

TALK TO US

Our Microsoft Teams Best Practices are constantly evolving, and we’ll update this post regularly with any new tips. If you’re interested in architecting your Microsoft Teams with Best practices from the get-go call now on 03335 779 009 or Contact Us and chat with one of our Microsoft Teams specialists.