At this year’s Inspire event happening this week, Microsoft announced a variety of new tools to enhance the hybrid workplace. The challenge for organizations, they say, is finding a balance between employees’ demands for flexibility and business needs. On top of that, the current shifting global economy requires maximizing productivity while minimizing cost. Microsoft’s hope is that they can provide data and AI solutions that help employees work better and smarter.
A year of accomplishments
Over the past year, Microsoft has introduced more than 450 new features in Microsoft Teams that are already helping people succeed in today’s hybrid work environment. These include features like:
- hybrid meeting support, such as Front Row, and Intelligent Cameras and Speakers
- dynamic presentation tools, such as Cameo, PowerPoint Live, and Recording Studio
- collaborative tools, such as those within Microsoft Loop.
What’s new for ’22
Not one to rest on their laurels, Microsoft has announced some new features this week, designed to enhance the AI-powered hybrid work experience:
- Excel Live, which will allow people to collaborate on workbooks in real-time in Teams meetings.
- Collaborative Annotations, which allows meeting participants to draw, type, and react on top of content shared in a meeting.
- Video Clip, a new feature in Teams chat that allows you to record, send, and view short videos.
- Teams Connect Shared Channels, which lets you collaborate with people inside and outside of your organization in one shared space where everyone can work, chat, meet, share, co-author files, and develop apps together. This feature is already generally available.
Bringing collaborative experiences into the flow of work
Last year, Microsoft introduced Microsoft Viva, the first employee experience platform that connects employees through communication, communities, knowledge, learning, goals, and insights. All within the flow of work in Teams. Soon to come are even more collaborative experiences:
- Microsoft Viva Goals (available next month) is a goal-setting and management solution that aligns teams to your organization’s strategic priorities to drive results. (You can watch a short intro video clip here to see what it will look like.)
- Microsoft Viva Engage, a new app in Teams that brings social networking to the workplace, building on the strength of Yammer. Leaders can share news and insights, answer questions, and facilitate conversations that help employees feel heard and included. With Storyline and Stories features, employees can connect with their coworkers, and share their thoughts, expertise, passions, and ideas.