Weekly News Update - 20th March 2020

By Core Newsroom - March 20, 2020

Temporary adjustments to Microsoft 365 features

As businesses and organisation around the world try and adapt to new ways of working in the wake of the pandemic, Microsoft has announced feature adjustments to help optimise performance of Microsoft 365 during a period of such high demand.

The move has been taken to allow Microsoft to “best support” existing Microsoft 365 customers and accommodate the significant growth in users and demand for the solution right now.

Microsoft has said they don’t expect the adjustments to have a “significant impact” on end users, but it will help mitigate the risk of downtime and reduce the impact of the unprecedented levels of use due not only to the sheer number of users, but also an increase in time spent per user.

Examples of adjusted features include:

  • How often Microsoft check for presence
  • The interval at which they will show when another party is typing
  • Video resolution

The changes will have little impact on end users but will help ensure millions more people can use the productivity apps within Microsoft 365 to work remotely and stay productive.

Microsoft has also assured users that any more features adjustments will be announced as and when they are made.

Microsoft Teams free for NHS workers

NHS staff can use Microsoft Teams for free during the current pandemic, so that they can communicate more quickly and easily with colleagues and stay connected., Microsoft has announced.

Key workers can benefit from instant messaging, and audio and video calls to update one another from any location.

The Director of Technology at NHS Digital, Ian Phoenix, said: “Technology is key to supporting patients who are self-isolating and makes sure they have the information they need and access to medical support and advice. For doctors and NHS staff this means that working remotely becomes much easier and more practical.”

Teams is being rolled out now to all NHSMail users by NHS Digital. Those NHS organisations that don't use the NHSMail system can apply directly to Microsoft to be given free access to Teams, and will be given access to the NHSmail support site to help them roll out Teams.

To ensure that communications are totally secure, the NHS has confirmed that Teams will be monitored and protected within the organisation's Secure Boundary, which is a security solution run by the healthcare body to protect against security threats.

Cindy Rose, Microsoft UK Chief Executive, has said Microsoft is "fully committed to assisting the NHS at this incredibly challenging time."

Core can help you implement Teams in your organisation. See our Teamwork Assessment for more details.

Microsoft build new communications app in 48 hours

Microsoft has released an app that makes it easier for companies to collaborate effectively in a crisis. 

The app was built in just 48 hours by a team of developers and has been rushed to launch as businesses try to navigate the challenges of the current pandemic.

The platform combines Power Apps, Power Automate, Teams and SharePoint and can be used in Teams, on a mobile app or via a web browser. Staff can report where they are working from - either at home, in the office or elsewhere - and make requests to colleagues, while managers and central response teams can use the information to coordinate action. The app also lets employees receive push notifications for important updates, and share news from other sources via an RSS feed.

More features will be added in the coming months, and  Microsoft offer support offered to organisations that want to implement the tool.  More information on the app can be found here.


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