Introducing Webinars in Microsoft Teams: Easy, professional webinars to engage customers

Over the last year, we have found new ways to create engaging virtual experiences at work. We’ve transformed spaces in our homes to offices, developed new skillsets for remote collaboration, and in some cases, adopted new technology to get work done. I often hear from our customers about the burden of using different tools to accomplish similar tasks at work. This is one of the reasons I’m excited to announce new innovations in Microsoft Teams that give you more ways to use the tool you rely on every day for internal collaboration and meetings, now for webinars and external events. 

Beginning this week, Webinarsand PowerPoint Liveare generally available in Microsoft Teams. Additionally, Presenter mode will begin to roll out later in May. With these capabilities, you have new ways to deliver polished, professional presentations in meetings of all sizes, from small internal meetings to large customer-facing webinars and events—all from a single application. 

What’s even better? You don’t need to purchase a new license or product. These new capabilities are included in many of the Office and Microsoft 365 plans your organization uses today1. There are no hidden costs or charges for overage fees with plans that include these capabilities—period. 

Full-featured webinars for rich customer engagements 

Now you can organize and hold interactive webinars for up to 1,000 attendees with Teams. Use end-to-end webinar support that’s as simple as setting up a Teams meeting—including custom registration pages and attendee emails, rich presentation options, host controls, such as the ability to disable attendee chat and video, and post-event reporting to understand participation and to follow up with attendees. 

Attendee registration page inside of Teams

If you need to reach more than 1,000 attendees, Teams meetings can seamlessly scale to accommodate a 10,000-person view-only broadcast experience. During this time of increased remote work, we’ve expanded the attendee limit to 20,000 through the end of this year. 

Everyone can present like a pro 

With PowerPoint Live and Presenter mode in Microsoft Teams, anyone can deliver more impactful and engaging presentations to show up in a more polished and professional way with your audience. 

By bringing together Microsoft’s rich history with presenter experiences in PowerPoint and the collaboration power of Teams, presenters can feel more confident and capable during online presentations. You can view upcoming slides, notes, meeting chat, and the audience in a single view while presenting. 

PowerPoint slide presenter view shown during a Teams meeting

Meanwhile, attendees can personalize their experience by privately navigating the content at their own pace or using high contrast mode and screen readers to make content accessible. Coming soon, slide translation capabilities allow attendees to select their native language and automatically have slides translated for them—without changing the view for other attendees. 

Slide translation capabilities

Presenter mode empowers presenters to customize how their video feed and content appear to the audience. The first of three options, Standout mode, shows the speaker’s video feed as a silhouette in front of the shared content; Reporter mode shows content as a visual aid above the speaker’s shoulder, similar to a news broadcast; and Side-by-side mode shows presenter’s video feed alongside their content as they present. Standout mode will be available later in May, and Reporter and Side-by-side will roll out shortly after. 

Speaker shown in three layouts view with content

Continue to engage with attendees after your webinar 

A webinar is just one touchpoint in your customer engagement efforts. After the event ends, easily access reporting to bring attendee information into your customer relationship management (CRM) applications for lead management and follow-up. 

And, beginning this month, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing customers can export attendee data directly from Teams to automatically create campaigns and customer journeys for ongoing nurture streams. The Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing integration gives webinar hosts more ways to drive engagement, increase conversion, and build loyalty with your attendees. 

Export contacts from Teams to Dynamics 365 Marketing

Not sure how to deliver your next webinar or event? We can help 

Customers like Junior Achievement, Coldwell Banker, and the Consumer Technology Association are using Teams for virtual events—from community building townhalls, to state-of-the-market webinars, to the world’s largest tradeshow. 

We know that technology is just one piece of the solution. Microsoft services like the Live Events Assistance Program help customers set up, manage, and deliver events spanning from townhalls to webinars and everything in between. Microsoft Consulting Services for Virtual Events provide strategy and delivery support for organizations that want to move their large conferences and custom events online. And Microsoft trusted partners provide solutions to envision, develop, integrate, and deliver your virtual event at any size. 

Get started with Webinars in Microsoft Teams today 

Since the new webinar capabilities are already included in many of the Office and Microsoft 365 plans your organization uses today1, there’s no reason to not start using them now. 

Learn more about how to use these new capabilities in Microsoft Teams with this Webinars quick start guide and PowerPoint Live overview

1These new capabilities will be available in Microsoft 365 E3/E5, Microsoft 365 A3/A5, and Microsoft 365 Government G3/G5 plans. Microsoft 365 Business Standard and Microsoft 365 Business Premium plans will include all the features above for up to 300 attendees. And for the rest of 2021, we are offering a promotional period where all Teams users can try the features with their existing subscription. 

5 steps for boosting your digital transformation with Microsoft 365

So how can we help bring your vision of the world’s productivity cloud—Microsoft 365—to life? 

Step 1: Get industry-specific guidelines with the Productivity Library 

Start with understanding how Microsoft 365 can improve productivity in your specific role or industry using scenarios and best practices with the Productivity Library. The Productivity Library is available for a wide range of industries including financial services, retail, and healthcare and gets granular for roles like operations, sales, and human resources

Step 2: Develop a plan with the Microsoft 365 Adoption Guide 

The Microsoft 365 Adoption Guide helps you to not just identify and prioritize key scenarios, but also helps you understand how to best build and launch your adoption plan with your stakeholders. The Microsoft 365 Adoption Guide will help you drive business value by showing you how to monitor and track adoption and usage. 

Step 3: Create your advocates and champions 

When you’re ready to start training your users, we recommend leveraging the power of the Office 365 Champions program. This program is designed to help you create a circle of influence for those early adopters or go-to people in your organization and empower them to become your Office 365 Champions. This program provides support and resources to help these users find a more efficient way to tackle everyday tasks and then share those learnings with their peers. 

Step 4: Build your own learning portal 

Did you know you can build a custom training portal with just a few clicks? Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways is a customizable, on-demand learning solution designed to increase usage and adoption of Microsoft 365 services in your organization. This includes on-demand custom training, SharePoint Online portal provisioning, and straightforward steps to provision, customize, and share your new portal with users. 

Step 5: Track users progress 

Once you implement some of these learning resources you’ll need some tools to help you to track your software adoption progress. The new Microsoft Productivity Score—currently in private preview—will provide you with visibility into how your organization works, insights that identify where you can enable improved experiences so people can reach their goals, and actions to update skills and systems so everyone can do their best work. 

For companies who want to help their employees better understand how they spend their time and guide them to better work habits and team norms, we encourage you to turn on MyAnalytics. This tool helps users improve their focus, wellbeing, network, and collaboration. 

MyAnalytics is available to Microsoft 365 and Office 365 Enterprise and Business suite users. 

Finally, for a top-down view, we offer Workplace Analytics. Workplace Analytics provides more advanced tools to discover and analyze the business impact of the way people work and help drive change through MyAnalytics. It gives you a view into collaboration patterns that empowers organizations to act with agility, improve employee experience, and sharpen customer focus. 

Workplace Analytics is available as a Microsoft 365 add-on service. 

Check out the Microsoft 365 Knowledge podcast 

To help you better understand why Microsoft 365 is the world’s productivity cloud, I encourage you to check out the Microsoft 365 Knowledge podcast. Hosted by veteran IT blogger Paul Thurrott, this podcast series digs into the features and functionality across the products that make up Microsoft 365. We also share real-world tips and tricks to help you get the most out of the product. The first two episodes are available on demand. 

Every company’s path to digital transformation is different. Over the next few months we’ll bring you more resources, as well as interviews with organizations who share their tips and secrets on their own successful transformations and their learnings from these projects on how they harnessed the transformative power of Microsoft 365—the world’s productivity cloud. 

3 myths about Office 365 that just aren't true

The rate of innovation involved with modern technology is increasing with every year. Companies are working hard to constantly give new features to their clients, a sentiment that is especially true of Microsoft’s Office 365. This cloud-based productivity platform has exploded on the enterprise IT scene and is completely changing how and where employees complete tasks.

Despite having been on the market for nearly five years now, those who haven’t had the chance to work with Office 365 yet still don’t know much about it. In fact, there is a portion of this population that have formulated myths based on unfounded rumors and hearsay. We wholeheartedly believe that Office 365 is an incredibly beneficial tool, and we would hate to see a company miss out on it due to unsubstantiated claims.

Therefore, we’ve put together a list of myths about Office 365 that just aren’t true, and what the reality behind the situation actually is.

Myth #1: It’s not secure

No matter which sector your company works in, one of your most important areas of concern has to be cybersecurity. This is because a data breach could seriously affect how clients view your organization. A study from Centrify found that two-thirds of consumers living in the U.S. will stop their business relationship with an institution following a major hacking event. Clearly, staying on top of your firm’s security is of the utmost importance.

This is especially true when you’re talking about a platform like Office 365. This service handles so many pieces of important information that it makes sense for people to be worried about it’s ability to mitigate the risks of a cyberattack. However, the idea that Office 365 is inherently less secure than other options is completely false.

This service has a good level of security. Office 365 is incredibly secure.

Microsoft has spent years refining and polishing the security features on Office 365, and it truly shows. This service has been built from the ground up with cybersecurity in mind, and businesses all over the world rely on Office 365 to keep their data safe. The company’s website even has a list of the most important features, which are:

  • Identity security: Ensuring that only the right employees have access to secure data is paramount. Therefore, Office 365 relies upon multi-factor authentication, which means you have to utilize multiple security credentials in order to log onto an account. This puts another obstacle between your company’s data and the hackers.
  • Data and app encryption: Encryption is by far the most important tool in the fight against cybercriminals. Office 365 utilizes this technology when information is moving between systems and when it’s stored on a particular device.
  • Responding to issues: Microsoft stated that Office follows the response tactics of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. This includes having a dedicated security team, detecting and analyzing threats, containing incidents and spearheading an investigation after everything’s said and done.

Clearly, there are too many security features baked in to Office 365 for it to be considered a vulnerable platform. Working with this tool means that your data has an added level of security that will help lower the chances of a data breach.

“One of the major selling points of Office 365 is that it clears up a lot of technical issues.”

Myth #2:  It’s going to steal your job

One of the major selling points of Office 365 is that it clears up a lot of technical issues that other platforms present to company IT teams. While it is obviously a clear advantage, some workers see this as a threat to their current position. They see all the work that they put toward just keeping their current system running, and they think if they don’t have to do this maintenance then they’ll be out of a job.

While this comes from a very real place of self worth, this is once again a very false myth. Although Office 365 will streamline certain processes and eliminate the need to constantly put out fires, it won’t completely take away the need for a robust IT department. As a matter of fact, the truth is quite the opposite.

Office 365 gives you the opportunity to explore internal goals like never before. Due to the fact that you won’t have to waste time simply fixing what should already work, you can move on to opportunities to expand your current IT infrastructure. A deployment of this platform isn’t the death of the IT team; it gives your department new life.

Myth #3: Moving from a different platform is next to impossible

This is less of a specific Office 365 myth and more of a misconception for most newer technologies. Companies very often get comfortable with their current solution, and they start to imagine that making the move to another platform would just be more trouble than it’s worth. Of course, the multitude of benefits provided by Office 365 show that this just isn’t the case. Sticking with an older solution that doesn’t work properly just because you’re used to it doesn’t make any sense, and it could end up costing your company big in terms of productivity and effectiveness in dealing with client needs.

However, making the transition can lead to certain obstacles. But don’t worry, ISG Technology is here to help. Our staff members have quite a lot of experience dealing with moves to Office 365, and we can help make sure yours goes as smoothly as possible.

Office 365 and the value of cloud-based solutions

Microsoft’s Office 365 has made a huge splash within business IT. In fact, a study from security firm Bitglass found the service to hold 25.2 percent of the enterprise market in 2015, which was a 300 percent increase over the previous year. This even beat out Google Apps, hoisting Office 365 above the competition and showing just how valuable this solution is.

That said, many organizations are hesitant to make the switch to cloud-based platforms for a number of reasons. To that end, we’d like to dispel some rumors about Office 365 and get to the heart of what makes this service great.

Cloud-based solutions make sense for multiple verticals

“The cloud’s many advantages simply cannot be ignored.”

The cloud’s many advantages simply cannot be ignored at this point. The technology’s ability to increase innovation and flexibility while also keeping costs low is an incredibly central part of its selling point. In fact, Matthew McClelland of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina has stated that these exact reasons were the drivers behind his organization’s switch to Office 365.

“We were often stuck in the old way of doing IT,” said McClelland, who is the manager of the information governance office at BCBSNC. “Slow waterfall-style projects that took a lot of time to roll stuff out. When you add up the cost of everyone’s time, impact to our operations, the impact on the day-to-day work of users, it’s expensive.”

Of course, health care isn’t the only sector seeing the benefits of cloud-based solutions like Office 365. Fortune quoted Curt Kolcun of Microsoft as saying that the number of Microsoft Cloud for Government users is around 5.2 million, which includes Office 365 as well as other cloud services.

Regulatory compliance is a must

Of course, many sectors have more to worry about than cost and flexibility. Regulatory standards, such as those imposed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, come down hard on institutions that can’t follow the rules. In fact, a violation of HIPAA carries a maximum annual penalty of $1.5 million.

HIPAA has strict rules. Violating HIPAA could result in massive fines.

Again, this is where Office 365 shines. McClelland also reported that HIPAA used to be a “hurdle” for medical cloud migrations. However, Office 365 is now HIPAA-compliant, ensuring McClelland’s organization stays on the right side of the law.

ISG Technology can help with your transition

While Office 365 clearly has many benefits for all kinds of institutions, making the transition can sometimes be difficult. To that end, it makes sense to partner with an experienced company that knows all about what a move to the cloud means for an organization. ISG Technology is more than happy to be that partner for you.

Our trained professionals have the experience necessary to help you navigate the tricky waters of transition, both in terms of overall cost and regulatory standards. We know how important this move is to you, and we’re here to help you every step of the way. Contact an ISG Technology representative today and find out what your organization can get out of Office 365.