Scott Richards

Scott Richards joined designDATA in July 2017 as the Director of Training and Employee Engagement. In this role, he plans and executes weekly webinars for clients and delivers onsite training (currently virtual). Scott is designDATA's communications and productivity expert, making him uniquely positioned to offer strategies and tools which he has developed both prior to and because of the emerging reality of remote workplaces. Scott focuses on providing “communication excellence” and works hard to incorporate this into the training programs he develops for not only the designDATA team but also for their clients.

Microsoft 365 App of the Month: Integrating a Video Into Teams

Microsoft 365 App of the Month:
Integrating a Video Into Teams

Three-minute read

One of the things that makes Microsoft Teams so user-friendly and extensible is that it allows you to integrate common technologies into the platform. For example, did you know you can make YouTube videos easily accessible for you and your teammates in Teams? Plus, it’s really easy to do! Here’s how:

1. Go to the YouTube video you want to embed into Teams, click the Share button, and then click on Copy to copy the link to your clipboard.

2. Select the + button on the top right of the channel toolbar where you’d like this to live, like so:

3. This will bring up the Add a tab screen. Start typing YouTube in the search field and you should see the YouTube icon appear. Click on that icon:

4. On the next screen, select Add to add YouTube to your Teams channel:

5. On the following screen, paste the URL of the YouTube video you copied in step one and hit Enter. When you see the video preview appear, select it with the mouse and then select Save:

6. That’s all there is to it! You should now see the YouTube video as a new tab in your Teams channel:

Microsoft Teams is an invaluable collaboration and productivity-enhancing tool for organizations of every size. If you’re curious about other fantastic features of this power tool, do not hesitate to get in touch with one of our Microsoft experts.

Microsoft 365 App of the Month: Tasks by Planner and ToDo

Microsoft 365 App of the Month:
Tasks by Planner and ToDo

Three-minute read

Microsoft Tasks by Planner and ToDo (formerly known as Planner) is a feature-rich application that integrates with Microsoft Teams. This powerful tool enables users to assign, collaborate, and monitor projects and tasks using a variety of dashboards.

To integrate the Planner app into Teams, simply navigate to the desired channel and select the + (Add a Tab) button in the menu bar. When the list of applications comes up, select Tasks by Planner and ToDo. If you don’t see this listed, start typing Tasks in the search bar and you should see the app appear.

Once selected, on the next screen click Create a new plan and give your plan a name:

You will see a new tab with the Planner name on your Team’s menu bar.

The main user interface of Planner shows tasks in the bucket view. These buckets represent different groups of tasks, like Client-specific, Internal, and Webinar Series. Within each bucket, you can create individual tasks, choose a due date, and make assignments:

When users are assigned a task, they receive an email with the new task information. The task information can be monitored from the main Planner screen in Teams (see above). Users can also edit tasks and mark them complete using this same interface by clicking on the task to open the Task Details screen:

In addition to the bucket view, users also have the ability to view their team’s tasks using a charts view, which groups tasks by various categories. For example, in the screenshots below, the tasks are broken down by status, bucket, priority, and members:

Finally, Planner provides a list view which enables you to view all tasks in a standard list:

Microsoft Planner is an easy-to-use task management application that nicely integrates with Teams. Try it out to see if it could help your organization’s task management needs, and if you have any questions or would like help choosing the best Microsoft tools for your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Microsoft 365 App of the Month: Microsoft Forms

Microsoft 365 App of the Month:
Microsoft Forms

Two-minute read

Microsoft Forms is an easy-to-use application included as part of a company’s Office 365 subscription and is also available to anyone with a Microsoft account. The tool allows you to quickly create, preview, and share forms, surveys, and quizzes with internal and external recipients.

Getting started with the app is as simple as selecting the type of question you want to ask (multiple-choice, text-based, etc.) and then typing in the question and possible responses, like so:

Once you’ve entered all of your questions, select the Preview button to see how your survey will appear on both a computer and a mobile device:

Once satisfied with your form, click the Share button; this creates a link to the form. You can then paste the link into an email, a Teams chat, or anywhere else you’d like! The recipient simply clicks on the link and can then fill out your form. The best part? She doesn’t need to be an Office 365 customer to do so!

To see the results, simply navigate to the Responses tab of your form, where you can either view the responses right from the form window or in an Excel spreadsheet.

Those are the basics of one of Microsoft’s best apps, Forms. This application has other fantastic features, like creating tests or quizzes and using branching to determine which questions users need to answer based on their responses; we highly recommend you give this application a go!

If you’d like recommendations on other Microsoft applications that could improve efficiency and boost productivity for your teams, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

How You Can Use Microsoft 365 Business Voice to Your Advantage, and why it is the best VoIP platform on the market

How to Use Microsoft 365 Business Voice to Your Advantage

Learning these key Microsoft 365 Business Voice features will make you much more productive during the workday. Keep reading to get started.

Microsoft is renowned in the business community for providing software that drastically increases their overall productivity. Many organizations would be entirely lost without access to the Microsoft Office Suite.

Although not quite as well-known as some of its larger products, Microsoft 365 Business Voice offers many benefits for companies willing to take advantage of them.

Not quite sure how to get started? We’ve got a guide that can help you.

Let’s dive in.

Enable Key Features

To make the most of this software, you need to take full advantage of the numerous features. Many of these tools require setup, but the implementation is well worth it.

One of the most notable is the fully-customizable auto attendant. This tool is seamlessly able to take incoming calls and reroute them to the correct queues. You have a large amount of flexibility regarding how you configure this tool. The standard parameters many organizations use are language, time zone, or overall availability.

When these callers reach the queues, they’ll be presented with a custom greeting while they wait (accompanied by music if necessary). Other notable features include audio conferencing, cloud-based voicemail management (and voicemail transcription), and direct SIP trunk routing.

It’s best to determine which tools your company can benefit from most and integrate them as soon as possible.

The Microsoft Teams Admin Center

As the name suggests, the Microsoft Teams admin center serves as a centralized location that you can use to help manage your organization’s projects and tools. You can also use it for 365 Business Voice.

This tool helps you set up cloud calling and audio conferencing. You can also contribute to a database of relevant phone numbers that are easily accessible.

You can even use the admin center to assign certain levels of functionality to specific phone numbers. For example, one phone number could be a dedicated conference bridge connecting multiple users to a single conference call.

It’s possible to do the same for call queues and auto attendants. By taking full advantage of this utility, you’ll be able to improve your level of customer service drastically.

Build Upon Its Functionality

Although Business Voice provides a large amount of utility for many organizations, some businesses still prefer to use other software alongside it.

For example, a small business owner might use Business Voice as a foundation while also implementing a different partner compliance recording solution.

This scenario is easily achievable. Microsoft 365 Business Voice is highly extensible, allowing users to expand upon its functionality. This means that those who already have a preferred contact center software don’t have to worry about any conflicts arising.

This is particularly useful for more sizeable organizations that benefit from using a large set of tools.

Train Your Team

To get the most out of Microsoft Business Voice, you’ll need to train your team on its functionality. Fortunately, the volume of training required is very low.

Employees who have experience using Microsoft Teams will likely require only 5 to 10 minutes to get familiar with Business Voice. After everything has been configured within the admin center, your employees will often only need to set up their respective voicemails before they can begin to make calls.

This makes Business Voice extremely straightforward to integrate into a company’s practices and is one of the primary reasons entrepreneurs choose to use it.

Looking to Boost your productivity and empower your remote workforce? Book a call with one of designDATA’s productivity experts today.

Porting Existing Phone Numbers

Porting your company’s current phone numbers to Microsoft is a straightforward process – if you have the required info.

To help make the transition go as smoothly as possible, be sure that you have access to the following:

  • Your current company name
  • Business telephone number
  • Business address
  • Account number
  • Personal identification number
  • A comprehensive list of the phone numbers you want to port

You’ll also need to indicate whether or not you’re porting your entire list of numbers or only some of them.

It’s important to note that you will need to make separate porting orders for service toll numbers. This also applies to toll-free and user numbers.

Generally, your order should be processed relatively shortly. Fortunately, Microsoft will provide you with a temporary business phone number while you wait, which comes complete with audio conferencing, call queues, and auto attendants. These can help direct incoming calls to your temporary number.

You Don't Need Additional Hardware

Using Microsoft 365 Business Voice doesn’t mean that you’ll need to overhaul all of your company’s hardware. But, you may want to consider it depending on your needs.

For instance, if you don’t plan on using call queues or the auto attendant tool, it may be worth investing in more efficient hardware for relevant employees. In contrast, your current hardware should do just fine if you make heavy use of the utility that Business Voice provides.

So, take a moment to determine which option would be most suitable for your company before you spend thousands of dollars on new equipment.

Integrating Microsoft 365 Business Voice

Diving deeper into the features offered through Microsoft 365 Business Voice will ensure you take full advantage of the utility that it provides. Integrating this tool into your Microsoft Business stack may be the perfect solution for streamlined collaboration in your organization.

Want to find out if Microsoft 365 Business Voice is right for your business? Reach out to us today and see how we can help.

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